Director: Ti West
Starring: Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Aduley .USA. 1h 39m
Without any official admission this dramatic found footage movie is obviously based on Jim Jones and the mass suicide that he orchestrated at Jonestown. In all fairness the film gives a fairly accurate playback of the terrible events which occurred in Guyana, it does have a touch of cinematic license but for me, the kick in the gut wasn’t the shocking deaths but instead the failure to really show any respect to the dead. It was never the aim to reiterate the story blow by blow, that’s what documentaries and books are for, instead the movie dives in from a found footage aspect trying to give a fly on the wall view into the largest mass suicides in living memory. Continue reading The Sacrament (2013)
Director: Brett Simmons.
Starring: Stephen Lang , CJ Thomason, Michelle Pierce. USA. 1h 31m
I love when an old classic story gets a boost into a modern film, although there is always a need to be sensitive in the approach of modernising any aged tale, some stories seem to thrive as costume dramas, being so heavily strung in their own time that it’s almost impossible to shift elsewhere, such as Witchfinder General, while it could be updated, it relies on the mass hysteria of the age to really boil up some trouble. Timeless classics can be shifted back and forwards through time effortlessly, Lifepod by Alfred Hitchcock became a pretty interesting Sci Fi piece in 1993 by the talented Ron Silver (RIP) a ship lost at sea can easily become a ship lost in space.
The Monkey’s Paw was a story which filled me with marvel as a child, the moralistic side is deeply devastating but the horror aspect usually boils down to the concept of the evil dead returning, in the original story they simply come knocking but this presence has been resurrected many times now and death takes a gory step closer each time. The charming segment “Wish you were here” of Tales from the Crypt, the screaming dead are resurrected at the wrong time and face an everlasting life of pain.. ooops! Continue reading Monkeys Paw (2013)
Director: Albert Serra
Starring: Eliseu Huertas, Lluís Serrat Massanellas, Vicenç Altaió . UK. 2h 28m
Albert Serra, the Catalan trailblazer, always fascinates with his interpretations and adaptations of withering classic figures. Through a dusty lense he creates lavish cultured tapestries for them to play in, sometimes seeming alive now and again they seem as fragile and shaggy relics they have left behind.
His baroque mix up of pleasure meets desire in the guise of Cassanova meets Dracula combines fantasy and fiction in a flight of fancy style, at times it’s pretty grotesque while bolsters by lots of risque blush and tickles, a truly great adventure set against an unusual Transylvanian setting. Continue reading Història de la meva mort / The Story of my Death (2013)
AKA The Washington Snipers
Director: D Alexander Moors
Starring: Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Rim Blake Nelson. USA. 1h 34m
A deeply atmospheric and emotive recount of the strange relationship between the unique pair of individuals who basically brought Washington to its knees in 2002. John (Washington)and his “adopted” Antigen son Lee (Richmond), are brought together out of love and necessity, but soon their turbulent relationship became needed and cold violence. A highly provocative insight into the killers from D Alexandre Moors, his first full length feature, shows incredible talent. Later on he was able to display further capabilities is his more appreciated project Yellow Birds (2017).
John is a highly strung individual, moving from sofa to sofa, from friend to favour as he rages at the world around him, hooking up with a protective friend he manages to tutor his new son in a military fashion, their daily lives are a mix of regimental and relaxing with friends, cook outs and sniper training. Continue reading Blue Caprice (2013)
Director: john Krokidas
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Elizabeth Olsen, Ben Foster, Jennifer Jason Leigh . USA . 1h 35m
A sort of coming of age of the Beat Poets, Kill Your Darlings presents a “as they were” to the major literary movement. Krokidas uses a small time 1940’s murder as a feature to lead into how these soon to be famous writers first met. He romanticize everything, including all the negative aspects of the characters, their argumentative nature and self destructive tendencies are all keys of inspiration but the film wallows in a faux nostalgia and sensationalism rather than digging deeper to provide a better insight. Continue reading Kill Your Darlings (2013)
Director: Ben Wheatley Writer:Amy Jump
Starring: Julian Barratt, Michael Smiley, Reece Shearsmith, Ryan Pope and Richard Glover. UK. 1h 30m
A Field In England came out at a time when I was only just discovering how amazing Ben Wheatley is, after Sightseers (2012), Down Terrace (2009) and Kill List (2011) it was easy to see that he was quite a phenomenal director in his own write, and I especially admired his edition of the Dark Arts in kill List which seem to appear in a lot of his titles, and for quaint little twists that bound each kill victim together, maybe one day if he was related to another Wheatley who had mystified his audiences with the dark hearts back in the 70s??!!
But now he’s taking an historical turn with this unique black and white drama, Instead of speaking about the black hearts he’s going back to the original source, a group of men wandering around the English countryside during the civil war, after walking away from a battle; an act that they could easily have been hung for, they managed to hook up with a devout and cruel necromancer and fall under his dark spells, O’Neill (Smiley) terrorises the rest of the men and provokes them into helping him find a stash of treasure, while under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Continue reading A Field in England (2013)
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana . USA . 2h 1m
Based on : Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson.
Generally I love war movies, when I was growing up it was mostly about WWII or Vietnam but then as the world got older, we had new wars to dramatize, mostly set in the Middle East or Africa and for wars which no one really wanted to discuss. The films became less about the action and more about the people involved. The almost poetic Jarhead (2005) saw the build up and break down of several officers as they battled themselves and each
other pent up with fear and anger fighting a war that didn’t need men to participate, the war itself mostly forgotten and the freedom to really interrogate the men involved, which pretty much summed up the situation, the point of the war was weak the people being sent out there weren’t needed or prepared. Continue reading Lone Survivor (2013)
Director: Don Mancini
Starring: Brad Dourif, Fiona Dourif, Danielle Bisutti, Alex Vincent, A Martinez, Brennan Elliott, Summer H. Howell, Maitland McConnell, Jennifer Tilly . USA. 1h 33m
It’s hard to believe that this horror franchise is still going, but with this thrilling 6th installment there is a huge step made back to the traditional story with less of the comedy antics. The first direct to DVD movie sees Chucky arrive as a gift to the home of the paraplegic Nica Pierce (Fiona Dourif) and her mother Sarah (Quesnei), later on Sarah is found dead from a stab wound and it’s ruled as suicide. Later Nica, is visited by her domineering older sister, her husband, daughter Alice and a nanny. Alice soon finds Chucky and begs to keep him, they agree, but after some googling Nica becomes aware of the history of a particular killer Good Guy doll but no one listens to her theories until Chucky is in full swing and picking off the family one by one. Buy why this family? Can Nica work out the history before Chucky comes knocking. Continue reading Curse of Chucky (2013)
Director : William Brent Bell
Starring : A.J. Cook, Brian Scott O’Connor, Simon Quarterman, Sebastian Roché,Vik Sahay . USA. 1h 29m.
A modern day werewolf movie that awkwardly slots into the found footage genre. From the director who gave us another found footage horror only a year before, Devil Inside (2012) and sadly this film makes lots of the same mistakes but it also quite enjoyable.
There aren’t many werewolf found footage movies, in fact I can’t think of any, but this film isn’t pure found footage, it’s just a bog standard film with a few clips filmed via security cameras for added unrest.
Starting out from cam footage, a family are attacked by an unknown ferocious beast, if you hadn’t seen a trailer (or read this review) you’d have thought it was a bear on meth, it’s such a violent scene. Later through news clips it’s announced that Talan Gwynek (Brian Scott O’Connor) has been arrested for the murders. This is when Kate Moore (A. J Cook) steps in, to protect Talan as he’s not had a fair representation. While interviewing the curious man she starts to realise that he might just be capable of the murders, it’s not until after Talan is tested for Porphyria that Kate and her team including Gavin Flemyng (Simon Quarterman) start to realise just what they are faced with and how the werewolf curse is already affecting them…
Continue reading Wer (2013)
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Starring: Macon Blair, Tyler Byrne, Richard Peete, Vincent Savino, Alex Orr, Anish Savjani. USA.1h 30m
I thought I had seen it all when Oldboy (2003) picked at my psyche with it’s dark narrative and astonishing ending that I had to watch twice to absorb. So much pent up hate and such brutal actions in the name of honour and revenge. Blue Ruin is a testament that keeping things smart and stripped down a clever director can produce a well told revenge story that is bound the thrill. Continue reading Blue Ruin (2013)