Director: Jamie M. Dagg
Starring: Jon Bernthal, Christopher Abbott, Imogen Poots, Rosemarie DeWitt, Odessa Young, Jared Abrahamson .USA/Canada 1h 35m,
For the most part this dark neo-noir thriller takes two distinctive strong men and the troubles that surround them, highlights their strengths and weaknesses, then crash them together in the mist of a brutal cash for murder in a small American town and watches the fireworks blow them apart in a spectacular and emotive fashion.
A puzzling stranger sends bloody shock waves through a close knit community, after committing three brutal cold blooded murders. In the wake of the devastation of the remote and bleak Alaskan town, a tightly wound drifter Elwood (Abbott) checks into a motel run by Sam (Bernthal) a former Rodeo star, having retired he is making ends meet with this new venture to motel keeping but he’s a deeply troubled soul. Continue reading Sweet Virgina (2017)
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jürgen Prochnow, Charlton Heston .USA/Canada. 1h 35m
This epic slice of classic horror and the final piece of his Apocalypse Trilogy seems to be John Carpenter’s homage to a lot of the great names in literary horror, from HP Lovecraft to Stephen King he carves out a creepy tale which every horror writer has probably dreamt of, and that’s the ability to make their horror very real and literally jump of the page and effect their readers, getting all up in their grills. Anything to stop those whiney kids to stop complaining that nothing scares them huh?
Continue reading In the Mouth of Madness (1994)
Director: William Eubank
Starring: Kristen Stewrd, Vincent Cassel, Mamoduou Athie, TJ Miller, John Gallagher Jr, Jessica Henwick. USA/Canada. 1h 35m
It was only a matter of time where the connection between the isolation of outer space was going to be matched by that of a deep dark space closer to the earth was going to be matched up and Cthulhu chucked in for good measure. The last milestone year for underwater horrors was 1989 which saw the release of three masterworks DeepStar Six (1989), Leviathan (1989), and The Abyss (1989) which saw fearless deep sea adventurers encountering different unknown vicious beasts and sometimes aliens while often digging deep into the earth’s crust. So why not knock it up a notch now that we have access to a lot more.. technology and green screens.
William Eubank is obsessed with a flighty spacey sci fi adventures filled with twists and turns from the epic loneliness of Love (2011) and his attempt to make a viable sci fi mystery in The Signal (2014) which looked stunning but employed too much slow mo action , he’s certainly built up an amiable arsenal of techniques and the ability to build gorgeous sets and to create a realistic other world atmosphere, nevertheless he keeps most of this new epic Underwater fairly grounded under the final act where all hell quite literally breaks lose. Continue reading Underwater (2020)
Director: David Hugh Jones
Starring:Robert De Niro, Kathy Baker, Ed Harris, Charles S Duton .USA/Canada. 1h 42m,
Based On:Strange Snow (1982) Stephen Metcalfe
Only a mere 11 years after starting in the iconic Deer Hunter (1978) Robert De Niro is back playing another Vietnam War Vet adjusting to be an upstanding member of society while dealing with a turbulent past but there’s a deeper romantic edge poetic drama which highlights how people can change and that real friendship lasts forever but remains a complex and beautiful thing.
David Hugh Jones creates some memorable characters in his fairly light hearted approach at tackling the fallout from the Vietnam war. De Niro co starts with Ed Harris, two vets who’ve both sunk into their own personal depressions after returning without a dear friend after their tragic tour, Joseph “Megs” Megessey (De Niro) has found a new crutch to get him back into the flow of things, the once mad cannon is still lively but with a regular job, people to talk to hes slowly coming to terms in his own unique energetic fashion, but a good soldier never leaves a man behind, so filled with a new sense of pride and duty he attempts to connect with long lost bud Dave (Harris) who lives with his school teaching sister while wallowing in guilt and working on his alcohol dependence. Continue reading Jacknife (1989)
Director: Osgood Perkins
Starring: Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Boynton, Lauren Holly, James Remar. USA. 1h 33m
After an influx of “The Exorcism of [insert name here]” movies, Osgood Perkins hits back with an edgy and slow drifting art house approach to the saturated possession genre that insists on it’s audiences full attention; as it pulls them through a mid winter drama filled with tense dark undercurrents that chilled the cast before filming and has made it’s fans think and overthink the terrifying and mind bending finale.
Perkins struggled to get the film released despite it being loved at many film festivals, but after a change of name from February to the more sinister Blackcoats Daughter. Something which sounds like it came from an old rhyme or has a deeper historic meaning but it simply doesn’t. It’s these little touches which helped to confuse the audience and adds to the films mystery, Perkings does analogise that the blackcoat could be a priest or the devil, both have often been credited for dressing in black but he just simply liked the sound of the words together and it’s up to his audience to make what they will of it. Perkins has a talent for creating deeper mythologies within the narrative of his film projects and allowing interpretation, while this openness could be seen a wild genius, it can also become grating Continue reading The Blackcoats Daughter (2015)
Director: Jeff Renfroe
Starring:Jason Gedrick, Tamara Hope, Elias Toufexi, Sebastian Knapp, Chris Jarman. Canada. 1h 30m
Like a strange warped version of Monsters: Dark Continent (2014), blended with Jarhead (2005)and Tremors (1990), Sand Serpents doesn’t really feature a nest of deadly vipers as I expected instead the foes are more like miniature versions of the adorable Dune (1984) like sand worms but with a blood thirsty taste for human flesh.
A small group of US Army Soldiers become stranded in the remote Afghan desert, but against all odds and while teaming up with a father and daughter team from the local region they battle the Taliban and the epic worm like creatures from an unknown source, not something covered in basic training. Continue reading Sand Serpents (2009)
Director: Eric Steel.
Starring.Various. USA. 1h m.
Worlds literally end in Eric Steel’s slightly tastefully feature length documentary which focuses solely on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. For one year the iconic bridge was filmed including every suicide that took place on The Bridge that year with candid interviews of the people left behind.
The film opens like a tourist promo, with beautiful scenes of the bridge, the crew setting up hidden cameras, vibrant wildlife is in abundance, the quiant businesses nearby are lit in golden sunshine, then suddenly a body drops, and we are initiated into the Bridge, a bold unwavering look into the jolly suicide spot.
Be afraid of what lies beneath…
Continue reading The Bridge (2006)
Director: Simon Fellows Writer: Brendan Higgins
Starring.Andrew Scott, Bronagh Waugh, Denise Gough, J.D. Evermore. Canada. 1h 29m.
Irish stud, Andrew Scott stars in this muted drama that hinges on a community that is constantly turning a blind eye to some of the most horrific events that could happen behind closed doors.
When a young boy, Tyler Zeigler, goes missing in a sleepy fictional backwoods town of Harburgh, Pennsylvania, a former steel town that has seen brighter days. A local garbage truck driver and single father, Donny (Scott), plays detective, embarking on a precarious and obsessive investigation. Donald Devlin isn’t like all the other people in his town, and it’s kinda hard to pin point exactly what his ailment is, autism is top of my list but I’ve never quite seen a detective like him, Monk (2004-2009) had OCD along with a range of fears and phobias, Poirot was also OCD and it seems these afflictions help the perception of these amazing individuals, Donald is a special Samaritan, for the most part it’s easy to understand his concerns but every now and again he comes swinging from left field and does something really random as he attempts to grasp the world around him. Continue reading A Dark Place / Steel Country (2018)
Director: Vincenzo Natali. Writer: Stephen King
Starring.Laysla De Oliveria, Avery Whitted, Patrick Wilson, Will Buie Jr. Harrison Gilbertson, Tiffany Helm, Rachael Wilson. Canada. 1h 41m.
The penny dropped after the first hour of watching vivid scenes of tall grass swaying and screaming at lost desperate people in this slightly weary thriller, my eureka moment came when I realised I had seen this set up before, in a well known and once brilliant sci fi movie, The Cube (1997) and fuck me sideways, it’s the same director!?! I might have finally learnt my lesson in doing the technical research before settling into a movie. In a nutshell, that’s it, a folk version of The Cube in a field, and despite it’s best efforts, it’s not much more. The film eludes to lots of probabilities to the origins of its mystery but fails to really give solid answers and ends up as a messy mix of dead ends. Continue reading In the Tall Grass (2019)
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky.
Starring. Eric Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam, Kate Mara, Treat Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Sissy Spacek. USA/Canada. 1h 35m.
Children change everything, but asshole parents and terrible family relations are the driving force of this strange thriller. Everything about the opening suggests that this is going to be a cold heartless chase to the death, that can only get grittier and more dangerous but each step of the way but each step towards this badass edge is followed by some daddy issue drama until family relations eventually kills the fun completely.
Eric Bana plays Addison a wild eye psychopath on a mission to get across the border to Canada, his beloved sister is making a similar route but the choice to split up is a necessity and for her protection. Despite his quick trigger finger Addison does have a strange moral compass which does sometimes sway in favour of protecting women but this soft approach doesn’t reduce his kill count by much. Continue reading Deadfall (2012)