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)
Director: Lowell Dean
Starring: Katharine Isabelle, Michael Shanks, Brendan Fehr, Brendan Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jesse Moss .Canada. 1h 27m
For a debut feature, there are a lot of pluses for this well written movie from director Lowell Dean, as he explores the almost burnt out zombie horror wave but despite falling back on a few cliches it’s a fairly good horror that sees a few members of Ginger Snaps reunite for a toxic zombie horror adventure in the woods.
Six forensic undergraduates have to ace a scientific field exam if they want their dream job of body hacking in the name of science. They are taken to a remote deserted island in an area known as Eerie Strait, island 13 has been set up as a Body Farm, their tutor Tomkins (Shanks) is overconfident and seems bored and often put off from the outset. He has prepared the island with surveillance cameras and walkie talkies and had the task of monitoring the students throughout their tests of finding corpses and identifying cause of death and length of time left to the elements. Continue reading 13 Eerie (2013)
Director: Adam MacDonald
Starring: Laurie Holden, Nicole Muñoz. Canada. 1h m
There are so many various types of horror movies some are deeply atmospheric, other rely on fantasy or special effects, some are purely creature features and scare it’s audience by showing graphic monsters that disgust. In more modern times we have a resurgence of found footage, torture gore and this new wave of cerebral horrors that often leave audiences left feeling let down, mostly due to the fact that they didn’t SEE anything. This divides horror fans, it’s much like that of Science Fiction fans who are now heavily reliant on special effects for their kicks as opposed to those who are leaning toward LoFiSciFi.
Now I didn’t do much research into Pywacket and I just assumed it was going to be a big beastie monster in the woods type of horror, but I got a very big shock, it’s more highbrow horror than I ever could have imagined. While it has some minor faults, it could have been done with some refining and maybe a little bit more research into the mechanics but alas it’s still a very well crafted horror that has the ability to really eat into the consciousness and makes you rethink a lot of your personal philosophy. Continue reading Pyewacket
Director:David Cronenberg .
Starring: James Woods, Debbie Harry, David Cronenberg, David Dvorsky, Leslie Carlson, Julie Khaner. Canada. 1h 29m.
Having watched Videodrome at quite a young age the film fascinated me for all the wrong reasons, pulsating VHS tapes, clips of dodgy torture rooms and people morphing into guns and machines really lit my young mind on fire, this was something that really carried on through my teens while lapping up underground comic books and really came to life when I discovered tales of the dark web and Tetsuo Iron Man (1989) which hit home this idea of bio mechanics along with my love of Giger’s artwork but nothing was quite on that level of bizarre as Videodrome, covering so many aspects of the darker side of the human psyche it’s science fiction body horror touches on some worrying habits and disgusting practices but all in such a way that it’s almost too clever for it’s own good.
James Woods takes centre stage as Max, as the CEO of a small UHF television station specialising in sensationalist programming he’s constantly displeased with his current line up which is mostly soft core, while looking for ways to boost the station, he stumbles on a bizarre broadcast featuring extreme violence and torture which he believes is staged and wants the show known as Videodrome for his station as he perceives it as something that everyone wants to see. While searching for the source of the broadcast, he employs his cameraman Harlan, to record the shows for him, eventually he deduces that the show is being transmitted from Malaysia, and soon Max orders that Harlan to broadcast the show unlicensed via his network. The more Max watches Videodrome the more he begins to hallucinates the world around him, mechanical items become soft and fluid, pulsating with life and breathing, but this is only the beginning. Continue reading Videodrome (1983)
Director: Jeff Maher.
Starring. Colin Price, Alysa King, Gwenlyn Cymyn, Dennis Andres, George Kirssa, Hamza Fouad. Canada. 1h 25m
After watching the long lost and brilliant psychotropic Death Bed : The bed that eats (1977) , I chanced upon this modern gore thriller about a similar piece of haunted furniture and thought I’d see how far we’d come in terms of awesome cinema and to sum it up in one sentence, watch the 1970’s classic instead..
This film is based on one wishy washy idea then introduces another and another then forgets to actually define why any of this is happening! But it all respect it has a respectable level of cinematography, effects and tries to be devious with a semi intelligent plot but it runs out of steam after the initial 20 minutes and fades from memory. Continue reading Bed of the Dead (2016)