Director: Dom Rotheroe Starring: Bradley Cole, Brittany Ashwood, Angela Forrest, Oliver Lee. UK. 1h 25m
The allure behind Exhibit A is getting an insight in the raw details behind the case of a brutal family annihilation case. While Dom Rotheroe and curated a really authentic feeling found footage movie on an independant budget I feel that story is lacking a genuine USP. I personally felt cheated, thought I’d missed some fine detail, but after re watching the movie, I had to step back and look at it with fresh eyes, so often found footage relies on adding a touch of creepy paranormal or something sly and devious into the mix to make the voyeuristic audience shudder with fear and delight. Exhibit A doesn’t bend to those rules, and doesn’t really go anywhere into the deep waters of the typical Found Footage Horror, however if the systematic psychological breakdown of a middle england family is your thing then step in.
Director: James McTeigue Starring: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans, Brendan Gleeson,Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Sam Hazeldine, Dave Legeno. USA. 1h 51m
Journalism and celebrity are the subjects of this Victorian clad detective story. Fictionalising the final days of Edgar Allen Poe, giving him some majesty while being down and out in Baltimore 1849. No one wants to publish his iconic flavour of the macabre anymore and his life is in tatters.
Director: Aaron B Koontz Starring: Melora Walters, Zachary Knighton, Noah Segan, Stan Shaw, Devin Druid, Bill Sage .USA. 1h 36m
While being blown away with the wild violence on Bone Tomahawk(2015) I wondered if it was going to mark a revival of the Horror Westerns and luckily it did, The Nightingale (2018) and The Wind (2018) soon followed and really kept up the momentum, pioneering new levels and atmospheres in the genre, then things started to spiral out of control and the low budgets are now having a bash at grisly film with a western feel.
The Pale Door has one of those movies titles that sounds poetic and could allude to a rabbit warren of possibilities, sadly they picked a really strange combination of events to try and build a story on. Continue reading The Pale Door (2020)→
Director: Todd Haynes Starring: Juilanne Moore, John Apicella, Xander Berkeley, Dean Norris .USA/UK. 1h 59m
After watching Todd Haynes’s masterful macabre paperwork drama, Dark Waters I can’t help but think back to one of his more impressive and less talked about movies, Safe; featuring all of the key elements that Haynes loves to explore, showing how we are negatively affected by “forever” chemicals. He takes a more sensitive approach in this mid nineties movie before breaking the doors down years later with the harder hitting Mark Ruffalo biopic.
I hired Safe out many years ago from Blockbusters, it was cheap, because it’s a bit too art house for some and slow and boring for the rest, but for me it really struck a chord, and later on after years of talking to people about it, that chord resonated more as there’s a surprising divide between the sexes about how real or relevant this movie is, I don’t believe it was the aim of the film but maybe a byproduct of Haynes ability to paint Julianne in a certain light while she battles invisible illness. Something that we’re all a little bit more aware of despite these damning warnings.
Director: Joel Schumacher Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon. USA. 1h 55m
One question has plagued mankind since the dawn of time, what happens after death? Is there a big party in the sky, do you get to rekindle your relationships with your ancestors? But what happens if you just enter the afterlife and return, does this make you a god among mortal men? In Joel Schumacher’s science fiction thriller, the question is raised and sharply dodged as the cast fumble around personal nightmares and repetitive resuscitation scenes.
Shortly after his greatest achievements, Lost Boys (1987) and St Elmo’s Fire (1985) he came back with this pious theological piece, which is dramatic but becomes silent and empty when it attempts to give reason and answer to it’s meaning, in fall fairness it’s hard to answer what lies after death but if you’re going to make a movie about it, you really should have a theoretical process in place. Continue reading Flatliners (1990)→
Director: Victor Halperin. Starring: Lyle Talbot, Charleton Young, Irving Pichel, Shelia Bromley, Skelton Knaggs . USA. 49m Based on: A Thousand Deaths by Jack London.
The notable short story from the creative and imaginative Jack London in 1899 saw a mad scientist experiment with death, finding new ways to kill and revive the protagonist with crazed experiments that lead to yet another more deadly invention to aid escape once the experiments get more depraved! This compelling sci fi story inspired the 1932 White Zombie director, Victor Halperin; to develop his rendition, not just based on any ship, but the mysterious Torture Ship.
Halperin speeds through through his story in record timing, and in under an hour he’s arranged a few twists and turns, alongside a whirlwind romance as a group of cons try to go about their daily lives on board a cruise while not giving away their criminal backgrounds but not realising that’s why they have been forced together on this particular ship by a crazed scientist with a fever dream. Continue reading Torture Ship (1939)→
Director: Vicente Amorim Starring: Carla Salle, Pablo Sanábio, Juliana Lohmann, Emílio de Mello, Guilherme Prates .Brazil . 1h 32m
The wonderful set up for this movie is filled with mysterious characters and a mythical folkloric wonderment that builds up Amorim’s film into a pensive dark thriller just to be doused by blood and sinew by the final scenes in what could have been the premiere gore soaked Brazilian thriller of the year.
Starting out with a strange sequence that see’s a young man creep into what seems to be an abandoned workshop, he finds a rare and valuable component on a bike being worked on and attempts to steal it, it burns a pattern into his hand as he’s literally caught red handed, a wisen old man rambles on about a fabled curse on those who are willing to steal for vanity and selfish reasons but a beautiful young woman eventually takes pity on him. But is it too late for him or is this a question of the soul. Continue reading Motorrad / Motorbike (2017)→
Director: Konstantin Lopushansky Starring: Viktor Mikhaylov, Vera Mayorova,Vadim Lobanov, Irina Rakshina, Aleksandr Rasinsky, Iosif Ryklin, Yu. Sobolev, Vladimir Firsov. Russia/Soviet Union/West Germany/Switzerland. 2h 16m
The jaw dropping, mind bending and highly disjointed follow on to Dead Man’s Letters (1986), shows that Lopushansky has lost none of this amazing vision of the world after an apocalyptic disaster. Usually history is written by the victors but who really comes out on top when the entire planet sinks into a nuclear winter?
From it’s dark crimson opening, it’s clear that the world is a very different place in this complicated post-apocalyptic future, that carries on from living memories of Chernobyl. The world attempts to keep things moving as a tourist attempts to traverse the barren landscape to visit a museum buried deep below the ocean. Clothed in a long black coat and carrying a single suitcase he stumbles through massive piles of waste, fights through clouds of dangerous dust and catches the saddest looking train I’ve ever seen limp down a track. Eventually he makes it to his “hotel” a house run by rich elites that looks out onto a vibrant shore that leads to a hidden fabled Museum.
Director: M J Bassett Starring: Jamie Bell, Ruaidhri Conroy, Mike Downey, Laurence Fox, Kris Marshall, Hans Matheson, Matthew Rhys, Andy Serkis. UK. 1h 34m
The general trends with World War II movies is to punch your audience right in the gut with the violence and depression of the war. With all the progressions of cinema they all translate in more effect ways of demonstrating the darkest side of human nature and the brutal fight for freedom, but this isn’t the only way to portray the horrors of this dark chapter, since the was there have been numerous ghost stories written about lost soldiers, everlasting love and the occult nature of the “the enemies” of righteous civilisation. But is Deathwatch the new ghostly war story we need?
Bassett’s track record includes an array of action movies all tinged with the macabre, but Bassett is versatile in his approach with the lavish fantasy Solomon Kane filled with magic myth and monsters, and Wilderness, a group of wayward chavs verses a mystery slasher while stranded on a secluded island, he’s not a man who liked to be pinned down with a specialty apart from directing engaging movies. Continue reading Deathwatch (2002)→
In the summer of 1979 Lucio Fulci released Zombi 2 also known as Island of the Living Dead, also known as Nightmare Island and sometimes known as Zombie Flesh Eaters, and possibly many other titles. This bold and sensual movie was intended as an unofficial sequel to George A Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), it was quite a popular theme for Italian directors to make unofficial sequels to American releases, for me the most iconic would be Alien 2 : On Earth (1980) which was Ciro Ippolito and Biagio Proietti’s attempt to make an earth bound sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 cult classic Alien. It’s as different as day and night to Alien and the intended sequel Aliens, but it’s a really wacky but thrilling lower budget movie. It’s brilliant that the ambition to make a daring sequel spurred on a wonderful director to try and achieve something new, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Continue reading Zombie Vs Shark→