Tag Archives: family

Monkeys Paw (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)

Come to Daddy (2019)

Director: Ant Timpson.
Starring: Elijiah Wood, Michael Smiley, Martin Donovan, Stephen McHattie .USA. 1h 33m

There comes a time in anyone’s life when they get a pang of nostalgia and have to find their roots, discover what kind of stock they have come from. Sometimes it’s just to determine medical symptoms and at other times it’s to find out where we are down the big line of success or fuck ups. Ant Timpson’s Come to Daddy is such a journey but one that no one could have predicted. Continue reading Come to Daddy (2019)

Bad Boys (1983)

Director: Rick Rosenthal.
Starring.Dean Penn, Esai Morales, Clancy Brown, Ally Sheedy, Eric Gurry, Reni Santoni, Robert Lee Rush. USA. 2h 3m.

This gritty coming of age movie, set in a juvenile detention centre was an epic leap of faith, with several of the main characters having their debut in what is seen as a breakthrough piece. After his directorial debut Halloween II (1981) he got stuck into 4 episodes of Darkroom then onto this game changer,launching the career of Sean Penn and Clancy Brown among others. Continue reading Bad Boys (1983)

Hilarys Heart (2019)

Director: Reginald Ebere.
Starring. Fredrick Leonard, Nigeria. 4h +.

After a spate of gangland style Nollywood movies I settled into something a bit more tender, This mini series sees a father having to deal with a niaeve and rebellious daughter who has the ability to see ghosts but that’s not her biggest problem is a strange one but pulls on the heart strings as intended.

The series opens with Hilary being dropped off at her father’s house, her mother has decided that she wants to get married and is dropping off Hilary as it’s not her father’s turn to look after her, an unsuspecting bachelor (Leonard) who wasn’t aware that he has a daughter and the shock of the 14 year old instantly kills his current relationship with an unnamed flame (Uju Okoli). I have to give it to the Nigerians for introducing a movie in such a razzmatazz style. Continue reading Hilarys Heart (2019)

Crawl (2019)

Director: Alexandre Aja .
Starring. Kaya Scodelario, Barry Pepper, a few CGI Gators. USA. 1h 27m.

I ain’t gonna lie, Crocs and Gators have always frightened the crap out of me, Sharks are pretty scary and if I were lost at sea then they would be my biggest priority but Gators have the added bonus of being shark like and able to cover some distance on land, which means it’s harder to run from one.. long story short, all those fears eventually came flooding back in this strangely heartwarming and slightly predictable creature feature.

Alexandre Aja really astounded his audience with such classics as the blood lusty hellride Haute Tension (2003) which became a cult classic new wave of Extreme French Cinema which you can find a list of here, and in my opinion a very good remake of The Hills Have Eyes (), but something must have really affected him during Piranha 3D (2010) because he eventually came back swinging with Crawl, a water soaked adventure with a lot of predictability but some cracking scares and a super sentimental bonding story between a father and daughter which set this aside from the stereotypical creature feature where lots of mindless young people are systematically picked off by predators. Continue reading Crawl (2019)

Skin (2018)

Director: Guy Nattiv.
Starring. Jamie Bell, Danielle Macdonald, USA. 2h.

Redemption is the painful process etched out in Guy Nattiv’s gortty violent drama that sees a neo nazi break away from his mythical white only family in order to be a better person with the help of someone who he would normally happily attack for no reason other than the colour of his skin. Continue reading Skin (2018)

Amer (2009)

Director: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani.
Starring: Charlotte Eugene-Guibbaud, Cassandra Foret, Marie Bos, Bianca, Maria D’Amato, Harry Cleven, Delphine Crual Belgium/France. 1h 30m.

There has been a lot of talk about this being the beginning of a new wave of Giallo, for a lover of the macabre like myself this was immensely exciting news. I have been into Giallo for a long time now, and while I find new oddities from time to time, it’s getting rarer so to experience new films from the eccentric genre, I eagerly sought out these new wave films.

I was pleasantly surprised not only does the movie has heavy Giallo imagery the story is somewhat diverse, more experimental and a feast of the senses but not entirely Giallie, but something more avant garde that i found myself submerged in. The story is all about Ana and her development from a curious youngster who blossoms into a stunning temptress with dark secrets.

The film is cleverly divided between three distinct sections, the first shows Ana as a plucky little tyke, played by Cassandra Forêt, she crept around the dark mansion, a shadowy figure, possibly her grandmother skulks around with a heavy mantilla layered with black lace, awaiting the death of her husband who’s resting in one of the many bedrooms. the chapter is presented in extremely dark primary colours, flashing light to dark and contrasted to the highest levels, eyes are key here, they are staring from every corner, constantly watching the girl.. Ana is after his pocket watch and fully aware that the shadowy figure is keeping a close eye on her, rooms are locked with heavy keys and eyes are often staring through keyholes, but she managed to get her hands on his watch by using a gold cross to break his post mortem, arthritic hands and is then attacked by the dark covered hands of her grandmother, while running away she bursts in on her parents having some pretty rough sex, and is obviously affected for life.

During the brighter second chapter Ana is now older, a teenager who is beginning to realise that she’s desired.. while accompanying her mother to the hair salon in the local village, the sun shines on them, and through the active camera and vivid sounds again the senses are alive with motion, sounds so crisp and loud that the force all of the senses into action Ana is painfully aware of her mother’s aging, she slips while walking in her heels, isn’t her hair a little greyer? Ana, now played by Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud notices people lurking in the shadows, watching her, when asked to wait outside with the other children she stumbles on a group of bikers and begins to parade herself in front of them when she’s slapped into reality by her mother and they return home, but it’s clear to see that she likes the bad boy influence.

In the final chapter, the now adult Ana has morphed into Marie Bos and is taking the arduous trip back to her now dilapidated family home, the taxi driver dons his black leather gloves and switches on a tiny fan, the seat burns her legs and she opens the window while noticing that the driver is eye banging her. While making herself at home she notices that the taxi driver has returned and another dark figure with black gloves and a razorblade. This final throw of the movie is the closest to the Giallo flavour which the film is famed for having the night scenes look as if they have fallen straight out of the heights of Gialloism. If you give the movie a chance and feel it as much as watching it, there’s a chance you’ll get a taste for it’s deep psycho sexual flavours and deep terrifying puzzles. Amer is a prolonged tease, certainly something to get fully immersed into and not to be taken lightly.

It’s strange and disturbing, a total tantalizing for all the sense, an experience more than a movie, clearly crafted in highly unique chapters by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, a pair of directors who cut no corners and went full throttle into this deep mystery. But this was only their first step into the strange unknown, they later went onto create something a step closer away from a narrative in The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears in 2013 and then Let the Corpses Tan in 2017.

To pin down the film will only do it injustice as conjure a rare fantasy world and phantoms which cannot be described but picked out from between the fabric of the movie itself.

The film is simply another wild ride of the new wave of Giallo which will hopefully start to pick up pace or at least be propped up by many more titles from this fearless duo.

Rating 8/10

RThe strange colours of your body’s tears (2013), Tulpa (2012), Let the Corpses Tan (2017)
L – New Wave of Giallo

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Spalovac Mrtvol / Cremator (1969)

Director: Juraj Herz
Starring: Rudolf Hrusinsky, Vlasta Chramostova, Jane Stehnova. Czechoslovakia. 1h 47m
Based on : The Cremator by Ladislav Fuks

A darkly comedic gothic misadventure into the psyche of a brilliant deranged lunatic. After being lost for several years, Cremator has been resurrected by the Brothers Quay, who painstakingly sourced the film and worked on its resurrection, this extraordinary intense meditation of the political horrors of 1930’s Europe are fantastically chilling in this early Czech New Wave film. Continue reading Spalovac Mrtvol / Cremator (1969)

Ghostland (2018)

Director: Pascal Laugier.
Starring: Taylor Hickson, Anastasia Philips, Kevin Power, Rob Archer, Mylene Farmer, Crystal Reed, Emilia Jones, USA. 1h 31m.

Pascals past record, in my opinion is chequered, in his early career he assisted on one of the most perfect films ever made, Le Pacte Des Loups (2001) he broke the mold and may stomachs with the New French Extreme visceral classic, Martyrs (2008) then let me down with the confusing and long winding, No Slender Man tale of the Tall Man (2012), but he’s come back swinging with a perfect blend of all the best psychological and physical horror from his past, with a sublime film that gives the creeps and will rattle a few cages along the way. His approach to this twisting tale is unique in that it plays on a strange story this is presented from different perspectives each slipping in and out of each other seamlessly but the dynamics are hauntingly beautiful and yet covered in as much nostalgic creepiness as the house it’s set in.

The two young sisters at the centre of this film, couldn’t be more different, Beth (Reed/Jones) is a sensitive horror writer, always lost in her thoughts about Lovecraft inspired texts but faints at the sight of blood, her ballsy sister is pretty awesome, hot tempered and ready for a fight but they are sisters, just so different the fiery Vera (Philips/Hickson) is a delight. Continue reading Ghostland (2018)

In the Tall Grass (2019)

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)