Director: Liam Gavin.
Starring. Steve Oram. Catherine Walker. UK/Ireland/Wales. 1h 39m.
For a directorial debut things can’t get much better than this enlightened and powerful independent movie about grief, revenge and the harsh deeper side of the occult.
An obviously distraught and confused mother, Sophia (Walker) rents an isolated house in rural Wales to try and convince an angry and unhinged occultist Joseph Solomon (Oram) to lead her through months of grueling rites in order to summer her Guardian Angel to grant her a special favor after her son was abducted and murdered, all she wants is to talk with him again.
Sophia follows the rules to the letter, collecting large amounts of supplies and spending thousands just to entice Joseph to the house and after some rugged persuasion he begrudgingly agrees but has reservations about Sophia’s motives but she is persistent and pretty durable, and she grinds through the punishing exercises, changing her diet, and begin soaked with chilled water, denied sleep and spends hours learning complex sigils and rituals. All the while in the dim secluded house that’s alien to them both and is constantly creaking and being generally creepy, Joseph remains a moody occult guide and rude rule maker, reading from the Book of Abramelin, and making some things up to help him keep his mind in the game, usually involving Sophia’s naked body.. Meanwhile Sophia doesn’t see enough results for her hard work, but ever so slowly the magic starts to work, or is it all a result of the demanding time locked away in the house with a volitlie and pushy occultist? Continue reading A Dark Song (2016)
Director: Sergei Bodrov
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia WIlliams, Djimon Hounsou, Julianne Moore. USA/UK/Russia 1h 42m
Based on The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney
In principle the story is ok, I’m pretty sure the better selling novel by Joseph Delaney is worth a read if fantasy is your thing, but in this bizarre adaptation there’s no longer anything particularly outstanding. Which is totally bizarre as it has all the ingredients, great actors, many who have starred in many fantasy movies, a Russian director, and without prejudice some of the most inventive fantasy movies have come from the region, topped with a lavish story, this should have blown many pairs of socks off, but it could barely figure out how to put them on.
Opening at a weird stage in the story, we see a man locking away a screaming woman in a remote hold in a vacant landscape, is alludes to this being the outcome of an epic battle between Mother Malkin (Moore) an evil witch and Gregory (Bridges) a member of a knightly order called the Falcons who dedicate their lives defending mankind from supernatural threats. Continue reading The Seventh Son (2014)
Director: Dave Tynan.
Starring.Emmet Kirwan, Sarah Greene, Seana Kerslake, Ian Lloyd Anderson. Ireland/UK. 1h 39m.
I assumed this was going to be more about older irish problems and feelings towards the British, maybe I’m still on a high after watching Black 47 (2018), but this is more of a cross between It’s all gone Pete Tong (2004) and Trainspotting (1996) but without that certain spark or energy instead it’s way more realistic (than Trainspotting) and totally poetic both in narrative and throughout it’s dialogue. There are many drug addicts here, some have succumbed and others literally only use it to enhance their recreation.
So this movie tells a story of Jason (Kirwan), an aspiring DJ who spends those few hours between drug field trips in the streets of Dublin, he stumbles on his educated and long time addicted brother Daniel (Anderson). The two subsequently bond and clash as they batter through their differences and in a strange Irish way, catch up with each other. Jason is determined to reach his goal at DJing a very special illegal rave while trying to win his ex back, this young man really has a lot on his plate and struggles every step of the way. Continue reading The Dublin Oldschool (2018),
Director: Aislinn Clarke
Starring: Lalor Roddy, Helena Bereen, Lauren Coe, Ciaran Flynn . Ireland / UK. 1h 17m
This found footage horror is set in the swinging 60’s but it isn’t influences by mini skirts and being hip instead the women involved are quite different, Devils Doorway sees Father Thomas Riley (Roddy) and Father John Thornton (Flynn) despatched by the vatican to investigate reports of a miracle in a Catholic asylum based in the wilderness of Northern Ireland.
At this remote asylum for immoral women, the statues of the Virgin Mary have been weeping blood. The two priests open their investigation by filming each other, the younger, Father John arms himself with a 16mm camera to record their findings and often interrogates father Thomas about his life and beliefs as a priest, after some adjustments they head to the vast home and begin their investigation but are confronted by some fiercely protective nuns who see their presence as insulting and can’t wait to see the backs of them. Continue reading The Devil’s Doorway (2018)
Director: Lance Daly.
Starring. Hugo Weaving, James Frecheville, Stephen Rea, Freddie Fox, Barry Keogham, Sarah Greene. USA. 1h 40m.
This brilliantly dark poetic revenge flick from the bleakest part of Irish history is rough but so intense. Based on the Irish Language short called An Ranger by PJ Dillon and Pierce Ryan, this lengthy retelling is focused on an Irish Ranger returning home from war and finding his homeland is very different to how he left it.
Starting on another tangent, the film opens with Hanna (Weaving) losing his temper with a prisoner, a member of the Young Irelander movement, while losing his temper he strangles the man he sips from his canteen while another guard realises Hannah has killed the prisoner.
Meanwhile Martin Feeney (Frechville) a former Connaught Ranger arrives in Connemara, west Ireland in 1847, the worst part of the Great Famine, he finds family home hollowed out and filled with pigs, he learns that his mother died from starvation and his brother was hanged after stabbing a bailiff during the family’s evection. Feeney stays with his brothers widow (Greene) who are squatting in one of the few remaining houses. Soon the landlord arrives to evict the family, killing Feeney’s nephew and destroying the home. Feeney is arrested but managed to kill his captors and destroy the barracks and re returns to find his sister in law and her daughter dead from exposure. This sparks something dark inside of Feeney and he begins to seek a tortuous bloody revenge on the men who have wronged him. Continue reading Black 47 (2018)
Director: Rachel Moriarty.
Starring: Killian Scott, Peter O’Meara, Nika McGuigan, Barry Keoghan. Ireland/UK. 1h 30m.
Harry Fox is a man who has it all, an amazing apartment, a cushy job, good looks and a fancy car, but his company goes bust and after a few angry phone calls from the bank he looks set to lose it all. But just in the nick of time a close friend, Vernon comes up with a bizarre but workable solution when he masterminds an insane game called Traders. Advertised on the deep web, the game rules are laid out. You take all your money and sell off all your property bag up the cash (in a green bag) write a suicide note, meet up with the other unknown “Trader” take several bus rides and go to a secluded location, trade phones dig a grave and fight to the death, the winner buries the loser, posts the suicide note and goes home with double his money. Sounds simple so what’s the catch? Continue reading Traders (2015)
Director: Ciaran Foy .
Starring: Aneurin Barnard, James Cosmo, Jake Wilson, Wunmi Mosaku. Ireland/Scotland/UK. 1h 24m.
A deeply moving and scary psychological horror, written and directed by Ciaran Foy,who later went on to direct Sinister 2 (2015). In this dark Gaelic horror drama we’re introduced to a young couple expecting, Tommy (Barnard) and Joanne (Shiels) live in a decomposing apartment block, while returning home, the couple get separated, while Tommy is in the lift, a group of hooded teens start attacking his heavily pregnant girlfriend as he desperately tries to escape the confines of the lift, he finds her unconscious, with a syringe in her stomach, during flashbacks we see that Joanne survives and gives birth to a baby girl, but remains in a coma and eventually is taken off life support. The distraught Tommy attempts to care for his daughter while dealing with acute agoraphobia as a result of the ordeal, his only support is Marie (Mosaku). Continue reading Citadel (2012)
Director: Val Guest
Starring : Telly Savalas, Peter Fonda, Christopher Lee, O J Simpson, Maud Adams. USA. 1h 42m
Basically this is just five guys out to complete a diamond heist, but the in depth plot is a bit more tit for tat, the head of security, Harry Webb (Savalas) believes there is going to be a robbery in one of the diamond mines out in the desert and soon becomes unpopular with everyone including a cover girl model who happens to be the daughter of his boss and owner of the mine who is love with one of his team, Mike Bradley (Fonda). Nelson, the mind administrator, gives Bradley the task of stealing a diamond not only to test him but to get him involved with a group who are planning a major heist. Continue reading Killer Force AKA The Diamond Mercenaries (1976)
Director: Thaddeus O’Sullivan.
Starring:Kevin Spacey, Llinda Florentino, Helen Baxendale, Peter Mullan, Stephan Dillane, David Hayman. UK/Ireland. 1h 33m.
The first time I caught this, it was on TV as myself and my partner were getting ready to go out for the night and were incredibly delayed as we wanted to watch the end of this film but also were quite desperate for last orders. It’s as ingenious as it is inviting.
Loosely based around the life of a real Dublin gangster Martin Cahill whose story was originally brought to the big screen in 1998 by John Boreman as The General. This version of Cahill played by the soft faced Kevin Spacey is way more devious and mischievous and ever calmly smiling smiling almost at the audience, because, we know.. he ain’t such a bad guy after all. Continue reading Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000)
Director:Corin Hardy .
Starring: Joseph Mawle, Bojana Novakovic, Michael McElhatton, Michael Smiley . UK/Ireland. 1h 24m.
It’s interesting to see an Irish horror story that doesn’t revolve around leprechauns and banshees but instead picks at the pantheon of folklore monsters from deep within the Irish forests but doesn’t really dig into their tangles mythology.
Adam (Mawle) and Clare (Novakovic) receive a hostile welcome from the locals after the pair of cityfolk set up home in an isolated house on the edge of a forest that Adam is tasked to work on, causing friction with the eco bunnies but their neighbour becomes a more sinister daily threat trying to persuade Adam and the baby to keep out of the Hallow, “the forest is their home, they want the child”. So Adam takes the baby on tour of the forest and discovers a grisly neuro-active fungus that strangely connects with the child snatching kiddy folk. Continue reading The Hallow (2015)