Director: Mike P Nelson Starring: Matthew Modine, Adain Bradley, Bill Sage, Emma Dumont, Dylan McTee, Charlotte Vega .USA. 1h 30m
Wrong Turn is a franchise that, in my opinion, kinda did what it needed to do, gross out audiences in a blood soaked adventure that ends when there are no more young people to carve up. After the ultimate mutant hillbilly interaction, it took the inevitable path of destruction with numerous sequels getting cheaper as the madness carried on, but for some reason during the height of lockdown, we needed a reboot! Director Mike P Nelson decided to take his off road story further off the beaten track, and attempts to make a high functioning and credible horror from something that’s often watched purely for the body count, made the entire concept weary more than hardcore.
Director: Jeremy Lovering
Starring:Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, Allen Leech. UK, Ireland. 1h 25m
There’s nothing new about a couple going for a fun thrilled romantic break in Ireland, it’s not like the market is swamped and this is a genre movie but with crackers like From the Dark (2014), which sees a more established couple trying to revive a strained relationship while descending on a village overrun by hard to kill vampires, along with this creature feature there’s a brilliant psychological tale Travellers (2011) that involved a group of city boys running into some Irish travellers but until a few magical 360 plot spinning reveal it’s hard to know who’s the worst set of characters. So with these already out and about, for seasoned horror fans, this movie initially kicks off as more of the same, or is it? Jeremy Lovering uses these others as stepping stones and red herrings, helping to throw his audience off and In Fear manages to fool and chill constantly from beginning to end.
Directors: Karin Engman, Klas Persson Starring: Elna Karlsson, Thomas Hedengran, Ralf Beck, Nine Filimoshkina, Urban Bergsten. Sweden. 1h 27m
There’s been a modern trend of directors getting back to their ruddy roots and finding terror in the wood which is the driving force in this potent doom folk horror, as local hero’s search for a missing man of the cloth. Draug keeps a sharp edge through it’s dynamic set up of a foul mouthed beer swigging clan leader Kettil (Hedengran), his highly sensitive and possibly psychic adopted daughter Nanna (Karlsson), his main squeeze and apparently his bravest men.
It feels very “authentic” drab colours, crazy locals and lots of beer; it’s the stereotypical perception of any European pagan infused settlement, while not being historically accurate ,if gives you what you’d expect, and more, there are few whoopie moments, modern clothing being the main culprit, it will be interesting to see how many other goods a professional could pick out!?
After setting out, the rescue team start at the last place where the missionary was seen, a quite neighboring village but all they find there is beer and stories about the creepy woods, the only event is Nanna getting creped out by a demented old woman, signs start to appear that adopted daughter is quite different from the other morals around her and the movie hinges on her discovering her origins and powers.
Draug sits well between scandanivan journey epics like Wolfhound (2006) with touches of the dark mysticism of Sauna (2008), yet it really doesn’t know if it wants to be an action flick or something more supernatural. Without having the massive budget or drive, at times Draug flounders, yet manages to keep a somewhat brooding sense of danger until the final act, when all hell is supposed to break loose but this is where the lack of budget trips the production up and it ends up being an extended episode of Nightmare(1987-1994), the mood changes to some kind of ethereal neon lit world and a new entity finally makes itself known within layers of lightning struck scenery side steps all the good build up that the movie achieved until then.
There could be more character development apart from the ale quaffing kind and his daughter everyone else is just mud soaked Viking some braver than others but there’s no real emphasis on who these characters are. There’s a lot of technical and acting fails, see if you can catch modern clothes, people looking for the camera and lots of focal adjustments.
“Where’s the bloody beer”
It’s great to see the forest being used a home for monsters yet again, it’s certainly nothing new in folk horror sub genre, it happens time and time again but the strength of Draug is firstly with its approach of there being some peace between the religious and pagan people, and then in it’s bitter ending. Engman and Persson make a bold leap into the European fairytale narrative where there are no happy endings. There’s a lot to admire with the approach to feminine strength Nanna has to make some difficult choices, finding her a dark secret within her bloodline is something the film is set up to do from the beginning but the implications are so very damning. Draug is surely one that needs to be seen to encompass modern folk horror but it’s a movie which feels challenged by its own storytelling, it wants to be a dark nightmare but it’s a slightly confusing one at best.
Related: The Witch (2015), Hagasuzza (2017), Sauna (2008),The Ritual (2017), Wolfhound (2006) Lists: Folk Horror, A Witch in the Woods Trailer
Director\Writer:Brad Parker. Starring. Jesse McCartney, Devin Kelley, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Nathan Phillips, Dimitri Diatchenko. Hungary/Serbia. 1h 33m.
The first time I watched this movie I wasn’t overly impressed, silly me was sat there pffpffying at the screen cos I had seen better and scarier I was grown and I could deal with this, but then I started getting recurring nightmares and they were fucking awesome so I’m giving the film a mini thumbs up for that!
The entire film paints a pretty dim picture of the Ukraine/Serbia area, it’s monochrome greys and blue hues overpower the movie during its brightest hours, when a group of unattached youngsters manage to get smuggled into the no go area in the shadow of the Chernobyl disaster area. A young american couple are heading out for a off beaten adventure with the intention to propose just to warm the audience, while a scandinavian/Australian couple are just out for what they can find. After being stalled at the first checkpoint in the Ukraine they eventually go in through a rougher secret path that was discovered years ago by their local guide Uri. He assure them it’s safe, he has a geiger counter (so fuck your fears kids let’s ROLL!) but they are all constantly on the lookout for dangerous (glowing) wildlife and the military but they roam around the dusty ghost town in awe of the tragedy and well aware of the possible dangers. Continue reading Chernobyl Diaries (2012)→
Director: Scotty Baker Starring: Doug Jones, Marina Sirtis, Morgan Lariah, Mindy Robinson, Armin Shimerman, David Lim.USA .1h 29m.
In the opening scenes a woman’s body is retrieved from a space vessel, while recuperating, her memories of the events that led up to her rescue are watched by Marina Sirtis, who’s an agent trying to find out what happened to the crew, in order to report to a committee she is charged with viewing the memory “playback”.
In a turbulent maladjusted future there are two distinct classes, Citizens and Non-Citizens, the later class are considered bottom feeders who have very little rights and are generally only entrusted with meanal jobs, looking after livestock etc. But one woman stands out among them, Eve (Lariah) a technical officer despite her exclusion from the higher class. Continue reading 5th Passenger (2018)→
A muted drama with a dark undercurrent. A group of guys are spending time together chilling in a cabin located in the Canadian wilderness, when the dog gets lose, all three guys head out to track her down but while the roam around the the forest they soon realise that they are being stalked.
For the most part of the film Paul (Gallo) and George (Smyth) search for the dog, there is a third friend who’s with them for a short while but he returns to the cabin early on and from what I understand this character is the Director Jamie Tracey? The two guys have many a heart to heart while getting lost in the woods. With their friendship in question they pull apart and soon club together for safety, finally realising how much they mean to each other, but this bromance is in question when they notice something is tracking them, a dark figure looming vaguely in the background, “was that a bear?”. With limited ammunition and only the one rifle between them they do their best to make it back to the cabin alive.Continue reading Howls (2011)→
Director: Colin Minihan Starring: Brittany Allen, Juan Riedinger, Merwin Mondesir Canada. 1h 32m. On days when I’m laid up with the flu I usually end up watching a terrible b movie while hallucinating on extreme flu remedies, it tends to make the film more enjoyable, that time I did this I watched Chemical Peel, this year I watched It Stains the Sands Red and I really enjoyed this offbeat zombie drama. Molly, a powder sniffing pole dancer with a few daddy issues gets stranded in the desert while being hunted down by one lone unrelenting zombie. At first she enjoying keeping a few paces ahead of the foul smelling ghoul but soon she realises that the zombie doesn’t need to rest but strangely she forms a bond with it and the ordeal turns out to be therapy for the demons that have been chasing Molly all of her life.Continue reading It stains the sands red (2016)→