Director: Nicolas Pesce Writer: Ryû Murakami
Starring: Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Laia Costa. USA/Japan. 1h 21m
Piercing, a movie about a man who plans to kill a prostitute in his hotel room, was an instant for my to watch list, but after seeing it get run into the dirt by many reviewers I did start to question myself. A tiny bit of research renewed my passion when I realised that this thriller is based on a book by Ryû Murakami, yep, the twisted individual that wrote the novel Audition who’s film adaption comes highly rated with it’s dark surreal undertones and horrific gore scenes. Top this off with the director of The Eyes of my Mother (2016) I can’t see how this could really be so bad..
A young father, Reed (Abbott) struggles to restrain himself from stabbing his baby daughter with a skewer, the pressure forces him to find a way to get this deadly desire out of his system. He hatches an incredibly details plan to hire a hotel room, rent a hooker and play out his stabbing fantasy, once she’s dead he hopes to return to his happy normal life.Unfortunately the unhinged hooker he encounters, Jackie (Wasikowska) has her own demons to exorcise and the two of them play an destructive game of cat and mouse. Continue reading Piercing (2018)
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Based on: Hold the Dark by William Giraldi
Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Alexander Skarsgård, James Badge Dale, Riley Keough, Malcolm Blair, Tantoo Cardinal, Julian Black Antelope. USA. 2h 5m
With just two major titles under his belt, Saulnier’s next project, was so highly anticipated it derailed the hype train, but the resulting ambitious drama was so different from the taut thrillers, Blue Ruin (2013) and Green Room (2015) that no one could really appreciate it in the same way and it generally got panned by the fans.
This misfire isn’t a total disaster, no one can find fault with the beautiful crafting that went into the film, Saulnier is so masterful that even if you didn’t get the movie you can easily enjoy watching it, but for me it’s just a perfect shot for a different audience. I found it just as gritty and nearly as bloody as the others, but the pushing and pulling between two fundamental ideas within the movie that would either make it a thriller or fantasy doesn’t ever come to a neat conclusion, leaving a gaping open ending which is going to piss off a lot of people but for me it’s a highly alluring project which is perfect as it is. Continue reading Hold the Dark (2018)
Director: David Michod.
Starring: Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Guy Pearce, Sullivan Stapleton, James Frecheville, Luke Ford, Laura Wheelwright. Australia. 1h 53m
There is something extraordinarily authentic about Animal Kingdom, this sinister tale of a twisted criminal family is something can nervously be regarded as far fetched, but after an ounce of research into the criminal underworld of the Land Down Under, after watching this movie there’s a lingering fear that “based on a true story” might appear in the closing credits.
With characters like the notorious Chopper (2000) and the gut churning Snowtown (2011) just two pieces of projects based on real events and people, this just feels like the next step in a progression of a young country with a criminal culture that’s making up for lost time. Continue reading Animal Kingdom
Director: Michael Pearce
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn,Geraldine James .UK. 1h 46m
Director Michael Pearce has constructed a commanding movie with a complex layered story, this deeply psychological drama/thriller is a smouldering beauty with lots of eerie undertones.The films flaming lead Jessie Buckley gives an excellent lead performance who’s beauty gives the film a touch of piercing clarity, as Pearce builds mystery with intense fascination, often revealing big scenes with fine balance as he grips the viewers attention with climatic stages.
Set in Jersey while a serial killer has murdered several young girls, the village tries to solder o while there’s a giant elephant in the room. In among the normies is Moll (Buckley) a 27 year old who’s a deeply unhappy woman and put upon daughter by an extremely domineering mother (James) she lives out her days under the total control of her mother and carrying out a soulless job as a tour guide. There is a reason for the watchful eye of Moll, she has a dark secret that manifested in her past school girl days, and in turn she’s still basically treated as a child while her siblings are on their own pedestals. Her sister manages to upstage her at her own birthday party while announcing her pregnancy, Moll, having enough of the family antics storms out abandoning her family and Cliff, a stuffy young police officer who wanted to make Moll his new girlfriend. Into the night she runs and joins another party, meeting the mysterious and alluring Pascal (Flynn). Continue reading Beast (2017)
Director: Tom Shankland
Starring: Stellan Skarsgard, Melissa George, Selma Blair, Tom Hardy. USA. 1h
With the rise in popularity of the Saw Franchise, there were bound to be some copy cats, but this one stood out from the rest, not only did it have an impossible name but it’s based on a real equation, one that is found carved into the bodies of the victims. The serial killer at work here is obsessed with mathematical equations and revenge.
The two cops on the killers tail are the craggy Eddie Argo (Skarsgard) and his new rookie partner Helen Westcott (George) who’s quite fragile and not really up to the job but is determined to make it work.
The two are pretty clueless as to what they are up against at first but they soon start to unravel the equation (wΔz = Cov (w,z) = βwzVz) with some help from a drug addicted Denis Penis, who helps explain that it translates to “kill your loved one or be killed”, and ever so slowly they also piece together the dark secret that sparked the killings via confident of Eddie, a young informer that he pays special attention to. Continue reading WΔZ / Double u delta zee / The Killing Game (2007)
Director: Philip Gelatt.
Starring. William Jackson Harper, Rebecca Henderson USA. 1h 42m.
Based on: They Remain by Laird Barron.
Exploration is the focus of this psychological sci fi thriller, but the execution is as conflicting as the main characters grasp on reality and eventually the slow burning just fizzles out after several meandering mistakes which were supposed to build tension. They Remain explores a relationship of two scientists , Keith (Harper) and Jessica (Henderson) who are employed to investigate an area which was once a camp for a mysterious cult. It’s not very clear what they are doing for a long stretch of the movie, the two seem to have bizarre conversations while looking at camera feeds and “researching”, apparently sent by a mysterious corporation identifies by it’s geometric corporate logo and no more.
Continue reading They Remain (2017)
Director: Matthew Holness
Starring: Sean Harris, Alun Armstrong .UK. 1h 25m
There’s a place that some dark artist like to go, it often involves gloomy and eerie aspects from a fuzzy past that are easily recognised but often pushed back to those obscure corners of our minds, like a suppressed memory Possum manages from slither its way out of the dank interior of an old English home, and hides itself in the brown bag carried by a disgraced children’s puppeteer as he embarks on a journey to confront his stepfather and his own inner demons.
The film opens with Philip (Harris) wandering aimlessly around a remote area of Norfolk with his bag clutched tightly to him, after some atmospheric art house scenes backed by a heavy Radiophonic Workshop soundtrack. He spys a few teenage boys on a train he tries to talk with one but he runs away from the creepy man, Philip returns to his home, a dank rundown home with a disheveled garden, here he opens his bag and chucks the contents into a metal barrel with the promise to destroy the leggy creature, eventually we are made aware of Maurice (Armstrong), a sly and controlling character who seems to want to encourage Philip to keep his puppet, while constantly keeps asking if he’s going to burn it, which Philip agrees to but then never does. Little by little Maurice exerts control over Philip and suggests different places for him to visit, while the puppet is slowly revealed and each time the effects on Philip get more disastrous. As a news story about a missing school boy flourish in the news, questions are raised over Philips possible involvement. Continue reading Possum (2018)
Director: Federico Zampaglione
Starring: Claudia Gerini, Nuot Arquint, Michele Placido, Ennio Tozzi, Ivan Franek, Michela Cescon, Federica Vincente. Italy. 1h 24m
As dedicated nod to the 70’s Giallo movement Tulpa sees a successful business women, Lisa Boeri (Gerini) get pulled into a grotty underworld while living a vivid double life.
Opening with a gore filled sado masochistic murder. A man enters a deadly game as a dominant but soon becomes the victim of a leather gloved maniac with a wild moral compass, out of the thick bloodied and drawn out scene the story of Lisa, a ball busting, successful business woman, well respected and admired but she keeps her nocturnal activities a painstakingly repressed, after hours she’s an eager member of a esoteric underground club, named Tulpa, owned by a strange tibetain character, a true embodiment of the hierophant played by the otherworldly Nuot Arquint . Unfortunately for Lisa, her two world’s are set to collide when her sexual partners from the club are savagely slaughtered. Continue reading Perdizioni mortali / Tulpa (2012)
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Starring: Kim Hye-ja, Won Bin, Jin GooSouth Korea. 2h 8m
This very daring South Korean movie is both alarming and fascinating, with what seems like an extremely simple premise, a young man; with marginal intelligence is accused of murdering a local girl. it’s an open and shut case, as an item with his name is found near the body and an eye witness places him at the scene of the crime. But his ever doting mother turns into a dynamic Miss Marple and tries to unravel the case and prove her some innocence. So here we have it he’s either innocent or guilty, sure either prove his Innocence or find evidence to prove his guilt, it can’t be any simpler than that?
If this film was made for the American audience, this would indeed be the narrative, and any deviation would result in an uproar, the audiences would be frenzied, but this is a South Korean movie and a film by Bong Joon-ho the creative genius behind Host (2006) and unusual creature feature about a toxic waste squid like beast that managed to terrorize a small community; dragging one young victim away causing her family members to tackle it for her return as the authorities would not help or listen to them. In a similar stance, Mother shows that blood ties are strong and the state cannot be trusted to get the job done. Continue reading Hangul / Mother (2009)
Director: Lin Oeding
Starring: Jason Momoa,Stephen Lang, Zahn McClarnon,Jill Wagner, Brendan Fletcher, Sasha Rossof, Garret Dillahunt. USA/Canada. 1h 39m
After the massive successes of his many roles as a hero, marvel super or otherwise, it’s not strange to see Jason Momoa being brave in a range of other roles, his name will attract an audience no matter what he does now and despite being typecast this movie had the right name but it’s a bit of a dumb flop of a film but we get to see Momoa running around in the snow chucking axe’s at people, so it’s not a total loss. Continue reading Braven (2018)