Tag Archives: Scotland

X the Unknown (1956)

Director: Leslie Norman, Joseph Losey
Starring: Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman. UK. 1h 21m

There are a lot of familiarity about this 50’s Hammer Horror sci fi mystery film. Being from the classic horror company there are quite a few familiar faces especially the young round face of Michael Ripper who masquerades with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in a lot of Dracula and other Hammer monster projects.

Sadly Nigel Keale refused to give permission for his beloved character Bernard Quatermass to be used in this pseudo third chapter, but the similarities are there, and this contains the relevant allegorical threads revealing Cold War anxieties. Continue reading X the Unknown (1956)

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The Legend of Barney Thompson (2015)

thelegendofbarneythompson

Director: Robert Carlyle
Writers: Richard Cowan+
Starring: Emma Thompson, Robert Carlyle, James Cosmo, Ray Winstone, UK/Scotland. 1h 36m

I was totally misled by the adverts here, mind you they were far and few between but being a Scottish movie I should have known better than to trust the pleasant view that was presented. How often have the Scots just swung from left field and planted a big fat dirty fist in the face of cinema. Train spotting got us twice, not only being an amazing phonetically Gaelic masterpiece it also blew away cinema and OST records with a unique rawness that has never been challenged on that particular scale and really rocketed the careers of Ewan McGregor and the star of this brave film, Robert Carlyle. Continue reading The Legend of Barney Thompson (2015)

Under the Skin (2013)

Under the Skin (1)

Director: Jonathan Glazer
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Krystof Hadek, Adam Pearson, UK/Scotland. 1h 48m

I had been meaning to watch this elusive movie for some time, after reading a few blinding reviews and watching very short trailers only I was besotted, this is the kind of cinema I live for so I was really saving it for a quiet time when i could actually put everything on hold and get into it and I was amazed by every second of it, what I wasn’t expecting, was the disturbing feeling that it left me with afterwards, strangely this affected me more than any other alien invasion movie (apart from War of the World’s 1953). Continue reading Under the Skin (2013)

Dog Soldiers (2002)

dog soldiers

Director: Neil Marshall .
Starring:Kevin McKidd, Sean Pertwee, Liam Cunningham . UK. 1h 45m.

Initially I thought this was the beginning of the hammer horror comeback. But sadly a bunch of nonchalant thrillers were released years later, that aside this is what the hammer horror revival should gave been goddammit!!

A group of clueless army grunts get shafted by their superiors into a bullshit situation with a most vicious and unlikely foe. The film begins three times, initially with a couple out camping who get attacked by an unknown beast in a hail of blood, then again Cooper (Kevin McKidd) whois introduced a hopeful to be gain access into a special ops group but is failed by the callus Ryan (Liam Cunningham) for not shooting an innocent dog on command, he’s assumed a wimp and then the third and thankfully final beginning, we get the group, headed by Sergeant Harry G. Wells(Sean Pertwee), Copper is now under his command and is was more comfortable with his underdog team. They are dumped into the middle of nowhere in Scotland, their aim is to track down and capture a group of special ops, but after some banter and a mysterious (and hilarious) cow death, they find themselves being hunted by “big ‘owling things” stumbling on the special ops camp that’s been obliterated, there are blood tracks and “remains” but no bodies, apart from ?? who has been nearly fatally wounded, but reluctantly they rescue him and manage to find a safe haven in a lone cottage in the woods, after being rescued by Megan (Emma Cleasby) who knows a little more than she’s willing to admit. So with two wounded soldiers, some bad feelings and limited ammo they make a stand against “the ‘owling things”. Continue reading Dog Soldiers (2002)

Let us Prey (2014)

let us prey liam cunningham

Let us Prey  (Horror,  2014) (18) D: Brian O’Malley W: David Cairns  C: Liam Cunningham, Pollyanna McIntosh, Bryan Larkin, Hanna Stanbridge, Niall Greig Fulton. 1h 28m. UK, Scotland.

Synopsis : Held in a remote police station, a mysterious stranger takes over the minds and souls of everyone inside.

 

This is another “when a stranger comes to town” style thriller, it’s likable under powered attempt as The Exorcist III (1989) styled Needful Things (1993). It has great production and a brilliant retro nouveau style in the small nocturnal confines of a remote police station. It’s a fragile thriller with a hint of mystery in the guise of “the man” (Liam Cunningham) but it’s not really scary,but serious enough on the gore to deliver a bit of suspense and the odd bloody shock, sadly it doesn’t deliver in the bravado department, there is no major showdown when this movie could have stepped things up at certain points it simply backs away.

The idea seems based on loosely on the same theme as Needful Things (1993) except this mysterious stranger offers nothing in return for showing the inhabitants of the hushed police station; their darker secrets and exposing their carnal sides. After an stirring Gothic fashioned intro, the stranger, Six (Cunningham) descends upon a sleepy unsuspecting village police station in the early hours and without delay starts terrorising the inhabitants. Including newly appointed PC Heggie (McIntosh), who’s already going through a hazing from her colleagues. Hanna Stanbridge returns in after the success of her sleazy character in the occult thriller Outcast (2010), while McIntosh looks a lot cleaner than her (almost) silent role in Woman (2011). Cunningham doesn’t have to do much, except look mysterious in the darkness and operate his silver tongue.let us prey bloodshot

After scaring the police officers and firmly locked in his cell, Six, manages to talk a neighboring inmate into killing himself in a vicious manner akin to Hannibal Lecter vs Multiple Miggs; Soon, Six begins to direct his attentions to PC Heggie and flirts with her innocence, while systematically destroying every “good” person around him, the taboo relationship between two fellow cops and misdemeanors of a young car crazy lad soon get set aside for the bigger picture of trying to stop this bizarre stranger who carries a mysterious notebook, almost as confusing at the random scribbling as Ralph Fiennes notebook in Spider (2002). With edgy flashbacks of abuse from Heggie’s past; who starts to get frantic as the movie progresses until the final eureka moment. Where she finally remembers shes supposed to the heroine of the movie.

let us prey pollyanna

There are a few gory scenes forced in throughout the film, cameo’s that tell about various back stories leading up until this nights arrival of Six. The film fails to really get off the ground, even when the action heats up it’s then subdued by slo mo, there is a slightly tense soundtrack but nothing all that memorable. There is a heavy psychological buzz to make up for the lack of viewing the full carnage, and the film doesn’t know where it wants to make it’s bed, gore or psychological? There is an interesting lighting technique used throughout the movie, slightly resembling a stage play, lots of low lights painting colours in the background. A lot seems to have been done to keep the scenes very hushed and calm.

let us prey bloody cop

Ending with a debatable finale, it’s really up to the viewer what they really want to take away from this battle of good and evil present here. Let us Prey is a fine design, but a mere rough draft of a much greater movie, but as it is, a lot is just simply absent.

AOFA06

Rating – 6/10

R: The Exorcist III (1989) , Needful Things (1993), Law Abiding Citizen (2009),Outcast (2010)

V: Overall there is a murky religious theme running through this movie, it has a few bursts of inspiration but otherwise it’s really easy to cast it off as a wannabe exorcist horror. There is a good story there.. somewhere, it feels that more was put into the production of the movie than really intensify the story line. It’s still a good attempt and makes for an OK watch.

let us prey clock

Q : “this is a one horse town”

“And now it’s a pale fucking horse”

OST: Nothing to note.
TIL : you don’t need a huge orchestrated ending to make a good film.
BS : I did quite enjoy the slow motion death dealing near the end of the film, but what captured my attention was the small clips of still life around the station, the old style clock ticking away the enchantment of the quiet calm atmosphere.
5B : Liam Cunningham
L: when a stranger comes to town, great intros part two, Selected Scottish films.
PD : Coming soon