Tag Archives: thriller

Choose (2010)

Director:Marcus Graves.
Starring. Katheryn Winnick, Kevin Pollak, Nicholas Tucci. USA. 1h 23m.

The preview and adverts for this made it look like a cross between Se7en (1995) and WAz, dark and broody, crazy serial killer, but this dabbles with the atmosphere it’s really there’s more daddy daughter bonding going on and detracts from the “fun”.

The young and wonderful Fiona Wagner (Winnick) is studying for her masters degree in Journalism and is struggling to deal with her mother’s suicide, bonding with her father Tom Wagner (Pollak) )is hard as he’s busy busting crooks but a new serial killer starts to bring them together, chuck in the expertise of her therapist and they morph into a crime hunting trio. Sadly Fiona does a lot of the leg work. The killer is deranged and places people in tricky situations, one is a layer who’s killed by his teenage daughter, she has the choice of killing him or being killed along with her family. Another case is when a pianist is forced to choose between losing his fingers or hearing. Continue reading Choose (2010)

Bundy: An American Icon (2008)

Director:Michael Feifer .
Starring.Corin Nemec, Kane Hodder, Jen Nikolaisen. USA. 1h 27m.

There will never be a serial killer movie which really gets at all the nitty gritty, ugly details of a serial killer and/or their killings. I’m pretty certain of that, but now and again something will try and trip that line and at least give us a decent movie. While I really enjoy this film and watch it regularly; i have to admit that it’s not actually a brilliant film. At times it’s a bit bland. It certainly doesn’t give me the insight I crave for but I’m in a minority here, not everyone is interested in serial killers and most people just want to know enough to say they are aware of but they don’t want to see the real face of a killer looking back at them from a TV movie. Continue reading Bundy: An American Icon (2008)

Lights Out (2016)

Director:David .F Sandberg .
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Billy Burke, Maria Bello . USA. 1h 21m.

Back in 2015 David Sandberg frightened a lot of people with his short film entitled Lights Out, despite it being only a few minutes long it really did hit a nerve with a lot of people including me. Now the story has been refined and more details lead to more scares, it’s a great attempt to make something from a short film and provides a decent horror film but it is lacking a few details. Continue reading Lights Out (2016)

Bad Lieutenant (1992)

Director: Abel Ferrara.
Starring: Harvey Keitel, Brian McElroy, Frankie Acciarito, Peggy Gormley, Victor Argo, . USA. 1h 36m.

The 90’s were the golden revival era of disturbing films, and while this isn’t your average cop film, it is a brilliant cop drama but the main character is so massively flawed that you often forget that he’s supposed to be the good guy.

Harvey Keitel plays the ultimate asshole of a cop LT, who shambles about the city, taking drugs, pulling over and intimidating young girls, he’s a mess, stealing drugs from crime scenes and on the odd occasion babysitting his kids and racking up huge gambling debts. Continue reading Bad Lieutenant (1992)

36 Quai des Orfèvres (2004)

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Director: Olivier Marchal .
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Gérard Depardieu, André Dussollier, Francis Renaud . France. 1h 51m.

I‘ve not covered a lot of French Cinema on my blog to date and I find this distressing and I’ll have to break this pattern as I watch a lot of French films, but for me some of the outstanding works of modern times are these slick and intelligent crime thrillers. For me this film is an excellent example of how to pay homage to a great director and film without pissing away the energy of a superb story and idea. Continue reading 36 Quai des Orfèvres (2004)

Arachnophobia (1990)

ARACHNOPHOBIA, Julian Sands, 1990, (c) Buena Vista

Director: Frank Marshall
Starring: Jeff Daniels, Julian Sands, Harley Jane Kozak, John Goodman .USA. 1h

It seems so odd writing a review for this so many years after watching it, but the fact that the film is still one of my favourites is a testament to it’s amazing ability to thrill and entertain, but this is coming from an old timer who’s love of horror will never die and when a new golden age of creature features was descending upon us. Continue reading Arachnophobia (1990)

Dark Summer (2015)

02Dark Summer  (Horror, Thriller,  2015) () D: Paul Solet W: Mike Le P:  C: Keir Gilchrist, Stella Maeve, Maestro Harrell, Peter Stormare. 1h 21m. USA, UK.

Synopsis : A 17-year-old is on house arrest for the summer while his mother is away on business. A horrifying incident occurs leaving an ominous presence in the house.

TAGLINE : Some crushes last forever

This American supernatural thriller starts slow and unassuming, the camera work is lazy and the pictures hazy but it details the plights of a teenage boy who is under house arrest after stalking his high school crush, after she commits suicide he becomes convinced that her ghost is haunting him. Continue reading Dark Summer (2015)

L’assassino e costretto ad uccidere ancora/The Killer Must Kill Again (1975)

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Director: Luigi Cozzi.
Starring: George Hamilton, Antoine Saint-John. Italy. 1h 28m.

This nifty little Giallo film is actually quite intriguing if not totally underpowered. A juggalo boyfriend, Giorgio(Hamilton) is about to be cut off from his stunning rich girlfriend and her fortune after she’s had enough of his player ass, so he storms out and witnesses a man dumping a woman’s body into the river…instead of calling the police he confronts the man, invites him out, get his prints on his lighter and blackmails him into killing his girl, a similar setup is manufactured in Strangers on a Train (1951), but starts spinning his own web of deceit by claiming that she has been kidnapped and asks her father to pay up a million for her, which is about the figure the two haphazard dial a crooks got in Fargo (1996), the local police aren’t ready to buy that bullshit so keep on digging,  the only minor problem is that the killer has lost the body, a couple of hipster kids managed to steal his car with the body in the trunk so the killer (who is only known as “the killer throughout the film) must chases them down and must kill and kill again until he can put things to rights… Continue reading L’assassino e costretto ad uccidere ancora/The Killer Must Kill Again (1975)

Opera (1987) AKA Terror at the Opera

aofa31days2016

Day 12 of 31

Director: Dario Argento.

Starring: Christina Marsillach, Daria Nicolodi, Urbano Barberini, Ian Charleson . Italy. 1h 47m

 

Slightly arthouse but very gothic, this epic giallo film from legend Dario Argento see a fusion of opera and slasher collide in this suspense filled macabre horror. Seemingly inspired by the tragic Macbeth, that is the exact plat which Betty, a stunning understudy is working on when she is stalked by a hooded sadistic killer whose main objective is to torture Betty by forcing her to watch him kill but how’s cunning managed to keep his anonymity. On the opening night of the Verdi Opera, a stage hand is killed and all of the ravens that were brought in for the tragic opera, but the curse of Macbeth lives on and Betty is soon on the run. As the film slowly progresses every new character is a potential killer and Betty soon realises she can trust no one, a bulk of the film is literally Betty randomly getting pounced on, then upon waking up in a bound/gagged situation and unable to look away as an innocent person is brutally slaughtered in an outlandish way.

There is a unique feel in this gothic art house giallo, it has the loud badly dubbed soundtrack like so many others but the killer toys with the victims in such a bizarre manner, being one of the few gialli that focuses more on the torture aspect than bizarre settings and a horrific murders.

Poor (not so ugly) Betty, grapples to find sanctuary from this nightmare, one of the more memorable scenes is when she’s getting fitted for a costume when she finds herself bound with tape placed on her face with needles poking up ensuring that she can’t avoid watching the tailor get brutalised,and then a impromptu autopsy is performed on her after she swallows the killers bracelet. Each attack is like a small drama stage play in itself, with the intense lighting and pounding music. The torture method was one conjured up by Argento himself when joking about people shying away from his murder scenes in the cinema, he threatened to tape pins under their eyes so they couldn’t look away and materialised the fascinating idea here.

Verdi’s opera is infamous for bringing bad luck but the aesthetics inspired Argento to be a little bit more experimental with the visuals, from the early scene filmed from the black reflection of a crow’s eye to the haunting dream sequences and flashbacks suffered by Betty. The varied and well executed effects and camera work pays off, everything about the film is about an voyeurism and being centre stage, and every element is arranged in such a way where it’s all very much centre stage and “look at me”, and Argento didn’t really need to force us to look at this marvel as his attempts to make it stunning have mesmerized fans for years.

After several grisly murders and lots of flashbacks there are two epic endings, one follows on nicely and the other hits you like a bat out of hell.. And shouldn’t be missed,

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Rating 8/10

 

 

R – Watch me when I kill, New York Ripper, Bird with Crystal Plumage
L – A-Z of Giallo, Italian Cinema, Crazy endings
A – My love affair with Giallo
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Near Dark (1987)

aofa31days2016

Day 9 of 31

Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton. Janette Goldstein, Joshua John Miller. USA. 1h 34m.

Famed for being one of the few vampire flicks never to mention vampires, Near Dark is more than just your average vampire flick, it’s a dusty road trip from hell with some ancient and amusing characters who just happen to drink blood. Strangely his romantic horror is never really all that scary but is serious enough to unleash some tough alternative ideas into the vampire genre, but between the hard luck story, the power struggles and the endless road there’s a hint of comedy albeit it dark and some iconic vamps emerge forever etched in our memories.

There is no doubt that this film comes from the south, everything about it drips gravy and biscuits. Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) is a young farmer’s son, who meets a beautiful drifter Mae (Jenny Wright) who changes his life after she bites him and he’s forced to join a nomadic group of vampires who are quite happy slaying their way across America. Continue reading Near Dark (1987)