Tag Archives: uk

Possum (2018)

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)

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Colin (2008)

Director: Marc Price
Starring: Alastair Kirton, Dominic Burgess, Daisy Aitkens . UK . 1h 37m

 

I get all giddy over low budget movies and this one I think has to be the cheapest movie ever made for a record £45! Well done Mr Price you are a legend! Shot on a camcorder this well written horror deserves the hype that it originally receive at the Aberystwyth Abertoir Film Festival.

The film is a study of the social break down around a zombie outbreak more than just being a Zombie film, while it had lashings of shock factors in it with zombies attacking a house party and some random attacks on British streets, the main protagonist is Colin (Alastair Kirton), just an average guy trying who get’s bitten early on in the film, the magic is that the film remains focused on Colin no matter what states he’s in. Continue reading Colin (2008)

The Ipcress File (1965)

Director: Sidney J Furie
Starring: Michael Caine, Aubrey Richards, Guy Doleman, Nigel Green. UK 1h

After getting into trouble while serving in the army, Harry Palmer (Caine) has a choice, two years in prison or a few months in the secret service, reluctantly he chooses the service and remain the typical bad boy. While being totally loyal his cunning and total disregard for authority and procedure does earn him a reputation and he’s soon passed from one frustrated leader to another, his most recent doesn’t have a sense of humor, which is something Harry duly notes.

The cool swinging sixties world that is revolving around Harry is quite dangerous, especially if your a brilliant scientist of some sort, they seem to be quitting jobs and vanishing like it’s going out of fashion and Harry is forced onto the case, a replacement for a agent brutally killed while trying to protect a wonderfully British scientist. Continue reading The Ipcress File (1965)

The House on Mansfield Street (2018)

Director: Richard Mansfield
Starring: Matthew Hunt, Daniel Mansfield, Kathryn Redwood, . UK . 1h 14m

 

I’m a proud defender of found footage and was eager to see this new british indie horror, it follows Nick Greene (Hunt) who’s an amature film maker, recording his own film of his move from London to Nottingham. The Movie starts strong and has many merits but .. It’s a PG 13 and doesn’t really give the chills that I was expecting,

As he settles into his quaint miniature historic cottage, he has two weeks before he starts work, after a brief encounter with his lovely neighbour Emma (Redwood) he’s back to filming his adventures in his new hometown. Visiting some of the local attractions he’s more mystified by what’s going on back at home. Emma gifts him a small craft pouch, something that her sister makes for good luck, he’s been instructed to hang it in his home to ward of evil spirits, after hearing some scratching in the walls and ceiling, he finds a similar more pungent pouch in the loft but the noises stop… but this is only the beginning. Continue reading The House on Mansfield Street (2018)

A Field in England (2013)

Director: Ben Wheatley Writer:Amy Jump

Starring: Julian Barratt, Michael Smiley, Reece Shearsmith, Ryan Pope and Richard Glover. UK. 1h 30m

A Field In England came out at a time when I was only just discovering how amazing Ben Wheatley is,  after Sightseers (2012), Down Terrace (2009) and Kill List (2011) it was easy to see that he was quite a phenomenal director in his own write,  and I especially admired his edition of the Dark Arts in kill List which seem to appear in a lot of his titles,  and for quaint little twists that bound each kill victim together, maybe one day if he was related to another Wheatley  who had mystified his audiences with the dark hearts back in the 70s??!!

But now he’s taking  an historical turn with this unique black and white drama, Instead of speaking about the black hearts he’s going back to the original source,  a group of men wandering around the English countryside during the civil war, after walking away from a battle; an act that they could easily have been hung for,  they managed to hook up with a devout and cruel necromancer and fall under his dark spells, O’Neill (Smiley)  terrorises the rest of the men and provokes them into helping him find a stash of treasure,  while under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Continue reading A Field in England (2013)

I Zombie (1998)

Director/Writer/Producer: Andrew Parkinson.
Starring. Giles Aspen, Ellen Softley. UK. 1h 18m.

For this debut feature film writer/director/producer Andrew Parkinson has come up with a personal and cruelly dark mockumentary detailing the demise of a single man from a zombie virus.

The mockumentary opens with a woman talking about the disappearance of her ex-boyfriend Mark in past tense, the restarts with mark coming home to Sarah who’s making the finishing touches to her event, which Mark regretfully has to skip to collect samples, the couple argue and the scene ends, Mark is then seen trekking through a wooded area, the botanist is searching for moss samples (slime mould I’d imagine) when he stumble on a decaying station wagon intrigued he follows another path and eventually finds an abandoned agricultural building . He enters and explores the rooms when he finds an injured man leaned up against the wall, hearing a female scream he rushes in to help, finding a decaying woman having a seizure on a rotten mattress he tries to pick her up to get her to safety but she bites his neck, he drops her and rushes into the forest. Continue reading I Zombie (1998)

The Ritual (2017)

Director: David Bruckner
Writers: Joe Barton and Adam Nevill’s The Ritual
Starring: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, Sam Troughton. UK. 1h 34m

One of the perks with Netflix is that it gives you the opportunity to watch on the go, which I tried to do with Ritual, but after watching the opening scene I had to stop the film, get home, get comfortable and absorb this film as it instantly grabbed my attention.

It opens with a few guys, not really willing to admit they are getting older but needing to get out on an adventure,  or just the yearly lads holiday, Ibiza!? no they are getting to old, camping, that’s too boring.. so what? The discussion goes into the street and on the way home a couple stop to get some vodka, the night is young and it must be continued while picking up the booze in the offie, they become aware that the place is being robbed, Luke (Spall) hides behind a display while his best friend tries to talk the situation down, it doesn’t work they start attacking him, and he bleeds to death while staring at his cowardly friend… this is the first lesson of this movie but the location changes to the deep dark forests of Sweden and the stakes get higher. Continue reading The Ritual (2017)

Repulsion (1965)

Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser and Yvonne Furneaux. UK. 1h 45m

In Polanski’s highly thrilling black and white drama that kick started his tenant trilogy (which consists of  two other classic films  The Tenant (1976)  starring Polanski himself,  and the Cult classic Rosemary’s Baby (1968) ,  and this dark thriller, a young beautician drops deep in a claustrophobic insanity possibly spurred on by a suppressed family trauma as her feline sexuality sparks great interest from many suitors.

Repulsion is strangely enjoyable, and is a deep internal  nightmare that transpires through any age, and is easily relatable to. Adapted by Gérard Brach it is fantastically brought to life by Polanski and on a meager budget of £65,000, this debut  English film the budding director lost his footing at first, but as the dialogue vanishes he turns up the atmospherics and the results are quite dark and bold.

A beautiful timid girl Carole (Deneuve) is left alone in an apartment shared by her sister and her sisters husband, they are off to Europe for their holiday, leaving her some outstanding rent money for an angry landlord they skip town. Instantly the first cracks start to show in the relationship with her boyfriend  and soon she starts making mistakes at work. Very slowly we see the layers of Carole’s psyche peel away leaving a vulnerable kitten and murderous vixen.

It’s quite easy to write off Carole in the early throes of the films, you hardly notice the little mouse in contrast of her sisters sultry boldness overwhelms her and she spends a lot of the time hiding behind her bleached blonde 60’s bouffant hair, but as her character changes, she starts to give up the goods and her performance is tremendous, her charisma teamed with the reclusive scenes of the apartment and shocking effects persuades the

viewer to miss the realities of what’s going on. Blending themes from Dementia 13 (1963) and Persona (1966).

The ingenuity of the effects are really beautiful not only do you literally see the cracks appearing in Carole life but her fears are coming out of the walls and dark shadows of her apartment. Polanski plays the art house card now and again, there are silent shots of rotten vegetables and dirty plates that co exist with the knife wielding madwoman episodes, but

these are short and frantic, but cause as many ripples as any Hitchcock Psycho scene and emphasis her meltdown and the effects it’s having on the real world.

It’s hauntingly stark at times but a real tour de force once it gains momentum, the horrific faces of the returning couple finding their apartment in disarray reflects the faces of any avid viewer. It’s very unusual for this style of horror/ thriller to have a knife welding psychotic serial killer but with several hints at previous sexual abuse and possible incest it’s no real shocker that this girl is this fucked up.. Her next step would be Haute Tension (2003)

Rating 8/10

R: Haute Tension (2003) , Dementia 13 (1963), Persona (1966), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Tenant (1976)

L: Black and White Thrillers, Femme Fatals
5s : Roman Polanski

Post Discussion.

 

Limehouse Golem (2017)

Director: Juan Carlos Medina. Original Book : Peter Ackroyd
Starring: Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Eddie Marsan, Douglas Booth, Daniel Mays. UK. 1h 49m

Lessons can be learnt from this gloomy victorian epic, it has all of right elements but it just lacks that little je ne c’est quoi. Characters fall flat and the mystery becomes boring and repetitive. Within the elaborate stages and cliche back streets of London, before the time of Jack the Ripper there was the Limehouse Golem, a mysterious killer who slaughtered at will for his audience.

John Kildare (Nighy) is thrown at the case as the powers that be believe the killer can’t be found, so he’s the fall guy, so without any backup and being dangled in front of the media and disapproving public he is forced into action, sparing their prized detective for other simpler cases, but Kildare jumps into the case, almost becoming obsessed; using his brilliant meticulous mind and working with his close friend Officer Flood (Mays) the two are an alternative Holmes and Watson. Continue reading Limehouse Golem (2017)

Beyond Skyline (2017)

Director: Liam O’Donnell .
Starring. Frank Grillo, Bojana Novakovic, Jonny Weston, Iko Uwais, Antionio Gargas USA. 1h 45m.

Skyline seems to be cursed, the original movie had a great idea and outstanding budget but the story was so basic that it only started to get into motion in the final few moments, after watching this tepid sequel, it seems both movies could have easily made one film, with the original being trimmed down to a mere introduction. Ultimately Skyline remains one of the worst sci fi movies in recent history, and only a little it really saved with this sequel.

Things pick up from the where the last movie left off, the world is under attack from a monstrous species of aliens who have weird mecha technology partially organic and looking quite similar to the machines from the Matrix series, they use lights to brainwash people into coming to them, like the blue lights in the deli are used to attract flies.  In Skyline a hero was born in the finale moments, it seems the aliens are interested in our brains (fools!!) and while the hero was killed while trying to protect his pregnant girlfriend,  his brain is placed into one of the alien “machines” which is a Guyver like suit, he managed to regain his consciousness and started the fight against the aliens, AS one of the aliens! Luckily you’ll know who this good buy is as he glows red while all the other aliens glow blue.. just putting that out there.. Continue reading Beyond Skyline (2017)