Director: Takashi Miike Starring: Takuya Kimura, Hana Sugisaki, Sota Fukushi, Hayato Ichihara. Japan. 2h 20m
Miike’s career has turned into a long line of massive remakes of Japanese Classic cinema for some time now. I’ve been racking my brain why, but I’m still unsure what he’s trying to achieve, but it’s working out for him and I wonder what’s next? He’s making some solid and faithful remakes but I do wonder if we really need them all despite their powerful impact? This just seems to be another one, however even while watching the series after the film.. I found it’s expressionary style and character depth on a different planet entirely, and yet each are ridiculously impressive but in their own way.
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: John Boorman. Starring.Nigel Terry (RIP) , Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi, Paul Geoffrey, Nicol Williamson (RIP) , Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart. Ireland/USA/UK. 2h 20m.
Based on:15th-century Arthurian romance Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory
There aren’t too many movies that I can mention from my childhood that have such an epic reaction of admiration as this definition of epic fantasy. Albeit a guilty pleasure, I generally hang around heavy alternative scenes where this has become a fashion guide as well as cult classic pieces of cinema, but there’s a wealth of shiny aesthetics and magical storytelling which has never really been mimicked again making this truly unique stand alone opulent piece. Continue reading Excalibur (1981)→
Director: Kevin S. Tenney. Starring. James. W. Quinn. Kathleen Bailey, Linnea Quigley. USA. 1h 20m.
Sometimes films are just so freaking bad they turn out to actually be really enjoyable, this just might be one of the best of this rare category.
I believe that in the beginning there was a brilliant idea to make some kind of creepy occult based gory horror with a wise cracking team of police officers to play skeptic against an advanced paranormal team who have to team up to fight some kind of grand occultist, but that concept seemed to be hazed by whatever happened during production of this chaotic horror.. Continue reading WitchTrap (1989)→
Director: Michael J. Murphy. Starring. Judith Holding, Bruce Lawrence, Warren May, Trudi Tyrrell. UK. 1h m.
For a moment you’ll have to forgive me for being a lover of movie trash, if this is the first review you’ve read from my blog then this may come across as misleading in some way, I so adore cinema, but in all its facets, but I have a soft spot for small budget movies that have a lot of heart and effort, but while I can’t put my finger on why I can easily say that I really enjoyed watching this movie despite it’s faults, but respectfully it doesn’t get above its station.
The story is both simple but is presented in a totally complicated manner, possibly as an attempt to add intrigue, in the modern day an escaped mental patent is rescued by a country club MILF, but the backstory touches on the infamous Witch trials where a woman is accused of murder and burnt at the stake, which isn’t something too dissimilar to some of the classic Hammer Horror plots, but at times the connection is weak. Continue reading Skare (2007)→
Director:Scott Di Lalla . Starring.Demetrius Sager,Courtney Foxworthy, Kelly McLaren, Caleb Courtney USA. 1h 25m.
As part of my Occult A-Z I have been watching some of the best and worst that cinema has to offer and pretty early on I was easily set on this being the end of the list but i’m afraid that the list will end on a low note.
I‘m a huge supporter of lower budget movies but what they lack funds they do have to make up with some passion, some drive, a bit of energy!! But this is little more than entry level horror, which is a shame as the whole Zozo mythos is pretty interesting and usually harbors a few jumps and sleepless nights. Continue reading I am Zozo (2006)→
Director:Eduardo Sánchez, Kevin Foxe Starring: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams, Joshua Leonard. USA. 1h 21m
It feels strange reviewing this so long after it gave me such a wild night out at the cinema, so this review is going to be a trip down memory lane, so grab you member berries and hop on the fuck train.
I was the gothist kid in my highschool, just one step away from shooting the place up if only I had some other trench coat kids to help me out, I might have been on the news, instead being the loner I was, I had to make do with being the go to person with horror movie info, by the time the Blair Witch had hit my radar, the magic was nearly over, it had already been screened and the amazing movie website showed images of people out searching the woods for the missing students, while the message board were filled with links to stories titles “Blair Witch is an elaborate hoax” or conspiracy stories claiming that “the story is real, ignore the hoax stories they are trying to stop you from finding the out the TRUTH”
Sadly I realised that this was just a modern day wicca version of Cannibal Holocaust (1980), yep I knew about all these classics already, I was an early horror bloomer. I sent the main website link to my bestest friends on MSN and ICQ and we arranged to meet up and see the film at the Odeon. It was a late night horror screening on a weeknight and therefore the cinema was filled with kids, I rarely remember anyone checking us in the Odeon, it was like a creche. Continue reading The Blair Witch Project (1999)→
Director: Gareth Evans. Starring. Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, Mark Lewis Jones, Bill Milner, Kristine Froseth, Paul Higgins, Michael Sheen. USA. 2h 10m.
Gareth Evans’ Apostle is a troubled journey into the dark nature of man being forced upon the nature around him in the guise of a new religious cult who have hauled up on a remote island. Evan’s previous projects are considerably different in nature, mostly the Raid (2012) and Raid 2 (2014), which saw a lot of action and violence, although he did perfect sidestep into horror in the V/H/S 2 (2013) anthology when he co directed the Safe Haven segment but again his horror came with a fast pace. But in this epic horror, he manages to divide the film into something more brooding before it picks up speed and descends into a casserole of blood or torture. Much like Panos Cosmatos Mandy(2018). When you think you’ve “got” the movie, suddenly there’s a shift into something unexpected and there’s not going back. Continue reading Apostle (2018)→
Starring: Julian Sands, Paula Marshall, Chris Young, R G Armstrong . USA . 1h 38m
Warlock (1988) was an amazing film, with a host of rich histories and wonderful effects which became the dawn of a gripping new evil villain with charm and tons of sex appeal; while this film really broke the horror fantasy world apart, it’s sequel, while being a bit more soppy and sentimental, did deliver some gruesome body horror for it’s delightful bad guy, acted by the amazing Julian Sands but without a fiesty hero originally played by Richard E Grant, the film lost some of it’s edge for a more whimsical teen duo who think they can outsmart the Warlock.
The original Warlock film started in the dark ages in Britain, but the keyword for Warlock 2 is Druids and magical stones, an aspect which would make most horrors laughable but Hickox managed to rein back the wands and fairy dust for a touch of the macabre.Continue reading Warlock 2 – the Armageddon (1993)→
Director: Ari Aster Starring: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne. USA. 2h 7m
Boldly highlighted as the most frightening film of all time, Hereditary certainly does have its moments and a dark twisted ending but is it really all that horrific? It’s undeniably creepy and boils into a crescendo of violence and psychological demise, but what it doesn’t offer are hoards of false jump scares, buckets of blood or unbelievable torture porn.
It’s hard to detail the movie as it’s subtle approach and devilish details makes it something that once explained will ruin many surprises. The movie does manage to support a constant feeling of dread for the first 90 minutes it’s hard to really see which direction the film is taking, hard to know what’s real and what might be a dream and ultimately it lines up a powerful ending that won’t be predicted by the more discerning horror fan.Continue reading Hereditary (2018)→