Sunday, September 10, 2017

Antiviral (2012)

It's been a few weeks since I've posted an update here. I was away on holiday for most of August and since coming back I've not been focused on watching many films. Hoping to resolve this though and get back into a routine.
I have watched the film Antiviral though. It's a body horror film from the son of David Cronenberg, Brandon Cronenberg. He seems to be a chip off the old block. This was an engaging film, if not one I could say I enjoyed very much. I didn't empathise with the main character enough. The idea is an interesting one, stars are so elevated that even their viral conditions are harvested and rich clients pay to get their infections injected into them. You could buy the same cold as Jennifer Aniston for a price! No appeal in that for me but maybe there are some sickos out there who would go for that? I can recommend to fans of the father, not sure anyone else would enjoy this all that much.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

I watched this film whilst on a summer cruise holiday to Norway. I usually like King Kong films for a reason I am not familiar with, just something about them. I say usually because this was one I didn't enjoy all that much. Samuel L. Jackson plays a military chief who sees Kong destroying his helicopters and men and then goes all out for revenge on Kong at the expense of everyone else. An interesting premise in some ways but there is a butch hero played by Tom Hiddleston who saves everyone. I liked the fact that there was a female war photographer involved. But I didn't really understand why the Hiddleston character was involved. John Goodman also played a big role at the start of the film. I think the film had too many characters. The deaths and special effects were pretty good and better than I was expecting. But there lots of visual cliches and shots that could have been in Apocalypse Now, so a lot of the cinematography was unoriginal. It wasn't a complete turkey of a film and I did enjoy the action but it suffers from having actors who have appeared in lots of other films. With a fresh cast it might have been more interesting.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hatchet II (2010)

My expectations were low for this American slasher, I've got to be honest. The low expectations were justified. I don't find slasher films very scary in general and when you put together the elements of a crazed psychotic, deformed killer with the rest of the characters who behave like idiots the there is just very little sympathy to be had for any of the victims. The setting is as clichéd as they come, a swamp with mist floating by and an old wooden house at night in the swamp. Oh my, this sounds like a recipe for disaster and it is largely a disaster. Nothing much to redeem this film, not even Danielle Harris does but she plays her part well and I liked the way she acted the ending. She reappears in hatchet III, if you're interested.

V/H/S (2012)

This film was shot as a series of short films using camcorder found footage style episodes.I like the style if it is done correctly. A criminal gang are in their gang house after filming an assault of a woman in a car park. One of the gang members explains there is a better way to make more money, they just need to break into a house and retrieve a videotape for an old man. They decide to take this offer up, not really believing it. They break into the house and split up to look for the tape. They find a dead body in an armchair infront of multiple TVs and videos. One guy stays in the room and the others search the rest of the house. While in the room, the guy presses play on a tape. The audience then see the first film in the sequence. The other films work like this as well, with different guys coming in to watch, lastly there are two guys left in the basement. The short films are clever and have good twists as their endings. I liked them all. Not a bad film overall, if you like this style of portmanteau film. I'd not seen a film like this since the 1970s and this gives it a modern twist.

Under the bed (2012)

This was an interesting little film. It's the story of a family who have lost their mother and the two boys have been split up for a year, one living with an aunt while the father put his life back together and has remarried. The mother died but it was not revealed how as far as I remember and it is implied by the boys friends that the boy who went to live with his aunt was responsible, due to a mental health issue. The father seems very angry and may even believe this himself. The boys know the truth, that there is a monster under the bed. They keep this to themselves and the father thinks it is nonsense. It is a frustrating film in the sense that the adults don't want to encourage the boys, even though very strange things are happening. At one point I thought the new step mom may take their side after she has an experience in the garage but no, that doesn't happen either. It's quite clever in some respects because even though we see the monster under the bed come out and attack them, you are left thinking is it all in the older boy's mind or not? Not a bad film really, worthy of a watch I think.

Phantasm (1979)

I was very much looking forward to watching this film. It was a film that has intrigued me for most of my life, mainly because the opportunity to see it has never cropped up until recently. Well now that I've seen it I can put my intrigue to rest. In my mind I had elevated it to the status of a film like The Exorcist or The Omen. It isn't as dark or as scary as either of those films and is more like a traditional US Friday night scare film. It is not so psychological in its horror. There are a lot of unanswered questions that the film presents but these are in no way an indicator that the film's a really high quality one. Infact, the unanswered questions just reveal the shallowness of the films attempt to shock the audience. The iconic silver ball is the best example of this but there are also the little hooded dwarves as well and the horny graveyard temptress and murderer. All in all, after waiting so long to see the film it was a big disappointment. But still not a big turkey by any means, just that my imagination had built it up into something it is not. Some may call it a classic but for me, this isn't a film I'd have in my top horror collection.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Oldboy (2003)

This is the South Korean original version of this film.  I admit that I was expecting a horror film and this it isn't. The main character has been imprisoned for 15 years in a room that looks to all intents and purposes like a hotel room. He is served food through a hatch but is never told who his captor is or why he has been imprisoned. His wife and daughter believe he is dead. the film tells the story of his release and his search to find his captor. It is brilliantly done but I found it took a long time in getting there. It has some memorable scenes (like the scene in a hallway with the hammer) but I found the film a bit overlong.

Excision (2012)

Another film I hadn't heard of and one I wasn't sure what to expect. The star of the film is a geek/freak teenage girl character played magnificently by AnnaLynne McCord. The main character is Pauline who is obsessed with blood and is delusional about a career in surgery. Her strange behaviour gets increasingly odd during the film but the astonishing thing is that none of the adults around her seem to care very much about her mental decline. There is plenty of blood splatter. There is a strange little sex scene where Pauline and the boyfriend of another girl goes down on her in a hotel room, which ends with his disgust because she arranged it all to coincide with her period. The end of the film is shocking, which is a good thing in this case. I thought this film was interesting, arresting and cleverly made. The acting was excellent, Pauline was played very well and the mother was also played brilliantly by Traci Lords, who I since found out has had a very colourful career. I must mention the make-up crew who did a wonderful job turning a beautiful girl into a spotty, greasy teenager. Easily able to recommend this to horror fans who appreciate a bit of black humour.

Hitman: Agent 47 (2015)

This is one of those films that is based on a videogame character, I enjoyed the videogames by the way. The "Agent 47" of the title is an assassin (played adequately by Rupert Friend), the audience knows very little about him at the start. I enjoyed the film just on a level of it being visually attractive with lots of action sequences. I didn't enjoy the story very much. I thought the father/human geneticist:daughter- relationship played by Ciarán Hinds and Hannah Ware (father character had a terrible fake accent) was, frankly, a ridiculous thing to base the film around. Again, this film is ultimately just another example of a videogame franchise not converting well in to the film medium.One of the co-writers, Skip Woods, was involved in the 2007 film Hitman starring Timothy Olyvant and should have known better. I can only recommend this if you like mindless action films or a massive fan of the game character. Nobody else would be bothered.

The Mist (2007)

This film was based on Stephen King's novella of the same name. I hadn't heard of the film and so wasn't expecting much quality from it. It starts in a pretty mundane way with two neighbours assessing damage after a storm. But then the action moves to the town where they are buying some supplies from a supermarket when the mist reaches them and presses against the glass. The tension is built up well, without seeing any monsters in the mist. However that changes and we start to see different sorts of monsters in the mist. The way that the monsters are introduced is very clever. I really enjoyed watching this film and found it compulsive right to the end, which surprised me. A cleverly made film with a great cast and a great script. Easily able to recommend this to any horror or Stephen King fans out there. There is a mini series of the same name coming out this year, wonder whether that will be liked?

Skinwalkers (2006)

I was grateful that this film wasn't too long and had good pacing. It is a film about two groups of werewolves, one group live in restraints during the full moons and the other hunt and feed on humans, as traditional for werewolves. Apparently there is a prophecy that the werewolf curse can be ended by the time a special child becomes 13. We learn during the film that he is the child of the leader of the werewolf pack and a human mother, both were unaware of the curse having been shielded from it by their family.
It's all a bit silly as a plot. There are some interesting moments though, good gun fights and it doesn't try to be something it isn't. All of the action scenes seem appropriate to the story. I like the fact that the seemingly middle class grandmother took up a gun without hesitation and started firing like a criminal.
Nothing much of interest here really, no new ideas but it's competently put together and the acting is decent with some beautiful actresses. The title doesn't really relate to the film in my opinion, isn't it a word for a native American belief that there are people who kill wearing the dead skins of animals? Maybe I haven't got that right??

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

I watched this film via the Virgin Beam app on my phone. I have to say that I enjoyed it immensely, it was a big surprise to me. I passed over it several times wondering what to watch with a bunch of other films and eventually picked it out as the best of a bad bunch, not really expecting to like it much. Ralph Fiennes plays a hotel concierge who is framed for murder by the family of the hotel's dead owner but was set to inherit a very valuable painting called Boy With Apple. The Grand Hotel Budapest appears to be one of several similar hotels in cities all over the world who have a code of behaviour that seems too polite and gentle for the way hotels are today. The plot has many twists and they are all very funny. It's a great film to watch with your feet up and gives you a warm feeling.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

The Human Centipede (2009)

I have seen these films out of sequence. That's okay though because they can be watched as standalone films or put together (there are 3 films in the sequence I believe). This film revolves around a retired German surgeon famous for separating conjoined twins whilst working. Now in retirement, he seems to have gone mad and after a failed experiment to create a "3 Dog" out of his 3 Dachsunds, his ambition is to create a human centipede. But where are the people who would agree to this? Nowhere because who in their right mind would agree to have their mouth sown to another person's anus? This film is completely bonkers but is entertaining in a sick way. I don't know if I've watched a cut version or not, probably as it was a TV broadcast. The doctor playing the German plays it very well and infact all the actors portray their characters believably. This is a decent film in my opinion and one that should be watched but probably not by all. The idea if it is quite offensive.

House on Haunted Hill (1999)

There are some film remakes that are unrelentingly stupid and others that are quite cool. This one falls firmly into the former category and as far as I can tell is a complete waste of time. The best thing about this is the cast and only that because there are some beautiful women in it. I could easily have turned off after the first fifteen minutes and not been concerned at all what happened to any of the characters. I'd say avoid this film unless you are ill and it is raining outside.
As far as I remember the original film had Vincent Price in it and was very watchable. For this film, I firmly recommend going back to the original.

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

I really enjoyed this film. I especially liked that it had a great female lead character. You don't know who to trust. A female (played excellently by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is driving away from her husband and has an accident. She wakes up with a drip in her arm and is handcuffed to a bed. She is in a room with no windows and a locked door. Instantly you fear the worst, she has been kidnapped and is going to be tortured or abused by her captors. However, it turns out she has been rescued and is being looked after by her captor, played brilliantly by John Goodman. OR IS SHE?? Great film, easily recommendable.

They Live (1988)

This was a John Carpenter film that I hadn't seen before. A drifter arrives in a new city for him and he finds some work on a building site. A black guy who sees he is homeless takes him back to the shanty town where he also lives. The drifter is intrigued by suspicious activity at a church over the road. He decides to investigate and finds that there is no congregation and the choir singing just comes from a stereo PA system. All is not as it seems in this world, as he discovers when he comes across a box of sunglasses in a dumpster.
The sunglasses reveal another world within our own, a hidden world of alien invaders who live amongst us and plant subliminal messages behind every billboard, on magazines and on TV. He sees these messages starkly in black and white for the first time when he puts on the glasses. He also sees who the aliens are and immediately wants to kill them.
It's an interesting film and includes a great fight sequence between the 2 main characters. Well worth a watch if you like conspiracy theories and stories like The Matrix which challenge what you think you know about the world.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

The Dyatlov Pass Incident (2013)

So this film is apparently based on a real life story of nine Russian hikers who mysteriously all died in the Russian Ural Mountains in the 1950s. Something forced them out of their tents in the early hours and they froze to death. I was intrigued by the title of the film, the true story was something new to me completely.
This film follows a group of US students who are out to make a film exploring the incident. It's an interesting story and is told through TV reports and found footage.
The acting is generally good and believable. It's a solid film and builds up to the climax well. I like the twist at the end of the story. The idea in the film is scary rather than the film itself. I did enjoy it, having said that.

Inhuman Resources (2012)

There is a serial killer on the loose killing CEOs of companies. The film starts by following a young girl called Annabelle who is trying to get a job and who is making money by being a cam girl in the meantime. She is late for a job interview and is waiting by the lift when the door opens and she screams because the CEO of the company has been decapitated and the killer is standing there holding the axe with blood all over his face.
We have to skip forward to the present and Annabelle wakes up chained to a desk with several other people. They learn that they were all involved in the conviction of the serial killer, the man in the lift. The convicted man is their new boss and he makes them transcribe legal documents while torturing and killing them one at a time. He scratches their forehead when they make him angry and when they reach five scratches he kills them.
It's an alarmingly violent film and some scenes are much more graphic than I was expecting, a scene where someone's eyes are dug out is particularly unpleasant. It's a reasonable horror and an interesting twist at the end that I won't spoil.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Amer (2009)

Close ups of eyes. More often than not the eyes look angry. Sometimes I can't tell what expression is supposed to be shown, the crop is just of the eyes. Salt under a bed? An aged, dead old man on a bed. A pocketwatch or a locket, something that seems to let breath escape when it is opened. A frightened child in a room with a latch. The next set of sequences show the young girl as a teenager. The final set of sequences move from teenager to young woman. This film is colourful. Don't expect a plot, this is just visual poetry. I can't describe a story even after seeing it. I can only recommend it for the visuals. I didn't find it scary.