Tuesday, 5 August 2014


"Oculus" (2013, Mike Flanagan, Blumhouse Productions, WWE Studios, Intrepid Pictures, Relativity Media) is a film about a family destroyed by a creepy antique mirror's presence.

Kaylie Russell (Karen Gillan) has returned to her childhood home with her brother Tim (Brenton Thwaites), who has spent the last 11 years in a psychiatric hospital for killing his father. Kaylie believes that Tim is not responsible for the death of her father, and is convinced that the antique mirror in her parent's study is haunted and the cause of all of their heartache. She intends to prove her brother's innocence once and for all.

We see the film in two timeframes; present day and also Kaylie and Tim's childhood through flashbacks. Slowly, the truth behind the sinister effects of the mirror are unveiled as both adults begin to see ghosts, memories and creepy things.

An old trope done with a modern slant, I thought this film was really well put together and manages to use some old horror cliches without being predictable.

Some of the hallucinations are truly inspired, and the atmosphere is truly very intense with some great camerawork.

The flashbacks also manage not to detract from the film's building dread, and the characters are well written, especially the parents, who we watch slowly come under the dreadful influence of whatever lurks within the looking glass.

It's still freaky to hear Karen Gillan with an American accent, however!

[Image: Intrepid Pictures, et al]

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The Deadly Spawn

"The Deadly Spawn" (1983, Douglas McKeown, 21st Century Film Corporation) is a fun, schlocky horror sci-fi film about an alien invasion.
An alien crashes onto earth, spawning hundreds of squirmy offspring and devastating an entire family before moving on to the rest of the town. It's up to a small group of teens (lead by a budding scientist) to stop the massacre.
With some fun scenes (including some severed arm humour), squirmy phallic-looking monsters, wonderfully awful special effects (one prop is clearly one of those drag-a-long caterpillar creatures you used to get as a kid with a 'spawn' skin draped on top of it!), tainted salad, pseudo science and a lot of goop and teeth, this film wishes it was a poor man's Aliens movie, but no matter how much it's definitely not that, it is a bloody good late night campy B-horror flick worthy of your time.
[Image: 21st Century Film Corporation]