Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Horns

"Horns" (2014, Red Granite Pictures, Mandalay Pictures, Dimension Films, Alexandre Aja)

Based on the novel by Joe Hill, this film explores several themes of humanity; murder, betrayal, mystery, misery, goodness, badness, darkness, loss and jealousy. And it does it all with a guy with horns growing out of his head. Awesome!

Ig Perrish (Daniel Radcliffe) is accused of the brutal rape and murder of his girlfriend, Merrin (Juno Temple). He's now being ruthlessly hounded by the press, outcast by his fellow townsmen and regarded with suspicion by his friends and relatives.

One day, Ig awakes to discover two growths protruding from his forehead. In shock he goes to the doctor's surgery where two things become apparent: 1 - although very noticeable, people do not seem to be running away from his horned visage and 2 - people are now sharing with him their darkest thoughts and desires.

We follow as Ig, initially horrified by his fellow man's appalling admissions, learns some harsh truths and eventually begins to think that maybe he can embrace his dark power to clear his name. But throughout, we're also asking ourselves, if Ig is showing demonic signs can he be truly innocent?

A really engaging film with some strong messages and a lot of really nice visuals. Radcliffe once again shows us his true home is with horror, portraying a strong male character in an unfortunate situation. He also has quite an impressive American accent.

I definitely recommend seeing this film, it is a nice break away from the jumpy, mindless crowd-pleasers filling up the screens, and still manages to deliver that chilling feeling we're all craving.

Plus, another film with a pretty red head female main character in it. I'm noticing a good trend starting!


[Image: Red Granite Pictures, et al]
Hani

Monday, 27 October 2014

See No Evil 2

"See No Evil 2" (2014, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska, WWE Studios, Lionsgate Home Entertainment) is the sequel to, you've guessed it, "See No Evil".

Some pretty young people are working the graveyard ship at the morgue. Amy (Danielle Harris) is about to leave to attend her birthday celebrations in a local bar, when the morgue is informed that they are to receive delivery of a special case: the body of Jacob Goodnight (Kane) and his numerous victims. This is all just too exciting for Amy to miss so instead her friends decide to swing by the morgue to party instead.... Of course!

Amy's pal Tamara (Katherine Isabelle), who has an interestingly sexual interest in death, goes with her boyfriend to look at the murderer's body. It isn't long until she learns that the body is still more than just that, though! And then the fun begins.

A good old slasher with the trademark gore, witty banter and interesting sexy scenes that we've come to know and love as synonymous with the works of the talented Soska sisters. They create a fun chase and slash through the morgue without becoming too samey. The scenes have interesting, if disposable, characters and the action is gory and quick.

Kane maintains his signature menace as the slow, silent slasher killer, hulking over his victims.

Katherine Isabelle nails it as our morbid, comedic lady. Her timing is great and there's a few fun running scenes that managed to artfully combine Scooby Doo and Friday the 13th in equal measures.

While it's nothing ground-breaking, it's a good entry to the slasher genre and is definitely worthy of your Halloween watch list.


[Image: WWE Studios]
 
Hani

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Annabelle

"Annabelle" (2014, John R. Leonetti, New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster, The Safran Company, Warner Bros. Pictures) is the follow up to "The Conjuring", this time focussing solely on Annabelle, the possessed doll.

We open the same way as we do on the film's predecessor, with the young nursing students explaining to Ed and Lorraine Warren about their dealings with the creepy doll.

But, the story isn't focussing on their incident, Annabelle's previous targets were John and Mia Form. A young professional couple, expecting their first child. John (Ward Horton) presents his wife, Mia (Annabelle Wallis), with the doll; a rare specimen for her rather large and daunting collection of creepy-ass dolls. Man, was her kid going to be traumatised!

It isn't long before creepy stuff begins. Firstly, the house is broken into by two freaky people, and they attack Mia. It transpires that the assailants are Annabelle (the girl next door) and her boyfriend, who were members of a Satanic Cult. Believing the doll, which featured in the attack, to be tainted, they throw her away. But, like Chucky, she doesn't like that and comes back...

The Forms move house to an apartment block to escape the events, but they just can't get away from the doll which finds them there. The doll inherits the moniker Annabelle after the murderous young girl (what a nice momento) and Mia, feeling safe in her new surroundings, decides to keep her....

It isn't long before the doll begins to manifest creepy happenings and other inanimate objects start being poltergeisty.

They seek help from the church and from a nice lady called Evelyn (Alfre Woodard). But the doll is after something more sinister than just scaring a few people...

With some nice jumpy bits and a good bill of characters that you can build a rapport with, this is actually a pretty good scary doll flick!

It doens't go all Chucky on us either, Annabelle is not a scuttling little maniac with a knife, she is the hiding place of something sinister.

I really haven't got anything bad to say about this film. It takes a lot of inspiration from classics, and it may not be a groundbreaking piece of horror cinema, but it does the job and it does it with class.

Just remember, spooky dollies aren't everyone's cup of tea.

[Image: New Line Cinema, et al]
Hani

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Incredible Melting Man

"The Incredible Melting Man" (1977, William Sachs, American International Pictures, Columbia Pictures) is a Sci-Fi horror.

Steve West (Alex Rebar) is one of three astronauts who are accidentally subjected to a lot of radiation whilst in space. He returns as the only survivor, seriously unrecognisably wounded as he may be. I mean, even his moustache didn't survive!

Steve awakes to discover his melted visage and body and immediately goes on an amusing rampage, murdering and mutilating anyone in his way using his new found super-decomposing-radioactive powers.

In hot pursuit are Steve's pals, Dr. Ted Nelson (Burr DeBanning), Dr Loring (Lisle Wilson) and Sheriff Blake (Michael Alldredge). Can they stop this melting madman from wreaking havoc?!

With a touch of parody feel to it, this cheesy 70s homage to the earlier goopy alien movies of the 50s really pleased that so-bad-it's-good fan in me.

Reused scenes where budget restricted effects (really fun gory effects from the talented Rick Baker known for "Schlock", "It's Alive", "An American Werewolf In London", "Thriller"...to name a few) pattern through the film. Obviously so.

Cheesy dialogue and random happenings mark this as a definitive so-bad film. But those effects really bring it up a notch!

Definitely not for the casual horror viewer, this film is unlikely to keep you awake at night, but it is a fun little 70s cheese-fest.

[Image: Columbia Pictures]

Hani

Friday, 3 October 2014

Don't Blink

"Don't Blink" (2014, Travis Oates, EchoWolf Productions, Engine Film Group) is a suspense horror about a group of young people (not that young) who drive up to the countryside to an idyllic cabin resort for the weekend. Only, there's no one to check them in, no other guests, no wildlife and no signs of a struggle.

A movie which is a victim of itself. It has the promise of a creep factor and a good base concept. Unfortunately, the base concept never develops into anything more than an idea jotted on a scrap of paper during a meeting, and the character development is just not good enough to make me care about the characters' situation.

They are all pretty much asses. We learn early on that they're also irresponsible (who goes up the mountains without stopping for fuel?!). In fact, the best bit of character development is a rather chilling and brutal descent into madness. That is by far the best and most impressive scene of the film.

But the slow pace, lack of any action for a good while and the fact that nothing is explained at all. No tidbits. No revelations by our characters. Nothing. Doesn't build mystique for me, it just left me feeling bored and empty like I'd just wasted 2 hours of my life.

Now, it's not awful. It's beautifully shot, with a nice location. Mena Suvari is in it. And there are some hints at darkness that whetted my appetite for that complete lack of pay off.

There are messages scrawled in blood that our characters fail to notice. There are some good gore scenes and there are even a few truly humorous moments.

Unfortunately, this does not override the complete lack of anything at the end of this film and the unsatisfying feeling it left me with. Nope. It wasn't a chilling, ground breaking plot it smacked of lazy writing.

It's a shame, too. Doctor Who had built up so much promise around the phrase "Don't Blink".


[Image: EchoWolf Productions]
 
Hani