Thursday, 26 February 2015

Girl House

"Girl House" (2015, Trevor Matthews) is a slasher set in a place that can only be described as the "Playboy Mansion" meets the "Big Brother House".

We are first introduced to a heavy boy being taunted by young girls (one of whom you may recognise as little cat woman in "Gotham"). The girls unfairly tease the boy and call him 'Loverboy' over and over. They eventually push him too far and he exacts some pretty graphic revenge.

Jump to present day and Kylie is a college student in need of money. She decides to enrol as a new sexpot starlet for reality porn website which is filled with 24 hour cameras and hot babes going about everyday life... and then some. And, wouldn't you know it, she gets the job.

Kylie is given the tour and is introduced to her new housemates who, of course, range from bitchy, to lesbian, to busty, to kick ass, to nice. Kylie's given her room and her laptop and left to it. She soon proves she has the stuff "Ugly Coyote"-style by dancing in her pants for all the drooling viewers. That makes her an official girl now, so that's that out of the way.

Soon we are reintroduced to, now fully grown and still trodden-upon, Loverboy (rapper Slain); a frequenter and regular of the porn site. All the girls know his name and, because they cannot judge him on his looks because it is a one way camera set up, they think of him affectionately as a simple sweetie and nothing to be scared of. Unfortunately, being too nice to this guy can cause issues and Kylie manages to go too far. Even more unfortunate is the fact that Loverboy is pretty good with the ol' IT skills and, donning standard slasher attire, he finds the house and turns this film from a weird softporn film into a weird softporn gorefest.

I went in knowing practically nothing about this film. The opening credits are very...well, smutty, really, but I decided not to let me get put off. About half way through I was caught between actually being curious about this plot and also wondering when the horror was going to start, but believe me, there's a lot of gore payoff after the first half.

Actually this film is quite effective. Yes it's full of tropes and, yes it is pretty much a slasher in a house full of honeys in sexy undies, but actually some of the gore is quite creative and the acting is really good, if sometimes a bit cheesy. As well as the sexy ladies and our "Heffner"-like character, we also have love interest, Ben, and his nerdy college roommate, Alex; who proves to be a very good comedic foil.

The plot is not ground breaking, but it's quite fun. I'd hasten to add this is obviously not everyone's cup of tea; it is set in a porn-mansion. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find out this film was not a train wreck and was oddly a funny, naughty, blood-soaked cheese-fest.


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death

"The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death" (2015, Tom Harper, Hammer Films) is the sequel to the 2012 film based on the book by Susan Hill.

Set 40 years after the first film, it is now World War 2 and Eel Marsh House is being used to house a group of evacuee children and their two teachers, who have escaped from the Blitz ravished city of London. Unfortunately for the group, our old child-and-frankly-also-everyone-else-hating ghost friend, Jennet (Leanne Best), is still lurking in the shadows looking to wreak further revenge on anyone and everyone for the injustices done to her.

The younger teacher, Miss Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox), is particularly concerned about a young boy called Edward (Oaklee Pendergast), who's parents died in a bombing, and who has ceased speaking. It isn't long until Eve works out that Jennet has latched onto to Edward, and is exacting revenge on his bullies. A young pilot suffering war trauma, Harry (Jeremy Irvine), also takes a shine to Eve and attempts to help the group out.

Frankly, this film suffers from just being unable to live up to its awesome predecessor. The first film was so wonderfully atmospheric, sad and had quite a surprising number of jumpy bits, that it just can't compete. For one thing, we know the history behind the house already, so there is no dramatic build up. As much as ghosts generally also stick to the same style of haunting, Jennet just seems to be going along with the same schtick but without the bite; the rocking chair scenes, for example, just fail to compare to the original.

I did enjoy the inclusion of the wax cylinders, which are a sneaky nudge and wink to another version of the original film from 1989, however.

As much as there are some good scenes, the film just fails to create the same level of creep factor and the characters are not as relatable as in the original, so it's hard to care too much when things go awry. Although, this film is not scared to axe a few kids!

Frankly, there was no need for Hammer to create a sequel to what was an amazingly effective traditional horror film and by doing so they have just successfully released a humdrum, lacklustre and unnecessary follow up, which just can't compare.

[Image: Hammer Films]

Friday, 13 February 2015


"Julia" (2014, Matthew A. Brown, Farraj Factory, Kinetic Arts, Tycor International Film Company) is an artsy rape revenge film.

Julia (Ashley C. Williams) is a quiet, mousey nurse who is drugged and gang raped by some monstrous men. Sure, there's a guy who wasn't too into it, but he's still detestable for being there, and he's eventually coerced into taking part, so.... Yeah...

They leave her for dead but she manages to get home and survive. Seeking a way to cope with the horrific ordeal, Julia comes across an unusual therapist who tells her to follow his teachings to the letter and she will have her revenge. She also becomes entwined with one of the therapist's many tough female vigilantes (ex-patients, I assume), a lesbian woman called Sadie (Tahyna Tozzi). Unfortunately, Julia takes matters into her own hands, exacting terrible revenge on her tormentors without the help of her therapist, resultantly pissing him off.

This film is very stylised. It's like an alternate reality where all men are mysogynistic rapists and all women are emotionless and stabby. The plot takes a while to get going and we are shown the full story in flashbacks, which left me confused for a while until more was revealed. The colours are very strange and muted and the lighting is very red and green. Stylised is fine, but when it's aesthetics over entertainment I begin to lose interest.

I get that Julia is meant to be caught in an emotional vortex after what was done to her, but the complete lack of emotion in, not just her but all the characters, made it somewhat difficult for me to empathise with anyone and thus care too much about them.

I'm not sure what message this movie was trying to purvey. At first I thought it was going to be about female empowerment, but even when Julia becomes a badass in leather pants, cutting dicks off and gouging eyeballs here, there and everywhere, she's still not a very empowered character. So, I'm stumped as to whether there is a message to be honest.

I'm also not clear on the therapist's rules. He seems to be essentially telling her to honeypot entrap men in random bars and then kill them for finding her attractive, rather than actually to get back at the idiots who hurt her? What is his agenda? I just don't get it.

Essentially, it's a visually pretty film and has some commendable gore. The rape scenes are very, very difficult to watch (but then, what rape scene isn't?) and some of the revenge is pretty squirmy too. However, the characters are unlikable, blank and uninteresting and the long artsy pauses where we watch Julia stand on an escalator and such may be striking, but essentially lose their shine after a second and I found myself thinking about making a cup of tea whilst she finished ascending this apparently endless staircase...

I just don't get what all the fuss is about, really.

[Image: Tycor International Film company, et al]

Monday, 9 February 2015


"Creepozoids" (1987, David DeCoteau, Urban Classics) is a low budget sci-fi film about a dystopian future.

It was made the year before I was born. Stars scream queen, Linnea Quigley, and is just awful.

It's the kind of film that sounds like it should be a 'so-bad-it's-good', but it is just full bad... Never go full bad!

Boring, inane and full of bad dialogue... Unless you're a masochist, I think you'd be better off watching paint dry...

[Image: Urban Classics]

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Voices

"The Voices" (2014, Marjane Satrapi, 1984 Private Defence Contractors, Babelsberg Studio, Mandalay Vision, Vertigo Entertainment, Lions Gate Entertainment) is a Geman-American horror comedy.

This film has been getting a bad rap from some internet reviewers recently, and, in my view, undeservedly so. Although, when I last checked Rotten Tomatoes it was going good, basically cementing my view that this is a film for a certain type of horror fan. It's my opinion that the reason that so many 'real' reviewers are disliking this film is because they are not in the target audience. This is a gross out, horror comedy with some dark, dark not-so-subtle undertones that will appeal to fans of "Wasting Away", "The Evil Dead", "Fido" and the TV show "Dexter"... If you like your comedy funny and a little dumb but dark and you enjoy a bit of gore and insanity in your movies, then you should give this a try.

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is a cheerful guy working in a factory that manufactures bathtubs. He fancies a young, beautiful English lady called Fiona (Gemma Arterton) who works in accounts, is very socially awkward and believes the world to be a shiny, clean place where everyone is really nice to him.

He is also mentally ill, lives in a dirty and dilapidated closed bowling alley and believes that his pet cat (the evil Mr. Whiskers who wants Jerry to become a serial killer; voiced by Reynolds in the most awful attempt at a Scottish accent I have ever heard) and dog (The friendly yet simple Bosco, who is convinced that Jerry is a 'good boy'; also voiced by Reynolds) are talking to him.

Essentially, things start to go wrong for Jerry, who has not been taking his medication, when he is stood up on a date by Fiona... And that's when it all gets a lot darker.

Really nicely shot, this film makes an excellent use of colour to portray the perfect image of Jerry's view to the less than shiny reality. The true awfulness of what he is really doing is sharply contrasted with his sugar sweet insanity-tinged worldview, and we are made to truly feel for this character.

Reynolds portrays a character very unlike his usual roles, and brings depth to what could be a very two dimensional lead. His descent into real madness is oddly fascinating to watch and very different to that which he portrayed in "The Amityville Horror" remake.

The styling of the film manages to make the reality much more horrifying, and the surreal happenings are truly hilarious.

Whilst its quirky style and plot are likely not to keep everyone enthralled forever, I found this film really entertaining and found myself thinking about the darker undertones of it long after the shiny sing-song credits had rolled...

It also didn't help convince me that my ginger cat, Fraidy, isn't actually evil....

[Image: Mandalay Vision]

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Fear Clinic

"Fear Clinic" (2014, Robert Green Hall, Bearing Entertainment, Dry County Films, Fear Chamber Productions, Anchor Bay Entertainment) is based on a web series of the same name. I haven't seen the web series, but it didn't hinder my understanding of the premise of the film.

Dr.Andover (Robert Englund) is a psychiatric doctor who has invented a machine (which is reminiscent of an Iron Lung) which he uses to help his patients confront their greatest fears and phobias, curing them of such.

A group of people who all experienced a traumatic incident together, but who previously were unacquainted, have all been patients of Dr. Andover after the terrible events left them with crippling phobias.

They had thought themselves cured, but a year after their treatments, they all begin to be plagued once again. They independantly return to the clinic, to discover that it is all but shut down and that Dr. Andover is having serious doubts after one patient dies during the treatment and some very real manifestations begin to torture both him and his remaining patients.

So, what to say....

It's a good premise. It's got some really talented genre actors in it and it also has Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour in it (and a shedload of not-so-subtle Slipknot and Stone Sour references laced through it). The characters are fine; some interesting even. Maybe not all developed particularly...

The hallucinations are fun and a little gross with some nice, good old fashioned physical effects. And the setting is as to be expected (creepy, old, run down hospital).

So, why am I not raving its praises? Because it's just not worthy. I was confused due to disjointed scripting and thus bored. And not scared.

Robert Englund's character is haunted and withdrawn. He's meant to be that way; it's part of the story. But it just took away some of his iconic charisma.

But that's not my problem. Essentially my problem was the lack of rules. It felt like they had a concept story and a 'verse planned out and then forgot to cement the rules. By the end it was just all the characters going loopy, which didn't fit with the tense, slow build up throughout the rest of the film. And a mishmash of information given to us at the start was left unused, but not in a clever red-herringy way.

It has a lot of potential but just doesn't deliver what I was expecting. A bit of a disappointment really.

Oh, and as much as I love Robert Englund, I've never ever needed to see so much of his bare backside!

Image: as marked

Sunday, 1 February 2015

IndieGoGo Campaign: Redacted

"Redacted" will become the 4th short horror by talented Scottish writer and director, Andy Stewart. Andy and his team at Shining Example Films are the geniuses who brought us "Dysmorphia", "Split" and "Ink" - a body horror trilogy of shorts that are bound to make you regret eating lunch!

Catch my reviews of them here:
"Redacted" will move away from the body horror genre and venture into more sci-fi realms, but the story (or what we know of it so far) will not be any less visually exciting or the effects lose any of the wicked crunch we have enjoyed in his previous works (especially since Grant Mason is on board again).

So, if you support Independent film and independent horror, and if you loved Andy's previous films and would like to see him do something different, and if you love horror and want to see something worthwhile from one of the industry's promising people and if you love the gorgeous and talented Tristan Risk ("American Mary") and the disturbingly talented Laurence R. Harvey ("Human Centipede 2 and 3"), then get your ass over to IndieGoGo to support this project!

It's going to be a belter!