Monday, 16 November 2015

The Hallow

"The Hallow" aka "The Woods" (2015, Corin Hardy, Fantastic Films, Occupant Entertainment, Entertainment One) is an Irish-British film set in Ireland.

Adam (Joseph Mawle) and Claire (Bojana Novakovic) Hitchens have just moved into a remote, woodland house in Ireland with their newborn baby. Adam, a conservationist, finds a horrific mould nearby and brings a sample home. Big mistake. His family's very presence has enraged something living in the woods and now he's invited it into his home...

A film of several parts: a relationship drama about moving home, changing career and getting used to parenthood; a dark fantasy with unnatural forces; a body horror; and a home invasion. Overall the film has some really striking imagery, a fabulous, muted setting, a lot of atmosphere, pretty effective make up and effects and the jarring use of sound is also effective. However, it suffers from a slow plot which doesn't knit completely together.

Essentially, this film has a lot of really amazing components, but as a stand alone feature it's not as effective as it could be. It bodes extremely well for Hardy, however.

[Image: Fantastic Films, et al]

Monday, 9 November 2015

The House of Him

"The House of Him" (Robert Florence, 2014, Bold Yin) is a film about a masked killer who lures women to his house before killing them at his leisure.

Set in present day Glasgow, a masked man (Richard Rankin) is pursuing Anna (Louise Stewart) around his boarded up house as he attempts to kill her. As he chases her, he is troubled by the presence and judgements of his previous victims whom he has buried within his home.

"The House of Him" is a low budget film, having been made for only £1,000. The setting is very simple and the premise appears simple from the outset. It turns out to be more than a slasher, however, with an underlying comment about domestic abuse and misogyny. It can be an uncomfortable watch as our menacing, hateful, woman-hating killer talks with Anna, making his thoughts on her, and of women in general, clear.

The film has a good score provided by Iain Cook of the band Chvrches, but is otherwise very quiet. This sometimes lends itself well to creating a raw and uncomfortable atmosphere, but often makes the scenes feel long.

The climax of the film is not what I was expecting at all, and I also didn't expect a low budget film to have such a deep message about not only victimisation and blame, but about how the real monsters in this world are supposedly normal people whom we interact with everyday. Powerful stuff.

Not everyone's cup of tea, for sure. But, with a fair few legitimate Glaswegian accents. I appreciated this film's deviation from the norm.

[Image: Bold Yin]

Friday, 6 November 2015

Crimson Peak

"Crimson Peak" (2015, Guillermo del Toro, Legendary Pictures, DDY, Universal Pictures) is a gothic romance film set in the late 1800s.

Edith Cushing knows that ghosts exist She knows this because when her mother died when she was a child she came back to cryptically warn Edith to "beware of Crimson Peak".

Years later, Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is a young, aspiring author struggling to have anyone take her seriously because she is a woman and writes ghost stories instead of love stories.She meets a dashing young inventor called Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) and falls in love with him, but her father, Carter (Jim Beaver), intervenes, suspecting that Sharpe has dark, ulterior motives.

When tragedy strikes Edith's life again, she and Sir Thomas marry and she moves to England to live in his rundown stately home with he and his sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain). Edith slowly begins to notice that things are not as they appear and sees several disturbing spectres. She begins to dig into the Sharpe family history, and doesn't like what she finds...

Meanwhile, Edith's childhood friend and family physician, Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) seeks Edith out...

This film is beautiful. Its colours, setting, costumes and styling are done with class and elegance. The ghosts are all menacing and eerily beautiful as well. And the fight scenes are violent and satisfying.
The plot had a lot going on and I wasn't overly engaged in it, but on the whole the beauty of the production made up for it. This film is not scary by any means and comes across as form over function.

Visually pleasing but not ground-breaking.

[Image: Legendary Pictures]
I LOVE this poster. It feels like an old Fulci poster. Stunning!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Repo! The Genetic Opera

"Repo! The Genetic Opera" (2008, Darren Lynn Bousman, Twisted Pictures, Lionsgate) is a rock opera horror comedy about a dystopian future. It's based on a stage play of the same name.

It's the late 21st century and mass organ failures have caused the huge rise of a Megacorporation called GeneCo who provide extreme surgeries, organ transplants and addictive painkillers to the masses. Their payment plans are also extreme, with people who fall behind on their payments being hunted down by the mysterious RepoMan and having their transplanted organs repossessed... violently.

We follow the stories of the various intriguing characters as we uncover all of their interlocking backstories, each rock opera-ing their hearts out (sometimes literally...).

I liked the style of the film. The scenery, gothic setting, illustrated, comic style scene introductions and outlandish characters are all in good fun. I also appreciated the splattery surgery-gore, humorous, futuristic body modifications and just everything about Anthony Stewart Head.

I've never been particularly fond of Paris Hilton but I actually enjoyed her part in this film. In fact all the actors look like they're having a great time hamming up their parts to create this enjoyably outlandish film.

The songs are all a bit discordant and gimmicky and, like most musicals, don't lend themselves well to anything outside of the film, but are effective as narrative and are performed by the cast with a zeal that makes up for the shortfalls.

"Repo! The Genetic Opera" is a campy bit of fun which has deservedly gained cult status. It's a bit gimmicky, but is otherwise enjoyable if you're not looking to take it too seriously.

[Image: Lionsgate]