Thursday, 31 March 2016

The 5th Wave

"The 5th Wave" (2016, J. Blakeson, GK Films, Material Pictures, Columbia Pictures) is an alien invasion movie.

Cassie (Chloƫ Grace Moretz) is an everyday teen girl growing up in America with a loving mother, father and little brother, Sammy (Zackary Arthur) but her life is turned upside down, along with everyone else's, when aliens known only as "The Others" invade Earth. Separated in the chaos, Cassie teams up with a stranger called Evan (Alex Roe) to try to reunite with her baby brother and save her crush from the alien invaders.

There's a lot more to it than that, but I don't want to give away any more plot points. I'm not a huge alien-invasion-movie kind of person. I enjoy an alien spoof and an old classic now and again and I of course enjoy Alien, Aliens, Predator, The Thing, et al.... I'm just not super into the whole post-apocalyptic alien invasion epic that seems to be the main stay these days. So perhaps I'm too biased against this sort of film to have enjoyed it. But, I didn't hate it. 

While Moretz provides a sympathetic, realistic and somewhat kickass lead character, the film itself somewhat falls flat with slow disinteresting scenes and some clunky reveals. The military action scenes felt a little too like watching someone play an Xbox first person shooter and the banter was a little bit forced. On the other hand, I haven't read the teen novel it's based off of and perhaps it's true to plot. 

Regardless, even when I was a teen I probably would have been a bit bored with this film by the end.

[image: GK films, et al]


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The Boy (2016)

"The Boy" (2016, William Brent Bell, Huayi Brothers Pictures, Lakeshore Entertainment, Vertigo Entertainment, STX Entertainment) is a horror thriller set in England.

Greta (Lauren Cohan) is a young American woman who's come over to England to work as a nanny for Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire (Jim Norton and Diana Hardcastle) and their son, Brahms. She arrives at the large, grand, country house to find it empty, except for the local green grocer, Malcolm (Ruper Evans), who takes a fancy to her. Eventually the Heelshire's arrive home and introduce her to her charge, Brahms, and explain her routine and responsibilities. To Greta's surprise, Brahms, is not at all what she expected and her job is weirder than she could have anticipated.

A fun, jumpy film with some nice twists and turns and a strong lead character who pulls off the scared female role and the fight or flight mode really well. The jarring change in direction the film takes could be seen as unwanted by some viewers, but I appreciated the change in pace. The setting is perfect, and although the film overuses some tropes (dream sequences, for example), it is creative, if not ground breaking. It was an enjoyable 98 minutes.

[Image: Huayi Brothers Pictures]

Thursday, 17 March 2016


"Tarantula" (1955, Universal-International, Jack Arnold) is an American monster movie about a giant tarantula terrorising a desert town.

Dr. Matt Hastings (John Agar) is called in to investigate the mysterious death of a deformed man. Hastings is shocked to find that the man is an acquaintance of his, Professor Deemer (Leo G. Carroll), a biological research scientist who has been testing his experiments on a variety of organisms, including his assistant. He had been attempting to find a solution to overpopulation and food shortage, but his serum has differing effects on different creatures. One such creature, a tarantula, has grown to gargantuan proportions. The creature escapes, heading for the town and the locals are forced to try to stop it.

An iconic giant arachnid monster movie that uses impressive techniques for the time to create impressive giant tarantula scenes featuring a real tarantula. Other highlights include the shots from the tarantula's perspective and some humorous 'spider looks through window' scenes. Clint Eastwood also makes an uncredited appearance.

One of my favourite classic 50s giant monster movies, "Tarantula" has an enjoyable plot and is a fine example of this sub-genre of horror.

[Image: Universal-International]

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Sometimes They Come Back

"Sometimes They Come Back" (1991, Tom McLoughlin) is a horror thriller based on a short story by Stephen King.

Jim Norman (Tim Matheson) is a high school history teacher who has returned to his home town 27 years after the brutal killing of his elder brother, Wayne (Chris Demetral), at the hands of older bullies, who also died that day. He has accepted a job at the local high school and brought his wife, Sally (Brooke Adams), and young son, Scott (Robert Hy Gorman) with him. Upon moving back into his childhood home, he begins to hear and see spooky things. Things that remind him of that terrible day in his past. However, when some new students enter his class; kids that he recognises, kids who he remembers from his past, who can't possibly be really there, he realises that things aren't as they appear.

The film is undeniably cheesy, but manages a distinct charm and covers some pretty sad themes. The acting is pretty solid and, as much as it has that 'movie of the week' feel to it, I enjoyed it. The plot uses a lot of flashbacks but they are well paced throughout, teasing the backstory without getting too samey. And the antics of the murderous, ghostly, teen gang were entertaining, if dark.


Monday, 14 March 2016

Burnt Offerings

"Burnt Offerings" (1976, Dan Curtis, Produzioni Europee Associati (PEA), Dan Curtis Productions) is a horror mystery film based in a sentient house.

Marian (Karen Black) and Ben (Oliver Reed) Rolf move into a 19th Century mansion for the summer with their twelve year old son, Davey (Lee H. Montgomery), and Ben's elderly, but spry aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis). They are renting the house from two elderly siblings, Arnold (Burgess Meredith) and Roz (Eileen Heckart) Allardyce, who are renting for a low price so long as the tenants agree to leave a tray of food for their elderly, reclusive mother in her private quarters three times a day but do not otherwise visit or bother her.

It seems like the perfect summer holiday with the house's sprawling land, swimming pool and pantry full of food... The Rolf's get to work tidying up the place and soon get it into a good enough condition to enjoy. However, as time passes the family begin to act strangely, exhibiting abnormal behaviour. They begin to grow distant from one another, not realising that each of them are being slowly harmed by the house and by their own behaviours.

I've heard the title of this film so many times in music and in passing and I saw the cast list and was so keen to see it. But, although I didn't dislike it, I did find this strange film to feel a bit miss-paced. It seems to take so long to get started! The film doesn't follow any particular horror tropes like its flashier follower, "The Amityville Horror", but it does boast a distinctly 70s era vibe that I enjoyed. It has large stretches where very little happens, however, and its big reveal feels a little too obvious for today's know-it-all audiences. The acting is pretty solid and the setting is ideal. The film is perhaps too subtle for me, but I did love Ben's creepy ghostly, grinning hearse driver hallucinations. He is definitely going to haunt my dreams.

[Image: P.E.A.]

Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Boy (2015)

"The Boy" (2015, Craig Macneill, SpectreVision, Chiller Films) is a film about a troubled, lonely boy.

Ted (Jared Breeze) lives with his father (David Morse), who runs a declining roadside motel. Ted's father is depressed and alone, having been left by his wife, and knows his business is going downhill. His preoccupied mental state means he is not giving Ted much attention and Ted begins to make his own entertainment...

A really slow moving film that begins to build tension with uncomfortable scenes of calculated darkness from our young protagonist. The introduction of Rainn Wilson's mysterious character acts as a catalyst for the more disturbing content. However, it's the behaviour of some of the other 'more mature' characters that was truly horrific, in my opinion.

Although it's more thriller than horror, I was left with a surprising, hollow, shell-shocked feeling after this film. It really hit a chord.

[Image: SpectreVision]
Hani x

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Nurse 3D

"Nurse 3D" (2013, Doug Aarnioski, Lionsgate) is a sexploitation 3D film about a psychotic nurse who likes to murder cheating men.

Abby Russell (Paz de la Huerta) is nurse of the month at the hospital she works in. She's also a murderer who specialises in killing cheating men using her medical knowledge and access to surgical equipment and drugs.

She takes a young trainee nurse, Danni (Katrina Bowden) 'under her wing' in the weirdest way and becomes obsessed with her. She then finds out that Danni's stepdad is cheating on her mother, and takes it upon herself to brutally murder him. When this, shockingly, doesn't win Danni over she then begins framing Danni as a paranoid reactionary by baiting her and denying it to the cops and doctors. But as Danni digs deeper, she begins to find out more about Abby's dark past.

The film is really bloody and enjoys a few good kills, despite having a low budget. It also makes the most of its sexploitation genre with Paz casually lounging about in her apartment knickerless and running about essentially nude whilst gore soaked.

The acting, however, is distractingly bad. I haven't seen many of Paz's other films, but her slow, pouty way of talking in this film, whether intentional character mannerisms or not, got dull after a while.

After reading the synopsis I was looking forward to a batshit crazy, gore soaked roller coaster, but I found myself getting a little bored. Either way, it's a film about a murderous nurse with impressive assets, splashing gore all over the place and wearing very little. If that's what you're going in for, you are getting your tuppence worth, if I'm honest.

[Image: Lionsgate]

Tuesday, 8 March 2016


"Beneath" (2007, Dagen Merrill, MTV Films) is a straight-to-DVD thriller horror centring on a troubled young woman.

Christy and her elder sister, Vanessa (Carly Pope), are driving home from visiting their parents' grave when they are in a horrific car accident. Although both girls survive, Vanessa is severely disfigured by the accident and eventually dies whilst in the care of her doctor husband. Christy (Nora Zehetner) has a breakdown during the funeral, believing her sister to have been buried alive.

Years later, Christy returns to her home town where her little niece tells her that there is something dark living in the house. Christy, who is plagued by horrible visions and nightmares relating to her sister, tries to help the little girl investigate. As she digs deeper she reveals a more convoluted tragedy is lurking in the old house.

A really low budget film that suffers from a slow narrative, very little action and textbook plot. Although the film is very largely forgettable, it certainly isn't the worst one out there and manages a few genuine jumps along the way. But in the main, it doesn't break any new ground and seems a little hollow.

[Image: MTV Films]