Ginger Nuts of Horror
Dir. Michael Petroni, Australia, 90 mins
Starring Adrien Brody, Robin McLeavy, Sam Neill and George Shevtsov
Out in UK Cinemas 29th January
Every now and then one of those offers comes along you don't like to say no to. And 'do you fancy reviewing Adrien Brody's new movie' is definitely one of those scenarios. A firm favourite for me as an actor, and when I found out this one also had the wonderful Sam Neill in it I was all over it like a rash. So, what's it all about then?
Backtrack follows the story of Peter, a psychotherapist who recently lost his daughter in a car accident. Of course their marriage is in a difficult spot, and Peter is struggling to keep up with the needs of his patients and the strain the tragedy has taken on his mental state. It's at this stage that the very mysterious Elizabeth Valentine appears in his office – an unspeaking girl of about 14 who offers no clue as to how and why she got there. And it turns out there's a supernatural element to her presence there – and to all of his patients...
Let me start off by saying up front that I absolutely love this movie. It is the brain child of Christopher MacBride who both wrote and directed it, his only feature length film thus far, in fact. It is an incredible story of two filmmakers who are best friends that look into a guy named Terrence, played pitch perfectly by Alan C. Peterson, and find a conspiracy rabbit hole that goes far deeper than they ever thought possible. The two filmmakers are Aaron and Jim, played by Aaron Poole and James Gilbert, respectively.
"How prepared he is to look old, and vulnerable,
and scared, and trapped. It’s all there from the getgo,
written in the gray stubble on his lined face.
Something’s wrong with Han. Badly wrong."
So this one is going to get very spoiler heavy. If you have yet to see The Force Awakens, and you want the experience to be spoiler free, stop reading now.
To the rest of you - welcome. Blimey. I feel like we have a lot to talk about.
I’ll do the inevitable biography bit first - Jedi was my first cinema outing, at 5 years old. Star Wars was one of the best things about my UK childhood Christmases (because they showed them on TV). I wanted to be Luke. My favourite colour is green. Because, Luke’s saber. I made my sister cry on long car journeys by calling her Darth Vader over and over in a sing-song voice until she cracked - normally only took five minutes or so.
I don’t mind the special editions (apart from Han shot first, obviously) - loved seeing them at the cinema. And Simon Pegg circa Spaced has my proxy on the prequels. I hated Sith so much I didn’t go back to the cinema at all for about 5 years - not really the fault of the film itself, more that it took the accumulated weight of all my prequel disappointment. I thought it somehow would all come good in episode three, and, well, spoilers, it didn’t. I have not seen it since, and can’t imagine I ever will.
ANGER OF THE DEAD (2016)
Dir. Francesco Picone, Italy/Canada, 84 mins
I should start with something of a disclaimer – I've never massively been on for zombie films. Sure, I enjoy some of the classics, but for me it's a subgenre that of late has become distinctly overdone without a real injection of freshness or interest. So when Anger of the Dead was offered my way, it was one I approached with a sort of mild interest rather than a rabid excitement. As an Italian production – a country with a strong pedigree in the field – this one had quite something to live up to.
But overall I have to say Anger of the Dead was a pleasant surprise – there's nothing revelatory here, but this is an effective apocalyptic tale which does have an emotional heart to it. The tale begins with Alice taking a pregnancy test and watching riots break out on TV – but of course these are no ordinary riots. A lone zombie breaks into her flat and proceeds to devour her daughter while she is powerless to defend her – but of course we find out she has another child on the way...
We cut to four months later, where Alice is accompanied by Stephen and they are driving through the devastation simply trying to stay alive. When they discover a message talking about a boat headed to an island uninfected by the zombie virus, they are given a glimmer of hope, something to drive them on through the nightmare-infested wasteland ahead of them. This coincides with a subplot following Rooker, a mysterious but dark figure who is seeking out a female prisoner that has escaped from his 'refuge' We swiftly find out just how uncompromising he is, and what he will do to bring his prey back. When Alice and Stephen stumble across his path, things are about to become even more difficult for our heroes, and they have both the living and the undead to worry about.
What sets this apart from some of the other zombie features I've seen – as I've intimated – is that there's more emotionally going on here than standard. Alice has her newborn baby to think about, and a strange, burgeoning relationship with Stephen in difficult circumstances. Peter – whom they pick up along the way – is forced to kill his own sister when she is infected. Even the seemingly uncaring Rooker has his reasons for pursuing the unspeaking prisoner. While some of the zombie effects don't necessarily look great, and the filming looks a bit low-budget in places, there ws enough here to keep me interested and rooting for the characters – and as I say, in a subgenre that's not my favourite, that's no mean feat.
RATING: 7/10. It's rare that a zombie flick really aims to break down barries and try something truly different – Pontypool being a notable exception in my eyes – and there are many of the classic tropes here. We have our noble survivors trying to do things the right way, our cruel bad guys willing to survive by any means, the distant ray of hope that keeps the main characters pushing on through their respective personal hells. But personally I feel like there's more going on storywise and there's a bit more heart and soul here than I'm used to, so for that reason it's a very respectable 7/10 here. Not up there with some of the Italian zombie classics, but not a bad addition to the pantheon all the same.
The first two Evil Dead movies blew my mind. By the time I'd gotten around to watching them the first film had already been out for 15 years, but they still felt fresh and fun, and were gory as hell. Evil Dead (1981) was campy, dark and surprisingly emotional: a journey straight into hell that gave rise to the popular "cabin in the woods" horror trope, and was made on a shoestring budget. Its camerawork (done by Tim Philo, who went on to shoot Evil Dead II and not much else) was inventive, always keeping the viewer uneasy and on edge, particularly during the shaky-cam POV shots of the woods nicknamed “The Force” or “The Evil Force” by the crew. Its editing by Ruth Edna Paul (who, again, did not do much beyond this film) used intercutting and jarring cuts to build tension. Looking back on the first movie now, it feels very much like a student film, which is likely why director Sam Raimi virtually remade it with Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn, rehashing many of the same plot points, while cranking up the gore and humor to eleven. Most of the movie was carried by Bruce Campbell's balls-to-the-wall acting during scenes where Ash battled his own Deadite-possessed hand while struggling to hold onto sanity as the Necronomicon Ex Mortis and its minions used him as both a chew toy. The SFX crew literally splattered buckets of blood on the actors and The Cabin.
Have you seen the new “Star Wars” yet? No. Go see it. Go see it now. Have you seen it yet? GO!
Ahem. Now that I’ve got the enthusiastic part of the review out of the way, let me tell you more calmly as to why you should go and see this film. And most importantly, let me do this without giving away any crucial plot points whatsoever. There are a few details included below which aren’t in the trailers, but they’re only minor ones and shouldn’t give away any of the thrills or surprises of the film itself.
IT'S CHRISTMAS!! Or, at least, that is what Slade seem determined to tell us. And if you are anything like I am you dread this season of fake platitudes and enforced frivolity. In this time of mistletoe and whine I like to take solace in the darker moments whenever they present themselves.
This five minute short film is a rather pleasant, or should that be an unpleasant distraction from the holidays. A shot and well acted little Christmas horror story, Deathly Presents uses its five minutes or so of film time to deliver a nice little shocker. It has some nice camera work, good acting and a creepy soundtrack that has a great use of a thumping bass track. While not overly frightening Deathly Presents is well-made film that will appeal to all of us who like our Christmas tainted with a bit of horror.
WATCH IT HERE: https://youtu.be/dZuRlvVWJ30
It might drop down your chimney, it might mysteriously fill your stockings, it may even slip itself under your tree, but be sure... This Christmas… EVIL IS BACK.
Bloody Cuts return with a frightful Christmas cracker of festive catastrophe, as Oliver Ebsworth, Sian Breckin and Jonah Russell deliver to you Episode 9: “Deathly Presents”.
This year we’ve cooked up a Christmas pudding of pleasurable pain in association with RØDE Microphones, marking a reignition of the Bloody Cuts series.
Keep your ears, eyes and face peeled for more short tales of terror returning in the new year!
Happy Christmas and BELIEVE IN HORROR.
WATCH HERE: https://youtu.be/dZuRlvVWJ30
MORE INFO AT: www.bloodycuts.co.uk
RØDE Microphones: www.rodemics.com
DIRECTED, WRITTEN & PRODUCED BY:
Ben Franklin & Anthony Melton
Sian Breckin, Jonah Russell, Oliver Ebsworth
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY:
Part 9 of the Bloody Cuts series.
The Conjuring...echoes of my first experience with M. Night Shyamalan's work. Like many, that came in the form of The Sixth Sense, which was released in the UK almost simultaneously with the genre-redefining Blair Witch Project (the film was even marketed under the tag-line: “Scarier than the Blair Witch Project!”).
This was the first time I recall myself being consciously opposed to popular opinion; when it felt as though people were seeing something I could not, or that I perceived something that everyone else was blind to.
If you had told me a year ago, that I would be praising a film featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger for it's acting subtly and compassionate filmmaking I would have seriously considered having you sectioned under the mental health act. Yet here I am in the aftermath of watching Schwarzenegger versus zombies and I am in shock. Any misconceptions any of you have going into this film put them aside and give the film a spin you might just be as surprised as I was.....
Demonic possession films are a dime a dozen, some are great most are poor, and some are like the title of this film Chosen to be so awful, it makes you wish you were possessed by some demon yourself.
How can a film get it so wrong? It's not even a paint by numbers snooze fest, well if it is the painter is colour blind and has a rudimentary grasp of arithmetic. Everything this film has does has been done before and done better by countless other films. A dysfunctional family - check, a crazy old grampa - check. Although I don't think the grandpa was all that crazy, I maintain that the catatonic state he is in for the length of the film is just him trying to hide the fact that he signed up for this rubbish.
Cute little girl gets targeted by demonic forces - check. Spunky brother tries to save her said demonic forces while battling the rest of his family check. Snotty punk relative in wifebeater t-shirt, oh hell yes.
Where the film really falls down is the fact that every scare, every jump scene, has been done so many times before in other films it just becomes a case of watching it and wondering if there is going to be one original scene in the whole film. On the plus side, the film does let us know how many days have passed with the use of cards like "DAY 1", "DAY2" although all this does is make it feel like the film drags on for days on end.
Hell, they even have a scene where one of the heroes wakes up to a crazy ghost woman screaming at him on the bed. Have really reached a point where this is now a staple of films like these. If so can we just stop making these films right now, please, pretty please.
And let us not forget the angry shouty know it all nun that pops up throughout the film to have a go at our hapless hero for not having the guts to do what needs to be done to save his sister.
It is a great pity that this film is so bad, for once the actual premise of it is rather good.
Rather than going for some unknown or made up demon, the filmmakers decide to go for SPOILER ---- using Lilith, Adam's first wife, the snatcher of babies. If only they had the stones to make this a film that looked at some Judeo- Christina beliefs and myths, sadly they don't other than the child snatching aspect, they may as well have called the demon Stan.
The final nail in the coffin is the insipid and terrible acting from everyone in the cast. This is a truly awful film.
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