Ginger Nuts of Horror
Over the last few months, I've watched a lot of horror films that I haven't had time to review in full on Ginger Nuts. Some great, some bad, some a mixture, here I'll give a brief overview of a few that I don't believe have been reviewed on the site before.
Soulmate (2013) Dir: Axelle Carolyn.
Soulmate stars Anna Walton as Audrey, in what at first seems an all too familiar tale of a woman with a recent tragic past - husband dead in an accident, her own attempted suicide - who fetches up at a lonely old farmhouse in a quiet village to recuperate. And for the first 30 or 40 minutes, we have what is a very competent and extremely creepy haunted house film, with a great atmosphere and truly wonderful moments of sheer dread. No jump scares, really. But then, something very interesting happens - and this may be a mild spoiler, but it's in the interests of knowing what you're getting here - she actually makes contact with the ghost and what then follows is a very well-made psychological and emotional drama. It still has moments of eeriness, but it's clear that the film is as much about the mental and emotional path of Audrey as she finds possible hope and healing in interacting with this spirit. It's subtle, sombre and leans to the dark, but it's carried with aplomb by one of the strongest acting performances I've seen in a long time. Anna Walton is pitch perfect and gives a truly natural performance. No idea why she's not in more. Greta little film; surprising and moving, with a little bit of mystery as well.
Scream Machine could be viewed in one of two ways, it could be looked at as a loving homage to the works of Troma, or it can be viewed as a pile of steaming shit. I would imagine that some of it will come down to just how much you like Troma films. However, I don't think that the filmmakers mothers, after drinking a potion of kindness, could view this film as anything other than a pile of steaming shit.....
Do you ever go into a film with preconceptions, then when after watching the pre-credit scene think "yup i was right, this is going to be a stinker" only to have your opinion changed as the film rolls on? Well Girl House might just well do this to you as well.
I'll be honest here I went into this thinking it was going to be a a poor man's Porkies meets Friday 13th, full of gratuitous scenes of naked women having sweaty sex and getting hacked apart by some masked killer. Now I'm sure there is a section of you out there who like that sort of thing, and you know what you might actually be disappointed by this film as the titillation is kept to as bare a minimum as possible.
The opening scene that sets up the reason for our masked killer's rampage and slaughter is hard to watch, not so much for what happens on screen, but more for what is implied on screen and what the viewer infers from what they are shown....
I am beginning to wonder if there is anyone left in any of the major Hollywood film studios that actually understands horror, or if they just have a big black book full of "How to make and what to put into horror films" that they use to make dull and lifeless standardised films like Demonic. The fact that it comes from the James Wan studio should have been a hint that it wasn't going to be a great film, but I never expected it to be this bad...
It was the odd mix of Mary Poppins Disney like sweetness mixed with the dark serial killing madness of Katie Holmes and a six shooter that really caught my eye. Imagine those Disney films where all the birds come down to the female character and join in a song tainted with the cold hearted psycho killer of any serial killer movie.
Dir: Kevin Smith
Stars: Justin Long, Michael Parks, Hayley Joel Osment, Genesis Rodriguez.
Ah, Tusk. Kevin Smith's second foray into horror, following Red State - a film I've only watched half of, but really, really liked - and one I've heard a lot about and very little of it good.
This movie doesn't just have similarities to The Crow—it wants to be The Crow. The problem is where Alex Proyas's movie gets to the premise in less than 15 minutes, and has the grime and grit of a noir film with futuristic German expressionist influences, Karen Lam's Evangeline takes close to 45 (more than half its running time), and while its themes seem to be heavier at first, it pays them little attention. When Evengeline is finally murdered, the movie then spends the rest of its short screen time in full revenge-mode. But its scenes of revenge are awkward, as if the production hadn't heard of a stunt coordinator. And scenes which might be interesting, with the "creature" or "spirit" possessing Evangeline, seem like they've been pulled straight of a '90s music video by Floria Sigismondi—something by The Smashing Pumpkins or Marilyn Manson.
Think Speak Films have created a 9 minute 25 seconds short film based on one of the many subplots taken from Stephen Kings sprawling, 'Dark Tower' epic.
Beginning with a few seconds of beautiful scenery it rapidly launches into some reasonably interesting dialogue between the wheelchair-bound Susannah and the Gunslinger Roland Deschain.
The setup for what is a shooting lesson is okay, fairly well played by both actors, however this whole production is fairly disjointed in that unless the viewer is familiar with the whole Dark Tower mythology this film is not going to mean much of anything. Indeed it would appear somewhat bizarre given the dialogue has references which only have meaning within the land in which the story is set.
Love them or hate them found footage films are here to stay. Digging Up The Marrow from horror film director Adam Green, the director of Hatchet, and Frozen (no not that Frozen) is the latest entry in this sub genre of horror films, but this isn't just your normal found footage film, oh no this is something much more. This is a "meta found footage film", wait don't go! It is no where near as bad as you think, in fact Digging Up the Marrow is one the the most enjoyable horror films of the year.....
Closer to God is the 2014 feature film directorial debut of Billy Senese. It addresses the looming moral and scientific quandary that cloning and gene therapy presents and is firmly grounded in current scientific research. Knowing this caused it to grab my interest even moreso.
Just last year, April 14, 2014, USA Today ran an article entitled “Stem cell research fuels more debate on cloning.” The article reports that “In a paper in the journal Cell Stem Cell, researchers took the nucleus of skin cells from 35 and 75 year old men, and produced cloned human embryos. From those they were able to generate embryonic stem cells, valued because they can then be teased into becoming any tissues the body might need.” They went on to say this was not the first time this was done which demonstrates the technology is repeatable. The fear that advocacy groups on both sides expressed was that without some form of legislation someone might try “to extend the technique to engineer a human clone.” Despite some hurdles that still remain, the science is no longer mere fiction; it is on the horizon. Knowing this sets the stage to fully appreciate this movie, IMO.