Ginger Nuts of Horror
In comparison to their eminently sexier vampire counterparts or the popular appeal of the zombie, werewolves have something of a chequered history in horror cinema. Despite the prominence of the Wolf Man amongst Universal's horror pantheon, your lycanthropes tend to be relegated to supporting cast members at best in the years that follow, often lacking the brooding romance or bleak nihilism of other horror icons or movie monsters. Outside the likes of An American Werewolf in London and the superlatively witty Ginger Snaps, it's somewhat difficult identifying films or even fiction involving them that has made any significant impact (anyone who proffers Twilight gets a silver bullet).
Hoo boy. To understand my response to this film, you have to go back, way back, to my earliest experiences of horror, my earliest experiences of cinema in general. The likes of Alien and its sequel were as much a part of my childhood as the Transformers or Ducktales or any cartoon; horror has always been available, and never restricted. As such, I have a sentimental attachment to that material, but also a renewed respect from revisiting it in adulthood and finding it to be sublime on a number of levels (the original Alien still stands in terms of direction, story and design as one of the finest examples of science fiction horror in existence).
You can therefore understaand my anticipation when it was announced that Ridley Scott would be returning to the franchise (albeit tangentially); that it might potentially be revitalised by the man who originally coined it. For me, the excitement at least equalled that which many experienced in anticipation of The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. This film was the event of the season; the cinematic high point of the year. Not only potentially a resurrection (a ha) of one of my favourite franchises, but possibly also that film which could revitalise mainstream horror in general; make it fresh and inventive and intelligent again.
I recall clearly stepping out of the cinema, heading home in a kind of daze, confused as to my own response, until it finally began to crystallise:
There is a theory that ever since the release of Scream, slasher films lost their ability to be scary and relevant. It's a theory I can understand as the film expertly deconstructed and poked fun at so many of the tropes and themes that had become so cliched in horror's most purest and simplest of sub genres After watching What We Do In the Shadows I was left wondering if this would now be the case with vampire films. What We Do in The Shadows was a pitch perfect mickey take at what the Vampire films had become. Would films such as Dracula Reborn be sullied by the impact of a film that turned vampires into a group of sun fearing losers? Or could vampire films survive?
The directorial debut of Leigh Janiak, Honeymoon stars Rose Leslie and Harry Treadway as Bea and Paul, two newlyweds who head to a remote lakeside cabin (I know, I know, but bear with it) for their honeymoon. Once there - in a place that appears to be a significant part of Bea's early life - things seem idyllic and perfect. That is, until Paul find Bea naked and shivering in the woods one night, the supposed result of sleep-walking. From there, Bea's personality begins to undergo subtle changes - mood swings, memory loss, strange wounds on her body - leading Paul to wonder who, or what, is living under his new wife's skin...
I had such high hopes for this film. It started off well, the group dynamics between the three main leads was really good. A dark and foreboding sense of dread was carefully played out between the three of them, and there was a great chemistry between them. It's a pity that this couldn't have been extended to the rest of film.
The film suffers greatly when the troubles begins for our trio. All sense of dread and tension is dashed against the rocks by some of the most stupid and terrible decisions ever made in a horror film, but worse than that is the filmmakers total disregard to exactly how much punishment a person can suffer while still being able to be a fully functioning psycho killer.
Lets start of with the stupidity of the film. if you are being chased by a hunting rifle, big machete wielding nutjob where is the best place that you could possible hide? In a plastic portaloo, nah not even a total fool would think that the thin plastic of a portable toilet would protect them from either a well aimed bullet or a quick stab from a big big knife, but one of the three good guys thinks that is the best place to hide. Or how about hiding under a kids slide in a disused play park. You would be totally hidden from even the best sniffer dog surely, well going by this film the gun toting loonies must be deaf dumb and blind not to see one of the three lying under the slide.
The list of really stupid mistakes that both the victims and the pursuers make is almost endless. I don't want to give away the identity of who is doing the hunting, but I'll say this they are not some unstoppable killing machine like Jason or Michael, they are just normal...... So unless I missed an important point that explains just how they can take a massive beating with the stock end of a rifle after being stabbed and then jump up without any noise that would alert the other person, then can someone please tell the writer and the director that not everyone is Bruce Willis.
It is a pity that the film, which had great potential, is let down by such a stupid narrative. The journey of the female lead from shy and retiring pacifist to an all out killing machine could have been such a great idea, it is such a pity that any good ideas will be drowned out by you shouting at the TV screen at the stupidity f everything else that goes on around this thread of the story.
"TELL ME ABOUT THE FINITE"
Life isn't going very well for Evan, he held his mother's hand as her withered body gave out it's final breath. Traumatised and angry at the world for her death, he decides to go for a drink with a friend to drown his sorrows. Drunk, grieving and angry, Evan quickly finds himself the attention of a barroom drunk. However rather than walking away Evan chooses to lash out and give the drunk a sound beating.
Rather than just going for the simple revenge beating at the hands of his friends the drunk reports Evan's attack to the police. Not wanting to face the police Evan takes a trip to Italy.
Initially Evan meets up with a pair of obnoxious drunken English tourists. Loudmouthed, foul, rude and derogatory towards women but they seem to be what he is looking for to take his mind off what has happened to him.
Then everything changes one evening when Evan encounters the mysterious and sensual Louise. He is instantly infatuated with her, a stunning beauty who is only interested in a casual relationship,there and then, she won't even agree to a date the next night. When he lucks out and she leaves Evan knows he must find her then convince her to go on a date.
And this is when things start to get very weird. ...
The movie tells of three young women Julia (Emily O’Brien: Young and the Restless), Alex (Ciara Hanna: Power Rangers) and Rachel (Jackie Moore: 100 Ghost Street) on a working holiday in Thailand who inadvertently unleash the spirit of a murdered child. Simple premise, but this has a somewhat unique back story in that the murdered child is sacrificed in a ritual in which she is coated with gold. The resulting statue is upstairs in the house that the three young women are staying in and it is prevented from delivering retribution by an amulet inside a little shrine outside the house.
This post starts off with a brooding monologue, rather like the film does, with the proud owner of what was once the toughest ponytail in action movies sitting on a chair ruminating about what a bad boy he's been. The plot for this one is something of a no-brainer as it deals with the usual drug-trafficking, sex slaves, tough guy villains and of course random martial arts thrown into the mix. We don't watch Seagal films for the plot though do we? HELL NO!
A haunted house film, now there is a novel idea, we have never seen one of those before. It takes a brave director to even consider making one of these films. They still remain popular, however unless you know what you are doing they are so easy to get so terrible wrong.
The Judas Ghost is a brave film, cleverly using a small cast in a locked room scenario this small film relies on tight plotting and in general decent performances for it to work, which is a pity as it falls ever so short of being a good film....
With a title like 'Hack Job' one could be forgiven for thinking this short movie would be about a machete wielding maniac, in fact it's about a more real world horror regarding computer hacking and identity theft but with a twist ending. Crumb Budget Productions presents the story of Michael; a hacker plunged into what he believes is his own worst nightmare when a much better hacker competes with him, gradually eroding his identity in a tit-for-tat battle.
Emmanuel Skretas is fine in the role of Michael, as is Wayne McPhee who plays Bava, the second hacker.
To be truthful neither have much leeway to show their acting talent to a full capacity as this film is four minutes 23 seconds long. I think it could easily have been extended and would have built more tension that way. The 'hack-off' between the two is well played, but the crux of the story hinges on what happens when a third hacker gets involved.
It's a clever little idea, from which a clever little film has been created. You can watch it in its entirety via the link below: