Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Monday, May 19th, 2014

5014437190635Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones plays on many of our traditional fears and old supernatural myths.

In Oxnard, California, Jesse has just graduated high school and lives with his father and grandmother in a multi-storey apartment complex. Living in the same building are his friends Hector and Marisol, as well as a strange and mysterious woman called Anna.

Jesse, Hector and Marisol become intrigued by Anna’s apartment and recklessly enter without permission. Since venturing into Anna’s home, strange things occur and it soon becomes apparent that larger forces are taking over Jesse.

If you’ve seen the first four Paranormal Activity films, you’re most likely to be persuaded to watch Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones. Firstly, we have to admit that we jumped out of our skins and advise you to approach this film with caution, especially if you have heart problems.

Going back to the beginning, Paranormal Activity was a massive box office hit in the UK, with some pretty clever, yet simple, effects. On its first release, rumours speculated whether it was real footage (it wasn’t). Following its unexpected success, Paranormal Activity 2, 3 and 4 were born, sparking further demand for Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

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Carrie

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Carrie-2013Carrie is a modern adaptation of the 1976 horror story about a young girl who is an outcast at school and overly protected by her religious mother.

Carrie is a film not for the faint hearted, presenting violent themes and bloody gore throughout. Outcast Carrie White discovers she has telekinetic powers, which helps her break free from her over bearing mother and the bullies at school. However, things turn ugly when she is pushed just too far.

Chloe Grace Mortez (500 Days of Summer, Kick-Ass and Let Me In) stars in this gruesome revival, playing the creepy Carrie who struggles to fit in with the cool kids at school. Although she’ll have you feeling sympathetic, you’ll find the sinister side of her to be quite disturbing.

Julianne Moore (The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Crazy, Stupid, Love) must also be mentioned for her role as Carrie’s Mother, Margaret White. Driven crazy by her religious beliefs, Margaret White tries to control her daughter and makes Carrie believe the world is full of evil. Her role creates this secluded atmosphere within the family home, paving the way for tensions to explode later on in the film.

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Sinister

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Any film that opens with silent, grainy Super 8 footage of a family being slowly hanged by an unseen force utilising the ample leverage supplied by a massive tree branch, is obviously not exactly reaching for the rom-com crowd.

Sinister sees true crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), wife Tracy (Juliet Rylance) and their children Ashley and Trevor move into the house of a murdered family, whilst he investigates the circumstances of their brutal demise, hoping to craft a bestseller.

Once he finds a box in the attic containing a projector and several reels of harrowing Super 8 footage, things take a turn for the tense and grisly. He becomes obsessed with the creepy films and increasingly ignorant to his family’s concerns, and when a certain Mr. Boogie starts making his unnerving presence known, the film sprints towards a terrifying climax.

It’s completely possible that the filmmakers of Sinister were trying to brainstorm a title, then reviewed their terrifying ‘family hanging’ home movie created for the first two minutes, and came up with just about the single-most apt word available in the English language.

Sinister is exactly that; an evil, malevolent encapsulation of horror and fear. However, don’t be concerned that this falls into the ‘torture porn’ category ruled and regulated by the Saw movies. There is in fact very little in the way of gore, and far more of an intense psychological edge, with some truly frightening images given an original spin through that grainy footage. (more…)

Chernobyl Diaries

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

In 1986, the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine offered a savage reminder of the destructive force and volatile nature of nuclear energy. An explosion at the power plant contaminated a huge area with high lethal, devastating levels of radioactivity, which stand to last for thousands of years. So, in all fairness, going there is probably not wise. It certainly isn’t something which most would count as a fun day out.

Workers in the area are limited in the amount of time the can stay because of the radiation levels, and there is a 19-mile exclusion zone with almost no inhabitants.

Chernobyl Diaries tells the somewhat unlikely story of several holidaymakers who actually want to take a day trip inside the exclusion zone to Prypiat, a deserted town not far from the disaster site.

Chris and his girlfriend Natalie, along with their friend Amanda, are moving through Europe as so many horror movie protagonists choose to do, and they meet up with Chris’ fun-loving care-free and plentifully irritating brother Paul, who lives in Kiev. This genius is the one who suggests an ‘extreme tour’ with local guide and generally large man, Yuri. They take little convincing, and set off with another couple joining them In Yuri’s rickety van which, incidentally, inspires about as much confidence as the sight of a mushroom cloud on the horizon.

We get plenty of shaky-cam treatment, in an attempt to give the whole thing a documentary-style authentic feel, and once they discover a mutated fish you can pretty much guess where it’s going.

The plot is extremely thin, like a brutally starved wafer, so let’s just say they find themselves stuck there and from that point it all gets a bit nasty.

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DVD Rental – Top 10 Favourite Films

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Favourite FilmsWith some highly anticipated, potential mega-hits coming out this summer, including Alien semi-prequel Prometheus and The Dark Knight Rises, along with the recently released Avengers Assemble, we thought we would find the Top 10 Favourite Films of All Time, as voted by our readers.

We expected some people would dodge the obvious and somewhat clichéd classics, like Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia and, of course, Piranha 3D. We didn’t expect such a great mix of movies, with horror, comedy, action and romance all getting a look-in.

Yes, the big winner is perhaps expected, but there are some surprises in there, and we think it shows the continued diversity of both modern cinema and the UK’s own film fanatics.

So without further rambling, here is the list, counting down from 10.

10. Blade Runner

Ridley Scott’s revolutionary sci-fi smash-hit, based on Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, saw Harrison Ford’s Deckard chase down replicants in a dystopian future. Rutger Hauer gave Han Solo a sound hiding, and Sean Young was great as reluctant replicant Rachael.

9. Alien

Ridley again, and with his success rate for sci-fi it seems guaranteed that upcoming Alien prequel-of-sorts Prometheus should be a classic. This 1979 game-changer is often credited with revolutionising the heroine character, as well as introducing the surprise-shock ending which has become a stalwart in horror. And who could forget that famous chest-burster scene? Grim.

8. The Goonies

The Goonies, helmed by Superman and Lethal Weapon director Richard Donner, featured a young Samwise Gamgee (also known as Sean Astin) and friends trying to find the lost fortune of One-Eyed Willie. You wouldn’t need three guesses to work out that Spielberg is heavily involved behind the scenes in this charming family adventure.

7. The Notebook

This surprise entry doesn’t so much tug at the heartstrings, as yank at them incessantly whilst showing you pictures of kittens. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams do the unrequited, forbidden love thing, then mum gets angry, then the two separate for years only to stumble upon each other, both faced with a great decision to make. But who is telling the story?

6. Crash (2004)

Not to be mistaken with Cronenberg’s mid-nineties gag reflex test of the same name, Crash is an inventive, compelling and beautifully crafted examination of racial prejudices, told through several intertwining stories set in Los Angeles. It really is a modern classic; funny, gripping, engaging, unpredictable and original, Paul Haggis’ movies is simply a must-see, with stellar performances from the likes of Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, Matt Dillon, Ryan Phillippe and Thandie Newton.

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Game of Thrones – A Song of Ice and Fire

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

gameofthronesposterBack in 2007, HBO made the potentially risky decision to fund a TV adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s insanely epic set of novels A Song of Ice and Fire. Named after the first book, Game of Thrones is a fantasy-action-drama packed full of twist, turns, chills, thrills and an array of fascinating characters.

The tricky aspect is that, in order to do it justice, you would need to launch millions of dollars into each episode, get an absolutely stellar cast from kids to kings, film in genuine settings, structure the story faithfully and brace the audience for something which doesn’t exactly pander to the usual TV conventions. Luckily HBO has embraced the challenge, and now this studio has the best thing on TV either side of the Atlantic.

Prepare for dragons, incest, violence, gore, prostitutes, swords, sorcery, zombies, wolves and a dizzying amount of sneaky deception within the dynastic struggle which serves as the show’s foundation. There is also a eunuch and a dwarf, who are both utterly compelling, genius characters.

King Robert Baratheon sits on the Iron Throne, ruling the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. He is married to Cersei Lannister, uniting his royal family with riches. Their marriage is loveless, and as he drinks and eats his way to an early grave, she conducts a grim affair with her brother Jaime. Her other brother, Tyrion, is a dwarf, but neutralises any potential ridicule through his sparkling wit and intelligence.

King Robert’s closest friend is Ned Stark, and when the King’s Hand dies suspiciously, the King calls on his friend to serve in the role. This pretty much means Ned will run business whilst Robert gets drunk, sleeps with prostitutes and eats as much food as possible.

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The Thing – Snow need to panic

Friday, March 30th, 2012

the_thing_wallpaperThe Thing is a prequel set before The Thing, which was originally a remake of The Thing From Another World, based on a novella which wasn’t called The Thing.

The original novella Who Goes There? told the story of a vicious shape-shifting alien, which had previously crash landed in Antarctica and frozen in the ice. Discovered by researchers, and subsequently thawed, the creature goes around generally causing chaos, violently murdering the protagonists, ingesting their corpses and imitating them individually, thereby creating a sort of whodunit horror.

In 1951, it was given a typically American movie reinvention, replacing Antarctic researchers with the U.S. Air Force. The Thing From Another World was a hit, but the adaptation was rather loose, and in 1982 John Carpenter stepped in and gave us a an intense horror masterpiece which was far more loyal to its source.

The Thing 1982 took the whodunit horror concept and joyfully played with it for an hour and a half. Kurt Russell was brilliant in the lead role of MacReady, and the creature effects were as elaborate as they were shocking. It was horrific, but heart-pounding fun and a riveting watch, as each character tried to work out who had been infected with The Thing, before meeting a brutal demise. Upon being rumbled, those infected would freak out and split into some kind of deformed mess of filth. Grim.

Now there is a prequel; first and foremost, just calling it The Thing, like its predecessor, was a stupid idea. Moving on, there are two ways of looking at The Thing 2011; either it is a loving and loyal tribute to, and story expansion of, John Carpenter’s 1982 effort of the same name, or it is a horrible cash-in. Although if you want to cash in on a movie, best not to wait 30 years. This has been evidenced by the meagre box office takings.

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Case 39 – Should stay closed!

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

case-39-imageThe start of case 39 sees you introduced to Emily Jenkins, a child support worker being given her 39th case.  At first, It seems as normal as any other she deals with on a day to day basis but it soon becomes apparent that this one will change her life in more ways than one.

She visits the family to see the little girl,  Lilith, who has been falling asleep in class and has had grades drop for A’s to D’s in 3 months.  There is enough evidence to suggest that Lilith is being neglected, but as there are no visible marks, Emily’s boss tells her to leave the case alone.

Against her boss’s wishes, Emily decides to visit Lilith as she is leaving school and tells her to call any time she feels scared.  Later that night Emily receives a chilling call from Lilith saying that she fears her parents are going to kill her.  Emily along with Policeman and friend Mike (Ian Mcshane – the one and only Lovejoy) rush over to the house and rescue Lilith just as she is about to be killed in a horrible manner by her parents.

Lilith is about to be put in care when she begs Emily to look after her.  At first Emily is reluctant but soon agrees and is given temporary custody of Lilith, but could that decision be the worst error of judgement that Emily could have made? (more…)

Dexter – Mr. Knife Guy…

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

dexter_s1I am quite a big fan of gore and body horror so when I saw that hit U.S. series Dexter was available to rent on DVD from LoveFilm I knew I had to watch it!

Dexter is a serial killer with ethics; not your typical leading man! Working as a blood spatter analyst for Miami Metro he encounters the dregs of society and their actions on a daily basis.

Orphaned because his mother was murdered, then adopted by a cop hell-bent on justice, Dexter’s formative years were the catalyst for his now dominant penchant for the macabre.

Dexter seeks to make his little corner of the world a better place by eradicating heinous criminals who have slipped through the net.

Dispensing his own special brand of justice, Dexter plots, plans and meticulously executes his murderous endeavours, whilst ensuring that each victim realises why they are about to meet their maker.

On paper this sounds like quite an intense show, but it’s shot so well, with many varied story arcs and alternative points of interest, that it’s so much more than just another gore fest! (more…)

Saw – The Final Chapter (hopefully)

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

saw-3d-poster2

Is there a bigger date in the horror movie fan’s calendar than the annual release of a Saw film?

Yes. Laundry day, or any other day.

Yet the cogs keep turning and the people keep watching, despite cries of despair and claims of wasted lifetime hours following each increasingly pointless instalment.

If we approach the situation in a frank, honest manner, the first Saw, whilst borrowing heavily from the concept of the mighty movie masterpiece Se7en, was in fact quite watchable and boasted an awesome twist right at the death (oops, sorry about that). Saw was a good horror movie, and of course a sequel was inevitable.

It is fair to say that Saw II was also pretty good. It lacked cohesion, but was gruesome enough to satisfy fans of the genre and still offered a few decent surprises, not to mention a meatier role for series lead Tobin Bell, as the dying Jigsaw killer John Kramer.

And then disaster.

Saw III, Saw IV and Saw V were increasingly mediocre, whilst Saw VI was actually a little better, but had a rubbish ending and dragged the story into even further reaches of plot direction stupidity. For Jigsaw to maintain a presence and influence on the storyline after his rather fatal throat-slashing in Saw III is actually a little insulting.

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