Posts Tagged ‘drama’

It Comes at Night Movie Poster

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Two families are forced to share a home in an uneasy alliance to keep the outside evil at bay only to discover that the true horror comes from within.

Director Trey Edward Shults’ It Comes at Night is a taught effective horror drama, its strength lay in the audience using their imagination proving again that what’s left unseen can be just as horrifying as anything on the screen. Reminiscent in tone of Into the Forest (2015), The Thing (1982) (echoing its paranoia) it’s ambiguity, natural setting and Brian McOmber’s subtle score all add up to something quite engaging.

The cast are effective, the child actor is natural, also Kelvin Harrison Jr. playing Travis, a 17 year old suffering from gory nightmares feels believable but it’s edgy Joel Edgerton’s Paul and convincing Christopher Abbott’s Will that are the glue and shine here. Both roles have an intensity and both men ooze tension. Shults offers a well shot horror, drama that’s brilliantly paced, with an eerie atmosphere aided by Drew Daniels immaculate cinematography.

Shults never plays his cards and as a viewer you’re fed little bits of information, not really knowing the scale of what’s going on. With characters with welts, checking teeth, nails and burning bodies, the interesting thing is that you also don’t know if what they’re afraid of changes you into a monster or rabid zombie or something else. Refreshingly the viewer doesn’t see what they fear, and you shouldn’t need to either. There are a few shoot outs and stand offs but it works more on a psychological level, less is more here and with rife paranoia this offering excels. Recommended.

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This review may contain spoilers

A mother, after the death of her husband has to deal with her son’s fear of a monster that she finds in a mysterious pop-up book.

With a mix of modern horror effects, genuine tension writer/ director Jennifer Kent offers old school thrills and chills in Babadook. The small core cast are exceptional. Its grey palette naturalistic setting captured by Radek Ladczuk’s cinematography coupled with music by Jed Kurzel, eerie sound and special effects add to the mix of creepiness.

It’s pacing are like the classic horror films, taking a leaf from The Shining as well as Nosferatu to name a few. It’s also reminiscent of the more recent Saint Ange/House of Voices, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, Let The Right One In, Innkeepers and Woman in Black with Mister Badadook being kept in the shadows for the first third of the film.

The closing act is not a grounded as the psychological horror that come prior, mirroring the short comings of Deliver Us from Evil with its arguably over blown closing act. That said, this modest budget Australian horror delivers chills down the spine and at times disturbing scenes of borderline physical and mental abuse.

Actress Essie Davis is exceptional as troubled Amelia and her difficult son Samuel played by Noah Wiseman is wonderfully cast. To his credit he is one of the few non annoying child actors to grace a horror drama.

It’s not just about the hidden monsters that lurk in the dark and in your mind. There’s many metaphors and symbolism lurking beneath. It’s themes are hard hitting and touching; prescription drug abuse, school intervention, grieving, the plight of single parenting, breaking children bonds and help from family and professionals.

As evil takes a foothold and the lines of reality are blurred, Kent delivers the the tension and nightmares you’d expect, its well acted, refreshingly without a cliché teen in sight. Old school shocks rejuvenated, recommend.

Bob Saginowski is a bartender at his relations bar “Cousin Marv’s” which also operates as a ‘drop’ for illegal takings for Chechen mobsters. With a strain of a big ‘drop’ looming after rescuing a puppy Bob finds himself at clashing with a local hood (with a reputation of being a killer) claiming to be the dog’s owner.

A gritty production which daringly hinges on a single surprise plot point (written by Mystic River’s Dennis Lehane), and to director Michaël R. Roskam credit its successfully executed. Its dialogue driven, small in scale and refreshingly the violence is minimum, hard hitting and over quickly.

Tom Hardy simmers throughout as Bob and carries the weight of the film to it’s boiling point. His unassuming bartender is believable, emotional and susceptible. In his last role playing on a naturalistic background James Gandolfini effortlessly graces the screen in the on location shoot, amongst the naturalistic settings as Marv. There are some touching moments when Hardy and Noomi Rapace are tending to a puppy mirroring the tenderness of Rocky and Adrianne in Rocky (1976). Rapace plays the troubled Nadia best when she’s on a back foot when her ex boyfriend turns up. Notable is John Ortiz in a small part as Detective Torres.

Roskam’s vision captures the everyday environment with 1970’s grit reminiscent of The French Connection (1971) and Dog Day Afternoon (1975) to name a few. He effectively builds up tension with the characters interplay. The Drop is subtle as it can be, there’s no elaborate heists, fights and explosions, just the characterisation of the cast to keep you intrigued until the end. Marco Beltrami is on form, harmonizing the on screen drama with his score.

Granted there’s an abundance of similar themed crime dramas, but The Drop raises the bar with its smartly written script and great small cast ensemble.

The spin off film to my novel Blood Hunger has just been released – Directed and written by the great talent Sean Parsons.
Below is the Terminus Trailer:
You can now watch Terminus on Video On Demand click here
Sorry UK and the rest of the world, like Baby Ruth candy* it’s only available in the USA
*(citation needed)
So what is the vampire action drama Terminus about…
Ellicott City, a condemned paper mill, home of Anushka – a vampire assassin haunted by self-imposed isolation. Her vow to never feed on humans is tried when a chance meeting tests her resolve. Her first bite could be your last!