Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

Three years after the destruction of the Jurassic World theme park, Owen Grady and Claire Dearing return to the island of Isla Nublar to save the remaining dinosaurs from a volcano that’s about to erupt but soon uncover a conspiracy that will change the fate of the dinosaurs forever.

Opening with the Mosasaurus destroying a submersible and a Tyrannosaurus attack, J.A. Bayona’s direction is on point as he handles the mammoth film effortlessly. At first Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom appears to improve the ethical conundrums of bringing dinosaurs back to life, building on themes touched on in Spielberg’s 1993 original and the novel source material. However, things take a major turn in the second act.

This instalment offers an impressive (but distracting) CGI loaded destruction of Isla Nublar’s Jurassic Park/World after the eruption. This setup includes a select few of the de-extinct dinosaurs being ‘saved’ only to be used for corporate gain with echoes of The Lost World. Still, the tone shifts to a Halloween-like dark place and Fallen Kingdom becomes a stalker in a mansion, cat and mouse type film.

The latter half offers some serious nightmares for younger viewers and possibly leaves fans of the outdoors feel of its predecessors scratching their heads. While the second half is a brave shift in terms of setting and tone the philosophical points, mostly from an Ian (Jeff Goldblum’s) cameo, are interesting but the message simply feels off and doesn’t really take Kingdom forward.

In amongst the tense well staged action packed set pieces, (drowning in a Gyrosphere springs to mind) and genuinely thrilling moments there are too many unscrupulous cartoon like villains, even more so than its predecessor. Namely Toby Jones Lockwood Estate auctioneer host, unprincipled Dr. Henry Wu (B. D. Wong returns) and there’s corrupt Rafe Spall’s Murder She Wrote-like killer Eli Mills. James Cromwell Sir Benjamin Lockwood, John Hammond’s former partner accent is as out of place as the cloning Scooby doo subplot twist which leads nowhere. On the flipside both Chris Pratt’s Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard’s Dearing are on form and much better performance wise here. Also notable is Ted Levine’s Ken Wheatley, a seasoned mercenary who has a memorable scene with the a newly created dino, part Indominus rex and a Velociraptor, the sociopathic Indoraptor! Trained Blue’s storyline and purpose is never fulfilled, the raptors ‘emotional’ DNA is never used as the weaponised pro-type goes on a hunt through the estate for our heroes and a young girl.

Kingdom returns to the thrills and scares which the first delivered but through no fault of Bayona, over four films, the novelty and wonder has faded. With a post credit scene setting up another sequel you can’t but think that, even with the change of direction, the Jurassic series should be left in Amber.

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*Spoilers ahead*
An alliance of sorts is formed so that the group can tow their armoured vehicle from a horde of the dead drawn to the sound of its horn.

Despite a post murky filtering tinkering, episode 3 of season 4’s Fear the Walking Dead gains momentum, this is another strong episode from the underdog. The previous 3 series has debatably worked best when it’s not trying to walk like The Walking Dead notably early outbreak city setting, a boat, a villa and hotel respectively. When avoiding The Walking Dead military The Warriors gang tropes is seems to fare better. A jump in time in season 4 has helped usher in Morgan Jones but trading off that interesting earlier outbreak vibe.

The acting in this episode is particularly strong. Garret Lee Dillahunt’s John Dorie is on tracker form, along side Walking Dead’s Lennie James who portrays stick wielding Morgan. Here Jones gives some good advice to Nick and gifts him his little book of peace. We find member Maggie Grace’s Althea holds a journalist secret. Kim Dickens as Madison Clark appears in Nicks flashbacks which become poignant in retrospect. Colman Domingo is on usual problem solving form as Victor.

This is a stand out episode most notable for selfless recovered heroin addict Johnny Depp-alike Frank Dillane’s Nick Clark meeting a surprise death! After fittingly exacting revenge, his untimely demise is by the hand of child. Shot dead! Dillane is excellent durning blood curdling death scene and actor Alycia Debnam-Carey shines as Nick’s sister in his final moments.

While a strong game changing curve ball episode it’s a shame such an interesting and great character wonderfully played is shockingly killed off, that said, there’s plenty more life Fears back to basics and grounded character approach. Let just hope that Fear doesn’t become a one gang verses another gang show.

Warning – SPOILERS AHEAD.

A billionaire experimenting on bull sharks, soon cause havoc for a visiting group of scientists.

One of the oddest deja vú experiences for all the wrong reasons. Deep Blue Sea 2 is less of a sequel and more of a straight to video remake of the 1999 original. Complete with a smaller shed on the water with a state-of-the-art facility below the surface.

Director Darin Scott offers a darker look, more buckets of CGI blood but it’s not cinematic, it’s hampered by the lack of budget, bottom of the barrel TV look with filtered lighting. The actors do their best with the recycled script and storyline from the original. Bull sharks replace the Makos.

There’s a few tweaks – the sharks tunnel rather than jump fences, they attack an illegal shark finning duo instead of partying teens in the opening, the sleeping shark doesn’t eat the entrepreneur Durant, it eats another cast member instead, there’s no parrot just lots more CGI. It mocks some of the original urinating in the wind dialogue. The story beats are pretty much the same only they destroy the compound themselves. And there’s a tagged on ending where the sharks head to attack some beach goers.

Why Warner Bros. went all 90’s Disney straight to video with this sequel/remake only Samuel L. Jackson character knows. Maybe to cash in on the release up and coming The Meg or off the back of the better 47 Meters Down and The Shallows.

It’s notable redeeming features are American Emily Blunt-a-like Danielle Savre and some real great white footage.

If you’re interested in seeing what the flawed but entertaining original would have looked like with a first draft script and Syfy channel budget, this is a must see, for the less curious swim as far away from this as possible.

Warning: Spoilers

Five contract workers have taken on the task of tracking a huge old sanatorium for hazardous waste before demolishing. However things go bump in the night as the enormous building has much darker secrets and possible paranormal activity.

Like with the recent Spanish horror revival director Pål Øie does the same for Norwegian filmmaking offering a well-made filmactic feel is which sells the plausibility, thanks to the acting and large creepy location, the music adds tension.

The premise is interesting even though the story beats, shadows in the dim corridors, figures on camera, jump scares etc are what we’ve seen before Pål Øie’s execution and serious tone makes it worth watching the scares play out. There’s a few bodies, blood, gore, twists and turns, doctors and WWII elements.

Overall, better than the abundance of bad acted English language slasher and horror films doing the rounds at the moment. Recommend.

My Readers and following friends,

It’s been a hard year with personal loss and sadness, so I’ve been off the social media merry-go-round. Whatever you are going through, you will get through it. Keep the dream alive, have trust. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones!

The Christmas season is upon us and we’ve got a few signed editions of Darkest Moons (contact via the website), also if you order any paperbacks you get the Kindle Free, for those who want to start reading immediately and have a keepsake paperback winging its way to you.

Darkest Moons

Darkest Moons

In 1878 a mining community came to terms with the existence of a terrifying horror.

As the moon rises the curse begins!

The Final Version

The Final VersionJourney through the history of genetics and be catapulted to a post-apocalyptic future, a conflicted dystopian utopia of cyberpunk, cryogenics and government-conspiracy.

Blood Hunger

Blood Hunger

From the fall of the vampire and the Dracul brothers in medieval Europe to their return in the present day. Prepare yourself, their first bite will be your last!

Dead Pulse

Dead PulseDeath does not discriminate…

The dead have returned to life… The world’s focus is on the city of Ravenswood and the once idyllic town of Farmore as platoons and scattered survivors fight the hordes of the dead, unbeknownst one of them holds the key to end the undead’s reign of mayhem.

A survivor of a virus outbreak goes about finding more uninfected people to come to his sanctuary.

Director/writer Hamid Torabpour offers a competent low budget offering, with plenty of kills, CGI blood, hacking and shooting as survivors take down the zombie-like virus infected hordes. It’s played straight, the music, lighting, make up and locations add up to a solid enough production. While it bogs itself down and runs out of steam in the latter half Torabpour still puts in a nice little nihilistic twist in the closing.

It’s not a found footage type film like Zombie Diaries or Diary of the Dead. Zombies is an average low budget flick but sadly lost in the sea of substandard DTV zombie film hell. Produced by Cameron Romero (son of the late George A. Romero) it doesn’t reach the heights of his father’s work or the likes of The Dead or The Battery but thankfully this digital presentation has an almost film like feel appose to the abundance of bland camera work on VOD and SyFy that lack atmosphere.

Veteran horror actor Tony Todd bookends with a welcomed extended cameo as Detective Sommers. Lead Steven Luke’s Luke plays the subtler scenes well rather than the action segments. Notable is Amanda Day as Tala but most memorable is Raina Hein’s Bena. Despite sporting a zombie cliché killing weapon of choice bow Hein makes the most with what’s she’s given and offers much of the emotional clout.

Overall, looks good for the budget, don’t expect a classic and you may enjoy.

*** This review contains major doll spoilers ***

Nica Pierce has spent the past four years in a mental institution after being framed by Chucky for the murder of her family but Chucky isn’t finished with her yet or Andy.

Director/writer Don Mancini does the impossible and injects life into Part 7 of a series. Mancini and company simply out do themselves here with Cult of Chucky, where as Curse had a striped back Hitchcock feel this has Brian de Palma on a budget visuals with a Cronenberg icky edge and Mancini’s trademark frank humour. I usually recommend films in my final paragraph, but this is must see from the outset, don’t even read this, just rent or buy it.

Summer H. Howell cameos, Fiona Dourif returns and is excellent as the asylum trapped wheelchair bound Nica that no one believes oozing a Sigourney Weaver vibe and echoing Linda Hamilton’s Terminator 2 locked up in danger craziness. In a surprising twist as the plot unfolds and the body count rises Fiona also channels her father’s serial killing character Charles impressively. Actors Adam Hurtig as split personality suffer Malcolm, Zak Santiago’s Carlos and particularly Ali Tataryn as nurse Ashley are notable. But Michael Therriault leaves an impression as Richard Gere-like warped Dr. Foley.

Alex Vincent Returns as Andy Barclay from the original Child’s Play (1988, yes it’s been that long) building on his previous brief cameo in its predecessor Curse of Chucky. There’s an intriguing element of Andy keeping Chucky’s dismembered head in a safe, only to bring it out to torment it for relief. It could only more get more wacky if someone made Child’s Play Human Centipede style and put Chucky’s talking head between a Garbage Pail Kid and Teddy Ruxpin! The icing on the cake is it’s implied that Tiffany has possessed the real Jennifer Tilly, allowing her and her doll likeness to shows up which connects and brings into cannon the other outings namely Bride and Seed of Chucky not made by Mancini with some outlandish writing which makes perfect sense in the context of the series.

It’s not perfect due to some blown out colour correction and unnecessary CGI skyline backdrops but given the budget using a variety of smoke and mirror movie magic Chucky is brought to life with perfect execution aided by modern technology and Brad Dourif’s voice, complete with quips and inventive nasty murders.

There’s a limited amount of locations, a cabin, an asylum reminiscent of TV’s Hannibal and the snowy setting gives this some Kubrick Shining atmospherics. The stark white corridors hark back to the Exorcist III, One Flew Over Cuckoo’s nest, Mancini throws in enough plot points and flashbacks to peak interest. Thankfully it’s played straight for the most part and doesn’t stray into all out comedy territory a-la Bride and Seed.

Fans are treated to multiple Chucky dolls, graphic killings and dark humour but not only that there’s a surprise treat after the credits where another character returns – Andy’s foster sister Kyle from 1990’s Child’s Play 2! Played by the same talented actor Christine Elise giving thrills that Andy’s cameo did in Curse.

All in all leaves you wanting more and too much Good Guy Doll is never a bad thing.

When music-hall star Elizabeth Cree is accused of poisoning her husband on the same night as the last of a series of ‘Golem murders’ Inspector Kildare discovers both cases maybe linked and sets about solving both crimes.

Based on an an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s 1994 murder mystery novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem director Juan Carlos Medina offers an old-school Hammer-style horror anchored by performances by subtle Bill Nighy (who took up the reigns from the late Alan Rickman), Olivia Cooke (of Bates Motel), Eddie Marsan and Daniel Mays. But it’s Douglas Booth as Leno who steels the show.

All the familiar Gothic Victorian elements and crime story beats are there reminiscent of A Study in Terror and countless other yarns and clichés set in the period which are more than likely inherited from Ackroyds source material. Set on the unforgiving, squalid streets of Victorian London in 1880, Jane Goldman’s script captures the Lizzy Borden and Jack the Ripper talk of the time, but where 2015’s comparable Frankenstein Chronicles series had a filmactic feel this is sorely lacking in Limehouse Golem given it’s made for TV look despite a theatrical release. That said the costumes, makeup and music are spot on as Nighy’s Kildare goes effortlessly about piecing the case together aided by some bloody flashbacks and spectres in his mind. There’s a little nihilistic twist which peaks interest showing that the conscious of life isn’t black and white especially when it comes to work politics, promotion and fame.

Overall, it has some gruesome elements and while it may not work as a whodunit reaching heights of In the Name of the Rose, Agatha Christie or a Sherlock Holmes mystery it satisfies as an unconventional immersive period piece in the vain of countless Ripper-like outings. Worth checking out even if for Booth’s memorable performance.

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.

IT (2017) Review

Posted: September 9, 2017 in FILM REVIEWS/COMMENTS
Tags: , , , , , ,

IMG_7758.JPGSeven young outcasts face their worst nightmare when an ancient, shape-shifting evil emerges from the sewer to prey on the town’s children.

Director Andy Muschietti’s story beats are perfect the casting is top notch. Bill Skarsgård is fitting as IT/Pennywise the Dancing Clown, a trans-dimensional evil that awakens every twenty-seven years. Skarsgård’s and Tim Curry’s IT is like Jack Nicholson to Cesar Romero’s Joker, both equally great but a different take on the same character, so there’s no need for comparisons. Incidentally there’s a fitting nod to Curry’s TV Pennywise in a room of clowns. For the main cast there’s the one reminiscent of a young Kevin Bacon, the Rob Lowe looking one, the Molly Ringwald (amusingly self referenced within the film) the River Phoenix one and so on. Echoing The Breakfast Club, Goonies and Stand By Me to name a few.

Muschietti and writers Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman even cram in a creepy gnarled tree and a dilapidated haunted looking house. Starsguard moves eerily slow and contorted at times and uneasy fast at others. There’s much more gore in this adaptation. As a horror it offers enough creepy moments but where it gives today’s horrors a run for their money is the friendship, outcast and bully themes which come directly from Stephen King’s source material.

A major departure from King’s 1986 novel and 1990 miniseries is the 80s setting for the child part, even with the Airwolf T-shirt, New Kids on the Block songs, Casio watch, Gremlins posters and Nightmare of Elm Street 5, Batman and Lethal Weapon 2 showing in Derry’s cinema, some of the period feels a little off but the recreation for the most part works.

Again its strengthen comes from the casting which emotionally affects the story at its core. Frights, whether a cellar, sewer, bathroom or the alley or simple a dark office, the music, sound design thanks to Muschietti’s staging amplifies the chills while wearing its heart on its sleeve with the young performers.

It’s tight and pacey, with enough time for the characters to breath. Muschietti injects plenty of jump scares and creepy moments, and with a larger budget and omitting the adult segments (saving them for an IT sequel/chapter 2 and possibly flashbacks to 1989) it actually, surprisingly is better than its predecessor adaptation.

Packed with terrifying, hallucinatory and nightmare imagery coupled with a near on perfect cast IT is highly recommend.