My Little Sister (2016) DVD Review

rsz_1rsz_mls1MY LITTLE SISTER (Dirs- Maurizio Del Piccolo, Roberto Del Piccolo, ITALY, 2016)

Starring- Holli Dillon, Mattia Rosellini, David White, Astrid Di Bon

Out NOW on UK DVD from Left Films

The woods are always a great setting for a horror film and the natural habit is greatly used in this gritty stalk and slash thriller with elements of a torture porn flick thrown in for good measure. Whilst it’s low budget from the start and the setting pretty much confirms that since what’s the better way than to use a sparse woodland area without having to spend money on difficult locations that can be inevitably hampered by unsanctioned walk on cameos by members of the public and MY LITTLE SISTER uses the woodland to its extent.

The plot is basic in that it starts off with a couple going deep into a forest to meet up with some friends. They bump into the oft used horror character of the scary local, warning them that Little Sister will get them and to not take the non-threatening name lightly. Naturally they ignore this nutter’s warnings and its not long before the couple are having to fight off this vicious killer wearing what looks like a human skin mask and who has a nice line of peeling men’s faces off while making their loved ones watch on in horror, fulfilling the torture porn feel of the film from scene one. Throw into this a suspicious derelict farm house which seems to be the home of the killer and a mad women who wanders around the woods, seemingly harmless but somehow has a link to the house and to the madman.

rsz_mls2Opening with a nicely done scene of brutality with some unfortunate captives being tortured by the aforementioned Little Sister including one man being removed of his face in grizzly and impressive effects fashion MY LITTLE SISTER starts off in impressive attention grabbing kick off. This opening allows the Del Piccolo’s to start off strong and keep the viewer interested and to stay on board for the duration. Whilst there’s no doubt there are some flaws in this film there is also a lot to be impressed about. The central bad guy Little Sister or as he is also known by his really name, Igor, my have one of the most daftest sounding nick names for a bad guy but somehow comes across off as an effective villain with a grim mask made up of faces of previous victims looking pretty grim and unnerving.

rsz_mls3With hunchbacked slouch and stumbling walk as well he is the typical slasher bad guy one with a handicap yet somehow this still doesn’t impead him and he manages to outwit able bodied victims easily, which is also a classic trait of the slasher film. There is no doubt that the directors have been studying their horror homework as there’s the standard reference to slasher flicks and also a nice reference to the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE which plays into the backstory of the little sister and his family abode, a run down and decaying farm house which is a nice backdrop to the film and as a set is an impressive find for the film-makers. Though like any horror film you wonder why a character running from a mad man would take a chance running into a clearly deserted grim farm house knowing clearly well this might not be a place with a welcoming or comforting vibe.

rsz_mls4Clearly the film does have a few flaws. Dialogue wise the decision to go with an Italian cast speaking English seems somewhat unusual and whilst the dialogue is minimal the lines delivered seem stunted and flawed. This is marred by some wooden dialogue and admittedly were not here to witness a master-class in acting but it seems at times unintentionally comic particularly from the doom saying woodsman who is known in the cast as Ben. His delivery of the aforementioned “you’ll all be doomed” speech comes off as more cheesy and it doesn’t really help that he has an axe in his hand which makes him look more like a threatening local hill billy rather than a to be laughed at idiot local. At times less dialogue and maybe even no dialogue would have been a better choice or route to choose that could have added an originality to the piece. The cinematography is impressive for much of the running time though some earlier shots suffer from a slight sense of amateurish filming. As if part of the earlier section of the film is shot on a smartphone as it has that sense of image stability and picture panning which feels as if the screen is being dragged rather than the camera being moved.

rsz_mls5It’s not an overly original piece of film-making we have on hand here and with some flaws there’s still plenty to admire in MY LITTLE SISTER and the Del Piccolo’s have put their heart and time into this. To their credit they pull it off efficiently and with some gritty style, it has an unironic full on traditional slasher film feel, with an intention of trying to possibly set up a titular horror character in the form of Little Sister.

6/10

Subject 0: Shattered Memories (2015) Review

subz1Subject 0: Shattered Memories (Italy,2015)

Dir: Tiziano Cella

Starring: David White, Lauren Jane Matic, Tiziano Cella

For Release Check Website – http://www.subject0film.com

Plot: Lauren (Matic) wakes up next to her illicit lover who has been murdered while they slept. The crime unveils her affair to husband, Robert (White), although it seems Robert knows more than he let on. The killer who is evading the police is a sleeper created by Robert. He is Joshua (Cella), a man looking for answers for the crimes he has committed. Will Joshua discover the project that has turned him into a killer and set things right.

Subject 0: Shattered Memories is the first feature film by Italian director, Tiziano Cella, progressing from a number of short films. Cella has set out to create an ambitious film in Subject 0. It is a slow-burning thriller from numerous perspectives. The film has a reasonable large cast, most of which have plenty of dialogue. It gives the film an inter-connected feel like that of Pulp Fiction, in the sense that it feels like the audience is witnessing many stories rather than one big story as each character gets time to grown in front of the camera. It’s not until later in the film that Joshua becomes the main focus of the film.

subz2While it is ambitious to have all of these characters sharing the screen time, not all of them work. They require the context of Joshua being the killer to make them interesting but because that is not evident for a while, I found myself scratching my head at certain characters wondering what their purpose was. Two characters particularly were Joshua’s neighbour who complains constantly about the noise of his stereo, and a pizza guy who gets an awful lot of screen time for little pay off. Both characters, I assume, are comic relief characters and maybe the humour got a little bit lost in translation.

Speaking of translation, the film is primarily in English however it is clear that some of the actors who struggle with the language have been dubbed and I found the dubbing quite distracting. It might just be personal preference but I would have enjoyed this film more if it was done in Italian with English subtitles if it meant all the actors could act comfortably without struggling with a second language or having to be replaced by dubbing.

Subject 0: Shattered Memories does manage to build up some suspense and some scenes get quite bloody but it loses it’s tension when it jumps away to another character. If I knew I was supposed to be on Joshua’s side the whole time (I was supposed to be rooting for him, right?) I could have become much more invested in the character. It’s not entirely clear who the protagonist of Subject 0 is, which I would say is it’s biggest flaw.

subz3Technically, it’s a well made film, Cella’s practice through short film making has paid off. He’s also the strongest actor in the film and despite my previous opinions on the language barrier, the cast do a great job. Cella’s shown in this film that he wants to make big movies. The score on this film is huge, although maybe a little too dramatic for some of the on screen action it accompanies. Regardless of this, I hope that Cella keeps trying to make film’s as big as his dreams.

5/10