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Tethered (2017) Short Film Review

rsz_tethered_teaser_poster_officialTethered (Short 2017)

Director: Daniel Robinette
Writers: Jeff Cox, Daniel Robinette
Stars: Jared Cook, Grace Mumm and Kayla Stuhr
Runtime: 12min

Synopsis (from IMDb): “Abandoned by his mother, Solomon is left to live in isolation while abiding by three rules. Having grown accustomed to his routine, he begins to realize the rules may be a hindrance to a life-changing discovery.”

Tethered is the next short by the talented team over at 4 Leagues Media. Following up from Drawn to Fear (2016) and The Time Will Come (2016) (which I’ve previously reviewed both favourably). Don’t be alarmed there is no bias here, I must uphold my critical integrity!

As mentioned above in the brief synopsis Tethered follows a boy named Solomon. He lives out in the wilderness and must hunt and trap to survive in the harsh conditions. He is guided by three rules bestowed to him by his mother. He physically tethers himself to the cabin, (he is of fixed abode!) so he doesn’t wander and get lost, given his ailments and the condition that he is in. These are all subtly uncovered over the course of the early stages of the film.
For a 12min film, it seemed fairly fleshed out, more than most short films of this duration. The pacing was spot on for the story that was being told. I’ve come to know the style of filmmaking. If I watched blindly I believe I would be able to guess and say “yes, this is a Robinette I’m watching.”

rsz_tethered_tapeWhere I felt this short lost its footing was for the climax scene. Thematically it felt out of character with the rest of the film. I have had the opportunity to discuss this with Dan after the fact and my suspicions were confirmed with him as to why certain narrative decisions were made. But I will let you, the potential viewer, to make up your own mind.

I’ve been told I was the first outsider to have laid eyes on Tethered and what a pretty sight indeed. From a purely technical standpoint, the film cannot be faulted. The acting, cinematography, the location and basically everything that fills the screen oozes character, detail and style. The story was captivating and I was sucked right into the world in which Solomon inhabits. Years of backstory conveyed by both visual and audio cues. This is a testament again to the continued quality 4 Leagues Media manages to produce. For me it has been 3/3 that have knocked it out of the park in this very competitive arena of short films.

rsz_tethered_solomonVerdict: Not the end of Robinette’s tether

8.8/10

Listen to my chat with Dan Robinette below on The Bazaar Cast:
https://soundcloud.com/thefearmerchant/e001-daniel-robinette-writerdirector

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

Deadly Virtues: Love. Honour. Obey. (2014) Review

deadly4Deadly Virtues: Love. Honour. Obey. (2014)

Directed by: Ate de Jong
Written by: Mark Rogers
Starring: Edward Akrout, Matt Barber and Megan Maczko

“A stranger breaks into the house of a couple, ties up the husband and, having a whole weekend at his hand, plays a slow game with the woman, a game of threats, fear, obedience – and intimacy.”

People often complain about excesses of sex and violence in the horror genre but, in truth, it’s rare that these two elements are successfully brought together on screen. Films like Zombie Strippers (2008), Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1998) and Nightmare Sisters (1988), whilst attempting to blend those genres that titillate and terrify, usually end up producing a concoction that doesn’t excite on any level.

And, I must admit, during the first few moments of Deadly Virtues: Love. Honor. Obey., I did worry that the filmed sex was going to prove as disappointing as the experience usually is in real life. In the first moments of the film we discover it’s a Friday evening and we are following a mysterious figure entering a suburban home. Clearly he has no right to be there, as is suggested by his furtive manner, his penchant for sniffing the shoes that he finds in the house, and the fact that the owners are oblivious to him.

deadly2We know the owners are oblivious because, although they’re off-screen, they’re engaged in the sort of noisy sex that would make most neighbours believe the couple were watching one of the Saw movies. Or strangling an unwanted piglet. The unseen man grunts and wheezes like an asthmatic bulldog humping a reluctant chew toy. When the intruder bursts in on the scene the tension of this movie really kicks in and we, the audience, begin a rollercoaster ride of genuine horror. The cast in this film do an excellent job.

We first meet Tom (Matt Barber: Downton Abbey, Dracula and Being Human) whilst he’s behind his wife, banging away at her with a level of mechanised ferocity that seems to indicate more industry than intimacy. Tom is taken out of the equation early on in this film but his presence remains as a focal point for some particularly pleasing torture and abuse. At the same point when we meet Tom, we’re also given our first glimpse of Alison (Megan Maczko: Me and Orson Welles, A Hologram for the King and The In-Between). If Tom looks like he’s an overenthusiastic participant in the intimacy, Alison looks like she’d rather be grouting the kitchen. As the story progresses we learn there are lots of things Alison would rather be doing than Tom, but I won’t give away any spoilers here.

deadly3The final member of the cast is the sinister intruder, Aaron (Edward Akrout: The Hollow Crown, The Borgias and Mr Selfridge). Aaron is a man of mystery, a master of shibaru and an extremely focused (if uninvited and unwanted) houseguest. From the first moment when he has Alison alone, when he says, “You belong to me now,” he comes across as a dangerous and unpredictable threat. Perhaps he’s best summed up in the exchange where Alison sobs at him, “Why are you doing this to us?” Aaron laughs confidently and simply responds, “Why not?”

From beginning to end this is a film that pushes boundaries and explores the very real horror of assault and sexual violence, as well as the vast difference between sex and intimacy. The acting is superb. Mark Rogers’s script is strong and credible and Ate de Jong’s direction is flawless. For narrative tension, for an unsettling sense of realism and for a disquieting sense of menace, this is a film that will genuinely make you squirm in your seat.

10/10

Transhuman (2016) Review

rsz_transhuman1TRANSHUMAN (2016)

Starring Natasha James, Steven Berkoff and Michael McKell

Written & Directed by Nicholas Winter

Transhuman will be released on DVD by 88 Films on October 9th 2017

“Transhuman follows a young journalist into the underbelly of a transhumanist cult, spanning generations back to the nazis and World War Two”.

“Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international and intellectual movement that aims to transform the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities”.

Thank god for Wikipedia because otherwise I would not have a clue what the hell the title of this film means. The subject is actually quite interesting and ripe for exploration, but this isn’t the film to do it. There’s the seed of an idea here, but the execution lets it down massively.

Coming from Porcelain Films, Transhuman follows British journalist Alex (Natasha James) and her investigation into some nasty business in picturesque Spain. When her close friend Cassie (Rebecca Scott) goes missing, she must help hired muscle Lukas (Marc Bannerman) in finding her. As they do, they uncover a much larger terror.

rsz_transhuman2Transhuman feels like a film cobbled together because if what was available at the time. It’s as if the filmmakers had some actors they wanted to work with and some lovely Spanish locations at their disposal and just cooked up a story to fit around them. But the story is ultra-thin, and so director Nicolas Winter fills the film with scenes of discussing where to go next, driving to that place, walking around that place, with morose orchestral music forever in the background.

The production values are actually pretty great, with a proficient polish over everything. But that can only carry a film so far. Scenes are dragged out forever, particularly one set in a car that should have been claustrophobic and tense but became filler after lasting five whole minutes. Much of the film just wanders nowhere.

The performances only slow things down further but much of this is fine down to the script more than the actors. Each of the characters is pretty interchangeable, stood around in rooms spouting inane dialogue like they’re in a cut scene for an early Resident Evil game. They each do their best, but with nothing exciting to say or do, no way of making themselves likeable, it’s a lost cause.

Any positives from this? At about an hour in, Winter starts to get a bit more ambitious with his camerawork and editing, and Eastenders star Marc Bannerman starts to ham it up which livens up proceedings. The experienced Michael McKell also shows up to add a bit of class.

rsz_transhuman3But it soon slumps into lazy, boring and ultimately pointless flashbacks, adding backstory that’s not needed to characters that have no dimension.

These actors, location and subject matter deserved better than this. As it is, I have to be honest and say I found this a pretty miserable viewing experience.

Best bit: the random and distracting appearance of a Barcelona shirt!

4/10

Split (2016) Review

MV5BZTJiNGM2NjItNDRiYy00ZjY0LTgwNTItZDBmZGRlODQ4YThkL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjY5ODI4NDk@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_Split (2016) Review

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast:  James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sulu, Betty Buckley

Plot: Three girls, are attacked, and kidnapped by a man, that to their mortal peril, is diagnosed 23 distinct personalities. They must try to escape before a terrifying, new, 24th personality referred to as ‘The Beast’, is unleashed.

Split, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, is the second time he has worked with producer Jason Blum of Blumhouse productions. Its safe to say that once again the pairing has worked brilliantly, and created another Thriller/Horror masterpiece. Not only is the script and dialogue just exceptional but the acting performance of James McAvoy is pretty much perfect. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever witnessed, from any actor, ever.

His character has 23 personalities that are all completely different to one another and are all as intense, and in their own sense, terrifying in so many different ways. His personalities, in his head, are laid out to us, like 23 people sitting in a support group meeting, and each of them are fighting inside him, to stand in the light. There are a four of them, that are most prominent through the film.

MV5BMTc1NDYyOTA5MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjE2MDY1OTE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1552,1000_AL_8ee26fdf6e7d4bd7_5720_D012_00044_R_CROPV2(Hedwig, Aged 9 – Pictured Left)

(Fashion Designer, – Barry Pictured Right)

The first two have an element of innocence to them. These being 9 year old boy with a lisp called Hedwig, and a fashion designer called Barry.

The next two are the most dangerous of the 23…

 

MV5BOWEyM2U3NzctNjNlNS00MTEzLWExMzctNDMwYWU1OGI2NjE0L2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDA5NjMyNjY@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,739_AL_(Ultra Aggressive Dennis – Pictured Left)

MV5BZDMyZmQzNmMtNmM2My00ZjAxLWIzMzItM2U0ZTE2ZmVjZmMwL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDA5NjMyNjY@._V1_(Dark, Moody, Violent Miss Patricia – Pictured Right)

They are firstly a man called Dennis. He has the worst possible case of OCD, and is ultra aggressive, and impulsive in his nature. The other is a woman called Miss Patricia who is very unpredictable, extremely firm, and violent at the drop of a hat.

When he appears as Hedwig, he says that Dennis and Miss Patricia keep telling him that the beast is on the move and he is coming to get them. The three girls should be scared because he’s going to come and do horrible things. We also hear Hedwig say that the beast is going to come and protect them, and make them safe. These sentences are very cryptic in their nature but all add up, to one hell of a showdown. Upon meeting the beast, its safe to say, that Hedwig, was absolutely correct, and the three girls, find themselves in a fight for their lives.

The three girls that are captured are also brilliant. Two of the girls are spoiled rich girls and the other is a quiet, reserved girl who keeps very much to herself. The contrast of character traits works really well. The quiet girl is called Casey and is portrayed by Anna Taylor-Joy. Her character, is like a big ball of elastic bands, you can unravel it all you like but you never seem to be able to reach the middle. Throughout the film, we get flashbacks of her as a young girl, and get a real insight into her abusive past. Her character development, like everything in this film, is brilliant.

MV5BZDI2YjgyMzktMzg4NC00ZDA1LTk2YjAtODYzNTI1NzhlNjMwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjM1NjkwMDI@._V1_There are so many moments of that Shyamalan magic, that only he does so well. What I mean by that is that he doesn’t just jump from A to B. He tells a story and seems to be able to fit it into a feature length film instead of what most could only do, for example, in a 6 part mini series.. And still none of it feels crammed in or rushed. It all fits and its all relevant.

There are so many little things that happen that at first appear insignificant, but then come full circle, and leave you in awe. It’s very cleverly put together. There are scenes with the character Barry, when he goes to see his psychiatrist, that deserve the upmost attention in seeing the magic at work.

The last film M.Night Shyamalan did, called ‘The Visit’, is slow paced and full of building tension akin to a John Carpenter film. Split is the complete polar opposite. It is faced paced and there is always something happening. The tension you would expect is still there, but delivered in a different way. Instead, its more waiting in anticipation of what is going to happen next in this Roller coaster of a film. You’ll experience a range of emotions watching this film. For me, mainly, it was fear, as to what this guy is going to do next, and fear for what the three poor girls are going to be exposed to and how they are going to overpower this person(s).

Alien Covenant – A Preview !

alien-covenantPreview – Alien: Covenant

Director: Ridley Scott
Actors: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Amy Seimetz, Jussie Smollett, Callie Hernandez, Nathaniel Dean, Alexander England, Benjamin Rigby

Introduction:
The horror film everyone is talking about, is the upcoming Alien: Covenant. Appearing in theatres on May 19th, and if the trailer is anything to go by, it looks like Ridley Scott has responded to pleas from fans, and gone for a full on Alien film. Not just that, but a full on horror film. In saying that, does it have comparisons to any of the previous Alien films? Each of the four, full on Alien films that have gone before it have all been completely different. If anything, parts on the Covenant space craft, have similarities to the 1979’s Alien.

What we are going to do now, is have a look at the trailer in detail, and break it down, making comment on the parts of the trailer, that I found to be important, and relevant. Its very exciting, and I have a few theories. I’ve tried my best to stay away from spoiler articles, so what I’m saying here is my point of view only.

If any of them turn out to be true, then so be it… Read ahead at your own risk!

Trailer Breakdown:

alienwatchThe Crew of The Covenant 

The name of the ship that is taking up the mission is called ‘Covenant’.
The crew is made up of couples, that are on their way, to colonise the planet.
This scene shows the crew getting together, before going into cryostasis.

alienwatch (1)The Ground Team

The ground team move out, to explore the terrain, and are immediately faced with questions.
They come across wheat, and other human vegetation.
How did a planet so far from Earth, that is considered uninhabited, have such things?

alienwatch (2)The Black Pods 

This is important, and a major plot point.
For anyone who hasn’t been following the build up to the film, or missed the Radio 2 interview with Michael Fassbender, these black pods that appear on the ground, are a mutation of the black goo that we saw in the Prometheus.
If you are to stand on one of the pods, an airborne contaminant known as a spore is released and enter your body through you ear.
They are microscopic in size, and do a very similar job, as the embryo planted by a face huggger.
Once you’re infected, you’re gonna have a bad time…
But more on that later.

alienwatch (3)A Familiar Sight: Cause For Concern

We all remember a derelict craft, identical to this one, on the planet LV426, in Ridley Scott’s ‘Alien’ in 1979, and then the exact same craft, in the James Cameron directed sequel ‘Aliens’ in 1986.
We know that whats inside, is the stuff nightmares are made of. This craft is a picture perfect portrait of death.
There should be a sign on the door saying ‘Death Awaits’.
A similar craft made an appearance at the end of Prometheus, when an engineer attempted to take off, but was thwarted by the crew of the Prometheus.
What makes the presumably crash landed craft, in this scene of particular interest, is that in the closing scenes of Prometheus, we see Elizabeth Shaw, and David take off in another engineer ship that was left on LV-223. Is this the ship that Elizabeth and David took off on? Is David here? If so, where is Elizabeth Shaw? David was just a separate head and boudy last time we saw him.

alienwatch (4)Inside The Craft: Engineer Suits

Here, we see the ground crew of the Covenant making what we know, is a bad decision.
We can clearly see in this photo, that there are a number of suits worn by the engineers.
We never saw the inside of the craft that David and Elizabeth took off on, but it was a craft that belonged to the engineers, so… is it too far fetched to think, that there may have been engineers on board?
If so, where are they now? Are they still there? More importantly, we have to ask ourselves that question once again… Where is David? Where is Elizabeth Shaw?

alienwatch (5)Dog Tags… 

I’m going to throw a cat amongst the pigeons and give you my thoughts on what this picture is telling us.
A picture can speak a thousand words, but I will try to be brief.
This was an uninhabited planet, that has a crash landed craft, and now there is a set of dog tags, with their owner, nowhere in sight. I am of the belief that these belong to Elizabeth Shaw, and she has got her wish, and met her maker. This must mean that David, in some way shape or form, is also there, with the black goo.

We know already from Prometheus, what David is willing to do, in his quest for knowledge and learning. He was ready to put Elizabeth Shaw, with the Alien fetus inside her, into cryostasis, so when they return to earth, he could study the alien further. He has first hand, seen what the black goo can do. When you look back at the human vegetation, and the black pods with the spores, it would be logical to say, that there has been some bio-engineering, and experimentation going on, and somehow, David is at the centre of it.

alienaec6390fc3f07936e87555f00f66c26d031c45d1The Spores

Now would be a logical time to discuss these pesky spores.
Right, so remember the black pods from earlier? When you stand on them, they release a spore.
See that tiny black dot in the centre of that mans ear? That’s the spore. It has now contaminated this man, and what will happen next to him, is beyond description… But in any case, i’m going to try.

alienwatch (10)The Birth of The Back Burster

The first four Alien films, gave us plenty of chest bursting action, giving birth to the dreaded Xenomorph.
Covenant brings us a new breed of Alien, known as the Neomorph. As you can probably guess, they burst out of your back, instead of your chest. Sounds delightful doesn’t it? So lets take a look at the Neomorph.

alienFotorCreated1_2The picture on top, is an artists impression of the Neomorph, and the picture below it, is a screenshot from the trailer. As we can see from the bottom picture, they are pale in colour, almost white in contrast to the black Xenomorph. We can also see that they appear to walk on all fours, There are spikes along its back, the elongated head, and scorpion like tail. From we have seen from the trailer, they appear ultra aggressive. Where the Xenomorph is calculated and attacks when you least expect it, the Neomorph appear to attack at will. Needless to say, ultra terrifying.

alienwatch (6)The Eggs

Are you ready for this? A crew member of the Covenant, the person we can see at the rear of the picture with the flashlight, is led into a room full of eggs. A familiar sight? You bet it is.
This is a room of the derelict craft, full of eggs.
More questions? Most Certainly.
How did the eggs get there?
The simple answer is an Alien Queen. But how did she get there? We saw in prometheus, that what came out of Elizabeth Shaw, was the first face hugger, that gave birth to the Deacon. Could the fate of Elizabeth Shaw, be linked with the birth of an Alien queen?
The second question has to be, who is the person leading the crew member into the egg room?

alienwalter_davidOn right, is the android David from Prometheus. On the left, is Walter, who is the new android onboard the covenant. We know that David must be somewhere on this planet, presumably restored to his full working best. But what has David been up to, and who is the person leading the unknowing crew member into the egg room?

alienwatch (7)This is the next shot in the egg room. With the crew member we saw earlier with the torch, standing right next to an opening egg, and we know whats inside.
But who is the person standing in the bottom right? I’m of the belief, this is one of the androids… but my gut feeling, is that its David. As we further explore the trailer, i’ll reveal why I think this is David.

For the unfortunate crew member, we know what happens next.

alienNEF5HozNq2bPIM_1_bThe Sacrifice

This picture is from Prometheus. Its known as the big head room, and is full of canisters of the black goo. It was thought this was a room of prayer and sacrifice.

alienwatch (17)At the back of this picture, we can see a statue, with a big domed building.
What is the building for, and how did it get there? Who built it? Who is the cloaked crusader in the middle of the picture?.
In front of the statue, are what appears to be human sacrifices. Humans I hear you say? Lets take a closer look.

alienwatch (11)They look rather human to me. Is it possible, that unknown to Weyland-Utani, that this planet was already colonised by humans? It’s also got the look of people that have has their backs burst open. A rather terrifying prospect, and reminds me of the colony on LV-426, who also met an unfortunate fate, that time, at the hands of Xenomorphs.

alienwatch (18)The Laboratory

If we look close at this picture, the person or something at the bottom looks to have had some kind of postmortem. There are also, all kinds of diagrams around the room, giving a kind of science lab feel. And of course, to the right hand side, is an alien. We’ll find out the purpose of this room in time i’m sure.

Conclusion:
There is so much happening in this film, and looks like its going to be mega…! Dare I say it, possibly the best since Aliens?
I hope Ridley Scott has got the pacing right, and allows for a coherent story to be told, instead of a mash up of scenes with monsters.
As I’ve said throughout, I believe that David is the key to all of this.
My theory is that David, at length, has studied the black goo from Prometheus, to the extents of what it can do, and what can be achieved by using it, on plants, people, and animals. I think the creatures we are seeing are David’s doing, through some kind of, crazy genetic engineering, and experimentation.
We know the black pods, release spores that kill you, giving birth to a Neomorph, and we have also clearly seen that there are eggs, to create Xenomoprhs.
With that many eggs though, it would make sense then, that there is a queen.

Lets consider the queen for a moment.
This is not a chicken and the egg scenario here.
For the Xenomorph to exist, a queen must be born, to lay an egg, release a face hugger, and so forth.
Did an engineer birth the queen? or Did Elizabeth Shaw? Or is it a product of David?
There are so many questions that I cannot wait to get the answers to! I’m incredibly excited and cant wait for this film to come out!

New Trailer for German Horror Film *REYES* has landed!

rsz_reyesNew Trailer for German Horror Film *REYES* has landed!

The official trailer for the German movie “Reyes” produced by Uprise Pictures is now available online! It’s a gruesome tale featuring occult rituals and human sacrifice, it is going to be a thrill ride, very far from PG13 rating!

“Reyes” is directed by Patrick Templin and René Wiesner (ABCs of Superheroes), while produced by Patrick Templin, René Wiesner and Flavio Speglitz. Starring Kim Sønderholm (Follow The Money, Sinister Visions) as Mick, a down and out author looking for inspiration for his next book but stumbles into something very sinister in his hometown.

Also starring is Bill Hutchens (Human Centipede 2+3), Shawn C. Phillips (The Corpse Grinders, Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High Aka Vol. 2), Antonio Monroi (Apocalypto, Texas Rising), Patrick Jahns (Bunker of The Dead, Break), Peter Ahlers (Skatecop), Brigt Skrettingland, Dietrich Kuhlbrodt, Aileen Dankyi-Sampong and many others..

“Reyes” info on IMDb http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5648984/
“Reyes” on facebook https://www.facebook.com/reyesthemovie/

 

Zombie Lake (1981) Review

rsz_zlZombie Lake (1981) aka Le lac des morts vivants

Director: Jean Rollin

Starring: Howard Vernon, Pierre-Marie Escourrou, Anouchka

Out NOW on UK DVD from Black House Films!

Back in the 1980s there’s no denying that as a film genre Horror was at one of it’s highest peaks in terms of creativity, we saw the likes of Jason Voorhees slicing through our anxiety to Freddy Krueger making insomnia suffers blessed. Debuts by characters that are both highly regarded as the figureheads of the horror culture we live in today.

Amongst many classics during this period today we delve into Jean Rollin’s Zombie Lake. Jean originating from France sadly left us back in 2010 however is remembered for his unique cinematography, off-kilter plot progression and poetic dialogue which showed us the likes of The Living Dead Girl and The Night of the Hunted.

Zombie Lake is no exception to these sentiments. Set in a quiet rural village somewhere in France post World War II. Zombie Lake opens in a very Jaws-esque manner. A young local girl decides to take a mid-afternoon stroll followed by a casual skinny dip, little does she know there’s something lurking in the depths. The soothing sound of what can only be described as elevator music provided by composer Daniel White accompanies the opening. One can only assume that it was Jean’s intention to make the audience feel at ease prior to all hell breaking loose.

zl2After a savage attack by what everyone’s expectations of a zombie should be, green, angry and ready to eat the terror off someone’s face, there is a slight difference as these aren’t your traditional Zombies these are Nazi Zombies. Word travels fast throughout the village and grabs the attention of the village Major portrayed by Swiss actor Howard Vernon, who makes a very convincing job of knowing something that the audience do not at this stage of the film.

Very much a slow burner, after a brief back story of how the terror came to fruition the film very quickly changes its pace when a group of teenagers decide to go for a refreshing dip in the now suitably named The Damned Lake. Very much like the lives of the teenagers sadly this change in pace is short lived.

Although at times Zombie Lake tends to be lacklustre, you can’t deny that when it gets to the point where it’s about to go bat shit it is executed in a brilliant way. I also feel that Zombie Lake could have benefited from having a lot more gore within certain scenes. I couldn’t help but think while watching this that George A Romero’s 1978 classic Dawn of the Dead must have been a key influence on the making of this film overall.

zl3In 2017 Nazi Zombies are predominantly a lot more present in popular culture however in the 80s this was a completely new take on the zombie concept . It’s easy to see how Zombie Lake has influenced modern takes on this concept such as the Dead Snow films and even the Call of Duty Video game franchise.
Slow burner or not Zombie Lake is definitely worth the time of any zombie based film enthusiast.
This certainly won’t leave you wanting to go Skinny dipping, or will it? 😉

5/10

Che Gilson’s Netflix Roulette #18 – The Babadook (2014)

Babadook posterJoin Che as she plays Netflix Roulette and watches a randomly selected horror film. Will it be awesome? Will it be torture? What horrors await?? Find out every month with Netflix Roulette!

Title: The Babadook

Year: 2014

Director: Jennifer Kent

Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Hayley McElhinney

Netflix Rating: 3.5 stars

Seen it before: No! And OMG am I late to this party. I remember EVERYONE was going on about this movie when it came out. Everyone said it was terrifying, and it’s been on Netflix for ages, and it’s on my “to watch list” but I still haven’t seen it. So, no time like the present.

rsz_babadook_2First Impressions: How scared should I be? It has a decent rating and looks scary. Will I need to sleep with the lights on? Should I be watching this over lunch? (This is a bad habit…) Anyway, I hope it’s good and I hope it’s scary and I hope it holds together, and I’m excited a female director is helming it. So here we go! Or and one final observation, anything called the Babadook doesn’t sound scary. Because dookie….

The Verdict: Plot first. Stressed out single mom Amelia (Davis) has to deal with her needy, annoying, son Sam (Wiseman) who is a monster obsessed discipline problem. One night Sam picks out a bedtime story called The Babadook, the book has seemingly appeared from nowhere. This of course kicks off a series of escalating supernatural assaults. Amelia finally succumbs to the Babadook and almost murders her son. But, as annoying as Sam is he has some mad monster fighting skillz. So the worst outcome is avoided, but now Amelia is stuck with an evil supernatural house pet that lives in her basement, because, “You can never get rid of the Babadook”.

rsz_babadook_3OK. There is a lot to unpack about this movie. First off, the big lesson is never have children! LOL! But seriously, it does a great job examining the darker side of motherhood. The things people don’t like to talk about, like how sometimes kids are really hard to love. The scene where Amelia’s sister flat out tells her she doesn’t like her kid felt really true in ways that a lot of saccharine family dramas never do. It’s cold and brutal and a sharp moment that puts a nail in Amelia’s isolation.

The acting is phenomenal. Essie Davis’s performance drips with agony. She’s overworked, underpaid, and can’t get a moment’s sleep. As the film goes on she grows more haggard and disheveled. The young actor playing Sam turns out a fantastic performance. In the beginning Sam is needy, clingy, and screams and kicks, basically he’s the kid on the airplane everyone hates. His obsession with home-built weapons gets him kicked out of school which means he only clings harder to his mother. This clinginess comes from the tragic shared past of mother and son. Amelia’s husband died in a car crash while driving her to the hospital the night Sam was born. Amelia is constantly reminded of the tragedy by Sam’s very existence and she is by turns, cold and supportive, but unable to settle on one.

Babadook 1The actual Babadook itself remains off-screen, unless you count the creepy/cute illustrations in the picture book which evokes it. It appears as shadowy dream creature, and empty suit of clothes, and twice as Amelia’s dead husband. Even when Amelia “tames” it and id forced to keep it in the basement the audience STILL doesn’t get a good look. I’m not sure how effective this is. Personally I love a creature feature, but there is something to be said for keeping it vague. Mostly budgetary, but maybe the audience can conjure something scarier in their mind. I was just frustrated.

But I honestly liked just about everything in this film including the color palette of cool grays, blues and browns. Definitely worth watching, although probably everyone already has…

Rating: 8/10

Capture Kill Release (2016) Review

rsz_1rsz_capturekillrelease_keyart_samCapture Kill Release (2016)

Directed by: Nick McAnulty and Brian Allan Stewart
Written by: Nick McAnulty
Starring: Jennifer Fraser, Farhang Ghajar and Jon Gates

“A couple plots to murder a random stranger just for the thrill of it, but things turn ugly when one of them decides not to go through with it.”

Found footage films are almost certainly here to stay. Since the Blair Witch came wobbling onto our screens back in 1999, it seems that the number of found footage movies has been increasing steadily. Some of these, such as Rec, Troll Hunter, Exhibit A, Cloverfield and Quarantine, have been beautiful examples of the genre.

And there are others, which I won’t mention here, which don’t quite tick all the boxes. There is something about the idea of characters holding the camera that draws us into this subgenre of film. We live in a world of Snapchat, Skype and Facetime. We’re all adept at holding a camera and this familiarity makes it easy for us to identify with the characters on screen. We think, “I’ve held a wobbly camera like that before: I can empathise with this character.”

rsz_cuffsCapture Kill Release begins with Jennifer (Jennifer Fraser: winner of Best Newcomer at the Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival, and winner of Best Actress at HorrorQuest Film Festival and Louisville Fright Night Film Fest) unwrapping her new camera. This is the camera through which we see most of the movie. This is the camera she’s going to use to record every step of the hobby she wants to take up. And we soon find out that her intended hobby is homicide, with aspirations to become a serial killer.

Jennifer’s somewhat pussy-whipped husband, Farhang (Farhang Ghajar: Dark Matter, Man Seeking Woman and Uncle Brian) seems supportive of her plans. He helps his wife as they go shopping for shovels, axes, rope and plastic sheeting. He holds the camera when ordered. He even helps with practice runs as they dissect slabs of meat in the bathtub, so they have a better understanding of how to use a bone saw to carve up cadavers.

And whilst all of this has vague echoes of Zack and Miri Make a Porno (or maybe Zack and Miri Make a Snuff Flick) there is an obvious lack of parity in the commitment that this couple demonstrate to the completion of their shared goals. Jennifer is determined and focused. Farhang is not quite so resolute. Consequently, when Jennifer extends a dinner invitation to homeless Gary (Jon Gates: Something to Hide), with the subtext that he won’t have to worry about being homeless for much longer, it comes as no surprise to the astute viewer to see that Farhang does not share her enthusiasm for postprandial homicide. This is where we first see a rift between the couple rearing its ugly head.

rsz_farhang3Capture Kill Release is a fun slice of grisly entertainment. Farhang’s uneasy relationship with murder plays neatly against Jennifer’s enthusiastic acceptance of her vocation. The dynamics between the pair are almost as much fun to watch as the gruesome gore of butchery and barbarism that occurs in the second act of the film. Jennifer Fraser deserved the awards she’s won for this role. The whole film deserves to be seen by a wider audience. Nick McAnulty and Brian Allan Stewart have done a superb job in bringing this story to life and, if you get a chance to watch this unsettling home movie, it won’t disappoint.

8/10