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Severin
post Apr 2 2017, 06:57 PM
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Since I recently did my countdown of 2016 Horror movies and a few people commented that they liked the fact that there were a fair few films they'd not heard of but found interesting. So, I thought since I'd enjoyed doing it so much, and since I watch a lot of Horrors and since there might be interest I would post the occasional review of largely new films as and when I watch them.


So up first is Pet

Pet




Directed by Carles Torrens

Following a chance meeting, Animal Shelter worker Seth becomes increasingly obsessed over former high school crush Holly. Before long he has trapped her in a cage deep beneath the animal shelter.

Pet holds the distinction of being 2016's lowest grossing film with a total takings over $70 from its single cinema screening. Reviews at the time came out mostly negative, usually citing the increasing implausibilities of the plot, and whilst there's some definite truth to that there's still much to enjoy about this low budget production.
The cast is small and much of the film focuses only on the two leads - Dominic Monaghan (Lost, The Lord Of The Rings) and Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl). Both play out their roles with conviction even if the script is occasionally sub-par. The film could conceivably work as a play giving a skilled director and a bit of a re-write.
What does let the film down however is the implausibility of the final third but if you can suspend your disbelief for an hour and a half this is kind of fun.


6/10
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Severin
post Apr 10 2017, 07:28 PM
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Clown




Directed by Jon Watts

When a devoted husband and father discovers the clown he hired for his son's birthday party has to cancel he decides to fill in himself. Unfortunately the costume he uses is not your every day clown suit

Clown began life as a fake trailer that boldly quoted Eli Roth as producer despite him having no involvement, but it was this very attitude that inspired him to get involved in a film that takes its ridiculous premise (man slowly turns into murderous 'clownbeast') and does something surprisingly different with it. Director Jon Watts (Spiderman: Homecoming) shys away from splatter movie territory and instead creates a film that appears to be an allegory for one man's struggle with his own paedophilia - our former devout family man seems to prey exclusively on young boys. The film is therefore clearly influenced by the real life story of John Wayne Gacy - the serial killer whose regular charity work involved his Pogo The Clown character. It's other obvious influence is David Cronenberg's The Fly. Like Jeff Goldblum's character in that film, our main character slowly transforms into something else over the course of the film.

Clown is an odd film, it starts of comically and you think it's going to turn into a boring slasher film and whilst it is far from perfect there are a few moments in it that are genuinely interesting and an unpleasant subtext that elevates it above drivel into something of a curio.


5/10


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Severin
post Apr 12 2017, 05:47 PM
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Wyrmwood: Road Of The Dead




Directed by Kiah Roache-Turner

Barry is a talented mechanic and family man whose life is torn apart on the eve of a zombie apocalypse. His sister, Brooke, is kidnapped by a sinister team of gas-mask wearing soldiers & experimented on by a psychotic doctor. While Brooke plans her escape Barry goes out on the road to find her

Wyrmwood, to use it's original title, is great fun and looks fabulous. Admittedly there are some issues regarding a lack of plot but like all road movies, it is the journey that matters and there is plenty to enjoy here. Whilst road movies and zombie films are among the most cliche ridden genres these days, Wyrmwood manages to threw in plenty of fresh ideas and the ones that is does borrow are largely from unexpected sources. The ability to form a psychic connection with the dead is a notably novel idea. This, as well as the Australian setting, makes for a zombie flick that feels very different to the crowd, and although it's not on a par with Busanhaeng, it is much better than most recently.
It should be noted hat Wyrmwood isn't meant to be scary. It knows it shouldn't be taken seriously but doesn't stray into outright slapstick like, say Bad Taste (a film that clearly helped influence this).
A sequel has been commissioned apparently and Roache-Turner could well be up for big things one day



7/10
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Severin
post Apr 19 2017, 01:20 PM
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Southbound




Directed by Radio Silence, Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, and Patrick Horvath.

Five interlocking tales of terror follow the fates of a group of weary travellers who confront their worst nightmares and darkest secrets on a desolate stretch of desert highway.

Remember those old anthology films they used to make? Films like Dead Of Night, Creepshow or The Twilight Zone: The Movie. Well, this is one of them, and it's a corker. Made in 2015 and released last year, it's one of those I'd heard about because it made a number of best Horrors of 2016 lists and having finally gotten round to seeing it, I can definitely agree.
There are five separate stories all connected over a lonely piece of road somewhere in the US desert. Each story has around 15-20 minutes to play out but each one segues nicely into the next having given us enough information to know that there's a much bigger tale under the surface but we are only seeing a glimpse into a fraction of it. Consequently, it leaves you guessing in places but importantly it leaves you wanting to see more. Crucially every story is connected in a clever and wonderfully executed over-riding arc. Despite the numerous directors there is a fluid feel and no major tonal shifts or jarring switches. The acting is mostly good although the shakiest parts is in the first segment but it's thankfully fairly brief and things settle down quickly. The film doesn't go for out and out tension or scares but is a great collection of campfire stories all tied up with a very smart resolution.
Unfortunately because the stories are brief, any description more detailed than the above contains spoilers. Suffice to say I thoroughly recommend this.



7.5/10


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Severin
post Apr 22 2017, 01:49 PM
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The Devil's Candy




Directed by Sean Byrne.

When struggling artist Jesse and his family purchase a spacious Texan ranch at a bargain price they are very much aware of the tragedy that befell the former owners. Jesse soon begins creating work as though something intangible was controlling him. And then the previous occupants son unexpectedly returns home.

Released in March 2017 The Devil's Candy caused something of a buzz at the Toronto International Film Festival 2 years ago and is the 2nd film from The Loved Ones' director Sean Byrne who is fast making something of a name for himself.
I was a little dubious when this began. The trailer was great but the opening 10 minutes of the film had me concerned that this was going to be hugely disappointing. Fortunately I continued with it and was rewarded with a smart movie that played with recognised tropes and had a genuine understanding of what makes a Horror movie work. What could be a generic Amityville Horror rip off switches things up by having the previous victims murderer be alive and present during the events. It also throws conventional finale expectations out of the window too, all the while serving us up a film that feels realistically grimy and unpleasant. There's no huge amount of gore or violence but it is there and presented in a matter of fact way that serves to make it more uncomfortable than typical Hollywood fare.
The main antagonist is played by the ever creepy Pruitt Taylor Vince whose real life eye condition is neither played up or played down but is present enough to be noticeable and only adds to the air of unease around his character.
The film takes it's time, slowly increasing the danger and tension before literally ending in a blaze of violence, fear and fire.

Something for those who like a gritty, grimy Horror



7.5/10


This post has been edited by Severin: Apr 22 2017, 01:50 PM
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Severin
post Apr 23 2017, 07:58 PM
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The Blackcoat's Daughter (aka February)




Directed by Oz Perkins.

Two girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break..

Wow! I loved this film. I didn't expect to and I'd been putting it off for a while but this is great. Having said that it isn't for every one - it reminded me of The Witch in a number of ways and I know that film has its detractors.
The IMDB description I've used above doesn't really help sell it either to be honest but two girls do indeed get left at school over the winter break.
Right from the start the film sets out its atmospheric and unsettling tone with a striking dream sequence. From there on in it gently builds on that with each scene taking its time and lingering just long enough to make it feel uncomfortable. Kiernan Shipka of Mad Men fame (who at points looks worryingly like my ex) plays Katherine who initially comes across as timid compared to the more outgoing Rose. Rose has engineered her parents late arrival in order to meet up with a boy she's been seeing, whilst Katherine believes her earlier dream may be something more. Katherine always appears distant and distracted, moving in to a more and more absent state of mind as the film continues and Rose soon finds herself increasingly frightened of her.
Meanwhile the mysterious Joan (played by Emma Roberts) has arrived in town and befriended a couple who offer to help her travel home.
The two stories dovetail nicely and the film does jump around in a non-linear fashion occasionally and I can't tell if that signposted the ending too much or if that improved the anticipation. Either way it didn't detract from the ending for me.
What I loved most about the film is that it approached its subject from a totally fresh angle. It does away with your typical girls in peril devices and focuses on what happens after the demon has been exorcised. What if it wasn't horrific for the possessed? What if the voices in your head were a comfort? What if you missed them? In doing so it makes the ending a weirdly conflicting experience.

After Personal Shopper (which I can't bring myself to categorize as a Horror) this is my favourite film of this year so far. Yeah, I'm giving it a big old 9/10



9/10


This post has been edited by Severin: Apr 23 2017, 07:59 PM
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