Wednesday, 18 April 2018

For the Love of Shorts: Grin (2015)


Early Danny Donahue, with this weeks short. Staring Megan Hayes (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Jamie Daniels (Rasp), and Trent Ward (Map the Music).

Another shocker to fill your boots with.




Friday, 13 April 2018

Paradox (2016)



Paradox
Synopsis

A group of young scientists are working on a secret project that may allow them to travel ahead in time. They test it by sending one of their own ahead one hour. He returns pleading with them to shut it down, explaining that within that hour, they will all die.

Review

It's hard to do time travel in movies well. This has been proven time and again *coughs*. Paradox is a little different from most of the time distortion movies that I have seen as it takes place in an enclosed environment, with little need for special effects or fancy direction, and relies heavily on plot, writing, and the ability of the cast to pull off the needed chops. 

Most of which hold up well enough.

The problem that most films of this ilk have is that they break their own rules on inspection - and it takes little to find fault. This has been evaded in film cleverly in the past, by either confusing the audience (see: Primer) or creating a paradox (see: Triangle). Obviously this is a film of the latter. The cast are pushed back and forth in time (all within one hour of film time) trying desperately to a) work out what is going on, and b) stop everyone from dying. They even spend a portion of the exposition explaining why they can't do that. It's intriguingly done.

For a low budget effort the limited sfx don't do bad. The direction is okay, and like most of the work within the movie, clunky at times but not enough to be off putting.




The cast is relatively large for such a claustrophobic effort. Leading them are Zoe Bell (Death Proof), Malik Yoba (Designated Survivor), and Adam Huss (Shattered). Huss is standout, channeling a Sam Rockwell / Colin Farrell hybrid at every turn. The rest of the cast are solid. 

The story plays out fairly predictably, but not bad by any means. I'm a little surprised that the film has been so widely lambasted.

Personally, I would recommend this without question for a fun, horror/sci fi, with a twist.





Wednesday, 11 April 2018

For the Love of Shorts: Prey (2011)



Pretty boy Tom has done it again. After a wild night out, Tom brings back to his flat his beautiful catch: a lonely young woman. After all, solitary girls are such an easy prey for a one-night stand, aren't they?

Bloody Cuts Films has done it again. Starring Jessica Blake (The Beyond), David Blood (Beneath a Neon Tide), and Fergal Coghlan (The Royals), and directed by Jonny Franklin and Ben Kent, the awesome PREY.


Friday, 6 April 2018

Gerald's Game (2017)


Gerald's Game

Synopsis

While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame.

Review

Well, the synopsis says it all. Pretty much the entire running time is devoted to Jessie handcuffed to the bed. But wait - it's not that simple. Based on a Stephen King book, Gerald's Game is about Jessie trying to escape sometimes aided, sometimes hindered by two figments of her imagination, personified by her late husband and by herself. Fundamentally, the film consists of a woman in an impossible situation bouncing ideas off of herself. It's a clever concept, and exceptionally well done. I'll be upfront: I've not read the book, but, I have it on authority that the film is pretty close to it.

With this concept, if the source material is good, then the film balances on the screenplay, the direction, and the acting, and we know the source is good. The screenplay is excellent - how much of it is lifted directly from King, I don't know, but Mike Flanagan (Oculus) who directed and co-wrote did an astonishing job. It's not easy to weigh 95% of a film on two people talking in a room.

Jessie is played by Carla Gugino (Watchmen) and she does a cracking job. She gives tired, frightened, confused, weak, strong. Her performance is second to none. But coming in a close second is her husband, Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek 2009) who personifies her more destructive thoughts. And play the bastard he does.




There is more to the story than I'll go into here (spoiler free), but the film does what it sets out to do. It's terrifying on many levels. It touches on subjects that most film shy away from. I was unsure going into it that I would enjoy it, based on the concept - but I'm so glad I gave it a go.

It's a film that plays on the viewers fears. Isolation. Death. Restrained.

Character driven horror doesn't get better than this.

A quick shout out to Jeff Howard (Ouija: Origin of Evil)- the other screenplay co-writer. Good job.




Wednesday, 4 April 2018

For the Love of Shorts: Dorset (2018)



This weeks short is the excellent Dorset, from writer/director Karl Huber. Starring Sean Michael Gloria (Followers), Linda Roser, and Sarah Jimenez, this 4 minute single shot shows exactly what can be done with practical effects - all from Crimson Hands FX Studio.

Outstanding work.






Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Night of the Virgin (2016)



Night of the Virgin

Synopsis

In this horror-comedy, at a New Year's Eve party, Nico, a naive twenty year old, sets out ready to lose his virginity at all costs that same night. In the middle of the party, his gaze crosses Medea, a cunning and attractive mature woman.

Review

Darkly bizarre, and in places, boundary pushing. What more is there to say about director Roberto San Sebastián's horror comedy? Nico, portrayed excellently by Javier Bódalo (The Network of Freedom) meets older woman Medea (Miriam Martin - Sapos y culebras) at a New Tear party and the two go to Medea's apartment. Clearly Nico has one thing on his mind, but so does Medea, and hers is very different.

From the very beginning of the film, Medea's intentions are clearly not of those of Nico. She, and her apartment, come across as kinda evil. But no spoilers here.

The intention of the production gives strong vibes of Peter Jackson's Brain Dead (or Dead Alive). It's slow pacing and dark sets give a hypnotic feel. The acting, direction, and writing is all pretty much on point. I struggled to find much humor in the film, but that wasn't a problem. It was gripping enough, and the lead from party to apartment holds your attention.

It's plenty squicky for the gore hounds. It has a nice horror feel - an uneasiness - to it.


Javier Bódalo


The only issue that the film suffers is the occasional leap into boundary pushing. Some of the scenes (not necessarily horror) will be construed by some as distasteful. It is a horror film, and should be seen as such. If you are weak of stomach, or perhaps don't want more adult scenes in your horror, then perhaps this is not for you - that said, if you enjoy seeing how far a film can suddenly veer into shocking, then this is definitely for you. It's probably not one for date night.





Night of the Virgin is available now on DVD (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Night-Virgin-DVD-Javier-Bódalo/dp/B074BNFY1L)



Tuesday, 27 March 2018

For the Love of Shorts: The Ten Steps



"Set in Ireland, a family moves to a new city neighborhood, taking residence in a large, old house that is rumored to have a dodgy past. Their young daughter Katie is caught in a power outage."

Starring Jill Harding and directed by Brendan Muldowney, you get ten minutes for your Ten Steps. 

Be afraid of all of them.