Thursday, 20 July 2017

House on Elm Lake (2017)

This one will give you nightmares.

House on Elm Lake

A man convinced that Lucifer was within him murdered his wife and child at the house on Elm Lake. Years later a young family move in. But Lucifer is still at home.

The opening scene of House on Elm Lake is straight up disturbing. It's gory and graphic. Horrifying. Watching, I thought that was the end of it. Oh no. How wrong I was. Hayley (Becca Hirani), Eric (Andrew Hollingworth), and Daughter Penny (Faye Goodwin) move in. All is well at first with the exception of Eric's job which may not be available. Then Eric finds Lucifer within him...

Becca Hirani

Elm Lake is one of those films that is unrelenting. From the first scene, the only lull in the running time is the introduction of the family. Don't waste those seven minutes, because when the tension returns it doesn't stop.

What director James Klass has created is a film so taut and graphic it's harrowing. It's certainly not an easy watch with themes that many will find extremely disturbing - but so gripping it is that you can't look away either.

Hirani, Goodwin, and Hollingworth maintain a solid presence - and the supporting cast are great. Noteworthy in the supporting roles is Tim Freeman, on screen for seconds, and scene stealing. Shout out goes to Tony Manders though, as one of the creepiest creations ever put on film.

Tony Manders

With it being clear from the start that no one is safe, the movie twists until it reaches its shocking conclusion. With each blow to the family and their friends the film shakes your own psyche - chipping off a little at a time until there's nothing left.

At the end of the watch I was mentally exhausted and ready to watch cartoons for a couple of hours.

While certainly not for the faint of heart, if you want to be knawed at by a horror movie, let this one do it. It's certainly effective.

House on Elm Lake is released on September 11 on DVD and VOD.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

For the Love of Shorts: Rasp (2017)

Another one from Danny Donahue this week. The excellently creepy Rasp, staring Jamie Daniels.

3 Minutes you won't forget.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

12 Deaths of Christmas (2017)

A cinematically chilling movie - one that caught me by surprise.

Over the span of seventy years children disappeared into the forest near a town in Belgrave, with one who survived for only a few hours, her mind gone, saying, "The Witch" over and over. Then the killings stopped. All was well.

Twenty five years later the witch is back...

Based on the myth of Frau Perchta, 12 Deaths of Christmas is a classy horror film. These days it can be hard to use the word 'refreshing' when it comes to horror. So much is remade, re-imagined, or just the same old. 12 Deaths is refreshing. From the very opening the film oozes class and I land this at the feet of relatively new director, James Klass. The opening scene sets the film up perfectly, and while gives a glimpse of the witch from the very start, never gives away too much.

The acting is standout, excellent from pillar to post. Again Becca Hirani gives a great performance, but perhaps the stand out is from Oliver Ebsworth as young Callum and Faye Goodwin as Amy. The child actors in the film are notable and I expect to see much more from all of them.

So the big question. Is it scary?

Part of the charm created by Klass is the unrelenting atmosphere, and the way he plays with the audience, moving from scene to scene. Some playful. Others taut. He uses fear as a big player in the movie. He charismatically uses light, shadow, and some crafty camera work.

There's plenty of gore on offer, too. The deaths are nasty, inventive, and new. (Can I say refreshing again?) The effects are excellent to go with. And of the most part, it all remains Christmas centric.

There's little bad I can say about it. It's a must see.

Oh, and the twist? All horrors have a twist. It's a terrifying twist you won't see coming.

12 Deaths of Christmas comes out on VOD and DVD in November. You can find out more about it here:

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Fox Trap (2016)

Opening on a high, Fox Trap sets itself up to be an engaging horror. It's a new breed of slasher at it's core. 

Fox Trap

When Niall and Lorraine are jumped in their car by a gang of masked, knife wielding, lunatics, Lorraine runs from the car to safety, getting knocked down and badly hurt in the process. But it was all a prank. 

Now, eight years later, the whole gang responsible are reunited at a mansion house. And a masked killer is looking for vengeance. 

Could be anybody...

Director Jamie Weston clearly has a good eye. The opening of Fox Trap is impressively shot. It brings a sense of dread. Foreboding. Georgina Dugdale and Alex Sawyer do a bang up job as the unlucky couple. The masks used are inherently creepy. It bodes well. With nice sound design and camera work, the opening three minutes lay solid ground work.

When the cast ensemble years later things ramp up. Some have new partners. Some having been in prison after the incident. What follows is obvious resentment. Hackles are raised. Venom spat. Then a killer emerges, and the body count starts.    

Kate Lister

There are a few things that set this slasher beyond others. The first is the acting. Across the board, the acting is undeniably strong. Stand outs are Becca Hirani as Frankie, and Kate Lister as Connie. But that's not to put anyone else down. Next is the setting. How can you go wrong with a stately mansion in the middle of nowhere? But most of all is the mask. 

I don't think I've been quite as impressed with the eerie, creepiness of a mask since Jason donned his. Don't watch it alone. 

The kills are inventive. The atmosphere is ripe. If I can find one gripe? Some of the scenes are a little dark. I can highly recommend this one, when it comes out on VOD in September, and DVD in October. You can find out more here:

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

For the Love of Shorts: Don't Move (2013)

From the amazing Bloody Cuts team, 2013's Don't Move is ten minutes of absolute terror.

Director Anthony Melton get the most from his stars in one of Bloody Cuts best:

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Hood of Horror (2006)

So many ups. So many downs.

Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror

In 2006, someone thought an anthology film hosted by Snoop Dogg was a good idea. Was it? Well, it's up and down, as many antho movies are. Let's begin.

The opening segment / Wraparound

Presented as a "hip hop anthology", the movie begins with an animated sequence, where Devon accidentally shoots and kills his little sister. He is cast out by his family, and sells his soul in exchange for the life of his sister - becoming a Hound of Hell. This then sections to the live action wraparound, and Snoop Dogg hosts the rest of the movie, collecting souls along the way.

The animated section is excellent. It's stylized, and extremely well executed. I could, would, happily watch a whole movie telling this story, in this style. After going to live action, it dips a little, with Snoop not acting so much, as "Snoop Dogging". It works well enough, but that's not what we came for.

Crossed Out

Graffiti tagger Posie, is living in a church under the watchful eye of the Pastor. She has a run in with a local gang, and after escaping from them, is empowered by a Hound of Hell with the ability to clean up the streets.

Danny Trejo: Derelict

This one is a mixed bag. We have some big names. Danny Trejo is Derelict, the Hound. Billy Dee Williams is Pastor, Charlie. But the piece is led by Daniella Alonso (The Collector), early in her career, and her inexperience seeps through her performance. The story had a good deal of promise, but doesn't really go anywhere, which is a problem with many anthology movies. Overall it had some wasted promise, and some ropey FX, but Trejo is always worth watching. 3*

The Scumlord

Behind door number two we have Tex Woods Jr. (Anson Mount - Inhumans) and Tiffany (Brande Roderick - Baywatch) inheriting a property from Tex's recently deceased father, who make the lives of the tenants hell.

Brande Roderick. Um. Spoilers?

Straight off the bat, Anson Mount comes off as annoying, possibly on purpose, I don't know, but I'm going to lay blame on the director. Brande Roderick is apparently playing Paris Hilton. Honestly, they're not doing well. The tenants are played by more notable actors including Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) and Richard Gant (Deadwood), and act the two antagonists from the screen. Weirdly, this section is mostly played for laughs, with a consistent comical undertone. But has a rape/murder scene, which sits badly. The FX are better in this one, but little to recommend, I'm afraid. 2*

Rapsody Askew

The final segment comes in the form of a rapper who promises God that he will work for the light in exchange for being a famous rapper following the death of his partner, Quon.

Aries Spears: Quon

By far the most engaging and polished of the anthology, the two rappers Sod (Pooch Hall - Stomp the Yard 2) and Quon (Aries Spears - MADtv) are excellent. There's a surprising (and amusing) cameo from Jason Alexander (Seinfeld) and a Hound of Hell in the form of Lin Shaye (Insidious). All the acting is spot on. The direction is far better in this segment, strangely, as Stacy Title is the sole listed Director. The FX are good. It also has a strong and complete resolution. 4*


It's not a bad watch, but it's missing so much. One of those things is horror. Each segment hosts some interesting kills, but none of them draw out fear. One of the kills in Crossed Out is gross, and clearly the film makers are proud of it because it features a lot. But no scares. The second segment sticks out with a reliance on humor, but then the final segment is just so much better. It's a bumpy ride.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

For the Love of Shorts: Interview With a Time Traveler (2014)

From Director Ashley Cooper (as James Cooper) comes a nifty science fiction treat. Starring Eric Johnson (Fifty Shades Darker) and Elias Toufexis (Smallville), we taken into...a choice.

With excellent acting and fine direction, you can't go wrong: