Friday, 17 August 2018

6 Plots (2012)






Synopsis

Everyone's primal fears of death and how horribly it can play out in your own mind.

Review

So the synopsis doesn't help. The long and the short of the film is that a group of teens go to an empty property to have a party, during the party they are drugged, and all but one awakens in, for functional purposes, a coffin.

Protagonist, Brie, awakens after the party and everyone else is gone. From there she leaves, goes home, and is "interneted" into the plot. She is cut off from the other people, occasionally her cell works, and she can talk to the others, other times, sadly not. The rules given by the grotesque smiley face on screen is: no parents, no police. When one of the unfortunate crew awaken, she calls her father - the local sheriff before being told not to.

This sets off a chain reaction of people being killed within their coffins, and the frantic chase to rescue them, led by Brie, and the local police, all contacted accidentally by the sheriff's daughter.




From the get go of the film the acting is pretty solid. The directing pretty good too. Director Leigh Sheehan has little to nothing to his name, and it was written by Tim C. Patterson, who has nothing else to his name in any category. The cast is made up from largely TV actors - actually most of them are from Aussie soap, Neighbours.

The problem which most will stumble over is the first act. The introduction of the young victims is done pretty badly - leaving a number of them unlikable. It's not the fault of the actors, nor the director. It's the writing. Honestly after a few minutes, I couldn't wait to get the murder. But when I did, the whole film changed. The writing was tighter. The characters more likable. I quickly changed my mind towards the victims.

I'd like to say it was cunning writing, but I think not. The writer is excellent at horror - tension building (aided by the skills of the director) and  allowing the audience to stew in their own fear, but character development not so much. Which is a shame.

The first act, a let down, the second, excellent (and the second act is vastly longer than the other two), then we hit the third act. Some survive, some don't, and we have the reveal of the villain. This is a bit of a mish mash, and if you fully concentrated on the first act, you might know what was going on. The big reveal is somewhat a let down. Until three months later...

Now I'm not going to spoiler the big third act twist. It is, however worth waiting for. After a disappointing first act, and the action / horror packed second the third could have been a huge let down. Which it wasn't... but that's for you to find out for yourself.




The SFX in the film work well enough, as said the direction is pretty solid. Brie played by Alice Darling (The Fairies) is by far the standout of the film.

It's an interesting mix of Buried and Saw, and well worth the watch.





Wednesday, 15 August 2018

For the Love of Shorts: Going Down (2013)



Gunther Cleary has his whole day mapped out, but a simple elevator ride shows him that life doesn't always go as planned. 




Starring Dinora Walcott (Scandal) and Marc Senter (Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever), director Paul Solet ramps up the creep for this fantastic short. Senter does a great job, Walcott steals the show!






Monday, 13 August 2018

Heartless (2018)






Right: This is a short film still doing the festival circuit, so it's somewhere between a review and a For the Love of Shorts. Hope that clears it up for everyone.

Synopsis

Based on Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart". An overlooked associate struggles to complete a corporate presentation as a horrific secret gnaws at her conscience.

Review

Written and directed by Kevin Sluder (Play Violet for Me) this short will grab you and not let go. Starring the unfathomably good Stacy Snyder (Pretty Dudes), all Shelby wants to do is impress at work. Give a presentation. But the "dude bro asshats" in charge, well, dude bro asshat, and you can't really help but side with Shelby.

Snyder does a killer (no pun intended) job as the associate slowly losing her grip - both in flash back and the present. She shines on the screen. Sluder does a great job on the screenplay, as well as some nice directorial choices. All round, a solid job.




This is an exceptionally high value production, with just awesome visuals, and some great performances. The tension is there in aplomb, the horror drips from it, and there's even some lighter, more humorous nods. The supporting cast is fabulous (although Snyder steals every scene). We can't wait to see more from the team - Sunshine Boy Productions.

You can find more here:

 www.HeartlessMovie.com

 on Facebook @HeartlessHorrorMovie

 on Twitter @HeartlessMovie_ 

on Instagram  @heartless_movie






Friday, 10 August 2018

House on Straw Hill (1976)


Sheesh. This film's known as many things...




Synopsis

A paranoid writer is unable to get started on his second novel. He hires a secretary and then his troubles really begin.

Review

So I went into this one blind, so to speak, seeing it based on the description alone, and that it was listed in the horror section. Hm.

The film begins with writer Paul Martin, struggling with his second novel. He's hidden away in a large house in the English countryside with a woman - Suzanne - who he promptly sends away, and demands a secretary from his publishing house so that he can "pace the room". A few days later, Linda arrives and they begin the writing process. And that's where the film gets...weird.

After arriving at the house, Linda does a little work with Paul, and then goes for a walk in an adjacent field, where in the corn she decides to...pleasure herself...(and at this point I'm wondering what I'm watching). She is caught by two local lads (who inexplicably have a shotgun), and they rape her. It all started going I Spit on Your Grave on me. She gets the gun away from them (off camera) and then shoots them both, in glorious goriness. As the film continues the body count rises - scene after scene slipping into soft core porn - following graphic scenes of violence. By the end of the film I had no idea what I had just watched.

Released in 1976, Exposé was immediately labelled a video nasty (Video nasty is a colloquial term in the United Kingdom to refer to a number of films distributed on video cassette that were criticised for their violent content by the press, social commentators and various religious organisations. ~ Wikipedia), the only British film to be listed at the time. And having seen it, that is no surprise. It's low budget fare, but very, very violent.




Udo Kier (Iron Sky) stars as Paul Martin - he has, of course, his usual charismatic charms, however he has been over dubbed with a British accent, which is a shame. Linda Hayden (The Boys from Brazil) steals scenes as Linda - the psychotic secretary. The only other real character (aside from the house keeper who is seen two or three times before her demise) is Martin's girlfriend, Suzanne, played by Fiona Richmond (Hardcore) whose lack of acting experience is noticeable, especially when on screen with Kier.

While the film is entertaining to watch, it suffers badly from a near nonsensical plot and a very little in the way of scares.

At the beginning of the film Suzanne comes across as a prostitute. In fact, it's so badly explained, it wasn't until I was researching the film afterward that I discovered she was his girlfriend. Her actions within the film are most definitely contrary to that of a partner - to the point of her having sexual relations with Linda. Linda's motivations (once revealed in the plot twist) are reasonable, but in order to titillate the audience is given many sex scenes, which make no sense when watching the film, and even less once the twist is revealed.

I'll lay the issues at the feet of writer/director James Kenelm Clarke who while trying to create a thriller, stumbles badly, with different themes and genres slipping in from all sides. He's gone on to do little else behind the camera, except notably in the music department.

I have no idea if I watched a cut version, but I think not. As I say, it's entertaining to watch, if a little muddled, there's enough gore to sate that desire. The rape scene is extremely uncomfortable - graphic, and long. It's also completely unnecessary to the plot, which leaves a bad taste - especially when the victim quickly goes on to be overly sexualized during the rest of the run time.




Thursday, 9 August 2018

Girl Code (2018)





About Girl Code

When girls talk, there’s what they say, and what they’re REALLY saying. GIRL CODE is a short film that draws back the curtain on female friendships and the often-insidious ways that women communicate. Originally conceived by Jessica Jacobs as a one-act play, it was adapted for film by Casey Gates, and stars Jessica Jacobs and Kate Spare. More at www.girlcodefilm.com

Review

We were lucky enough to receive a press screener for Girl Code from Casey Gates herself a few days ago - so here's a quick spoiler free review:

Starring Jessica Jacobs and Kate Spare, Girl Code is a short film about two women, ex best friends, who bump into each other at the gym. Jacobs' Anna is sure that her boyfriend is cheating on her, and what follows is a profoundly interesting, and equally sinister conversation.

While both the actors are excellent in their respective parts, Jessica Jacobs steals the show with a heart breaking performance, nuanced, and riveting, leaving the viewer truly gripped. The screen play, direction - well, everything really - is polished, and well worth the accolades it has earned.

And the best thing? You can see it now:


Girl Code - Secure Screener from Lady Brain by Casey Gates on Vimeo.



Wednesday, 8 August 2018

For the Love of Shorts: Time`s Up (2017)





Starring Edith Landreville, Jennifer Allanson, and Andi Cooper, and directed by Jennifer Allanson and Kristian Lariviere, TIME'S UP is one terrifying ride...



Monday, 6 August 2018

Still/Born (2018)





Synopsis

Mary, a new mother, gives birth to twins, but only one of them is alive. While taking care of her living child, Adam, she suspects that something, a supernatural entity, has chosen him and will stop at nothing to take him from her.

Review

Matchbox Films have a good track record of films wherein the lead may or may not be losing it. With strong vibes of Homesick, Still/Born sees a mother lose one of two twins during child birth, and her possible breakdown afterwards... or, it could be an evil entity. There's only one way to find out.

You could easily liken the premise of this one to something like Insideous. It's genuinely intriguing, and pretty fresh. It certainly will have you questioning whether there is a monster in the dark or not. As the film progresses forward, Mary becomes more and more unstable, her long suffering husband is doing his best while also trying to support them. He's just hit big business, and they have a new born and new house. He has to leave for work. None of this helps Mary, as she falls further and further from her sanity.




Christie Burke (Love Everlasting) as Mary has a lot to do in this. She carries the film from encounter to encounter, shouldering the bulk of the acting - and what a job she is given. From the opening 'happy new parent' to the unhinged 'do anything to save their child', Burke runs a gauntlet of emotions throughout the film. As a viewer, at times you end up screaming at the screen - she's being so unreasonable towards everyone around her - but at the same time it's all too relate-able. She does a great job too. Her husband, Jack, played by Jesse Moss (Tucker and Dale vs Evil), also holds up his end of the acting chops going from caring husband to insecure, overbearing husband. But again all too believably.

There's also room for a turn by veteran character actor Michael Ironside (Scanners) - in a small but pivotal role.

As the film goes from act to act the tension mounts until it's unbearable - by the end you'll know if it was an evil, or psychosis - but no spoilers here. The ending is fantastic, and truly terrifying.

Written by Brandon Christensen (Black Ice) and Colin Minihan (It Stains the Sands Red), shout out goes to the excellent dialogue - something that has a tendency to be boring and trite in character driven horror, and Christensen sitting in the director's chair also does a good job.

Slow burn, sure, but Still/Born pushes all the right buttons to give the viewer an hour and a half of creeping dread.

(Extra points for not having a slew of jump scares)

Available on DVD now!