Friday, 25 November 2016

The Broken (2008)

Sometimes low budget horror can actually surprise you.

The Broken

Starring Game of Thrones Lena Headey (or more importantly, Dredd) The Broken has a subtle horror about it. A little 'thinky'.

Set in London, Headey portrays radiologist Gina Mcvey. Coming out of a phone booth, she sees herself driving a car, and follows back to her apartment, where she finds a photo of herself and her father (Richard Jenkins: Cabin in the Woods / Six Feet Under) of which she has no memory. Straight out of panic she takes her car and is in a crash which causes her amnesia.

And some things don't sit right with her after that.

Saying much more will spoil it, so I won't.


Coming straight from the genre 'paranoid horror', The Broken challenges the viewer to conclude what is real, and what is not. Playing the card of films such as Mirrors, The Game, or even Sucker Punch is a tricky one to gamble with. Give too much of your hand away and there is no payoff. Don't show enough and the viewer can become bored. The movie trite. This movie works far better than Mirrors, in not showing too much, and Sucker Punch for not showing enough.

Headey plays character excellently, proving what a fine actress she is, and the rest of the cast support well. 

The twist is certainly a surprise, and seeing some of the comments on IMDB, perhaps a little confusing for some. I loved it, and although the film is certainly not a cerebral clusterfuck like, say, Primer, you do need to pay attention.

But don't be put off. It's an excellent watch, and one I'm glad I have in my collection. Another from the 9 movies on two discs from Walmart.

Friday, 18 November 2016

The Pact (2012)

I'm pretty good at watching movies. I usually don't try to find the twist. It's there to surprise you. Let it. That said, there's no way you're guessing this one.


Okay, first off, if you haven't seen this, I'll be spoiling the shit out of it. You've been warned.

Annie (Caity Lotz: Arrow) is in town with her sister for their (somewhat abusive) mother's funeral. Her sister, Nichole, promptly disappears. Plagued by supernatural happenings, Annie becomes fearful that her mother's ghost is seeking some sort of vengeance and is responsible for her sisters, and then her cousins, disappearance. 

Of course, she is the prime suspect. 

During the investigation of the house, and with the help of psychic, Stevie, Annie discovers frightening truths about her family and home. 

Now this is low budget horror done well. 

Spewing atmosphere, and being truly scary, the movie leads you toward one conclusion, and then snags you in another direction. And then another. Having it focus on the mother/daughters relationship is a stroke of genius. It's early Shyamalan good. 

The reveal of the mother's brother, who disappeared years ago over halfway through the film is brilliant. Finding out he was a serial killer is better. The dynamic of the ghost/daughter relationship is tipped when it then appears that the ghost is actually Uncle Serial-Killer.

Then, twist, finding out he's still alive and living under the freaking floor. BAM. Mother's the ghost after all and trying to help.

Twisting genius.

This look. This one. Haley Hudson, people. 

Anyway, enough fawning. The acting is good. Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers) is highly credited, but barely in it. Star, Caity Lotz is excellent and psychic Stevie (Haley Hudson: Marley and Me (!)) is fantastic. 

The special effects are scant, but well done, with budget obviously playing a factor.

Script and screenplay are what makes this one unmissable.

Friday, 11 November 2016

The Last Days on Mars (2013)

Zombies! On Mars! With bizarre movie science!

And bad decision making!
Starting with a study on Mars (which is very brief before we get to the action, so I'm not 100% sure why they're there), with only twenty hours before their departure window, one of the crew of the Tantalus Base discovers, potentially, bacterial life.

Then he falls down a hole.


Then there is a whole bunch of bad decisions by the Captain.

This leaves most of the crew infected by the bacteria, and flesh eating zombies. For reasons.

See. Zombies.
Basically set up in a similar vein to the far superior The Thing, Last Days is the unknown in a claustrophobic environment. And it's better than it deserves to be. 

The plot is non-existent, but then it didn't need to be. The acting is pretty solid throughout. The CGI is noticeably better than other films with much larger budgets. It's a recommended watch. But there are a few bizarre things that let it down.

Let's start with the Captains decisions. 

Played by the always watchable Elias Koteas (Gattaca / Shutter Island), Captain Brunel makes some really obviously bad decisions. The first, and most noteworthy, is the decision to leave crew member Dalby (Yusra Warsama) alone, to watch over the hole that crew member Petrovic (Goran Kostic) has fallen into. She clearly has feelings for him. She's visibly distressed. He might still be alive. 

It was never going to end well. 

The science is a bit iffy, too. 

It was filmed in Jordan, which according to the movie has the same gravity as Mars. I checked. You can't jog on Mars. And there's a lot of jogging in this. Also, there is very little deterioration of the flesh when exposed to martian atmosphere. For hours. 

But honestly, I nit-pick.

It's a good science fiction horror movie. One of the best Mars films of recent years too.

And why was it called Last Days on Mars, when the film happens over a nineteen hour period?

Friday, 4 November 2016

The Night Crew (2015)

I like Luke Goss. There, I said it. He kinda always plays himself (in a Jason Statham sort of way), but I don't think that's a bad thing.

Why didn't Jason Mewes make the cover?!

Okay, so...a little shy on plot. Bounty hunter Wade, played by Luke Goss (Hellboy II / Blade II) leads his team into Mexico to nab some woman who will testify against a drug cartel, faced by Danny Trejo in a very limited cameo. He's clearly on the cover to sell dvds. This leads to a standoff between Trejo's men and Goss's team in an abandoned motel.

There's supposed to be a shocking twist at the end, but you sort of see it coming, and it presents sequel bait I'd pay to see, that will likely never get made (mostly, because it's already on TV in the UK less than 12 months after release).


The problem with films like this is that the "generic" gets kicked about a lot. And yes, I could say this is a generic action flick. But is that a bad thing? It's an action film. Apart from the cast, was The Expendables anything other than a generic action flick?

So the plot's okay, the acting is okay, perhaps a little better than just okay. The gun fights are okay.

Have a beer. Enjoy its gratuitous generic-ness.

And yes, Jason Mewes is in it.