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Mr. J. Ryden (In your mind, in the part you've forgotten about.)

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Parasitic (DVD)
Parasitic (DVD)
Dvd ~ Camille Balsamo
Price: 5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Director, meet editor; editor, meet director..., 15 April 2013
This review is from: Parasitic (DVD) (DVD)
Disclaimer: This 'review' is based upon 8 minutes of running time, before I had to turn it off out of embarassment.

I've watched hundreds of films and I very seldom turn anything off mid-film; the only other one was the ghastly 'Five Across the Eyes'. Parasitic can now be fully inaugerated into the said Hall of Shame.

Synopsis, as far as I can tell, centres around the dreaded celestial body from out of space unleashing a parasite upon some small town USA. Said parasite infects the food chain which in turn unleashes merry hell in some nightclub. I can't tell you much more than that as I honestly do not know, nor care, what happens after that.

The fundamental problems were the atrociously amateur sound and picture quality, and toe curlingly ham acting. Take the introduction to the nightclub scene, generally directors will film the scenes with just the dialogue, then put the background music over it, post-production. Here, oh no that would be too elementary, they have a live band playing (who are actually rather good) so the dialogue can't be heard; instead we're left with subtitles and sexually-provocative gestures; something about homosexuality and self-copulation. Once the band finishes we have some more dialogue that is muffled with background hiss.

The picture quality is simply, simply awful. Take the nightclub interior, due to the poor lighting it was difficult to ascertain what was happening. The camera work is so jaunty there's a distinct possibility it may induce sea-sickness. Dialogue is cheesier than a five year-old stilton; the mock news report had me shaking my head in disbelief. As the prospects of watching anything resembling a professional film grew slimmer I had to make the decision to abort this parasite.

The only plus point was the liberal use of arse and cleavage shots in a vain attempt to paper over a shoddy film, but even that endeavour failed to pique my curiosity.

While I will stop short of saying Parasitic is the worst film ever; it's definitely in the bottom 10.

Silent Hill: Revelation [DVD]
Silent Hill: Revelation [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sean Bean
Price: 5.00

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Silent Hill: Style over substance, 11 April 2013
I remember playing Silent Hill on the PS1 many moons ago and instantly loved the twisted and macabre plot; complete with a vision of hell straight out of a Heironymus Bosch painting. The original Silent Hill film adaptation was largely faithful and an enjoyable experience.

For some reason this sequel didn't quite hit the mark; for me, the biggest issue was that it lacked the predecessor's cohesion to the point that it felt like an 'idea board' where the makers had tried to shoe-horn in as many scenes and concepts as possible without giving too much thought to the whole. The 'spider' was a deliciously disturbing scene but because there was no context provided it packed no more punch than a pretty MTV video. Five minutes later the plot has moved on again at breakneck speed, as a viewer I was left wondering who the unfortunate victims were, and what were the pseudo-arachnid's origins.

But, I don't wish to be unduly critical as it is a sumptuously stylised film with some cracking ideas and CGI special effects. The acting is all adequate though, again, Sean Bean's character (for the love of all that is good, stick to your Yorkshire accent...) is largely superfluous; with Malcolm McDowell in a weirdly miscast role, and Carrie-Ann Moss making an extended cameo later on.

Silent Hill: Revelation centres around Bean's daughter - whom he saved at the end of Silent Hill - being inexorably drawn back to the titular town; haunted by visions of her mother she had to leave behind, and a high school friend along for the ride. Which is rather appropriate, as 'ride' is an accurate descriptor for the film. A fair number of scenes will leave you scratching your head but any script discontinuity is immediately forgotten by the next nightmarish scene.

In short, it's not a bad film at all, not quite as good as the prequel but will provide 90 minutes of creepy entertainment.

A Thousand Kisses Deep (DVD)
A Thousand Kisses Deep (DVD)
Dvd ~ Emilia Fox
Price: 4.85

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting, time-travelling tale, 9 April 2013
This review is from: A Thousand Kisses Deep (DVD) (DVD)
Mia Selva (played by the ever-beautiful Jodie Whittaker) leads a twilight existence, working as a nurse by night, having little human interaction; never quite getting over her lover Ludwig (Dougray Scott) leaving for the US eight years hence, as well as mourning the recent death of her mother. That is until she witnesses the suicide of the old woman from her block of flats; jumping from the balcony surrounded by torn-up photos of Ludwig. From there the plot enters the metaphysical as Mia seeks to uncover the mystery of the old woman; with David Warner - the building's caretaker - acting as her pseudo guardian angel.

The central premise is how and what would you change in your life if you had the chance to 'put things right'? In the Christmas Carol tradition, Mia revisits key points in hers and her parents' life, as she seeks to amend the past to shape the future. Which it does well enough however at times the plot felt rather plodding at times with not enough 'oomph' to keep me engaged; however the shocking reveal in the final third packed a fair punch. Equally Dougray Scott plays the jazz musician, Ludwig, excellently and exudes menace brilliantly, complete with crocodile's smile. It is inferred that there is more to him that what it seems however this is never fully revealed during the film; which I thought a shame.

In short, a decent film with a solid cast but didn't quite hit the mark for me. Good, but not quite in the same league as Jacob's Ladder and Butterfly Effect.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 18, 2014 6:42 PM BST

Mama [DVD]
Mama [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jessica Chastain
Price: 5.00

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Mama told me not to come', 26 Mar 2013
This review is from: Mama [DVD] (DVD)
Mama proves to be an enjoyable supernatural horror romp for those who have had enough of torture-porn, and prefer their scares splatter-free. In this regard, Mama reminded me of Insidious, another film that relies heavily on jump scares but not to the point where it feels overly-contrived.

The opening scene sets the scene nicely as the father is hastily gathering his two daughters together before driving away from their home; the reasons for which soon become apparent. After their car spins-out of control in the snow they take refuge in a seemingly abandoned shack. Five years later the girls are found - with no sign of the father - and returned to their uncle to care for them.

Above all, it is the two young actresses who are the stars of - and indeed make - the story. The chemistry between them is powerful, hinting at an invisible umbilical cord that ties the two together; mistrustful of everyone around them. Mama is also a profoundly sad tale at times; the reunion between uncle and nieces bordering on the harrowing. For me, that's what makes a particularly effective horror film, one which can also elicit feelings of pathos in the viewer.

The central plot device is finding out exactly who or what has been rearing the children for the past five years. We get a glimpse of 'Mama' in the opening scenes, though we are slowly drip-fed visual and narrative-based clues as to who she is. In that sense, it's almost like a game of peek-a-boo as the viewer only receives hints and insinuations - an open closet door, heavy footsteps, and a glorious scene where the younger child is playing with Mama in the bedroom without the viewer actually seeing her. Meanwhile the girls' psychiatrist also doubles as an investigator as he seeks to unravel the truth in this supernatural whodunnit.

In short, an effective creepy film which shows how far a mother will go to be reunited with her children. One of the better horror films i've seen in the past year and reassuring to see Guillermo del Toro put his name to something of this calibre.

Don't Let Him In [DVD]
Don't Let Him In [DVD]
Dvd ~ Sam Hazeldine
Price: 5.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Am-dram flim-flam, 23 Mar 2013
This review is from: Don't Let Him In [DVD] (DVD)
Oh dear, oh dear. Don't Let Him In is perhaps the worst UK horror film i've seen since the turgid Zombie Diaries. It starts off rather promisingly, offering a macabre intro that suggests another entertaining addition to the torture-porn genre. However as soon as it cuts back to present day and we are introduced to some of the most one-dimensional characters; complete with ham acting and toe-curling dialogue with all the woodeness that suggests an auto-cue off screen.

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse we're greeted by the heroine's vacuous younger sister and cookie-cutter, rich-boy, one-night-stand Tristan. Both strive to usurp each other in the title of 'most annoying character'; it goes down to the wire but I think the latter edges is it by a nose.

Oh, how could I forget the Irish traveller they meet en-route? The most glamarous traveller-living-in-the-woods that you'll ever meet. She's also rubbish at reading palms; though apparently she was fresh out of sprigs of heather wrapped in tin-foil.

Quick synopsis; foursome travel to deepest, darkest Devon for a weekend away at their parents' country home. Unfortunately for them, it just so happens that a local serial killer 'The Tree Surgeon' is active in the area. We know this because the village police sergeant (a rather affable fellow) nonchalantly mentions this in conversation. Apparently he's not too much a concern that they track him down - far better to issue the tried-and-tested advice 'don't leave your home'.

To make matters worse, there is a sub-plot throughout the film that just doesn't work; it was totally unnecessary and left me thinking 'did no-one actually read this script?'. The only high points of the films were the serial killer who proves he can act and the mercifully short running time. I must profess, my heart leapt as I noticed we were fast approaching the end credits and it was around the hour mark.

Equally gore hounds will be left disappointing as there isn't much on-screen splatter to speak of. Each death scene simply marked the inevitable joy of seeing the credits roll.

In short, a badly acted mess of a horror film that should be avoided at all costs, if you value your time at all.

Grabbers [DVD] [2012]
Grabbers [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Richard Coyle
Price: 4.91

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars They're gonna reach out and grab ya!, 19 Mar 2013
This review is from: Grabbers [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
Grabbers is not too shabby an addition to the creature-feature genre; not brilliant but not bad either.

Erin Island off the coast of Eire is a sleepy wind-swept idyll populated by villagers enjoying a simple, quiet life. That is until the dreaded meteor from another planet descends from the stratosphere to land in the sea unleashing something decidedly malign with a taste for anything other than the local flora...

To be honest, there is very little to separate Grabbers from the other titles of the comedy-horror genre arguably done better (Tremors, Feast & Deep Rising) which does it a disservice as it's decent film in a quaint manner. Richard Coyle is enjoyable as the jaded, perma-drunk local Garda with Ruth Bradley as the hot-shot Garda from the mainland as potential love-interest.

The CGI special effects are done very well and the film relies on humour rather than gore for gore's sake. However, the central plot device (once they discover the aliens' weakness) wore a little thin after a while; not least as it panders to, and perpetuates, the Irish stereotype which I thought rather cheap.

In short, an enjoyable 90 minutes of fun which doesn't break any new ground but will keep you entertained over a few beers (irony not wasted).

Some Guy Who Kills People [DVD]
Some Guy Who Kills People [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kevin Corrigan
Offered by Wowudo
Price: 2.90

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise, 22 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Reading the blurb and the various reviews I was expecting a bloody, black comedy; which Some Guys Who Kills People is to some extent but in the end it's far more than that.

Kevin, freshly released from a mental institution, works in an ice-cream parlour whose simple life is dominated by his critical boss, overbearing mother and constant run-ins with the now-grown-up school bullies who made his life a misery. His only friend is Irv, colleague from work, who advises Ken to stand up for himself. Of course, once Ken's ex-tormentors begin meeting gruesome endings the Sheriff and his Deputy begin closing in.

Ultimately, it's actually a rather sad film(in the true sense of the word). Ken's life is nothing to write home about though he somehow manages to keep a brave face despite being treated like dirt by family and peers. The relationship between he and his mother, and ex-girlfriend, were the focus of the film in my opinion. Emasculated, it's hard not to feel sympathy for him as he's constantly belittled and undermined.

The blossoming friendship between he and Stephanie is heartwarming and unsurprisingly awkward (given Ken's lack of social finesse); not entirely essential to the script but a nice addition nonetheless. The Sheriff and lackey are both comedy gold with their dead-pan banter as they investigate the grisly trail of dismembered limbs.

In short, a remarkably touching comedy-drama about some simple guy who dreams of revenge and a better life.

Sinister [DVD]
Sinister [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ethan Hawke
Price: 3.00

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sinister? Oh yes, very much so., 19 Feb 2013
This review is from: Sinister [DVD] (DVD)
I was wary of giving this a shot as I was disappointed with Guy Pearce's foray into horror films with 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark'. Equally, Ethan Hawke is a cracking actor who has done some fantastic roles over the years. Nonetheless, I acquiesced as the adverts on TV sold it to me. Just as well really as it's an excellent horror film as it happens.

The title is very apt as that is the overarching theme of Sinister; there are no blood and guts but an inexorable feeling of creeping dread from the opening shots to the ending. Speaking of opening scenes, this is where the viewer gets the notion that is far from your paint-by-numbers horror. It's even more ghastly for the slow-motion effect so the brain can truly savour the macabre spectacle.

Ethan Hawke is a faded true-crime writer (ostensibly unsolved murder cases) looking for the next big hit, his stock waning rapidly in the ten years since his previous commercial success. His modus operandi is to move his family as close to the scene of the crimes in order to immerse himself fully into the case. So this is how he comes to hear of a bizzare case; an apparent mass murder with the remaining daughter seemingly vanishing into thin air. Of course, the central plot device for horror films is for lead characters to make 'bad choices'. In this case, Ethan moves his family 'into' the house of death. From there - unsurprisingly - things go badly awry as he finds a number of Super-8 home videos in the attic.

This is what lent to the film's fear-factor, these films are just awful in their casual, and off-hand murder as the viewer sees what happens to each of the previous victims. It's also the (technically) poor quality of the films, coupled with the constant pulsing whirring of the projector, which accentuates the true horror. You can almost feel your heart beating in time with the projector as you're first presented with a typical domestic shot which quickly segues into something else entirely (the lawnmower scene is a perfect example).

Brief moments of respite come in the form of the town's deputy sheriff who is dead-pan comedy gold. The debate about animals in the attic is a wonderfully comic exchange.

Then there's the music; the music is definitely a star in itself within the film as it works well in cranking-up the tension; a constant throbbing and almost primeval rhythm gives Sinister an otherworldly feel. The actors are all proficient in their roles and the plot solid. In short, a very effective creep-out horror film which has stayed with me for days now (you wait till you see 'that' face....).
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 19, 2013 10:25 AM GMT

Rampage [DVD] [2009]
Rampage [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Brendan Fletcher
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: 5.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, grim and gun-toting fun, 19 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Rampage [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
After the unforgivably bad House of the Dead and Alone in the Dark (like others) I find myself incredulous that I would actively enjoy any of Uwe Boll's output. Although it comes with a short running time, Rampage packs a punch greater than any film of its ilk (certainly far more effective than the godawfully pretentious Elephant). I'm not even convinced that the film carries a 'message', certainly it doesn't moralise on gun-control or greater societal malaise. I think that's why it is so effective, there isn't a justification or a 'ah, so that's why he did it!'. There's no neat packaging. No explanations. If anything, Rampage is proof that people do terrible things because they can. No more, no less.

Brendan Fletcher is brilliant as the sociopathic Bill, on the surface a typical young man still living at home who, by and large, respects his 'normal' parents. He has a steady job as a mechanic whilst saving up enough money to go to college. His friend Evan is the pole opposite, a bleeding heart liberal who bemoans the capitalist society; global overpopulation; and consumerism. Though all his energies pour into his video blog which is high on rhetoric but low on action. He calls for someone to make a difference, will anyone step forward and be counted?

Well, as it happens, Bill has plans of his own...

The first half of the film is there to set the scene. From there it's a one-man killing-machine carnage-fest as he wreaks a path of vengeance through his home town, mowing down the townsfolk indiscriminately with automatic weapons. It is relentless and morbidly compelling viewing, even an extended scene in the bingo-hall which is supposed to add some surreal levity is fraught with tension. There's just no telling what he will do next.

A well-written and calculated film, Rampage is well worth a watch.

EXCISION (Monster Pictures) (DVD)
EXCISION (Monster Pictures) (DVD)
Dvd ~ AnnaLynne McCord
Offered by bestmediagroup
Price: 5.99

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bonkers with flashes of brilliance, 4 Feb 2013
Excision is a quirky little number, superficially it's your typical study of awkward teen struggling to find her identity in a suffocating suburban hell; and it does work well as social commentary of a desperately unhappy and dysfunctional family. In that regard it reminded me a lot of American Beauty, but that's where the similarity ends. It just so happens that our gawky teen is prone to bloody and fanstastical sexual reveries, and dreams of becoming a surgeon. As a quirk of fate would have it, her younger sister is in need of a lung transplant....*gulp*

AnnaLynne McCord playing Pauline is fascinating to watch and provides a complex character. Make no mistake, she's a thoroughly dislikeable person with few redeeming qualities; however she's also a terrifically strong-willed individual who doesn't care what people think of her and is determined to do anything she puts her mind to. Greasy lank hair and pallid complexion, complete with her trademark sneer, Pauline is the last contender for 'lead characters to identify with' but that's it; bizarrely I still found myself rooting for her.

Then there's the fantasy scenes. I can see how they were necessary to establish the levels of her psychological dysfunction but one in particular I thought uncalled for and came across as overly-contrived and a 'shock' box-ticking exercise. Overall though this is where Excision fell down slightly for me, the fantasy scenes felt rather pretentious and, dare I say it, arty-farty.

The ending is both horrific and expected, the kind that leaves you holding you breath till the credits roll hoping that the Director will at the last minute change tack 'nah, only joking, everyone lives happily ever after'.

In short Excision had the potential to be better although is still a decent indy film to watch and felt like the b'stard spawn of American Beauty, We Need to Talk About Kevin, and Taxidermia.

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