HALLOWEEN: David Gordon Green
Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak & Virginia Gardner
If you love horror and especially the slasher genre then David Gordon Green’s HALLOWEEN movie is a must watch on the big screen – the film is set 40 years after the John Carpenter’s original 1978 movie and is classed as a sequel to that movie, I know what your thinking “wasn’t there a Halloween II?” and you’d be right but Green and his writing team and it must be said with the blessing of Carpenter himself have decided to take their new movie in this direction – David Gordon Green’s movie sticks to the same formula as it’s predecessor, keeping things simple, uncomplicated and downright SCARY – the filmmaker makes use of Carpenter’s iconic score that always manages to creep me out and if that’s not enough to scare one silly then the sight of Michael Myers prowling the screen will make you quiver in your seat, the violence is brutal at times and not for the squeamish and along with the many homages to the original film it’s the return of Jamie Lee Curtis who once again gives the horror it’s heart-beat, her character Laurie Strode is now older, battle worn waiting for the boogeyman to return to Haddonfield, that Sarah Connor vibe she’s giving off was really something, the writers did well putting some life in Laurie and I felt she looked ready to chew bubblegum and kick some ass (whoops wrong movie) but HELL YEA she was – Horror newbie Andi Matichak is a revelation and maybe a new scream queen in the making, Virginia Gardner gives a terrific turn as Vicky, veteran Will Patton is always great and I just love Judy Greer – Overall if your looking to see the second best film in the Halloween franchise then get your scared ass to the cinema this weekend and watch a treat of horror that will have you shaking in your boots and looking in your closet afterwards…… ★★★★
THE NUN : Corin Hardy
Taissa Farmiga, Demián Bichir and Jonas Bloquet
I loved 2015’s The Hallow a low budget Irish Horror by Corin Hardy that was both atmospheric and superbly shot and I have recently spoken of my admiration for James Wan and his effective, simply terryfying Conjuring movies so of course when I heard Hardy was taking the reigns for a new movie set in The Conjuring universe I was pulse racing, mouth dribbling excited………… Sadly that excitment ended after recently watching Hardy’s The Nun a film that fails to live up to to the scares of it’s predecessors, no bold, darkly written storyline, almost rushed in the making, a film that felt like a corny version of Hammer House of Horror, that’s not to say the film totally sucked it just needed to be much darker and less predictable – due to it’s small budget there’s no doubt the film will make money at the box office but being a fan of the series and a horror geek in general I was left overall very disappointed ★★★
I wasn’t totally convinced by Fede Alvarez’s Evil Dead remake but his latest the low budget thriller Don’t Breathe is a different animal – I’m sure my heart actually stopped for a brief second whilst being terrified by this darkly intense and at times brutally twisted horror movie – Alvarez really makes use of the house interior, his camerawork adds so much to the scares and along with Stephen Lang’s deranged victim come tormentor this is one creepy ass movie that will scare you senseless – do yourself a favor and don’t miss this on the big screen….
Since 2004 film maker James Wan has impressed & scared the holy moly out of me, in the horror genre he’s been a revelation, a breath of fresh air and dare I say the best horror director in the last ten years, a modern genius, dark and twisted yet alarmingly smart – he has this uncanny knack of getting it right, he knows his audience & how to tap into their fears, his haunting camerawork, clever use of casting and his usual heart stopping soundtracks add to the overall tension & creepiness of his narrative, I have not seen this consistently in the horror arena since Carpenter ruled the screens in the late 70’s early 80’s – his films including that devilishly fun & violent Saw, the twisted underrated Dead Silence, both scary ass Insidious movies and 2013’s spine tingling The Conjuring gave me nightmares for weeks after – so upon visiting the big screen for his latest offering expectations were already high, not only was this a new James Wan horror movie but this was a sequel and as any movie fans know creating that same vibe, that same intensity of any original movie is a hard task to get right but James Wan is better than your average film maker, his horror’s are uncomplicated, low budget but most importantly they will scare you in spades and guess what? THE CONJURING 2 is certainly no different, it’s Wan at his delicious, frightening best, a nail biting pillow hiding feast of supernatural horror at times reminiscent of the classics of yesteryear such as The Exorcist and maybe just maybe this will go down as one of the Best Horror Movie Sequels of all time – Once more at the heart of a James Wan feature, almost like a muse is the brilliant Patrick Wilson his chemistry with Vera Farmiga is a pleasure to watch, at times it’s like watching Tracy & Hepburn bounce off each other, their energy infectious, their acting sublime and their roles of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were just made for them two actors to play – there are too many good bits in this movie that scare and are downright creepy, from “The Crooked Man” to the “Nun”, to that “ghostly flooded basement” and that scary ass “Rocking Chair” all of which will make you look for that light switch but for me the opening scenes where Farmiga’s character Lorraine witnesses the Amityville Murders via a seance is as good as any of them, it’s heart thumping, spine tingling cinema, your glued to your seat, in the dark as you watch the camera pan from room to room, the echo of the gun going off as each of the murders are committed, the cinematography is spectacular yet completely terrifying – Overall: The Conjuring 2 is some scary ride, if your a fan of the supernatural and things that go bump in the night then James Wan’s latest will help raise your heart beat to a new level – also take note of this name Madison Wolfe one day soon she will be a huge star – Brilliant !!
Oculus (2014) – Movie Review ★★★¾
Director: Mike Flanagan – Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Kate Siegel, Annalise Basso & Rory Cochrane – Synopsis: Growing up 10yr old Tim and his 13yr old sister Kaylie were inserprable that was until Tim was sent to a psychiatric hospital for the supposed murder of their parents – Kaylie always suspected that an antique mirror haunted by a supernatural entity was responsible for these hideous crimes & spent the time her brother was locked away researching & documenting the lives and deaths of everyone who came in contact with it – upon Tim’s release from the hospital 11yrs later Kaylie sets out to prove her brothers innocence & destroy this supernatural force forever – Verdict: The film is based upon a short by Flanagan that was released in 2006 titled Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan – using flashbacks Oculus entwines two parallel stories that center around the Russell family in the past & present, this is cleverly used by Flanagan helping develop the structure of the story and adding to it’s creepiness – rather than the mundane, uninspired found footage format or the blood & gore from the general run of the mill slasher flick Flanagan injects a dose of horror reminiscent in style of James Wan, that’s almost a throwback in style to the 70s and 80s, with some fabulous character building, interesting camera angles and a film brought to life by a group of very talented young actors including Battle Star’s Katee Sackhoff, Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan and the talented Maleficent star Brenton Thwaites who all turn in excellent performances -made for just under $5 Million Oculus is a gem of a ghost story – yes at times the movie get’s a little lost in it’s illusions & hallucinations and forgets to scare but Overall: there’s enough to this movie to keep you rooted to your chair and have you avoiding mirrors at your home for days after….
From director Mike Flanagan comes the new supernatural movie OCULUS following a woman who attempts to exonerate her brother who has been convicted of murder by proving that the crime was committed by a supernatural phenomenon – a haunted antique mirror – the movie stars Doctor Who actress Karen Gillan and Battlestar Galactica’s Katee Sackhoff – take a look at this pretty creepy teaser trailer….
Oculus – US (11th April) – UK (N/A) – Australia (N/A)
Since I started collecting movies back around the age of fifteen (1986) I became fascinated by the Horror Genre, I loved watching the Hammer House of Horror films and started watching Hardcore Horror (well it was back then) from the likes of Fulci, Bava, Argento, Carpenter, Craven, Hooper and Romero these guys for me were the bees knees, the majority of their films have aged will and still terrify to this day – looking around at the modern crop of filmmakers I wonder how many of them truly stand out and make you white with fright or scare you enough to keep the lights on at bedtime? In recent years too many of the Horror Past Masters have turned to mediocre material to ignite their horror spark and have failed miserably – Wes Craven the guy who brought us Freddy Krueger in the early 80’s and who in 1996 re-invented the horror genre with his slasher flick SCREAM is one such example, his recent films Cursed, Red Eye, My Soul to Take and Scream 4 have been average at best and sadly the same can be said about Argento and Carpenter their movies in the late 70s and 80s are some of the best of the genre but in recent years it’s been a downhill slide – so WHO amongst the modern filmmakers are impressing in the scare department?
Over the last ten years my horror taste-buds have being actively looking for new exciting talent, filmmakers that can scare me, turn me on and elevate my heart rate to the point of explosion – during this period I have come up with 6 exciting movie directors, each with their own unique style and approach to the horror genre and each one of them at some point have managed to scare the bejesus out of me – from Left-Right and in no particular order we have JAMES WAN (Saw, Insidious & The Conjuring) I’m sure you will agree this guys creepy ass dolls are enough to scare anyone half to death, his imagination and camera work makes the hairs on the back of your next stand up – up next is ROB ZOMBIE (Devils Rejects, House of a 1000 corpses & The Lords of Salem) Zombie delivers hard hitting violent horror movies, if your squeamish & easily upset then don’t watch – onto one of my favorites, South Korean KIM JEE-WOON (Tale of Two Sisters and I Saw the Devil) these two films terrified me on so many different levels – next up MARCUS DUNSTAN (The Collector & The Collection) a surprise maybe but this guy is still only 38 and the two movies he’s directed have been blood curdling fun – next on the list NEIL MARSHALL (Dog Soldiers & The Descent) another modern filmmaker who’s violent & brutal horror will terrify and at the end of each you will have to retrieve your heart from your mouth – and lastly to SCOTT DERRICKSON (Sinister & The Exorcism of Emily Rose) Derrickson is a talented writer but an even better horror director – his 2012 horror Sinister is one of the best Supernatural movies in recent years….
Whether or not in twenty years time we will be talking about any of these filmmakers in the same light as Fulci, Bava, Argento, Carpenter, Craven, Hooper and Romero is debatable but with the old guard starting to fade a new chapter in the movie world of terror has begun….