A bridge builder begins the hunt for two lions that start attacking the local construction workers : I may be in the minority with this one but I really enjoy revisiting Stephen Hopkins THE GHOST AND THE DARKNESS : the film has a familiar tone to Spielberg’s Jaws accept that the monster is the King of the Jungle and there are two of them killing for pleasure, stalking their prey and wreaking havok to a small African region known as Tsavo : Hopkins movie is based around the the Tsavo Man-Eaters the true story of those Lions dating back to 1898 : not only did I find the film’s story compelling, the Jaws like hunt and then to be hunted arc but I also loved the chemistry between Michael Douglas’s grizzled hunter Remington and Val Kilmer‘s Patterson both seemed to click and feed off each other’s energy & undoubted passion for Hopkins movie (ignore the Razzie nomination, for me it’s a top 5 Kilmer performance for sure) : the film was shot by Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind) around the Songimvelo Game Reserve in South Africa and adds so much to the film’s spectacle, the authenticity of the regions beauty & danger is an overwhelming plus point : If like me you enjoy revisiting the gems of yester-year then give The Ghost and the Darkness another watch, for me it’s still holds up well as a well acted, thrilling scare ride that will have your nerves a jangling from start to finish ★★★★½
Antonio Campos continues on from his 2016 movie Christine with another miserable, downbeat yet compelling piece of filmmaking : taking center stage in The Devil All the Time is the bible belt of West Virginia and some of it’s unsavory characters that all merge together over a time span of 15 years or more to create the backbone of the story the novel of which is written by Donald Ray Pollock who also in a rather poetic and wonderful way narrates the movie : it’s story is full of deluded, nasty characters and we get to meet some of them on our journey from Bill Skarsgard’s war torn, emotion driven father (that dog scene is heartbreaking), Pattison’s creepy peverted preacher (the crazy good speech after he receives the welcome food is haunting), the husband & wife serial killing team played by Jason Clarke & Riley Keogh to Harry Melling’s frightening turn as a preacher who’s bitten by a spider to crazy consequences : The Devil All the Time is not pretty, it’s over 2hrs of dark & bleak imagery but along with it’s sublime acting from it’s outstanding cast & great material it’s filmmaker Antonio Campos manages to grip you early doors and it’s utterly fascinating with how each & every character in the stories arc fit’s together like a jigsaw each of them slotting into place ready for it’s dramatic finale : so if you liked Winter’s Bone or The Place Beyond the Pines then The Devil All the Time is a must watch ★★★★½
Film trailers have a way of misleading the viewer and I for one think on occassion that’s a good thing, it’s quite refreshing to be surprised whether that be in a good or bad way and Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz directorial debut was certainly a surprise and not what I expected at all : ANTEBELLUM is set in Louisiana during the American Civil War, the base for the story is set around a plantation (that looks like the one used in Tarantino’s Django) which is run by the Confederate Army and the land around it is worked by Slaves including Janelle Monáe’s character Eden, the slaves are treated in barbaric fashion and as the film progresses Eden slowly discovers all is not what it seems : if this makes any sense at all Antebellum is one of those movies that I enjoyed but I also felt a little empty at it’s end : the film is thought provoking, it’s relevant, has some fabulous photography by the Uruguayan Pedro Luque & is well acted by the likes of Janelle Monáe & Kiersey Clemons yet it’s story should have offered more, maybe focussing on other members of the group being held, how they got to the plantation and not just focussing on Monae’s character and her attempt at freedom? everybody loves a good villain and I felt Jena Malone was wasted, such a talent at your disposal (use it) : overall Antebellum is not a bad movie, i’ve seen far worse and the duo of Bush & Renz have cleverly used their original story telling to not only entertain but also more importantly to continue the message that hatred still exists in society and it must be stamped out, yes the film or it’s deliverance may not work to everybody’s satisfaction but that’s life, movies are all about opinions and I have to say I enjoyed this provocative slice of horror ★★★½
A city is infected by a mysterious virus, which causes it’s people to spiral out of control. Two survivers struggle to survive in an isolated apartment complex from those infected with the virus : Jo Il-Hyeong’s Korean thriller ALIVE is everything you’d like from a new movie in the Zombie genre, utilising the digital age in a smart, inventive way and has a whole shit load of savy special effects that make your eye’s twitch with nervous excitement : Yoo Ah-in is bloody brilliant as the gamer kid Joon-Woo who lives for his technology but fails to converse much with the outside world, that is until one day he has too, his dopey appearance & care free attitude endears himself to the viewer and his tag team partner Park Shin-hye’s Yoo-bin is my type of girl, fighting off the undead with everything from an axe, gun and home made killing trolley and oh yeah did I say that these zombie’s are not slow either but more like the hyperactive speed demons from World War Z, Won-ho Son’s work in capturing these delightful creatures rampaging through the apartment blocks is glorious & a sight to behold : ALIVE is SMART, INSANE and FLESH EATING FUN ★★★★
The Babysitter: Killer Queen is the sequel to McG’s horror comedy The Babysitter and follows Cole Johnson a junior in high school being tormented by a whole bunch of demonic crazies : Why shouldn’t I be surprised that once again a McG directed movie had me by the balls, laughing and squirming all the way through it’s comic and blood soaked tone : I absolutley loved the first movie back in 2017 and to be honest I had low expectations going into Killer Queen but WOW that was fun : Judah Lewis returns once more as Cole the teenage victim to these hell demonic bullies, I like him as an actor and he plays the weird and confused school kid superbly well : I love the way McG keep things fresh, allowing returning characters to develop and newbies to the franchise are clevely intwined into Cole’s messed up life : It’s also great to see that the writing team also paid attention to Wes Craven’s Scream in that the sequel has rules baby…. 1. The body count is always bigger & 2. The sequel needs to be more elaborate, with more blood and gore : McG’s Killer Queen can only be described as a guilty-pleasure ride that’s sexy, bloody and totally insane all spliced together to rip roaring effect, a sequel that has some hilarious inventive death scenes, clever dialogue and certainly lives up to the first movie in terms of sheer entertainment ★★★★
Cody is a young, aspiring comic book artist who one day is given a pen which changes reality, as he draws one of his creations Santa Jaws it come to life and bends Cody’s wishes to be alone at Christmas by killing off his family and friends : I must confess I’ve never heard of filmmaker Misty Talley but thanks to her outrageous, family horror movie SANTA JAWS I do now : the film has a neat little story and a fab cast led by the very capable Reid Miller who plays Cody, the shark effects are sooooo cool, humor spot on and it’s location in Louisiana really gave the movie some authenticity : these movie are not for everybody, and are usually reserved for the likes of me, an insane cinephile who devours B-Movie trash for breakfast, I’m grew up in the 80s so these movies are my Holy Grail and Misty Talley’s Santa Jaws is gold standard, a farcical, absurdly fun, low budget shark ride that I really enjoyed ★★★★
The story of a husband and wife that will stop at nothing to find their missing daughter, who vanishes on a family vacation : Peter Facinelli mostly known for his acting work in the likes of the Twilight franchise is behind the camera on THE VANISHED an intriguing new take on the kidnapping genre that Facinelli also wrote basing the movie around something that happened to him many years earlier : the films reunites Thomas Jane & Anne Heche who plays parents taking their ten-year-old daughter Taylor played by Kk Heim and their Pug on a family vacation, the film starts innocently enough with the family happily singing songs whilst driving their RV into a holiday park in what looks like the back of beyond and that’s when the questions start and the unnerving tension starts to build : not all is what it seems and Facinelli really does an excellent job in ramping the mystery up a notch, twisting & turning the story like a car travelling down Lombard Street and The Vanished keeps you guessing right up until it’s nerve-shattering finale : Overall this is an excellent movie with good performances, especially Jason Patrick’s turn as the local Sheriff who’s dealing with his own demons and Alex Haydon as the peculiar looking ground keeper, I also loved the scenery around Alabama so if your looking for a good belter of a thriller then check this one out ★★★★
Looking for a smile this weekend? then we got it covered…. Ben Stiller and the late GREAT Philip Seymour Hoffman sweating it out in 2004’s Along Came Polly from director John Hamburg – this particular scene has it all, it’s dialogue is crazy, the humor is gross-out at it’s most… well gross-out and it also showcases the brilliance of Hoffman in full flow, I still can’t believe he’s gone…. but take a load off and watch this 3 minute clip for a smile, a tear and at it’s finale a roaring belly laugh that may force you to dust off the dvd and watch the full thing 🙂
A bunch of friends hire a medium to hold a séance via Zoom during lock down but get much more than they bargained for as things quickly go wrong when an evil spirit starts invading their homes : HOST is directed by Rob Savage and filmed during this years coronavirus pandemic : As a rule I’m not social media friendly and have never used the likes of Zoom so I had low expectations going in but HOST really rattled my cage : The movie has a short runtime (just under the hour) but it’s very atmospheric and at times I was chewing on my finger nails (the attic scene and Haley being dragged across the room really freaked me the frack out), you keep hearing noises, looking for things in the shadows and the silence at times is deafening : but for me the movies real haunt is those crazy good ladies above who really do capture the essence of being played with by some supernatural entity, their facial expressions keep the whole shit real and create moments of complete and utter dread especially throughout the second half of the movie when all goes pete tong : So if you scare easy & suffer from any pre-existing heart conditions then please avoid HOST BUT if you love being scared and fancy watching something that may keep you up at night then this horror gem is worth the watch – PS… don’t forget to take a shot everytime someone mentions the word astral-plane ★★★★
Aweful News : the Iconic Movie Star Olivia De Havilland has died aged 104 : in my eye’s they don’t come much better than Livvie, a Golden Age Beauty who graced the screen in over forty feature films, winning two Academy Awards and starring alongside some of the very best in the movie world : One of my favourite quotes of hers was in 1999 where she commented over Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother “I want to follow her example and live many years longer. I consider every birthday a victory” well Livvie you sure did, rest in peace Legend……
As you can tell from this movie blog or my social media feed I was born a Cinephile, I have this passion for all things film : I watch, collect and talk about the movies, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly things that I’m passionate about : My love stretches to every genre, from the western to scifi, from the 30s to modern day, Cagney to DiCaprio, Foster to Hepburn, Movies are my crush, my excitement and I’m at my happiest surrounded by them : Last year someone posted a question “What is your Mount Rushmore of Film Directors?” I know we all have different views on this and that’s more than fine, but for me the four filmmakers and their respective filmographies that have consistently made me tick, given me the goosebumps & excelled in their work are Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino & Martin Scorsese what’s yours?
A daughter, mother and grandmother are haunted by a manifestation of dementia that consumes their family’s home – RELIC directed by first timer Natalie Erika James is an Aussie horror that really does effect the way you look at the difficulties of coping with family illness as you watch Emily Mortimer’s character Kay attempt to unravel her mother’s dementia whilst trying to survive the advances of their spooky family home : Along with it’s real scary moments such as Bella Heathcote’s character Sam stuck in the walls of the house in a frighteningly unreal 20mins and the overall creaks and groans the house is making throughout I really found Relic to be like watching a family member grow old, slowly becoming frail, starting to loose their faculties & climbing the ladder towards eventual inevitability, the scariest thing imaginable and Natalie Erika James captures this perfectly with her meaningful, alarming slow burner of a horror movie that makes you think and contains one of the strangest yet genius finale’s in many a year ★★★★
A young couple having trouble with their relationship take a trip to the families Beach House only to find their getaway turns into a struggle for survival – Jeffrey A Brown directorial debut THE BEACH HOUSE is my kind of movie jam, a slow burning chiller with enough going on to keep you interested and then WHAM BAM all shit rains down – It’s impressive how Brown keeps everything so damn eerie, from those opening 10mins to the final ten you really are biting your fingernails and sat on the edge of your seat in anticipation at what’s coming next, the drug induced scene is freaky in an almost uncomfortable sort of way and that cellar and beach scene messes with your mind – However the real payoff with The Beach House is that you have no idea how it’s all going to play out and more importantly what the actually shit is going really going on…. from Jeffrey Brown’s original story, it’s idealic yet sinister location but most of all Liana Liberato & Noah Le Gros innocence & fear driven performances make this one helluva trippy, atmospheric ride and a delicous horror gem that I’d highly recommend ★★★★
So last week I was luck enough to revisit one of my favorite horror movies of all time Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece The Shining on the big screen and today I visited my local cinema to watch Doctor Sleep and let me tell you something IT is nothing short of EXCEPTIONAL !! This is director Mike Flanagan’s love letter to the Torrance family & all things that shine, how he managed to recreate such iconic sets such as the spine chilling blood from the elevator scene, Danny exploring the hotel on his tricycle, the room to room interior of the Overlook, those scary twins and of course the overheard camera following Danny’s car up towards the Overlook accompanied by that haunting score God Only Knows – Ewan McGregor is terrific as Danny Torrence, Rebecca Ferguson’s Rose the Hat & her power draining cult known as the True Knot are so bloody scary, reminding me slightly of the roaming blood suckers in Bigelow’s Near Dark – some of their scenes especially the one that involved No.19 the young baseball player scared the hell out of me whilst the incredible Alex Essoe literally sent shivers down my spine with her remarkable performance as Wendy Torrence – Overall Doctor Sleep is a cinematic triumph that pays homage to it’s predecessor whilst creating a creepy atmosphere & super scary horror of it’s own !! ★★★★★
Some actors make other actors and the films they appear in look better than they actually are Robert Forster was one of those, an honest hard working pro that no matter how big a part he had in that particular movie he always stood out and made that scene memorable – many knew him for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown but this New Yorker has been around since the late 60’s appearing in hidden gems throughout his career such as: 1978’s Avalanche, 1980’s monster movie Alligator, William Lustig’s brilliant Vigilante, one of my favourites Walking the Edge, Renny Harlin’s Cleaner and so many more – his latest film had just aired on Netflix where he played Ed in El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie he only had limited screen time in the film but what he did with it mattered and that basically sums up the screen career of Robert Forster…… may you rest in peace !!