Monthly Archives August 2014

The Signal (2014)

The Signal 2014 - poster - Laurence FishburneDirector: William Eubank

Writer: Carlyle Eubank, William Eubank, David Figerio

Cast: Laurence Fishburne, Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Beau Knapp

Cert: TBC

Running Time: 97 mins

Year: 2014

The lowdown: Small scale filmmaker William Eubank (Love,Crave) stretches his $4m budget to breaking point with this ambitious sci-fi flick. Boasting a hot young cast and a cold, clinical Laurence Fishburne, it’s inventive and looks the business but plays like a particularly slick episode of The Outer Limits.

The Signal - Brenton Thwaites, Olivia CookeThe Signal - Laurence Fishburne, hazmat suit

The full verdict: Not to be confused with 2007’s horror about a killer transmission, the initial set-up here is simple: three MIT students: Haley (Olivia Cooke), Jonah (Beau Knapp) and crutch-bound Nic (Brenton Thwaites) take a detour from an emotional road trip to confront a mysterious hacke...

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The Guest

THE GUESTDirector: Adam Wingard

Writer: Simon Barrett

Cast: Dan Stevens, Brendan Meyer, Maika Monroe, Sheila Kelley, Leland Orser

Cert: 15

Running time: 99mins

Year: 2014

 

The lowdown: Dan Stevens sheds his posho Downton Abbey image for Adam Wingard’s explosive follow-up to You’re Next. Stevens is David, a soldier back from Afghanistan visiting the family of a dead brother-in-arms. But, as he ingratiates himself what secret is he hiding? Chills and thrills come with rapid fire regularity, all anchored in a revelatory performance from Stevens.

THE GUESTThe Guest - Dan Stevens, hiding, gun

The full verdict: If You’re Next was about the war between generations, The Guest targets the Middle Eastern conflict spilling across the front lawn of Middle America.

Lifting the basic plot of Pasolini’s Theroem, also seen in Brimstone and Treacle ...

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FrightFest 2014 – A Vue To A Kill

FrightFest 2014 - poster detailA round-up of this year’s scare fair.

FrightFest was 15 years old this August Bank Holiday and the organisers celebrated in style, with over 60 features and 20 short films scaring the popcorn from the hands of thousands of baying horror fans.

But, while FrightFest was the one celebrating a birthday, it was actually the ticket buyers who got the tricks and treats.

Every film festival stands or falls on the quality of the movies available, horror in particular, but FrightFest consistently presents a meaty programme of fear flicks year after year for fans to feast upon.

2014 was no exception. Opening movie The Guest cast Downton Abbey’s Dan Stevens as a mad war veteran you definitely wouldn’t want to take home to mum, and was a roof-raising crowd pleaser.

Closing the festival sixty-odd mo...

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The House at the End of Time

The House at the End of Time - poster, Alejandro Hidalgo 2Director: Alejandro Hidalgo

Writer: Alejandro Hidalgo

Cast: Ruddy Rodriguez, Rosmel Bustamante, Gonzalo Cubero, Hector Mercado, Guillermo Garcia

Cert: 15 TBC

Running time: 101mins

Year: 2013


 

The lowdown: Venezuelan horror hits the international stage in style with this unpredictable, eerie chiller. Former Miss Venezuela Ruddy Rodriguez is Dulce, a woman who has served thirty years for the murder of her husband and son. Released under house arrest to her home where the grisly events occurred, things soon start going bump in the night. But, is there more here than meets the eye? Polished, moving, and with shocks designed to launch you out of your seat.

The House at the End of Time - the houseThe House at the End of Time - Ruddy Rodriguez, glass

The full verdict: A confident, clever spin on the haunted house tale, Alejandro Hidalgo’s The House at the End of Time is a delight.

D...

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Life After Beth

Life After Beth - poster - Aubrey PlazaDirector: Jeff Baena

Writer: Jeff Baena

Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Paul Reiser, Cheryl Hines, Matthew Gray Gubler, Anna Kendrick, Molly Shannon

Cert: 15

Running time: 91mins

Year: 2014


The lowdown: The “ambulant deceased” genre gets a (love) heart transplant in Jeff Baena’s gruesome romzomcom starring soon-to-be-hot Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza. She is Beth, recently dead from a snakebite. He is Zach, her grieving boyfriend who wonders why Beth’s family have suddenly shut him out. And realises it is because his expired amour may not be as gone as he first thought. Indie filmmaking is wed to zombie traits in a perfect double bill movie with Shaun of the Dead.

Life After Beth - Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaanLife After Beth - Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, Anna Kendrick

The full verdict: Best known as cuddly goth April in Parks & Recreation, Aubrey Plaza’s two-parts Bu...

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The Harvest (2013)

The-Harvest---poster,-Michael-ShannonDirector: John McNaughton

Writer: Stephen Lancellotti

Cast: Samantha Morton, Michael Shannon, Natasha Calis, Charlie Tahan, Peter Fonda

Cert: 15 (TBC)

Running time: 104mins

Year: 2013

UK Title: Can’t Come Out To Play

 

The lowdown: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Wild Things director John McNaughton changes pace for his first film in 13 years. A sensitively handled account of one particularly screwed-up family, The Harvest channels fairytale myths for an unusual story of friendship, betrayal and psychological damage. Samantha Morton delivers a career highlight as a worryingly over-protective mother.

The Harvest - Natasha Calis, Charlie TahanThe Harvest - Samantha Morton

The full verdict: John McNaughton made his name with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, a chilling look at an all-too-human monster.

He repeats that success with The Harvest, a rive...

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The Green Inferno

The Green Inferno - poster, Lorenza IzzoDirector: Eli Roth

Writer: Eli Roth, Guillermo Almoedo

Cast: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, Aaron Burns, Ignacia Allamand

Cert: 18

Running time: 100mins

Year: 2013

The lowdown: Eli Roth’s grisly love letter to 1970s and 80s gut-crunching cannibal cinema marks his first feature film directorial outing in six years. Good news is the wait has largely been worth it. A shaky start leads into an outrageously gory final hour when a bunch of student activists crash in the Peruvian jungle. Not perfect, and muddled of message, but tasty enough.

The Green Inferno - Kirby Bliss BlantonThe Green Inferno - bald headhunter, Ramon Llao

The full verdict: Nostalgia seeps into even the nastiest of horror genres and Eli Roth delivers an oddly affectionate homage to Cannibal Ferox, Eaten Alive and, chiefly, the grunge masterpiece Cannibal Holocaust...

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Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

Sin City - A Dame to Kill For - Eve Green, banned posterDirector: Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller

Writer: Frank Miller

Cast: Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Jeremy Piven, Jamie Chung

Cert: 18

Running Time: 102 mins

Year: 2014


 

The lowdown: Nine years after the original adaptation of Frank Miller’s neo-noir graphic novels comes the long-awaited sequel, promising more monochrome mayhem. Mickey Rourke’s one-man army Marv and Jessica Alba’s sweet-hearted stripper Nancy return, joined by (amongst many others) Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eva Green as the titular dame. Expect balletic beheadings, ocular extractions and a plethora of perfect female flesh, but don’t expect anything new.

Sin City - A Dame to Kill For - Jessica Alba, Nancy, Bruce WillisSin City - A Dame to Kill For - Josh Brolin, Eva Green

The full verdict: When Sin City burst on to our eyeballs in 2005 it was a gritty, gru...

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All Cheerleaders Die

All Cheerleaders Die - Caitlin Stasey, Lucky McKee, Chris SiverstonDirector: Lucky McKee, Chris Siverston

Writer: Lucky McKee, Chris Siverston

Cast: Caitlin Stasey, Sianoa Smit-McPhee, Brooke Butler, Tom Williamson

Cert: 18 (TBC)

Running time: 89mins

Year: 2013

 

The lowdown: Lucky McKee and Chris Siverston dust off their 2001 short and give it a feature length, mid-budget makeover. Peer pressure, high school sex wars and witchcraft are the ingredients in this spicy brew as a gang of cheerleaders go from pretty vacant to pretty dead. And seriously angry. Sharp, inventive and with an edge familiar to fans of the directors previous movies, these are the most winning cheerleaders since Buffy hung up her uniform.

All Cheerleaders Die - Caitlin Stasey, Brooke Butler, partyAll Cheerleaders Die - Caitlin Stasey, Brooke Butler

The full verdict: Typically the annoying ditz whose death receives the biggest laugh in standard slasher fare, cheerleaders move centre stage in...

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Lucy (2014)

Lucy - Scarlett Johansson, posterDirector: Luc Besson

Writer: Luc Besson

Cast: Scarlett Johnasson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-sik, Amr Waked

Cert: 15

Running time: 89mins

Year: 2014

 

As Lucy is the work of a teenager whose read some Richard Dawkins and watched a few John Woo movies, we’ve decided to publish the director’s school report…

Summary: This year Luc Besson submitted “Lucy” as his end of term project. In Lucy Scarlett Johansson plays the titular average girl, who is forced to become a drugs mule by Korean gangsters, transporting a new narcotic in her belly. The drug bag bursts when she is assaulted by Taiwanese thugs, releasing large doses into her bloodstream, making Lucy super-intelligent. She then has to defeat the gangsters, get more of the drug to survive and unlock the secrets of the universe...

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