Monthly Archives August 2016

Sadako vs Kayako

Sadako-vs-Kayako-posterDirector: Kôji Shiraishi

Writer: Kôji Suzuki, Takashi Shimizu (characters only)

Cast: Mizuki Yamamoto, Tina Tamashiro, Aimi Satsukawa, Masahrio Kômoto, Masanobu Andô, Rina Endo, Elly Nanami

Cert: 15 (TBC)

Running time: 98mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: Two college girls unleash the dormant spirit of Ring’s Sadako when they discover the cursed video tape. In another part of Tokyo, a high school student dooms herself when entering the house haunted by The Grudge’s Kayako. Is pitching the two legendary evil spirits against each other the only way to survive?

Sadako-vs-Kayako---Aimi-SatsukawaSadako-vs-Kayako---Mizuki-Yamamoto

What’s the verdict: (Franchise) vs (Franchise) movies are typically a case of “nice idea, shame about the execution.” Alien vs Predator, Freddy vs Jason, Batman v Superman… underachievers all.

That Sadako vs Kayako...

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Blood Feast (2016)

Blood-Feast-posterDirector: Marcel Walz

Writer: Philip Lilienschwarz (written by), Philip Lilienschwarz, Marcel Walz (story by)

Cast: Robert Rusler, Caroline Williams, Sophie Monk, Sadie Katz, Roland Freitag

Cert: 18 (TBC)

Running time: 90mins

Year: 2016

 


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What’s the story:  In a Parisian suburb restaurant owner Ramses (Rusler) begins ritually murdering woman to resurrect the Egyptian goddess Ishtar.

Blood-Feast-2016---Sophie-Monk,-Robert-Russler,-Caroline-WilliamsBlood-Feast-2016---Sophie-Monk

What’s the verdict: If director Marcel Walz’s intention was for his remake of the 1963 Blood Feast to honour the original movie, then mission accomplished.

Blood Feast 2016 is as leaden-paced, awkwardly-acted, and boringly gory as Herschell Gordon Lewis’ film, without having the advantage of being the first of its kind to temper the awfulness.

More than just a name-only redo, the plot echoes the ori...

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Top 10 Films of FrightFest 2016

FrightFest-2016-feature-image

FrightFest 2016 has been and gone, marking an impressive 17th consecutive year for the UK’s premiere horror film santa sangre.

With new headline sponsor The Horror Channel replacing Film4 and a move away from the heart of Leicester Square to London’s Shepherd’s Bush VUE cinema, could FrightFest retain its dark mojo?

Predictably the answer was yes. FrightFest’s four horseman of the apocalypse, Alan Jones, Paul McEvoy, Ian Rattray and Greg Day, plus the ever-growing FrightFest team, staged a five day extravaganza showcasing the best of fantasy cinema from around the globe. And the newest voices, three films in the Electric Shadows Top 10 are from debuting directors.

My Father Die was a solid opener, an accomplished calling card debut from Sean (son of Pierce) Brosnan, and although I c...

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Crow (2016)

Crow-posterDirector: Wyndham Price

Writer: Wyndham Price, Nick Moran (screenplay), Tim Rhys (stageplay)

Cast: Nick Moran, Tom Rhys Harries, Elen Rhys, Danny Webb, Andrew Howard, Terence Stamp

Cert: 15 (TBC)

Running time: 107mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: When a wealthy landowner looks to evict settlers from an area of land he has bought in the Welsh countryside, ancient gods and old powers are raised, bringing about a series of terrible events.

Crow---Tom-Rhys-HarriesCrow---bloody-machete

What’s the verdict: Adapted from Tim Rhys’ stage play, Crow is a polished low-budget exercise in modern social unrest and ancient beliefs.

Co-writer Nick Moran (whose 2005 film Puritan is an enjoyable, underseen slice of Brit horror) has fun as deliciously scummy villain Tucker, a self-made East London businessman low on green credentials, big on ...

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The Love Witch

The-Love-Witch---posterDirector: Anna Biller

Writer: Anna Biller

Cast: Samantha Robinson, Laura Waddell, Gian Keys, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Robert Seeley

Cert: 15

Running time: 120mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: Beautiful and alluring witch Elaine (Robinson), fleeing a marriage that ended messily, moves to a quiet town on the California coast. She begins concocting love spells to snare herself a man, but while the course of true love frequently runs red, it never runs smoothly.

The-Love-Witch---Samantha-RobinsonThe-Love-Witch---Samantha-Robinson,-Jeffrey-Vincent-Parise

What’s the verdict: Save for a single use of a mobile phone and a lone utterance of the word “skank”, The Love Witch could be mistaken for long-lost, recently discovered 70s classic.

Anna Biller may only have one previous film (2007’s Viva) and a handful of shorts to her name, but the woman knows cinema...

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Pet

Pet-posterDirector: Carles Torrens

Writer: Jeremy Slater

Cast: Dominic Monaghan, Ksenia Solo, Jeannette McCurdy

Cert: 18 (TBC)

Running time: 90mins

Year: 2016




What’s the story: Misfit city kennel worker Seth (Monaghan) bumps into high-school infatuation Holly (Solo) one day, reigniting his passion. When his advances are rejected, Seth kidnaps Holly and keeps her in the basement of the kennel. And the power play begins…

Pet---Dominic-Monaghan,-Ksenia-SoloPet---Ksenia-Solo,-cage

What’s the verdict: Owing a big debt to John Fowles’ classic novel The Collector (turned into a memorable Terence Stamp/Samantha Eggar movie), Pet is premium grade pulp horror.

Dominic Monaghan delivers a wonderfully David Brent-ian turn as lonely dog lover Seth, sensing a spark between him and coolly beautiful former classmate Holly, Ksenia Solo delivering an effective, ...

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My Father Die

My-Father-Die---posterDirector: Sean Brosnan

Writer: Sean Brosnan

Cast: Joe Anderson, Candace Smith, Gary Stretch, John Schneider, Gabe White

Cert: 18 TBC

Running time: 102mins

Year: 2016




What’s the story: 12-year-old Asher is violently assaulted and his brother Chester murdered by their biker father Ivan when he discovers Chester sleeping with his mistress. Left deaf after the ordeal, years later Asher vows revenge when his father is released from prison.

My-Father-Die---Gabe-WhiteMy-Father-Die---Candace-Smith,-gun,-chase

What’s the verdict: Watching My Father Die, you would think Sean Brosnan has serious daddy issues. Then you discover Sean’s dad is one-time 007 Pierce Brosnan, who also co-produces the film.

Leaving you thinking Pierce should be the one raging that he didn’t land the plum role of the psychopathic Ivan...

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Through The Shadow

Through-The-Shadow---posterDirector: Walter Lima Jr.

Writer: Nelson Caldas, Adriana Falcão, Guilherme Vasconcelos, Walter Lima Jr.(screenplay), Henry James (novel)

Cast: Virginia Cavendish, Mel Maia, Domingo Montagner, Ana Lúcia Torre

Cert: TBC

Running time: 106mins

Year: 2015

Original Title: Através da Sombra



What’s the story: Straitlaced governess Laura (Cavendish) agrees to tutor the niece and nephew of a wealthy Brazilian coffee merchant. But, on the remote plantation where the children live Laura begins to suspect evil spirits lurk intending harm on the young ones.

Through-The-Shadow---Virginia-Cavendish,-graveyardThrough-the-Shadow---Virginia-Cavendish,-rain

What’s the verdict: Most adaptations of Henry James’ classic chiller The Turn of the Screw are indebted to Jack Clayton’s classic 1961 version, The Innocents.

While Through the Shadow semi-borrows a couple of visual cues from that film...

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The Similars

The Similars posterDirector: Isaac Ezban

Writer: Isaac Ezban

Cast: Gustavo Sánchez Parra, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Carmen Beato, Humberto Busto, Santiago Torres

Cert: TBC

Running time: 90mins

Year: 2015

Original Title: Los Parecidos




What’s the story: Mexico City, 1968. On a dark, rain swept night a group of strangers wait in a bus terminus for the long delayed next service. As more people arrive, events grow weirder and darker.

Cassandra-Ciangherotti---Santiago-Torres,-Carmen-Beato-protectingThe-Similars----Cassandra-Ciangherotti,-magazine

What’s the verdict: At first glance, The Similars may seem… familiar. John Carpenter’s The Thing and George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead loom large in writer/director Isaac Ezban’s irresistible movie.

As does The Twilight Zone...

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Cell

Cell---UK-Quad-posterDirector: Tod Williams

Writer: Adam Alleca, Stephen King (screenplay), Stephen King (novel)

Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Stacy Keach

Cert: 15

Running time: 98mins

Year: 2016


 


What’s the story: When mobile phones start sending users violently insane, comic artist Clay Riddell (Cusack) has to battle across country to reach his family. Joining him are subway worker Tom McCourt (Jackson) and Clay’s neighbor Alice Maxwell (Fuhrman).

Cell---John-Cusack,-apocalypseCell---zombie-run

What’s the verdict: Based on Stephen King’s 2006 novel, Cell is a scrappily enjoyable apocalypse yarn in the vein of buddy George Romero’s The Crazies, plus Cronenberg’s Rabid and Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later.

Written just before smart phones exploded around the world, King’s novel was remarkably prescient in how rabidly ...

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