Archives For 5 – 5.9 (Okay)


August 28, 2012 — 3 Comments

Stitches is a low budget, Irish horror-comedy written and directed by new-comer Connor McMahon, and stars stand up comedian Ross Noble and The Sarah Jane Adventure’s Tommy Knight. Stitches the clown comes back from the dead to torment and kill a group of teenagers who accidentally caused his death years earlier.

Comedians have a habit of throwing their own stand up comedy into their acting roles, which often feels unnatural and clumsy within the story. This doesn’t seem to be the case for British comedian Ross Noble, who sets his stand up persona to one side and puts every effort into becoming Stitches the clown and playing the role far straighter than expected. His costume and make up had potential to be a lot better, but overall Noble is surprisingly good and gives a solid performance dealing gruesome and unorthodox deaths to the hapless teenagers.

Stitches rehashes the plot from virtually every 80s and 90s slasher film without adding anything new or original. Most of the cast are making their acting debuts or stepping from TV to feature film, and in places their inexperience shows with most of the performances ranging from average to uneven and thin. Nevertheless, they are very likeable and it’s easy to find yourself rooting for them to win. The effects were a bit rough, with some questionable editing and rudimentary CGI, but they were clearly working to a low budget and are fairly creative within these limitations.

Unless you suffer with Coulrophobia, I suspect you won’t find Stitches particularly scary. That said, Stitches is easy, late night watching. It’s a whole lot of over-the-top gory fun with excessive fake blood and cheesy one liners, and sometimes that’s exactly what you want from a horror film.

Our Rating: 5.7 / 10

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[REC]³ Genesis

July 23, 2012 — 1 Comment

[Rec]3 Genesis escapes the apartment building and follows the wedding of Clara and Koldo from the ceremony to their reception where, well, you know the drill, zombies attack.

Like its predecessors, [Rec]3 Genesis blends an unusual mixture of science and religion, however, it appears this time to veer even further from the archetypal ‘eat your brains’ zombie infection and finds its way somewhere between Paul the Apostle and the second coming of Christ.

What’s quickly apparent is that [Rec]3 Genesis seems to have moved away from the gloomy cramped tone of the first two movies, and dare I say, has chosen to explore its dark, comedic side. They’ve clearly tried to expand on and challenge the original story by giving it a softer human edge, in fact, [Rec]3 Genesis is strangely uplifting and touching in places. These are controversial and risky moves for director and writer, Paco Plaza, as they give up some of the tight wound tension and grit seen in the previous films.

Another more practical change is that after the first few scenes [Rec]3 Genesis abandons the shaky cam / found footage style that gave the franchise its name. This has given the film a more polished and clean look, with some shots looking nothing less than artistic, but again, this is taking a significant step away from the identity and concept of [Rec]1&2.

I suspect fans of the first two films will struggle to get on board with this addition. I would recommend to them that they try to see [Rec]3 Genesis as a light-hearted, playful cousin, rather than a direct sequel.

Overall, I really enjoyed this movie, I thought it was quirky and fun, but it doesn’t really fit with the others films of the series. Yes, there are loose links in the plot, and the zombies are essentially the same beast, but the feel and texture of the film is completely different. Changes aside, its fundamental drawback, is that, unlike the first two films, [Rec]3 Genesis just isn’t very scary.

Our Rating: 5.9 / 10


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April 2, 2012 — 4 Comments

Claustrofobia is a horror / thriller film, which follows Eva as she wakes up locked in a cellar and chained to a table. There appears to be no obvious reason why she is there and her masked captive does not seem to have an apparent agenda.

Director, Bobby Boermans took a risky step, and decided to give his first feature length film away for free. A risk, that has seemed to have paid off as he, and his film, are getting international attention, in part for this bold move.

As the film goes, the production quality is decent and the majority of the acting respectable throughout, notably Carolien Spoor gives superb performance as Eva. The opening scene is brilliantly dark, and grabs your attention straightaway. I would go as far to say, that the first 30 minutes or so of this movie are faultless. It seeps with suspense, and is wonderfully dark.

Unfortunately, the rest of the movie doesn’t hold up as well. It feels as if Boermans created a monster, and then decided to muzzle it. The villain turns out to quite meek, and even a little wimpy, and the cellar where Eva is locked up really isn’t half bad, I’ve stayed in hotels that have offered a lot less. You’re never truly concerned or scared for Eva, it feels more like she’s just having a bad day. The side characters are interesting and have a lot of potential, but they are underused, it would have been good to learn a bit more about them.

Overall, not remarkable, but it’s an interesting film with a good dose of tension. It’s quite realistic is many ways, which for some, may be a scarier and more uncomfortable watch. Also, someone gets killed with an iPad.

Our Rating: 5.9 / 10

The Theatre Bizarre

February 8, 2012 — 6 Comments

Penny notices a long closed and abandoned cinema is inexplicably open. She sneaks in, and discovers The Theatre Bizarre, a horror anthology of tales, presented by an eerie human puppet (which for someone with a apprehension towards puppets and stop motion cinema was frankly, terrifying.)

The stories are a mixed bag, none of them are train wrecks, but some are definitely better than others. The first story, The mother of Toads, has so much unused potential and is ultimately wasted and uninspired. I love you was thoroughly enjoyable tale of neurotic fixation and desperation; however, the acting is a little coarse. Tom Salvini’s Wet Dreams is an odd trippy dream sequence which, although not terrible, is one of the weaker segments. The Accident is thought provoking stuff and not quite a horror story, but rather a look at death from the perspective of a mother telling her young daughter, an odd but interesting addition to the collection. Vision Stains is an unsettling short with some original ideas, and lastly, is followed by the peculiar and fun, Sweets, an amplified, distorted look at food fetishes.

The movie plays out like most horror anthologies such as Trick ‘r Treat, Monster Club and Creepshow but with the weirdness turned up to full volume. The Theatre Bizarre feels like a backstreet London fetish club delivering six shows of obsession and Sadomasochism, it may not be your kind of thing, but hell, it’s worth a try. There’s a lot of fun gore, twisted torture scenes, and a generous dose of nudity.

Overall, The Theatre Bizarre is an entertaining watch that stands out for its dark visual indulgences. It’s clearly aimed at hardcore fans and perhaps could gain somewhat of a cult following among specialist audiences. At times it feels as your watching samples of longer films, instead of complete short works, and in a few places its texture is a bit cheap and overly theatrical.  Nevertheless, It holds its own against other recent films in the horror anthology sub genre.

Our Rating: 5.7 / 10

Dylan Dog : Dead of Night

December 22, 2011 — 6 Comments

Supernatural private investigator Dylan Dog, played Brandon Routh (Superman Returns 2006), keeps the communities of monsters and living dead of the Louisiana Bayou in order.

Dylan dog is a massively popular, Italian comic book series that started in 1986 and is still continuing today. Fans of the comic series that haven’t seen this movie should be aware that it wonders significantly from the original story. Tiziano Sclavi, who wrote the comic book series, would be better known to most horror movie fans as the writer of the cult zombie-art movie, Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetery Man).

Firstly, it’s worth keeping in mind that this film has clearly been aimed at a young teenage audience, possibly not the best decision as most of its diehard fans would have been teenagers themselves in the late eighties and early nineties. That aside, for today’s younger teenagers or families this will be a terrifically fun and entertaining film. For the rest of us that have been fooled into thinking this would be a dark and stylish horror movie adaption, I’m afraid theres bad news.

The story does play like a comic book, however, this doesn’t work to its advantage, its moves from scene too scene without any fluidity. Brandon Routh is far to clean cut and wholesome to play the role of the grizzled detective, and although his acting is certainly not bad, there is not a wide range of emotions shown by him, or any of the characters, making them seem rather bland.

Dylan Dog has a made for TV movie feel, and you can’t help but think, this would have been a much better TV series. Overall, It missing its teeth and lacks some much needed adult humor. Think Buffy without the clever banter or a softer, cuddly version of Constantine.  Not a terrible movie, but it will be easily forgotten.

Our Rating 5.4 / 10

Martin (Harvey) lives with his mother in a grim housing estate where he becomes infatuated with the first Human Centipede film. Mentally disturbed, he obsesses over the fictional Dr. Heiter – from the first movie. Martin soon decides to make his dream of creating a twelve person centipede a reality.

Tom Six wrote and directed this sequel to his surprise shock cinema hit of 2009, The Human Centipede. In June 2011, the BBFC refused the film a certificate in the UK, in effect banning it from cinema or DVD release. Eventually realising that banning films in today’s information sharing society is a futile endeavour together with a hefty amount of anti censorship pressure, the BBFC granted the film certificate in October with 2 minutes and 37 seconds of cuts.

Increasingly popular Shock Cinema combines pornography with ultra-violence and is the today’s equivalent of the famed 70’s and 80’s Video Nasties. The Human Centipede II joins this sub genre, alongside films such as A Serbian film and Antichrist, pushing the moral and ethical boundaries of modern cinema.

Harvey does an outstanding job in his debut acting role as the pitiful and twisted Martin, executing an unsettling and  terrifying performance, despite not having any dialogue throughout the film. Still, Overall, The Human Centipede II lacks the dark humour and originality of its predecessor and for the most part, feels like a tedious labour through depravity and perversion. The movie should succeed in making most viewers, at the very least uncomfortable, but it fails to surprise or build suspense between shocks. The pacing is painfully slow at times, although it does redeem itself somewhat in the last twenty minutes or so. Diehard fans of shock cinema will no doubt enjoy it, however, on the whole it is essentially drawn out torture porn without a climax.

Our Rating 5 / 10