Monday, 13 February 2012

The Cube

I adore this low budget sci-fi horror. A group of individuals wake up alone within a maze of interconnected rooms which move and are laced with a series of traps and numerical clues.

It gets compared to Saw - which annoys me no end. Cube has both a soul and a brain.

A lot of people hate this film because of the ending - but if you don't LOVE the ending, then you didn't get the film. This is a sci-fi horror with a small budget but a brain and big ambitions. Some people get it. A lot of people don't. I think a lot of people come to this expecting a gore fest - and while there are a few nasty scenes they are there to increase the tension and to underline the message of this film. And it's a clever little message, if you spot it.


A classy little Hollywood adaptation of a Japanese horror that missed the boat a bit and got rather overlooked. I like this one. Keifer Sutherland turns in a good performance and there are some genuinely chilling scares. It turns into a bit of a creature feature towards the end but it's executed in such a stylish and original way that I felt it worked.

Drag Me To Hell

This revolting piece of cinema charts the humiliation and torture inflicted upon a young woman who has been cursed unjustly by an evil old crone.

Strangely, director Sam Raimi appears to be under the impression that his protagonist deserves what she gets - eternal damnation in hell. Her crime? Refusing to extend further credit to an evil old woman who couldn't afford to live in her home.

The effects vary from fantastic - to plain awful. The performances are good. There's a mix of horror and humour that you would expect from Raimi.

Ultimately though this film fails to be anything other than a nasty exploitation piece. Raimi insists there is a moral dilemma - the consequences of our actions, our ability to sympathise with a wrong-doer. But he's way off the mark.

Wake Wood

A low budget Irish horror that borrows heavily from The Wicker Man and Don't Look Now.

A grieving couple whose young daughter was killed in an horrific dog attack just over a year before, move to the small town of Wake Wood. Here they uncover a mysterious pagan past and a village steeped in ritual. The villagers offer to bring the couple's daughter back from the dead - but only for a period of 3 days. There is a condition - she cannot have been dead for more than a year. In their desperation to see their daughter again the couple lie and submit to the ritual.

This film has a lot of good points, it's an interesting story with good characters, a few chills and a fair amount of underlying menace. Unfortunately, it falls far short of the two films it tries so hard to emulate - and this comparison ultimately serving only to underline its own inadequacy. The second half of the film devolves into a bit of a boring slasher with a blatantly obvious ending. Whilst Wake Wood may leave the discerning viewer with a sense of missed opportunity - it's a solid, if understated return for Hammer.

The Woman in Black review

Arthur Kipps, a young solicitor, is sent to the isolated village of Crythin Gifford, to attend to the effects of the recently deceased Mrs Alice Drablow. There he discovers a secret past and a malevolent force that stalks the villager's children - the Woman in Black. 

Beautiful to look at with lots of genuine scares and an admirable sense of menace. This is a classy ghost stories that at times relies a little too heavily on formulaic scares. This is still one of the scariest ghost stories of the last couple of years and it's good to see Hammer Horror back making quality horror. 

Daniel Radcliffe puts in an excellent performance and the landscape and setting is sumptuously Gothic. This film will have you peeping between your fingers. 

Silent Hill Review

Silent Hill gets it in the neck from all directions. Fan boys complain it isn't enough like the game. Normal people complain the plot is too hard to follow. Wimps complain it is too gory.

Poor Silent Hill. It's a shame because this film is, to my mind, a little gem. Much as the story may differ fro the games - the feel does not. Here is created a horrific otherwordly atmosphere, where the viewer feels they are being subjected to someone else's nightmare. And after all, that is what Silent Hill really is.

The film is ghastly beautiful. And it is the look of this film that really is under valued. It's also very tense and disturbing, with the most fantastic creatures. There are plot holes, there is some confusion in the story - but there's something about this film that lets me forgive it. Why others are so hard on it, I just don't know. Silent Hill is a dark wonderland full of mystery and horror - and morbid curiosity begs us to take a closer look.

Event Horizon Review

Event Horizon is a sci-fi horror film where the eponymous ship mysteriously disappears after using its new engine drive - built around a fragment of a black hole. When the ship suddenly reappears a new team are sent to investigate, along with its creator. It becomes clear that something very strange has taken place on board - no one is left alive, the ship has travelled where none have been before...and it has brought something back with it.

This film is often criticised for being too gory. The gore is very visceral but this seems necessary for the horrific dimension the film attempts to create. The effect can be a little desensitising but I wouldn't class this as a major downfall of the film. The big problems are with the casting, some awful acting and a very ropey script.

On the plus side, Event Horizon has a unique feel - it isn't a classic along the lines of Alien, but nothing could be. Instead, it's a competent, creepy horror with an interesting story and a good helping of mystery. There's a good performances, from  Sam Neill and good turns from Jason Isaacs and Sean Pertwee - both of whom are sadly underused.