Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Review : John Carpenter's The Ward ( 2010 )

 Set in Oregon, 1966, a young girl is apprehended confused and unresponsive, after burning down a farmhouse, and is taken to a mental institution. There she quickly realizes that she and the other inmates are in grave danger from a vengeful spirit.

'An old school horror film by an old school director'. John Carpenters own words, regarding his first full length feature in almost a decade. Are his words accurate? Well, lets see.

First of all, the man himself needs no introduction. He stands as one of the true masters of the horror genre, and is beloved by millions for the stellar works early in his career. HALLOWEEN, THE FOG, THE THING and PRINCE OF DARKNESS are all bona fide horror royalty. Timeless films that have shaped the way in which we view the genre. On a personal level, Carpenter is the most prominent reason I fell in love with the genre in the first place. HALLOWEEN holds a place in my heart that can never be tarnished. It is, to me, a portal into my childhood, and into my fears. Its a perfect work of art in an imperfect world. And no amount of disappointing dreck like GHOSTS OF MARS or VAMPIRES will ever take my love for the great man away. That said, this will be a very hard review for me to write...

THE WARD was always going to fall into one of three categories, just as all Carpenters work has before it. Of course, all fans hoped and prayed for a return to the glory days, but very few of us, if we held true and were honest with ourselves; ever really believed he could pull it off. At the same time we feared the worst, a return to such mind numbing shit storms as GHOSTS OF MARS or ESCAPE FROM LA. We thought our great directors talent had inexplicably passed away in the night on sitting through those films, and THE WARD would have instilled automatic terror in the fans, were it not for his work on episodes on short lived horror anthology, MASTERS OF HORROR. He showed us with those two works that he still had something to say, and still had the chops to perhaps pull off the miracle and create yet another masterpiece. Alas, the miracle was not to be, but it aint all bad. Far from it..

THE WARD falls firmly into the middle bracket of Carpenters work. Its destined to rank in fans minds alongside BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA and CHRISTINE as an enjoyable  yet underwhelming affair.. By no means a bad film but certainly a far cry from the genius displayed in the aforementioned legendary works.

This shouldn't come as any real surprise. It was always going to be a disappointment. Sure, we knew in our hearts that it would never match the brilliance of his early works, but we secretly, quietly hoped that maybe, just maybe, the mellow old stoner would pull it off. It was destined never to match our expectations. After all, Carpenters alumni all had their shot at comebacks and all faltered similarly. Its something to do with age, and to do with losing the fire. The masters all deserve our unending respect, but that doesn't mean we have to blind ourselves to the obvious.

Horror, like Rock n Roll ,is the domain of the young. Sure the young upstarts wouldn't be able to piss in a pot were it not for their forefathers, but time dulls all blades, sadly. Its just the way it is.

Look at Dario Argento. His contemporary work is unrecognisable when compared to the genius he effortlessly flaunted in his youth. Did we really expect MOTHER OF TEARS to come close to the power or artistry of SUSPIRIA or INFERNO? Of course not, ( we didn't expect it to be quite so thoughtless and dreary, but that's another story). Look at Romero. I love the man, but SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD and DIARY OF THE DEAD were two of the most incompetent zombie films of recent years. Tobe Hooper and Wes Craven have fared a little better, but even then, both had produced some real fuck ups, ( MY SOUL TO TAKE ranking highest/lowest in that list). All great artists eventually lose their genius. They either burn out or fade away. we should be content then, that Carpenter has at least crafted an enjoyable, if flawed film.

Now, lets step onto THE WARD, and see if we wanna book ourselves in.

Lets get this out of the way before delving into what makes THE WARD work and what holds it back. Anxious horror fans can rest easy. The great man doesn't embarrass himself at all. This is a million miles from GHOSTS OF MARS and its ilk. Its a well crafted film. Its not gonna set the world on fire and its derivative as all hell, but it has much to recommend it, especially to Carpenter fans. Its hard for a humble man such as myself to review a film by such a respected artist and speak of it in a negative light, but that's what I must do here. The good news does manage to outweigh the bad though, so breathe deeply.

I'll start with what doesn't work. First of all, the film shows a startling lack or originality in every area. There is absolutely nothing we haven't seen before here. We get the stern Nurse Ratchet figure carried over from a thousand other mental hospital scenarios. We get the dark past that no one seems willing to talk about. we get more than one 'figure in the mirror' jump scare we've all seen done to death, and the central concept of the plot, as revealed towards the end, is a straight rip-off of an earlier, better movie. I cant mention that movie here as its literally the EXACT same story with the exact same twist, but I can mention one other film it will be compared to, and that is SHUTTER ISLAND. A film which is leaps and bounds ahead of this one. Theres no real comparison and perhaps there shouldn't be. THE WARD, for all Carpenters talk of being 'old school' is really a very derivative mash-up of a number of more modern genres. Yes, it has the ghost story elements, but its kills are more aligned with the slasher sub-genre. It also dabbles ever so slightly in the much maligned torture genre. But what it aims for as its number one target, and fails to emulate, is J-Horror. The main reason why it fails is that we see the vengeful spirit from the get go. And all mystery and apprehension is lost rapidly.

All great horror directors and fans understand that often, especially when dealing with a ghost story; less is more. What you don't see is infinitely more terrifying than what you DO see. And here, you see it all, from the very start. Strangely, there is absolutely ZERO build up to the big scares. As the ghost angle is the films main  conceit, it seems strange that Carpenter would bypass this as an area to elicit suspense and dread, and go for the cheap jump scare. I cant understand this choice. Especially when the man is so adept at suspense. as he shows in other areas of the film. Another thing that took the fizz out of my pint was the fact that Carpenter didn't write the screenplay or compose the music. Two things hes always excelled at, (well, almost always). Why call it 'John Carpenters The Ward' when its written by someone else? The mans known as an auteur and here he seems to be merely a director for hire. Strange choice for a comeback.

 That's not to say its a poorly written film, its adequate, though could have used some sharpening up to clarify some points near the finale. It does all come together, just. As for the music, its actually one of the films strong points. sure, the big man didn't compose it, but its clearly inspired by his past works, and those of Argento stalwarts, The Goblins. Its eerie, disquieting and compliments the tone of the film well. Like everyone on the planet, Id rather have had an original soundtrack by Carpenter, but I cant deny its a strong work, only faltering when we're bombarded with the prerequisite jump scare drum clashes.

Carpenters eye for a great composition is also present and correct. The film looks great. From the very first quick cut shots of the asylum, you can sense the mans hands all over it. he has a way of aligning a shot that really adds depth and darkness to an otherwise nondescript scene. The asylum itself is a brilliant set, and the whole film has a tone of claustrophobia that really draws the viewer in. And the choice of setting the film in 1966 adds to that element of alienation. It really does feel like these girls are trapped, confined and in mortal danger with no hope of escape.

Speaking of the girls. The cast does really well with what little character they have to work with. We get stock personalities for a mental ward setting, of course. The aforementioned bitch of a nurse being the most obvious. Upcoming scream queen, Amber Heard, plays her part well. She makes for a strong lead, showing resilience and depth in a character that is written with practically none. And her support is well played too. Danielle Panebaker playing the ward's resident bitch with a surprising touch of pathos. For me, though, the standout performance is that of Mamie Gummer as the most eccentric of the bunch. She plays her part just right, and makes for a very endearing sidekick to Heard's hardass loner.You'll care for these girls, and fear for them when they find themselves in harms way. One brilliant scene that find the girls sporadically dancing only to be thrust into darkness and fear a second later, really ups the audiences compassion for these lovable misfits.

And its here where the film truly succeeds. In making us care for his protagonists and plunging them into such a fearful setting, Carpenter manages to build some brilliantly suspenseful sequences. As I mentioned before, its very strange that they never involve any of the plots supernatural elements, but they DO work. Carpenters love for early Argento shows clearly in these sequences, and that's no bad thing. There are numerous escape scenes that show Carpenter still has it. Its a very positive sign for any future projects he takes on.

So, THE WARD is neither here nor there. It has moments of greatness and moments of predictability. It grabs a number of sub genres and tries to meld them, and often fails in that regard. Yet it a very watchable film with endearing characters, a great location and a number of suspenseful moments. Theres enough here to have me believing that given the right script, (preferably one of his own), our favourite horror legend could make another classic. Anythings possible and the signs are good. Just have faith in yourself, John, and take some risks next time. I, for one, am glad to have you back.

6 Sexy Psychos out of 10

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Review : Outlander (2009)

When an intergalactic marine, Kainen, crash lands on earth during the bronze age, he brings with him a deadly alien named the Moorwen. As the predatory space beastie goes about its business of slaughtering hard ass Nordic warriors, Kainen finds himself entering into an uneasy alliance with a Viking clan lead by King Rothgar. All hell ensues...

How the hell did I miss this on release? A spaceman with a score to settle, a badass alien monster the size of a truck, and cool as hell vikings all in one movie! This is exactly the sort of nonsense that can lighten a mans heart. And its got BIG names too! John Hurt, Jim Cavaziel, the mighty Ron Perlman. What more do you want?

How about convincing CGI, a creature that looks downright cool and a very convincing Nordic setting? How about beheading and slaughter aplenty? Its all here.

How director, Howard McCain managed to persuade the legendary John Hurt et all to take part in such a crazily plotted work is beyond me. Although they are male, that may explain something of it. After all, the second I learned of this shit i was all over it like Micheal Bay on your pocket change. Its a boys wet dream. And, I thought, if done right, it could kick some mighty ass. 'Long shot, but fuck it, why not?', said I. Turns out it was a fine idea indeed. This is a full on creature feature that does everything right, often by doing things precisely wrong! Let me explain..

With a concept this wobbly, normally a director would go for the cheese. That's what we want in our monster movies for the most part. Not always of course. JAWS, THE DESCENT, ALIEN and many more go the serious route, and come out victorious and then some. But those films don't have fucking Ron Perlman as a viking, smashing peoples heads in with a war hammer bigger than his jaw and squaring up to a multi-colored disco alien! This is so downright barmy that any attempt at levity should sink it before it leaves port.

That's not what happens though. Somehow its tone of seriousness actually makes the whole dumb thing all the more fun. It shouldn't, you should be laughing at all this silliness but damn it, its drags you in and before you know your swept along for the adventure. Its inexplicable, frankly. its cardinal sin turns out to be one of its greatest strengths. This is a film that wants to be LORD OF THE RINGS, and in aiming so damned high, manages to make for a hell of a good time. LORD OF THE RINGS, though, its not. It feels more like a throwback to the 80's creature features and sword and sandals fantasies of the 80's. DRAGONSLAYER, KRULL, THE BEASTMASTER. Those sort of films. They took themselves seriously while no one did, and it made them all the more endearing. And that's how it is with OUTLANDER.

Performance wise its all over the place. Accents drop in and out frequently, and some performances border on the painful. Yet to balance this it has Cavaziel as Kainen, Oozing quite determination and anguish. It has Hurt, regal, powerful and dignified as the aging King Rothgar. And it has Perlman, playing Perlman. None of these guys should be here, and certainly none of them should be taking it all so deathly serious, but IT WORKS!

Adding to its wannabe epic feel are the effects and the sets. Both are exemplary. I understandably expected low budget eye torture, but it ain't there. The creature looks great and is very convincing, (though sometimes it appears almost to be animated in stop motion, AGAIN adding to the films cool by mistake), and the gore level is pretty high considering the material. Plenty of blood n guts on show here. The sets are often brilliant, often hearkening back to the Rohan sets on LOTR. At one point i was convinced that the royal hall was actually the very same one good old Theoden resided in, only with its bottom half removed. Ripping off LOTR should surely piss off a Tolkien geek such as myself. But nope. Again, it was endearing.

Indeed, there are many Tolkien rip-offs in here, both films share a producer). The flame haired daughter of Hurts king is a dead ringer, in looks and attitude, for Theodens warrior daughter, Arwen, and theres a shot near the end that screamed, 'Grey Havens',(if you dont care for the rings, worry not. These images are still cool). Sure, theres a good deal of fairly obvious green screen, but SHUTTER ISLAND, Jackson's KING KONG suffered the same problem. Didn't ruin that film, doesn't ruin this one.

I'm giving OUTLANDER a full on recommendation. With its loopy plot, its forlorn scene munching performances and its many fine action sequences, its a perfect film for a boys night in. Get the drinks in, smoke em if you got em, and round up a few of your equally immature buddies and your in for a good time. And if your buddies are missing in action, grab your girl and force her to watch it. It'll make for sweet vengeance after having to sit through the TWILIGHT films!

7 Viking Badass' out of 10

Sunday, 22 May 2011

News : Korean horror THE CAT claws its way forward with teaser trailer. Watch it here!

 'Korean' and 'Horror'. Two words that go together like 'Beer' and 'Slasher'. Korea is responsible for some of the finest horror films of the past decade, and anytime a new fright flick is announced from those shores, I come over all funny. And often with damn good reason!

Next up is south Korean shocker, THE CAT. A teaser trailer has recently hit the net, and its looking like it could be one kitty worth petting. It could be derivative, it could be stylish; its too soon to make any judgement yet, but the teaser does seem promising. Digging the creepy ass 'meow' at the end. Check it out below, folks.

News : THE TUNNEL has arrived online, and its free!!!

On May 19th, the much anticipated australian horror film, THE TUNNEL made its somewhat revolutionary debut. Revolutionary, you say? Well, the film was financed by selling individual frames of the movie at $1 a frame, and in an attempt to use illegal downloading to its advantage. It has debuted FREE after being picked up by the BitTorrent Artist Spotlight Program. The film is being released simultaneously on bitTorrent and on DVD. It has been also been aired on Showtime.

THE TUNNEL fits neatly into the Mockumentary sub-genre and chronicles an investigation into a government cover-up which lead the investigative team into a network of abandoned train tunnels underneath the city of Sydney, where something unimaginable awaits the crew...

Word has it, the film is pretty damn great. Its slowly finding its way across the net through word of mouth and a smattering of positive reviews including one to be found on popular film site, Aint It Cool News.

I'm sure all genre fans will agree, if a film is good enough, no amount of illegal downloading can stop the fans from purchasing the film on DVD. I believe its a very clever move; using torrent dloading as a means to spread word and sell the product. Not to mention an ingenious way to raise the money for the production itself. I'm sure many workprints have been leaked before for this very reason, as a method of advertising to the true fans. and for independent filmmakers this could be a very positive step forward for the genre. Lets see how this plays out. If its as good as it looks, the cast and crew can add one more to the list of DVD buyers. Well done, guys, for a brilliant idea. Good luck with the project. I'm rooting for ya! Check it out, folks

(Note: I've personally caught a snippit of the movie and it looks like the real deal. Very creepy. Expect a full review soon.)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

News: Irish Horror/Comedy GRABBERS One-Sheets Released!

Now this is looking good! We all know you cant judge a book by its cover, but Britain, (and yeah, I'm including Ireland in there), has pretty good standing when it comes to blending the genres, and this looks like a hell of a good time. SEVERANCE, SHAUN OF THE DEAD, DOGHOUSE and many others, all made for a great night at the movies. Lets hope GRABBERS follows suite. Check out the synopsis and posters below...

Synopsis: An idyllic remote Irish fishing village is invaded by enormous tentacled creatures from the sea who are picking off the villagers one at a time. The inhabitants learn that the one thing the creatures don't like is alcohol, it makes people taste horrible, so they realize that in order to stay alive, they're going to have to get as drunk as possible.

Irish villagers drinking to survive? Lovecraftian monster mayhem? I'm in! Cant wait for the trailer. This little film has real promise...

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Review : The Gorgon ( 1964 )

In 18th century Europe, the small, secluded village of Vandorf is held captive to fear as the spirit of an ancient Gorgon spreads death and terror throughout their lands, turning to stone anyone who gazes upon her hideous visage.

The first time I saw THE GORGON, I was a sprightly lad of fifteen, and was more than a little inclined to experiment with substances your local doctor would most likely disapprove of. I remember the evening well. I was in a pretty fragile mental condition, and lay curled up on the couch as the Hammer logo appeared on my 1980's idiot box. Hammer, a word that had meant one thing; horror. Beautiful, majestic, technicolor horror..

As a lifelong Hammer fan, I believed Id seen them all; all the classics at least. But here I was confronted by one that had slipped under my childhood radar, (you must realize, back then there was no such thing as the Internet, kids. We had four channels on TV, and you learned of these horror classics by staying up late and hoping to catch one). Anyway, the film began, and of course I was hooked from the first second as the music swelled and the gloriously foreboding matte painting of the ruined Borski castle appeared onscreen. It was love at first sight. Yet I wasn't to see the movie in its entirety for many years afterwards. The reason? I got as far as the first scene where we first enter the dark, abandoned and crumbling ruins of the castle, and the scene was so well built up, so atmospheric and so damned intense that by the moment when we glimpse the mythic horror atop the stairs in her wind torn castle, I was, for want of a better phrase, scared shitless. The channel was promptly changed, and I spent the rest of my trip trying to get the image out of my head.

Fast forward an indefinite number of years, and I finally, (thanks to the many joys of the worldwide web), got a chance to man up and see THE GORGON in its full glory. Free of any un-prescribed medication. Now by this time I owned most of Hammer's output on DVD, and frankly, as much as I love and cherish all those films, I wouldn't say they scare me. They can be creepy sure, but they are more of a comfort to me than films to be feared. I see them as vivid Gothic fairy tales. So, imagine my surprise when on watching THE GORGON again I found it had lost absolutely none of its power to chill. Just as before, I was hooked from the opening strings of Bernard's haunting score, and when I got to the Gorgon's first appearance it still held me in thrall. I survived it with few problems, but it was easy to see just why it affected me so, on that long ago night.

THE GORGON is a much debated entry into the Hammer pantheon. For some, its a lesser classic, for others it takes to the top position as Hammers finest. I can understand both sides of the argument. The film is far from perfect. The Gorgon herself is the number one target of the naysayers; due of course to her somewhat dated appearance. I call bullshit on that. Sure she looks hokey, but these films are all about imagination. Remember imagination, kids? Its what we used to use before Xbox's and CG painted our dreams for us. And no amount of special effects wizardry can touch a fertile imagination. When I watch a Hammer movie, I don't WANT realism. I want fantasy. I want to be taken to a world far from my own, where vampires, mummies and werewolves stalk the fog shrouded forests and castles of old. And if the effects are dated, so what? All cinema is theatre anyway.

I personally enjoy the look of the Gorgon. Its the baleful expression on her face that chills me. I can easily see past the fake looking snakes bopping around on her head. I'm invested in the story and that's what matters. Look at Medusa in the remake of Clash of the Titans. She could have looked incredible and perhaps did, but no one noticed because no one cared. We weren't invested in the story being told. And that's where Hammer excelled.

For my money, THE GORGON ranks in the higher echelons of Hammers legacy, alongside THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN, THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, BRIDES OF DRACULA and CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. I'm in love with the film and have seen it many, many times over the intervening years. It still bewitches me. Sure, the plotting is a little messy and the mystery can be solved within twenty minutes of the opening credits, but who cares. This is modern mythology.

And its never looked better. THE GORGON may be Hammers most visually accomplished film, alongside BRIDES OF DRACULA. The sets are indelible. From the autumnal graveyard to the windswept interiors of the dreaded castle; its a feast for the eyes. Theres a real sense of time and space here. You feel part of the world. As the clouds rush past the cold moon, you can almost feel the chill in your bones.

And the music. Hammer's soundtracks are always fantastic, and always compliment the action onscreen, often due to the stellar work of the ever reliable James Bernard. Here, he excels himself and produces what I consider to be his very best soundtrack. Its powerful stuff, and when you hear the Gorgon herself singing as she draws victims to her, its hypnotic and downright eerie.

THE GORGON is considered by its director, the legendary Terrence Fisher, to be among his best work. I agree with the great man. Its a powerful film, and in many ways is a good deal darker than most of Hammers output. Without giving anything away to the uninitiated, its quite a bleak tale. And the only character who brings any light to the whole thing is Christopher Lee's Prof. Karl Meister, (sporting a crazed hair and moustache combo inspired by Einstein). He steals the show, though Peter Cushing gives him a run for his money with his multi layered performance as the possibly villainous Dr Namaroff, sole physician at the suitably grim local mental asylum, who's motives steer the movies central mystery. Also of note is the ever radiant Barbara Shelley, who's performance here echoes the acting bombast and style of the 1940's classics. Here, Shelley is given a central role, as Namaroff's assistant and the object of his affection/obsession. As always, she brings a strength and dignity to her role, and looks mind shatteringly beautiful doing so. In many ways shes the heart of the tale. Its an ensemble piece though, and as always with Hammer, the acting is top notch from everyone involved.

If you haven't managed to catch THE GORGON and your a fan of Hammers output, you'll be right at home. And if your new to Hammer, you lucky thing, then its a great place to start. Its a wonderful film that may just find a place to nestle in your dark heart.

9 Terror Trips out of 10

Monday, 9 May 2011

Review : Martyrs ( 2008 )

A young woman's quest for revenge on those she believes abducted and tortured her when she was a child leads both herself and her closest friend into an unending nightmare that will take them to the darkest regions of human suffering..

Ive had to wait quite some time to review MARTYRS. Its been on my mind to give my thoughts on this piece for a long time now. Ive viewed it four times since its release, and Ive played it over and over in my mind. Finally after all this time Ive came to understand how I actually feel about the film.

I'll say right off the bat that this is a masterfully made work, with wonderful performances from all involved. Director Pascal Laugier has very rightly been hailed as a master of both cinema and the horror genre. He's created a rare beast with this film. A piece that's beyond genre and that's as beautifully crafted as anything out there. He's very quickly become one of the trailblazers for the French New Wave of horror that's taken the world by its throat and shown us the true nature of fear. He excels here. As the young leads Lucie and Anna, respectively, both Mylene Jampanoi and Morjana Alaouiare are fantastic. Mylenes 'Lucie' is a tragic and fearful figure, desperate and doomed. As a counterpoint, Morjana's 'Anna' is gentle, loving and infinitely compassionate. The relationship between these two opposites is, for much of our tale, the driving force. Lighting and cinematography are just as stark as a film of this calibre requires without being distracting, and the music veers wildly from experimental freakouts, to giallo-esque rock rhythm's, to all out mournful requiems. It all fits. MARTYRS is the whole package. Now, with the rest of the review I'll try and express how it FEELS, because MARTYRS is all about feeling. It goes beyond being simply a film and veers into territories uncharted. Its been compared to HELLRAISER, and to PASSION OF THE CHRIST, among others. None of these films comes close. Neither in terms of horror or in terms of spiritual catharsis.

MARTYRS is the sort of cinematic experience very few will say they enjoy. In fact, its very much the sort of experience, cinematic or otherwise, that most will never wish to go through again. The questions that arise in ones head as they watch this film are reason enough to avoid it in the future, not to mention the images that are burned into your mind or the feelings of despair the film can inspire in even the lightest of souls. This is not a film to be entered into blithely.

MARTYRS is something of a transcendent experience. Its a work of pure art masquerading as a horror film. That it works completely as both an art house study of the human state, AND as a hyper violent and often terrifying horror film, are just two of its many, many wonders. Its a horror film. A story of redemption through suffering. An analysis of religious extremism. A look at the after effects of child abuse. A journey into guilt. It draws the viewer in from frame one and pulls you kicking and screaming into the darkness, and it never stops to see how your holding up, nor does it care.

If your new to this film, be sure to go in blind. The less you know the more powerful and shocking the many twists and turns are. Its cinema as catharsis, and as such, you'll want to be open to its rewards and its sorrows. Be prepared for some very tough scenes. There is serious human degradation here, none of which I'll speak of as each act of violence is as important to the films message as is its overall theme. Like IRREVERSIBLE, there have been outcries of exploitation and gore-nography since its release, but these are merely means by which to attempt to categorise something which cannot and will not fit into any previous cinematic mould. You may love it, you may hate it. You may simply respect it from afar as many I know who have viewed it seem to. Like a wild animal, both beautiful and deadly. One thing I'm absolutely sure you will never do is forget it. MARTYRS tattoos itself onto your soul. Its without doubt one of the most disturbing stories ever put to film, yet somehow, in some inconceivable way, MARTYRS is beautiful. There is hope here. There is love, and in some imperceptible way there is gentleness is even the most extreme scenes of heartbreaking tragedy.

After viewing this stunning work repeatedly, Ive found its lost none of its power. I believe all great art shines a light into our own existence and if we allow it, into our own soul. Yet some art is so fearless, so determined to break us free of our mental bonds and chains, that it changes how we view the world entirely. This is one such work. MARTYRS stays with us. And like that poor wretched woman who haunts our heroine, Lucie, its horrific, heartbreaking, disgusting, tender and quietly beautiful all in one moment.

MARTYRS is a masterpiece.

10 Beautiful Horrors out of 10

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Review : Mothers Day ( 2010 )

During the aftermath of a heist gone wrong, three brothers return to their family home, looking for sanctuary and the care only a mother can provide. What they find is that mother has moved out, and a young couple have moved in, and are partying with their middle class friends in the basement. The brothers aren't happy about this, at all. Someone call Mum.... 

Bad Remakes. Those dreaded destroyers of invention and originality. Our beautiful genre is saturated with them. I cant watch any of the untouched classics anymore without feeling that familiar shiver of fear run up my spine, as I picture my beloved and cherished films being bastardised, one by one. Its not all bad though, there HAVE been a number of remakes through the years that blow away the originals, and many that are so different from their classic counterparts that they successfully hold their own identity.

We all know the great remakes; THE THING, THE BLOB, THE FLY are generally considered to be the leaders of the pack, but in my mind there are a few more remakes that kick the originals square in the nuts. I think of THE HILLS HAVE EYES, LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. All films that are arguably better than their predecessors, and at the very least are worthy of the title. In short, the apple doesn't fall to far from the tree with these bad boys.