Sunday, December 04, 2016

Dark Summer (2015)

I watched this film on Friday night, start of the weekend. It's set in the US and is mainly about the house arrest of a teenager who seems to have been guilty of stalking a fellow pupil, a girl. It is a slow film generally, set mainly in the house. The boy somehow is able to circumvent the Internet prohibition and gains access to the net. He has a couple of friends who visit him, one of whom is clearly in love with him. I don't know why, I found the lead actor rather annoying. There is no explanation of why he was infatuated with the girl he stalked and rather unbelievably she skype calls him and proceeds to commit suicide while he watches. She then seems to haunt him in his house. Or is it his mother's house? Why was he alone and she not there? So much was left unexplained in this film. I just got the sense of this selfish boy who was self-absorbed and didn't really need the friends he had got. I just don't get why they were his friends and what they got out of the situation. I found this quite a frustrating film in the end and was glad when it finished. There were probably only two jump scares in the film. The ending wasn't that surprising either. No recommendation from me for this one.

Wolf Creek 2

I enjoyed this return to Wolf Creek and the crazy Australian who likes to chop up bodies and torture backpacking tourists. Now I'm familiar with the character I didn't find this as disturbing as the first film. I did feel sorry for the German couple at the beginning and I thought that they would be the central victims in the story but instead it was the Englishman and history graduate. That was a surprise, I enjoyed that part. If "enjoyed" is the right word! Sorry to everyone, if that's a spoiler!
This film belongs to the same genre as Hostel and Saw, about some evil whacko who kills because he enjoys it. Like a butcher, humans are just meat to be carved up. No sense of conscience about them. It's hard to imagine someone like that but they must exist because you read stories like it in the newspaper. The story of poor Becky Watts from Bristol in 2015, for example, in which her step brother and his girlfriend murdered her and chopped her up. An awful and harrowing story but one that was true. So these things do happen in real life.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Phone upgrades

Well, it's been two years since our last phone. It has gone relatively quick but I must say I am glad to move on from my old phone. I had a Moto E. It has been a good phone but suffered from a lack of internal memory (8GB was once a massive amount of storage space but today it doesn't cut it). I have no doubt that I will feel the same about the phone I just got and that has 16GB. Other than the space, I thought it performed quick even though it was 3G and was good for phone calls.
My new phone is a model up from the Moto E, infact in reality it is probably several steps up from the phone I have because the Moto E is now on the 3rd generation.

Other members of my family are on the same contract and they got different phones to meet their specific needs. My daughter got the iPhone she has been hankering for over a year. My wife got a phone with a good camera, the Sony Xperia E5. My son's eyes lit up when he saw the Alcatel Pixi 4 6" but he was blinded by it having such a big screen. The shop assistant was helpful in explaining that the phone had a big screen but the processor was underpowered. Eventually, he decided to go back to the phone he thought he'd be happy with, the same Sony as my wife.

Dr Strange (2016)

I watched this film at the cinema with my son. Just the 2D showing. It was enjoyable and typically well produced as you would expect from a Marvel film. Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a good performance in the title role. He is an arrogant surgeon who thinks he knows it all. Until he has a car crash and looses control and sensitivity in his fingers. He felt that only experimental surgery would save him but the only person who perform the procedure turns him down. So in desperation, Dr Strange turns to oriental medicine but he is very sceptical. He has to have his mind opened to new impossible possibilities. His has to forget all of his training and education and begin learning everything from scratch again. It is a challenge that doesn't daunt him and after a rocky start he begins his new education and starts to progress.
The film has some really impressive visuals effects. Buildings are turned on their sides and collapse into each other, in a similar way to they did in the film Inception. I think some sequences were very trippy. Overall, anyone who enjoys Marvel films will like this one. I think we shall see more of Dr Strange in other Marvel films, as an origin story, this film is a good one.

Orc Wars (2013)

I watched this film but I can't work out why I recorded it. It's not a horror film and I'm not usually interested in fantasy films. So, anyway the film has a different title in America as there it is called Dragonfyre: the Worldgate Sentinel. It's a bit of a blend of orc verses military commando. There are lots of things that go unexplained that the viewer is just supposed to accept, like the fact that the estate agent just joins in and kills orcs with a sniper rifle. Like the princess. Like the gang of hooligans in the car. Like how White Feather escapes to fight another day. Like they ask a blind man to drive an armored car. Like why the real estate company didn't notice all the weapons in the basement of a farmhouse they were selling. To be honest, the acting in the film is quite poor and the script is awful. They orc makeup looks like it was borrowed from the Lord of the Rings, copied I should say. Just awful, don't bother watching it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Possession (2012)

I watched The Possession this week, it was made in 2012 and is a story about a family who have broken up and the two girls spend time with their mum and their father separately. There is a strange part at the beginning which has a woman thrown around a house by some invisible force. In the room there is a wooden box.
One day the girls are with their father and are at a yard sale of belongings from the woman's house and one of them is the box, which seems to call out to the younger of the girls. She wants to buy it and her father allows it. However, there was a strange sequence in which the young girl holding the box walks a little bit away from the sale on her own and the old woman who is in a nursing home sees her through the window and even though she is in bed and all bandaged up she screams at the girl and bangs on the window.
So, this is a story about possession. The interesting aspect is that the possession in question is by a dybbuk which is a dislocated spirit that wants to take over the body of another person.
I think it's well made and is a good film. There are some parts that are genuinely creepy. It is worth a watch and comes recommended.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Terror (1978)

Ok so I'm always a little excited to watch British horror films from the 70s. When the titles came on I got even more excited when I saw that Glynis Barber was in this film, I remember she played a beautiful blonde detective in the series Dempsey and Makepeace and she played Soolin in my favourite sci fi tv show Blake's 7.
Sadly, the film Terror from 1978 doesn't live up to the film's title. It employs a lot of good actors but the script is so poor its laughable. There are a few minutes of a topless exotic dancer thrown in for no good reason and one character runs a film studio where the worst software porn movie ever made is being filmed. The porn film is apparently being produced by just a single camera operator who is also the director. The scenes jump from urban streets in one cut to windy, wet, wild woods in the next cut. It's just meaningless, I could go on but it is so bad. And worst of all, it is not scary. There are a few bloody scenes but even these are poorly handled. I can't think of anything in the film that would lead me to recommend it. Not even beautiful Glynis Barber's presence redeems it, sadly.

Exit Humanity

I watched the film Exit Humanity this week, it took me several sessions to finish it. I didn't feel compelled to watch it all in one or two sessions, I think it took me four sessions. The film does organise itself into several chapters, the chapters of the main characters journal as he goes through a zombie nightmare at around the time of the American Civil War.
I felt the story was too long and not enough was happening in it. I didn't really like any of the characters in the story. The zombies were slow moving (like the film) and the bad guy wasn't developed well enough to really care if he was defeated or not.
There was a lot of groaning and wailing and shouting but not a lot of action.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Reykjavik Wale Watching Massacre

I watched this film expectantly this week, Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface from Texas Chainsaw Massacre) is in it for a short while. He was born in Reykjavik apparently.
I thought the film started fairly decently but then it sort of went downhill as I could see it was becoming a more typical slasher style film. The special effects in the kills are quite good, one guy is harpooned in the water. The other members of the party become less and less likeable. I don't really understand why but the characters behaviours suddenly became unbelievable and the film decended into a sort of satire of itself. I felt it was a bit of a waste and that there was something worth exploring in some of the characters, rather than simply killing them off.
I would watch it again for a bit of fun but its not the film I thought it might have been.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Lovely Molly

I saw this film this weekend and have to say my low expectations were completely unfounded. I think it was because I had seen two so so films that didn't do anything for me. This film is a good one. It was made, apparently, by Eduardo Snachez who was one of the makers of the Blair Witch Project.
Lovely Molly follows a young couple who move into a big house that turns out to be the Molly's family home after the death of her father some time before, it's not quite clear how many years have passed since the father died. There is no mother mentioned, unusually.
So Molly and her partner move in and we learn that her partner are not a wealthy pair, he is away a lot driving trucks and she is a cleaner. She is very pretty for a cleaner and should have gone into modelling instead! Anyway, I was reminded a little bit of The Entity while watching the film. Something about Molly being attacked physically by a supernatural entity we learn is her father. She has a sister, who tries to help. What's interesting is that Molly seems to have had a drug problem in the past. The sister doesn't help this because on Molly's birthday she gives her some marijuana.
So, as Molly's behaviour gets weirder her partner and sister both suspect she is using drugs again. It gives the story an interesting angle. I really thought there were very good touches in this film, I'd argue touches of genius. I rate this film very highly, it is creepy. Exactly what I want from a horror film.

Laid To Rest

I watched this film this week. I found it a very frustrating film mainly due to the main female character. I just found her really annoying, she couldn't remember anything and insisted on taking the most stupid course of action at most turns. There is a killer character that is central to the plot (if you can call it that), who wears a chrome skull mask, which is completely unexplained. So many frustrating things about this. It is a slasher movie that seems to string together a series of set pieces at frequent enough intervals but really I found it quite bizarre. At one point a young nerdy man who tries to help them contacts the police department by emailing them. So, there are touches of humour in this film but ultimately it's not a good film and not really worth it in the end.

Haunted (aka It's In The Blood)

Last week I watched this film. It tells the story of a family ripped apart by tragedy. It's a story told in the present and in the memories or flashbacks of the father and the son who are the main characters. October is the son's name and he has returned to his father who remained at the family home as the sheriff. I wasn't sure which country it was supposed to be set in, I thought it might be Australia but it could be any back woods small provincial place.
The father and son go for a trip into the woods to shoot a rifle and have a bonding session. October learns to drive the car and shoot. He seems to have been studying medicine as well. However, the nature of the tragedy and lack of communication between them since it happened doesn't make it an easy time. The father thinks he sees something in the woods and fires his gun, knocking him backwards and down a ridge where he breaks his leg badly exposing his bones.
The thing in the wood hunts them, October sharpens branches and makes some kind of trap. While this fight against something supernatural in the woods is going on the father and son are having flashbacks to the tragedy that befell them. It seems that October and his sister were unnaturally close and that the deputy sheriff had his own desires for the sister, who rejected him.
I won't spoil it by saying any more. This felt like a slow film, I wasn't too sympathetic to either of the main characters. The awkward communication between father and son did soften with the worsening of their situation. There were still long moments of not talking. I thought it was interesting and well made despite this. Not sure I'd sit through the whole film again though, having said that.
Something was weird about the title, it seems to be known by It's In The Blood but was advertised as Haunting, so when I was searching for it online I had hard a time trying to pin it down. I had to look through all the films on the Horror Channel website to find it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Farewell September, welcome October

September ends this week and we move into October, one of my favourite months. It is not as cold as winter but the change in temperature is nice as out come jumpers from the back of the wardrobe and the heating comes back on. Windows need to be closed at night and the leaves on the trees start to turn orange.
At the end of October there are the half term school holidays and the clocks go back on the 30th, bringing lighter mornings (for a short time) and dark afternoons. Then Halloween at the very end of the month, a time of year I enjoy with all the related dressing up and theme events.

We Are What We Are

I watched this film this week. It concerns a family (a dad, 2 daughters and young son) who start the film with the death of their mother. The family seem to be very religious and sort of backwards in an Amish style way. Living in modern society but not having many of the modern day trappings of technology. However they do own, and the father drives, a car. Apparently, according to Wikipedia it is a remake of a Mexican film. I wonder what the original was like? The story revolves around a family tradition of doing what it must to survive, born out of a flood many years ago. The flood story seems to have been written up in a bound diary/journal that is regarded with bible-like respect. We gather the mother was previously the cook and the father the hunter. The game in this case being the unfortunate humans who every year have to be slaughtered so that the family can keep the tradition alive. The question why is not, to my recollection, really addressed. We just have to believe it.
There is an elderly doctor in the film, whose own daughter mysteriously disappeared years ago. He has been doing a lot of research and has a dossier of other deaths in counties outside of the nearby area and sees a pattern. Unfortunately the local police think he is just grieving and not letting go and seeing patterns that aren't there. His suspicions are further aroused by finding a bone in a local creek that runs by the home of the family. He believes it is a human bone and as he studies it further suspects it has been scraped with an instrument of some kind.
The doctor does further research. The family behaviour is erratic when the son has a fever and they have to bury their mother. The doctor notices a hand tremor in the father and does further research into something called Kuru, which is a disease afflicting a tribe in Papua New Guinea who had it because they were cannibals.
It doesn't end well for the father but I won't give any more away. It is a fairly slow paced film but one that is well made and builds well to its climax, which is pretty good. It's certainly not a bad film. The acting is pretty good and so is the story. Worth watching again in the future at some point.