Saturday, October 10, 2020

Embrace of the vampire (2013)

 Pretty much as usual I started to watch this film with no expectations. I wasn't enthralled right from the get go due finding the acting pretty wooden. Sharon Hinnendael plays the central character called Charlotte and she is very pretty, so you'd imagine watching her should be a pleasure. However, in this mixed up movie that can't decide what it wants to be she is just under-utilised in a criminal way. The better scenes are where other girls in the university are bullying her but even these suck. I didn't enjoy this film much at all and I can't see why anybody would really, it certainly doesn't repay any time spent watching it. Not recommended, not even for fans of vampire films.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Beneath (2014)

 There are several films with this title, this one is directed by Ben Ketai. It concerns a young female student back home for a while to celebrate her father retiring from his job as a miner. Celebrations are going on in a bar with his workmates and in the banter it is suggested she is against workers being exploited. So, one thing leads to another and she is challenged to spend a few hours in the mine on her fathers last working day and she is only too happy to pick up the challenge.

So the next morning, hangover burning a hole in her head, she is taken down into the mine. She is given a shovel and has to shovel coal into a bin. While she is getting used to the work, at the mine head the drilling stops as the driller finds a hard bit of rock. He's encouraged to continue and breaks through into another tunnel but this causes a collapse and they become trapped down in the mine. Calling up to the surface determines it will take 72 hours to get down to rescue them. They have a metal cabin which provides fresh oxygen via tanks and can keep them alive when the air becomes toxic in the mine.

It turns out that there was a disaster in the past, where nineteen miner's lives were lost because they could not be rescued. So, things start to go supernatural now and something starts turning the men against each other. The young female student starts seeing weird things and the men are disappearing and getting killed in increasingly gruesome ways.

This film is a watchable B movie, if you are bored and have some time to spare.

Open House (2010)

 What was surprising about this film was that even though the plot was sort of ridiculous, the execution, acting and direction were of good quality. The fact that it was so well-made actually made up for holes in the story and it turned out to be a good thriller.

It concerns a woman who is trying to sell her house after the break-up of a relationship, I think with her husband but whether they are married or not I'm not sure. A man somehow gets in the house and traps her in a sort of crawl space between floors in the basement, handy since it has a door he can lock. He commits several murders with a knife and is joined by a woman. At first you might believe they are romantically involved but it turns out she is as murderous as he is, infact probably more so since he has to cover up after her murders. She seduces the woman's partner and kills him. Turns out that the killers are actually brother and sister.

The woman thinks the owner of the house has been killed but instead the man is keeping her downstairs and bringing her up during the day while his sister is out.

Murdering people is easy in this film, there are no police involved at all. No difficult questions and no detectives sniffing around. Despite they are occupying a house that is not theirs and on the property market. Someone from the company she works for leaves a message on her answerphone. The house cleaners turn up. The female owner tries to get rid of them, slipping a piece of paper into one of the cleaners hands that reads "call police". He reads this and recognises the situation and starts to ask his wife to leave but at this point the male murderer suspects something is wrong and kills both cleaners. He then beats the woman with his belt.

The female owner tries a different approach and tries to convince the man to leave his sister and run away with her. While they are upstairs discussing this, the sister unexpectedly comes back with the estate agent. The female hides in a wardrobe. The sister allows the estate agent to show her the house, she insists on seeing the bedrooms. While in the same bedroom as the female owner the sister tries to seduce the estate agent. The brother comes out of the bedroom and slashes the estate agents throat to the annoyance of his sister, she's concerned about blood seeping through the floorboards.

In the evening they invite guests over. People we've seen before who are friends of the owners. Well, it's not the type of house party I would want to go to, lets leave it there! Overall,this film shows that even with a script that has lots of holes in it, you can make a decent thriller.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Honeymoon (2014)

 A young newly wedded couple arrive at a remote house in the woods belonging to the girl's family. What can possibly go wrong? Well, quite a lot actually but it is done bit by bit and the suspense really does build up well. I shared the man's frustration with not understanding why his wife was becoming more remote from him. This is another film that contains a good twist to the story. It's not what you think in the end and to be kept in suspense for the length of the film is a great achievement from the director Leigh Janiak whose first film this was. One of the stars (Rose Leslie) is in the hit TV series Game of Thrones. It was a lot better than the average film on the Horror Channel.

Road Games (2015)

 This film was quite an interesting take on a familiar theme. An Englishman hitch-hiking in France meets a young French woman and they hitch-hike together. A French house owner passerby stops and gives them a lift. At first it seemed as though the killer on the loose that's in the news is the Englishman. However, all is not as it seems. There are some good twists in the film that will keep you watching, I quite enjoyed this from a plot point of view, despite not particularly liking the actors involved.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Possession of Michael King (2014)

I wasn't really sure what to make of this movie. A young man is spiritually lost, he has lost his wife and she believed in the supernatural world. He wants to prove there is nothing in it and chooses to make a film of his experiences trying to connect with the afterlife. He is a film maker by trade, so the film plays out in the style of found footage. A trope that is overdone in my opinion, especially in horror films.
So he visits a variety of fraudsters who make claims that they can summon demons or talk to the dead. After a few he starts to develop a ringing in his ears and strange things start to happen. His sidekick abandons the project, he doesn't like what is going on. It turns out that there is some entity trying to take charge of Michael.
This isn't an enjoyable film to watch, there are some unpleasant scenes (for example, he enters his sisters bedroom while she is sleeping and lifts the duvet to feel the top of her thighs) and I found it a bit on the long side. He does indeed seem to be possessed by the close of the film, so he got what he wanted I guess. I didn't like the character of Michael and that's quite important with a film like this. Perhaps others would like his character but I couldn't muster up any sympathy for him, if you go looking for trouble and then find it where you didn't expect to, more fool you.

Static (2012)

I was pleasantly surprised by this film. It manages to keep its surprise until the end, at least it did for me. A couple are seeking to get over the death of a child and have moved out to the sticks. A young woman knocks their door one night claiming to have broken down and that there are a gang of people after her. They bring her into their home and the husband immediately trusts her but his wife is more suspicious. They do indeed see the people who are tying to find them in their home, they are wearing strange masks.
The twist in the story is the same as The Sixth Sense from 1999. This 2012 film didn't get very positive reviews when it was released but it's not a terrible film, its just not a classic either.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Grave Halloween (2013)

I watched this film in two parts and hoped the second part would be better than the first, it wasn't. It is set in a Japanese forest known locally as Suicide Forest for the sheer number of people who commit suicide there.
Some American students are making a documentary for one of them whose birth mother committed suicide in the forest. They meet up with some other American students who are also in the forest but seem to be there for a good old laugh. These jokers find an abandoned tent and find an expensive Rolex watch, that one of them takes hoping to sell and split the profits.
It doesn't end well for any of our students but the story and the journey to get to the end are not told in an interesting way. The make-up effects are pretty good but the dialogue and story are weak. It could have been a lot better because there is probably a more interesting way to tell the same story.

When A Stranger Calls (2006)

The Horror Channel has a season called Sunday Thrillers and this film was the one from last week. I wasn't going to watch it but in the end it was on TV and I just continued to watch it. I guess it says something about the film that I continued to watch but quite what that is I'm not sure. I did enjoy the performance by Camilla Belle who plays a young girl who is baby sitting for a wealthy couple who live in the middle of nowhere.
The film is a psychological thriller about her receiving a series of phone calls through the night that eventually transform into a very real physical threat to her life and the lives of the other inhabitants of the house. This is a remake of a film that I can't remember if I've seen. Is it better than the original? I don't know because I can't remember the original, the original is apparently famous for having a very scary first 20 minutes. Probably not the same class on show here but I thought Camilla's performance as the main character was strong.

Girl House (2014)

A female student who is struggling financially joins an online porn website called Girl House run from somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The USP of this place is that there are surveillance cameras all ove the house to watch the girls going about stuff around the house like playing pool and taking a shower.
She moves in and gets a chauffeur driven car to university lectures. At other times she performs striptease and chats to paying web guests. One of the paying guests is an obese man who seems to have some form of psychological damage due to being humiliated sexually by a couple of young girls during a flashback. He threw one of the girls who he had pushed off her bike over the edge of a bridge. Well, he forms an attachment to the new striptease girl and he shares his photo with her, the other girls in the house somehow find it and pin it to the noticeboard in the house with a nasty comment. Somehow he sees this and he sees red. He goes on the rampage and because he is into computers he is somehow able to tap into the cameras and find out the location. There is a sub-plot about another student at the same university who was in love with the girl from the past and now watches her and realises who she is.
This is a silly film but nonetheless it is quite enjoyable to watch. The porn is totally turned down for a polite audience, so I guess the film will appeal to a wide audience and not just men. There are plenty of gruesome murders, so if you like gore you'll probably like this.

The Apparition (2012)

This film was one that apparently bombed at the box office and I can see why, having barely watched it a few days ago there was nothing memorable about it I could remember. I needed to read the plot synopsis again on Wikipedia. The film ends in a camping section of Costco. Need I say more?
It's very loosely based on something called the Philip Experiment that was conducted in 1972 in Canada. That doesn't make it any better, by the way.
There are some nice looking actors in the film, Ashley Greene is the female lead. As a result of a séance conducted at a university several years before an entity has been let out from "the other side" and is haunting one of the students who took part. He lost his first girlfriend in the experiment. He now has a new girlfriend and they are moving into a house together. So thinks start happening around the house and a strange fungus appears. The new girlfriend finds a box of stuff belonging to the student and realises she might end up in the same fate. One of the students who conducted the experiemental séance originally gets back in touch (the actor who plays Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter) and they try to perform some kind of exorcism - with electronics involved, though frankly at this stage things were so ridiculous I was past caring.
Not a film I can recommend to you.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Deadline (2009)

This is one of those haunted house films that get made a lot. There is a hint of a lesbian relationship between the two female characters in this film but it is never made obvious. A writer who has gone through a mental trauma needs peace and quiet to finish a book. She starts to hear strange noises and gets caught up in watching DV tapes of the previous owner who was a man who got obsessed that his pregnant wife was cheating on him. It turns out that there are a lot of similarities between her and the previous owner's wife. Not a scary film really, I sort of lost interest during the film but stuck with it.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Devil May Call (2013)

This film was more interesting than I thought it was going to be. But that's not necessarily saying a lot! It's about a killer who calls a crisis hotline on a regular basis insisting he speaks to a specific handler. She happens to be a young female who is blind. The killer calls on a night when a male student is also visiting the centre to learn about the job. He listens in on the call. Unfortunately for the killer he has to hang up to kill a woman held hostage in his house who has escaped. He does this before the call handler can tell him she is leaving. He calls again in the night and one of the other call handlers accidentally lets it out that the one he prefers is leaving. He doesn't take it well and turns up at the centre and kills the security guard and receptionist and then attacks everyone remaining in the building, its the night staff so is quiet anyway. He takes the call handler he prefers back to his house, it's unclear what he intends to do. But things don't go exactly to his plan. It's obviously a low budget movie and was shot very quickly with a limited set of locations. I disliked the killer, maybe that was intentional. Some films have a baddie you can like but this one didn't. He didn't say much and has a very flat delivery. Not a movie I'd particularly recommend or want to watch again.