Tuesday, 25 October 2016

SHOCKTOBER REVIEW: HE NEVER DIED (2015)

DISCLAIMER: I love Henry Rollins. In my eyes he can do no wrong (Yes, even after the Calvin Klein ads), therefore there is no possible way on Satan's scorched Earth that this review is going to be even slightly impartial. If you have a problem with that then I advise you to fuck off immediately.


If there is one thing better than Henry Rollins playing the lead in a movie, it is Henry Rollins playing the lead in a motherfucking horror movie. To be honest though I actually avoided watching this movie ever since it came out because I was worried that it would suck, and that finding any possible way to defend it would be a joyless and ultimately fruitless task. Thankfully it did not suck. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it certainly did not suck. Phew!

Rollins plays Jack, a socially awkward loner whose only interactions with the outside world are his daily trips to a local diner, games of bingo at a local church hall and the occasional back alley dealings with a sketchy medical intern. Jack's minimalist lifestyle and daily routine is rudely interrupted however when he discovers that he has a teenage daughter that he never knew about, and seemingly random hoodlums begin trying to kill him. Don't you hate it when that happens?! Luckily for Jack, and unluckily for the poor sons of bitches that try to kill him, he is a rock hard, merciless, immortal bastard. The failed attempts on his life escalate to the kidnap of his newly discovered daughter forcing Jack to confront his tormentors and reveal his true self.

One of the reasons for my concern about this movies' sucking potential was Rollins' ability to carry a movie on his own. He is fine in supporting roles but would he have the acting chops to pull off a lead role? Well, I was a fool, A FOOL to doubt him. He was bloody excellent! In all fairness I don't think "socially awkward loner" was too much a stretch for him as I am pretty sure that description wouldn't be far off the mark for the man himself, but even so, the boy did good. This was a really interesting, slow burner of a movie which was actually pretty funny at times too. If you're in the market for action, action, action then I wouldn't recommend it, but if you like your horror methodical and cerebral with a smattering of dark humour and a whole lot of Henry freakin' Rollins then this flick is definitely the one for you.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

SHOCKTOBER REVIEW: MOST LIKELY TO DIE (2015)

Hey! It's me! Remember me? No? Oh... Awkward. That is probably because I haven't posted on this blog since Halloween last year. I am an awful, awful person, I know. Anyway, I'M BACK! Kind of. I thought that seeing as it is October, every horror movie fan's favourite month, I would post some reviews of movies that I have watched recently. I am not going to do my usual SHOCKtober movie marathon because ain't nobody got time for that, but I will endeavour to write a few reviews for all three of you that still remember that this blog exists. Starting with 2015 slasher movie MOST LIKELY TO DIE...


The premise is a simple one: 10 year high school reunion... remote house... beautiful people... killy killy death death. Yep. You've seen slasher movies before and this flick does absolutely nothing original or Earth shatteringly different with the genre, but you know what? That's fine. It's actually a pretty fun movie. The thing that always makes me lose interest in slasher movies with immediate effect is annoying, cookie cutter, boring as fuck characters that you're supposed to care about but just want to die instantly. This movie actually had some characters that weren't entirely awful. Some, being the key word. You had a professional gambler, a recovering alcoholic, a tattooed lesbian, nothing groundbreaking but much better than dumb cheerleaders and arrogant football players. It was actually nice seeing a slasher movie with characters that were in their late twenties, rather than actors in their late twenties pretending to be teenagers!

I always enjoy "who done it?" slashers much more than "look, here's the killer, look at them kill people" slashers. For me, they just add an extra element of suspense and fun to the movie. I don't generally attempt to figure out who the killer is when watching because I just like to go along for the ride, and I definitely did not predict it in this one. There are a few different storylines running through the film with a few red herrings along the way, plenty to keep you guessing. There is even a slight twist at the end, which I enjoyed.

The thing that lets this movie down the most is the kills, they are all pretty standard stabbing, slashing and strangling. Nothing very original or exciting about them, which is a shame. Other than that, I enjoyed this movie. Nothing original, but far from the worst slasher movie I have ever seen. In a time when slasher movies are few and far between I would give this a solid 6/10.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

You may or may not have noticed that this year I did not partake in my usual SHOCKtober riutal of watching horror movies until my eyes bleed. What can I say? I'm sorry, you guys. I just wasn't up for it. October kind of sprang up on me this year. Like where has 2015 disappeared to?!? I promise that next year normal service will resume. Yes, next year I will smash SHOCKtober's stupid ugly face in. In fact, I am going to call it right now... Next October I will watch 40 horror movies! That's right. FORTY. In one month. My all time record is 33, so 40 will be tough but I will do it. Hopefully that will appease the Pumpkin Gods for my lacklustre 2015. Please, forgive oh ye Pumpkin Gods.


Saturday, 1 August 2015

REVIEW: THE REDWOOD MASSACRE (2014)

A group of friends on a weekend camping trip in the arse end of nowhere (a.k.a the Scottish countryside) get more than they bargained for when they decide to camp at the abandoned farmhouse where a brutal massacre took place twenty years before.

If you're thinking "Hey, the set up for this film sounds exactly like Australian slasher movie 'Charlie's Farm' which just came out like a month ago" then you'd be thinking the exact same thing that I did when I read the synopsis. And having watched the film, yeah, it's pretty similar (except set in Scotland and without Tara Reid).

I had been looking forward to this movie for quite a while. It is not often I will pre-order a DVD without having seen the film in a cinema first, but I took a gamble on this one because it looked like my kinda flick. Unfortunately I think my over excitement about the film meant that I didn't really enjoy it as much as I would have had I randomly discovered it. Also, in my head I couldn't help but keep comparing it to the aforementioned Charlie's Farm. I won't keep banging on about Charlie's Farm, but it really is unfortunate that they are so similar. It is not often that we get decent slasher movies coming out these days and to have two in the space of a month with such similar plots is annoying (through no fault of the film makers I might add, I am not insinuating anything untoward has gone on).

Anyway, back to Redwood. Local legend has it that twenty years ago a farmer went crazy and savagely killed his wife and kids. Now, on the twentieth anniversary of the killings, partygoers and thrill seekers from neighbouring towns descend on the farm to camp and party. Any excuse to get pissed up, eh Scotland?! Of course things don't go smoothly for our group of friends and they are picked off one by one by the scary looking dude on the cover above. The costume design of the villain is top quality and undoubtedly a throwback to Friday 13th Part II's burlap sack wearing Jason Voorhees. He is a silent and brutal operator. He must also be a feminist because he will punch you in the face with fervent strikes regardless of gender. I like a killer who is all about equality.

My problem with the killer is that they show him to us too early and too often. There is no tension and suspense built up, you just see him straight away. For me, that took away a lot of the impact he could have had. Another problem with the movie is the fucking annoying characters that we are supposed to give a shit about. It is a criticism that is often levelled at slasher movies, that the protagonists are one dimensional and shallow, but I really felt nothing for them. One girl in particular constantly moaned and whined from the start and, frustratingly, ended up being one of the last ones to die. Another girl, who was perfectly nice, had the worst drawn on eyebrows I have ever seen in a film. Seriously. Once you see them you can't unsee them...


All in all, The Redwood Massacre is a decent film and definitely worth a watch. Full marks for the killer's costume and the practical make up effects. The script just needed a bit more spit and polish and it could have been a great movie. Sadly, it did not live up to its potential (and I won't even mention the stupid ending).

(For those interested I reviewed the superior Charlie's Farm recently for UK Horror Scene)

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

UKHS REVIEWS: THE BADGER GAME (2014), PERNICIOUS (2015)


"There are some terrific, tense scenes that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck and also leave you wondering why a woman sexy dancing in a frog mask is so damn hot."



"the gore effects are mostly practical and very convincing and there is some beautiful cinematography throughout which really takes advantage of the stunning setting."

Sunday, 19 April 2015

UKHS REVIEW: REBOUND (2014)

Hey Nerds! Between now and the last time I posted here I have started reviewing movies for UK HORROR SCENE. Exciting, right? The first film that I reviewed for them was a little indie flick called Rebound and if you'd like to know what I thought about it then click on the link below!


"A low-budget slow burner which is very well acted and directed. There is an uncomfortable, unsettling tone throughout which builds up nicely to a harrowing crescendo."
FULL REBOUND REVIEW

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

REVIEW: PRESERVATION (2014)

This is my first post of the year. I am a terribly inconsistent horror blogger, yes, but I am sure you'll get over it. Sorrynotsorry. HERE'S A REVIEW!

 

Two brothers, a cell phone addicted city slicker and a rugged, brooding, former military, weekend warrior-type, head out to the arse end of nowhere on a camping/hunting trip along with the city slicker's wife. Unfortunately for them their trip is not all plain sailing and they quickly find themselves up shit creek without a paddle. 

On their first night there some complete bastards steal all of their stuff whilst they sleep AND paint little black X symbols on their heads. Like targets. Like they are being targeted. Like they are being HUNTED. LIKE THE HUNTERS HAVE BECOME THE HUNTED. It's not subtle. What is impressive though is the fact that whoever stole their shit managed to take the tent out from underneath them, in the dark of the night, without ever waking them or even disturbing them in the slightest. WHAT KIND OF SORCERY IS GOING ON HERE?!?

Anyway, Mr Rugged, Brooding, Former Military, Weekend Warrior Man (I am going to call him 'Mr Rugged' for short from now on) goes off in search of his dog, which was also stolen, and leaves Mr Cell Phone Addicted (although not any more because of course that was stolen too) City Slicker Brother and Sister-in-Law to fend for themselves. In a nice little twist, City Slicker and wife actually fare better than Mr Rugged as he is the first to be offed by one of the mystery assailants (albeit in a really stupid way). City Slicker is the next to meet a grisly end which leaves the poor, defenceless young widow all on her own. Fuelled by revenge and feminism and all those good, powerful things, she turns in to a total bad ass and goes all Rambo on the tent stealing, husband and brother-in-law killing sons of bitches.

I went in to this film completely blind -- I didn't read any reviews or watch the trailer first -- It sounded like my kinda thing and it is on Netflix so I watched it. It is not going to win any Oscars and I will probably never watch it again, but I did enjoy it. Yes, it is a bit ridiculous and there are better films out there with similar concepts, but it's a fun watch. It is always good seeing strong, female characters and it certainly plays with your expectations of which characters are going to live and which ones are going to die. There is a reveal in the middle of the film that will lead people to compare it to the far superior Eden Lake and there are obvious comparisons with classics such as Deliverance or Just Before Dawn, but if you forget all those movies exist and just sit back and watch it, then you might just enjoy yourself. Or you might hate it, but what the fuck do I know?!?