My Thoughts On ‘Splinter’ (2008)

Some things can really get under your skin. The film I watched today was 2008’s ‘Splinter’. Set in the woodlands, it revolves around three people who are being hunted by a parasite. This creature infects and takes over its host and passes the infection onto the next person or animal. The main sign of infection are long thick splinters that crawl out from under the skin.

For an interesting premise that echoes ‘The Thing’, it had potential. The creature was scary, the atmosphere was really tense and kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time, and the characters weren’t dull (although they could sometimes be annoying).

However, that’s where the positives end. For me, the problems were mainly with the technical aspects of the film. The cinematography was really shaky, meaning you couldn’t see a lot of the gruesome details; the actual infecting and gory parts would’ve been better with still shots. It was also distracting during the quieter moments. The sound levels were also all over-the-place, with the white noise being really quiet and, again, distracting during quiet scenes, and the dialogue was either really quiet or extremely loud.

Overall, it was an interesting and tense film that had potential and I’m glad to have watched it. However, I won’t be watching it again.

3/5

5 Of The Worst Decisions Made In Horror Films

Warning: May contain spoilers!

As you’ve probably guessed by now, one of my favorite film genres is horror. I’m not sure why I love this genre, but I do. However, the majority of them seem to share the same thing: They’ll have at least one stupid character. These characters will usually make a decision that will either affect the storyline, affect themselves or another character, or set the overall film into motion. Their decisions are either unrealistic, ridiculous or just plain stupid. Therefore, I’ve decided to put together a little list of the five worst decisions made in horror films (as the title says). This is not a top five list; merely a collection of awful, awful choices.

Let’s begin…

Jeepers Creepers (2001): Going Back to the Pipeline

OH. MY. GOD. THIS ONE. So, let me set the scenario: Darry and Trisha, a brother and a sister, have just passed a cathedral where they see a stranger throwing white, blood-stained sheets down a pipe. What would you do in this situation? You’d probably get as far away as possible, or report the incident to the police, right? Well, the siblings don’t do either of these things but, instead, decide to return to the scene of the crime on the suggestion (or guilt-tripping) of the brother. Okay, I understand that this decision sets the whole film into motion, but come on. What makes this even more ridiculous is that Trisha even tells Darry that we, the audience, will hate him for making this decision.

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Saw 2 (2005): Addison and the Box Trap

Oh, boy. This is a decision that really frustrates me, mainly because her slow death could’ve easily been avoided.

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In the red circled area, you can just make out the key to open the box and get the antidote out. If Addison had stopped and actually looked at the whole trap then she would’ve seen this. Alas, this is not the case and she ends up putting both hands in and getting herself stuck.

Drag Me to Hell (2009): Wrong Envelope!

In this Sam Raimi film, the main character (Christine Brown) is cursed; In three days, she will literally be dragged to Hell. The cursed item, a button, is placed in an envelope which she drops in the car after it breaks. A pile of other papers and envelopes also drop on the car floor as well. In a situation like this, where you’d be dragged to Hell in less than twelve hours time, you would double, triple-check that the envelope that you picked up is the right one. Christine does not do this. It’s a stupid and unrealistic decision, but it leads to a sucker punch of an ending, so I can’t completely complain.

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Blair Witch Project (1999): Mike Throws the Map in the River

Confession time… I hate this film. None of the characters make a single sensible decision throughout the entire movie, and it was difficult to pick just one bad decision. However, I have to give this one to Mike who, for no apparent reason, decides to get rid of the trio’s map that’ll help them get out of the forest they’re lost in. Why anyone would do this is beyond me and he doesn’t seem to have a good reason for doing it, either. Instead, he laughs at his actions. Not cool, Mike, not cool.

(The reveal and reactions start at the 1:30 mark)

Zombieland (2009): The Death of Bill Murray

In this film, the zombie apocalypse is upon us and the main characters have stumbled upon Bill Murray’s house where they discover that he’s survived by pretending to be a zombie himself. Pretty clever, right? So why would you then decide to prank one of the characters, disguised as a zombie? Oh, by the way, the target of the prank has a loaded shotgun. You can probably tell what’s gonna happen.

My Thoughts On: Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Amongst the many films that I have to catch up on, one of the one’s I watched was 2009’s ‘Drag Me To Hell’. Directed by Sam Raimi (‘The Evil Dead’ trilogy), the film follows Christine Brown who works at a bank. When she refuses a loan to an elderly gypsy woman, she is cursed: In three days, she will be dragged down to hell unless she can break said curse.

The cinematography, soundtrack and overall tone of the film echoes that of ‘Evil Dead 2’, except this is bigger and (dare I say it) better. The pacing is more polished: events are stretched out instead of mostly happening all at once in the first half of the film; it also moves the story away from the cabin in the woods scenario that we’re familiar with, and places it in a surburban setting which makes the film seem more terrifying. That’s not to say that this is a serious film; like the ‘Evil Dead’ trilogy, it doesn’t take itself seriously and carries a sense of humour.

The performances are also strong: Alison Lohman is fantastic as Christine Brown and Justin Long is also great as her boyfriend. I also want to mention Lorna Raver, who plays the elderly gypsy Mrs. Ganush, whom gives off a brilliant performance as well.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and it’s a shame that it doesn’t get more recognizition amongst the horror community, as it definitely deserves it. However, the film did shoot itself in the foot as its trailer made it seem like a serious horror film which it is definitely not, as I’ve already mentioned. This is a fun, silly, but at times scary, film that doesn’t take itself seriously and definitely has that Sam Raimi feel to it.

5/5

You can see the trailer below and see exactly what I’m talking about:

My Thoughts On: Evil Dead (2013)

Directed by Fede Alvarez, ‘Evil Dead’ follows a group of teenagers as they help their friend, Mia, overcome a heroine addiction. To help her, they stay in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. Once there, one of their friends finds an ancient book in the cabin’s basement and releases a demon that possesses Mia and her friends.

This is the second time I’ve seen ‘Evil Dead’ and I personally think it’s one of the best remakes I’ve ever seen. It makes a lot of references to the two original films in terms of it’s cinematography and content, yet manages to blend them smoothly into this story. It’s also visually stunning, even if the content isn’t pleasant (this film is definitely more gory than the original and is not for the squeamish!); the sound design also uses throwbacks to the original film; for example, the POV shot of the demon running towards the cabin after it’s been released. Most of the characters are also likeable, which means you care about them when things go wrong.

The ‘Evil Dead’ remake takes a serious tone instead of the cheesiness that’s displayed in the original films, yet this doesn’t ruin the overall movie. It’s dark, gory and an example of what a good remake should look like.

The ‘Red Band’ trailer can be seen here (NSFW):

Your memories stay online forever…..but so do your mistakes

This is the tagline for Universal’s new fictional horror ‘Unfriended’. Filmed entirely through someone’s computer, ‘Unfriended’ takes place a year after the suicide of Laura Barns, a girl who was bullied after a video of her drunk at a party was posted on YouTube. On this day, a group of friends are skyping each other when an intruder adds itself to their conversation and starts killing them off. The intruder in question? Laura Barns.

To get a better viewing experience, this film should be watched on a computer. The way the film has been set up is unique and different, but this can be seen as a good and bad tactic: There’s a risk of the audience being taken ‘out of the film’ if watched on a cinema or TV screen. However, as said above, this set up makes for a different and effective watch on a computer.

Unfortunately, the characters in the film aren’t unique or even memorable which is a shame as this does make the film tedious at times. It does also have a tendency to fall into clichés as well as being extremely predictable.

Overall, ‘Unfriended’ is a unique horror that could’ve established itself as a classic in the paranormal genre but instead has clichés, dull characters and predictability. Despite these, I did enjoy the film as the setting made it engaging and, at times, scary and really makes you think twice before posting things online.

3/5

My Thoughts On: Videodrome

David Croenburg’s ‘Videodrome’ was released in 1983 and follows Max Ren, a Cable TV programmer of a station that shows extreme violence and sexual content of which can not be displayed on other television stations. Whilst trying to find new and exciting content, he comes across ‘Videodrome’ who seem to be a snuff film channel. However, he soon learns that not everything is as it seems as he is brainwashed and forced to act out murder as well as mutilation on his own body.

The above description is the best synopsis I can write without giving away too many details. This film is extremely weird and creepy, although it is brilliant. The visuals are incredible, the soundtrack is obscure but fits into the film’s unique environment. It’s also as relevant today as it was when it was first released; it’s imagery shows us how we, as viewers, react to TV programs as well as where programs are going and this commentary is still important to us now, especially with shows like Game of Thrones and the film horror sub-genre ‘Torture Porn’. ‘Videodrome’ has stood the test of time.

If you’re a fan of David Croenburg or the Body Horror sub-genre, I would definitely recommend this. It’s weird, disturbing but clever.

The trailer can be viewed here:

Kevin Smith Introduces Us To The World’s Most Dangerous Animal In ‘Tusk’ (POSSIBLE SPOILERS)

This film is weird. Really weird. The film I’m talking about is ‘Tusk’, which is Kevin Smith’s recent film. Unlike ‘Clerks’ and ‘Mallrats’, this one explores the body horror genre and stars Micheal Parks (Red State) and Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers). Justin Long plays a podcaster called Wallace Bryton, who travels to Canada and meets Howard Howe (Micheal Parks), a seemingly charming man who tells him a story of when he became lost at sea and was saved by a Walrus. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worse as Wallace is drugged and, after waking up, is told that he’ll be surgically, and mentally, turned into a Walrus. Yeah.

Tusk was based on a Gumtree (the UK equivalent to Craigslist) advert from someone who was looking for a lodger who would live in his house, rent-free. He then explains that he spent some time stuck on an island with only a Walrus for company and says that the animal was the only friend he ever had. Therefore, all he asks in return was for the lodger to dress in a Walrus costume and act as the creature for two hours each day. This ad was read out by Kevin Smith on his podcast show Smodcast and captured his imagination so he and his podcasting partner, Scott Mosier, started pitching the idea and eventually sent out a Twitter hashtag (‘WalrusYes’ or ‘WalrusNo’) to see if his fanbase would want to see this film made.

Through its weirdness, ‘Tusk’ is one of the most beautifully shot films I’ve ever seen, with every shot looking like a work of art (even if the content isn’t pleasant). It’s also creepy and disturbing, mainly thanks to the film’s imagery and the extremely talented Parks. Long’s performance is also outstanding, even when wearing the nightmarish Walrus costume (the human/walrus screams will stay in my head for a long time!)

Unfortunately ‘Tusk’ does have one flaw, which is a character called Guy La Pointe. Played by Johnny Depp, Guy is a stereotypically French detective whom Wallace’s girlfriend and podcast partner hire to find him. From the moment he’s introduced, the film tries to change its genre to comedy without much of a warning and doesn’t really work. It’s a shame but, at the same time, the film doesn’t let its audience forget the horrifying imagery of Wallace’s fate, so it does redeem itself.

Despite its flaw, ‘Tusk’ is creepy, disturbing and weird and this won’t be a film for everyone. If you’re into the body horror genre or just want to watch something different within the horror genre, I definitely recommend this. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good introduction into the new direction Kevin Smith has taken.

4/5

The trailer for ‘Tusk’ can be seen below:

‘Welcome To Jurassic Waterloo’

A couple of weeks ago, ‘Jurassic World’ was released on DVD (and yes, I have bought it). In celebration of this, I thought I’d upload a video I did during the film’s opening week. One of its cinema promotions was a transformation of London Waterloo station. You can see the video below to see what the transformation was:

‘Jurassic Park’ was one of the first live action films I ever saw and loved it (still do!). I’ve always been fascinated by dinosaurs, so seeing the idea of a dinosaur safari park was amazing. ‘Jurassic World’ brought me back to my childhood because my child dream of seeing a working dinosaur park was presented to me on the big screen. What I also like about the film is it was mainly targeted towards fans of the original film and was fully aware of that, giving us references towards the original film.

The promotion for this film was also brilliant, especially the one displayed in my short film. The one in London Waterloo ran for the films first two opening weeks and also featured an ‘interactive tour’ of the displays on the top floor of the station, which was a really nice touch.  The displays covered the main foyer, where the overground trains are, as well as the overground train platforms and some of the Underground.

This was definitely a memorable experience before seeing the film in the BFI IMAX and the marketing team definitely got it right when it came to this film.

With Great Power Comes Great…….Irresponsibility

The Internet is an amazing and interesting place. It can bring people together, it can tear people apart and it can also breath new life into things we thought were forgotten. One of those things is the Deadpool movie, starring Ryan Reynolds as the ‘Merc with the Mouth’. In 2014, test footage was uploaded to YouTube, featuring Deadpool in a bloody fight against bad guys. This video, despite being removed numerous times, spread like wildfire across social media and message boards. After continuing demands for the footage to be expanded into a feature length film, 20th Century Fox began production on the film.

For those unfamiliar with Deadpool, he is a Marvel anti-hero that has been given accelerated healing powers after being diagnosed with cancer. Because he can heal at an alarmingly fast rate, he can endure masses amount of pain and, in short, can not die. Armed with guns and two Katanas, he carelessly wreaks havoc while constantly breaking the fourth wall.

The trailers for the film (PG and Mature rated) were released on the 5th August and it couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s humour and overall tone are true to its source material; a lot more so than the Deadpool portrayed in X-men Origins: Wolverine.

The PG trailer can be viewed here:

Or you can watch the Red Band trailer here (NSFW):

Deadpool is out in cinemas Febraury 2016