Thursday, 15 December 2016

More Frightfest 2016 films

Ali Abbasi’s film, Shelley, has a great number of interesting ideas about the fear of pregnancy and the sheer desire to have a baby, but interesting ideas don’t always add up to a great movie. Louise and Kasper live in an isolated cottage in the countryside, they require a maid, Elena, to assist Louise in her day to day activities following her operations. This operation renders her childless and unable to conceive so they ask Elena to be the surrogate mother, and Elena agrees. With all the loud, jump scares of modern, mainstream America horror cinema, it’s easy to appreciate the more measured, slow burn approach but not to the extent it becomes rather boring. As impressive as the film’s visuals and make up effects are, its rather dull and left open to interpretation a little too much for one’s liking, a little closure goes a long way but the film is to obtuse it ends up being rather frustrating. 


It’s early in the morning on the fourth of July and the police have received a complaint about some party animals have started the 4th of July celebrations early. The police arrive on the scene only to discover a bloody massacre with a single survivor. Meanwhile a group of friends are planning an exciting drink, drug and sex fuelled party at a remote cabin. However, something sends the 20somethings into a rage fuelled state, was it the locals? The shot that they’d all taken? Or the drugs, if so this film works well as an anti-drugs commercial. 

I was deliberately more vague regarding the cause of rage fuelled zombie like behaviour in comparison to official plot synopsis which deemed it fit to reveal the cause of the infection, it perhaps did the film a disservice revealing far too much. Anyway there’s a habit with these types of films to present all of the characters as deeply unlikable, there’s one arrogant and cocky guy whose death would be most welcomed and most of the other characters don’t fare much better. It's a mystery why this happens so often, we need characters to care about.

The basic plot of The Evil in Us is one that’s been told many times, the clichés are certainly there as the creepy locals (who the young group of friends predictably annoy) and remote cabin feel very familiar. However, despite the fact that the zombie genre is inflated with gallons of crap, there’s some relatively new ideas here and ones that actually gets you thinking about how such a crisis would be resolved.

The literal blood bath of the opening credits sets the precedent for what to except as the excellent make up and gore effects thrill and some filmmaking techniques (such as depicting the visual hallucinations bought on by the infection) work in the film’s favour.


Rosie (Alex Essoe) and John (Josh Stewart) are drug mules for their uncle (played by Skipp Sudduth in a wonderfully foul performance), for that reason they live in relative seclusion but for one, seemingly normal, neighbour. That is until Rosie (going all Rear Window) spots the neighbour (Bill Engvill) in question beating someone to death with a spade and disposing of the body.

Alex Essoe shot to fame (at least within the minds of horror fans) with her superb performance in the disturbing Starry Eyes, her latest film The Neighbour is slightly more conventional but still an excellent exercise in tension. The Neighbour is more of thriller than a horror, but there's a lot tension surrounding what the neighbour is up to (and it's clear that he is up to something) and when its revealed that he is up to something fishy the film sets itself within the thriller genre. Marcus Dunstan does a fine job in the director's chair (there are, however, moments where the film is superficially over-stylised) but credit goes Alex Essoe and Josh Stewart whose chemistry as the married couple in peril helps the audience find something to be engaged in.


Three people with financial issues are selected to take part in this edcuational experiment where gifted children are confined to stay undergroud in order to reach their potential. It seems a bit odd from the start, but things turn from strange to downround deadly

Let's be Evil sets its self apart from a majority of horror films by making use of augmented reality as a way to tell the story. It's an interesting way to tell the story, and the film uses it to exmaine its themes, which include the use of technolgy in the educational system and the way the kids have limited play time even though research suggests that playtime is benefical to the student's learning process. The film has it's moments, it's often tense and exicting the augmented reality adds an interesting dimension. It's, however, a little rough on the edges, and threat by the kids isn't fully convicing (there's a scene where the evil kids a literally patting one of the central characters) and it's a bit on the predictable side.


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