Now I don’t say this too often (the last time being for a non horror film when I reviewed TYRANOSAUR!) but THE WICKER TREE may be my all time favorite British Horror/Thriller to date. I first saw THE WICKER TREE back at FrightFest 2011 and even though there were some mixed feelings amongst the horror parish I for one loved it. I was also very honoured to meet the film’s Director Robin Hardy and two of the film’s stars, The American lead Britannia Nicol and the very lovely Jacqueline Leonard but that has nothing to do with the review really *swoons*.
THE WICKER TREE is the first direct sequel of the original (and not the Nic Cage version for our younger readers) THE WICKER MAN which famously starred Sir Christopher Lee, who makes a very quick guest appearance nearer the end of the film. This story is set many years later in the small Scottish town of Tressock where born again Christian rock singer Beth Boothby (Britannia Nicol in her acting debut) and her boyfriend Steve (Henry Garrett – RED TAILS, RE-KILL) have been invited from the US to spread the name of god to the locals by Sir Lachlan Morrison (Graham McTavish – TV’s PRISON BREAK, COLOMBIANA) and his Delia (Jacqueline Leonard – TV’s Eastenders (1996-1997), CHAPLIN). When they arrive the couple are humbled to be asked to join the town’s May Day festivities when Beth is asked to be their May Queen and Steve is asked to be her ‘Laddie’. But not all is as it seems in Tressock with sexual temptation and an evil secret just waiting for the right moment to swallow them both whole.
As I mentioned before there were some mixed feelings at FrightFest when this was originally shown as some of the more hardcore wicker man fans thought the cult classic was better but that is hardcore fans of the original film which I was not. THE WICKER TREE had the genuine classic British feel to it in the same way STRAW DOGS and THE WICKER MAN had an aspect of the film which drew me in more. The acting was polished and all you can really do is be in awe of the direction and screenplay from Robin Hardy.
If you enjoyed THE WICKER MAN or you just love a great British film then you should march down to your local DVD retailer (or quickly jump on to Amazon whatever takes your fancy) and buy this NOW.
Release date: 30th April
Format: DVD & Blu-Ray
Running Time: 92 mins
R.R.P : (Blu-Ray) £19.99 (DVD) £15.99
I’ve been busy with last year’s After Dark Originals this week. Like I said in the review previous to this for the film HUSK these films can be either hit or miss and when I started watching PROWL I was hoping for a hit. I was hit alright, hit with a whole load of boringness.
Wanting to escape her life in the small town she grew up, Amber (Courtney Hope – TIC) heads to Chicago, with a group of her friends in tow, to put down the deposit on a new flat. Their journey is cut short however when their car break down just outside the town lines. Hitching a ride with a trucker named Bernard (Bruce Payne – HOWLING IV, PASSENGER 57), who is heading towards the city (you see where this is going), the group settle down in the back of the lorry unaware that they are going nowhere near the city. As the journey gets getting bumpy the group realise they may be in danger. As the truck pulls to a stop and the shutters open, Amber and her friends find themselves in an abandoned slaughter house which is now the hunting ground for a gang of demonic beasts.
Can anyone say “been here before”? I mean come on how many times have we seen a group of people trapped somewhere being hunted down by monsters. It is getting old now but that isn’t even the problem I have with this film, the major issue is that we have no idea what the hell these things are! Are they Vampires? Demons? And the film’s explosive climax leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
Okay so I am being a little harsh, the acting was actually okay and it does start really well but, as a lot of you will know from previous reviews, I have this hatred for badly done endings and even though I have let this slide before in my reviews for films like KILL LIST I really can’t let it slide here.
If you don’t mind a film full of creatures hunting people in a warehouse then go for it, this is the kind of film for you, but for this horror reviewer I am looking for something with a bit more bite.
Release date: OUT NOW
Format: DVD & Blu-Ray
Running Time: 81 mins
Amazon Price: (Blu-Ray) £5.99 (DVD) £3.99
It has taken me almost a year but I have FINALLY managed to watch HUSK, one of the films from the After Dark Originals series last year.
I always look forward to watching an After Dark horror, you never know what you are going to get. Sometimes you are given crap like LAKE MUNGO, but then you are also treated to some of the best examples of modern day horror like THE HAMILTONS. HUSK enters the same category as THE HAMILTONS and is a film which I will happily say is one of the most original horrors films I Have seen since starting Snakebite Horror.
The plot, in short, is the story of a group of friends who are forced to abandon their car in the middle of nowhere. With one of the group missing, the friends head into the surrounding cornfields to find him only to come across a rundown farmhouse in the middle of the corn. But they don’t know that in the corn they are being watched by a supernatural force that has only one thing in mind.
There is a lot more to this movie then I am letting on from that plot HOWEVER I have been vague for a reason. I really don’t want to spoil anything about this film as going into it blind made it a million times more enjoyable. They plot of the story and the direction were perfect, we were taking somewhere dark in this film and even time was taken to ensure each evil scarecrow had different masks, an aspect I actually appreciated as a horror fan.
The cast of characters are your normally bunch of American teens but I was pleasantly surprised with who they picked to be the final survivor/s, giving it over to someone you wouldn’t normally place in that category in this kind of genre.
Overall I have falling in love with this film, something that hasn’t happened since I saw THE LOVED ONES for the first time. It was edgy and downright creepy at times and is a great choice for a night in with a group of friends. I will be looking out for this director’s work in the future.
Release date: OUT NOW
Running Time: 100 mins
Amazon Price: (Blu-Ray) £5.99 (DVD) £3.39
When student and art tutor Lily More’s (Kelen Coleman – CHILDREN OF THE CORN: GENESIS) Sister dies after being hit by a car she feels her life has fallen apart. Looking to start a fresh else Lily decided to continue her University studies at Cassadaga University where she moves into the home of Claire, a delightful woman who lives with her creepy son Thomas.
One night Lily, Joined by new flame Mike and two of his friends, visits the town psychic in the attempt to speak to her dead sister one final time, however she gets more than she bargains for as the vengeful ghost of a murdered woman comes forth forcing images of her death into Lily’s mind. Haunted by the dead girls ghost Lily is forced to uncover the truth behind her murder which leads her on the path of a sadistic serial killer known as “Geppetto” a killer who dismembers his victims to make human puppets.
Back in 2010, during a trip to my local blockbuster store, I came across a film the debut film from director Anthony DiBlasi called DREAD, a film which was a film of the month for this very site at one point and a film review which saw me praising the work of a director who I think is the future of great horror. On that note imagine my joy when I get a copy of BiBlasi’s Latest title CASSADAGA hit by doormat this morning. Now i loved DREAD, i still think it is one of the top horror films i have seen, and although i was excited to see BiBlasi’s name attached to this new film, there will always be that fear in the back of my head that hopes that he isn’t a one hit wonder. BiBlasi didn’t disappoint. CASSADAGA was a fantastic film which mixed the supernatural and serial killer sub-genre very well.
When a film starts with someone cutting off their own penis you know you are in for a film that is going to be seriously messed up, and although the film is a slow builder, the climax of the film delivers a killer who is up there with killers like Buffalo Bill from SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. It was the Supernatural element of the film which held it all together, and to be honest the only real gripe I have with the film as a whole is that I would have liked to see more of the haunting of Lily.
If BiBlasi continues to deliver films like DREAD and CASSADAGA I will be very happy in all honesty and it goes to show that AFTER DARK can find some true gems.
Release date: 16th April 2012
Format: DVD & Blu-Ray
Running Time: 93 mins
R.R.P: (DVD) £15.99 (Blu-Ray) £19.99