SIREN is a slick and sexy Supernatural British horror and is the directorial debut from the former art director Andrew Hull (P2, GET OVER IT) who sadly passed away in 2010.
Young city couple Ken (Eoin Macken – CENTURION) and Rachel (Anna Skellern – THE DESCENT PART 2) along with Rachel’s old college friend Marco (The debut role for Anthony Jabre) head out to the ocean on Ken’s bosses boat for a weekend of drinking and relaxing. There plans however are interrupted when Marco spots a island in the distance where a man is signalling for help. Bleeding from his ears and raving in a foreign language the man falls to the floor dead. Scared of reprisals from the local back on shore the Anna and the other drag the body ashore and bury the man in the sand. They are not alone, a young woman named Silka, who the group assume must also be a castaway befriends the group but not all is as it seems.
SIREN is one of those rare films, like for example THE RUINS, that has a slow build up but still keeps you watching. There is a great use of the song ‘Elephants’ by the all girl rock and WARPAINT. The words are hypnotic and works well within this film. There is a very slow build up before anything really happens but it is worth holding on to the end of the film just to see where it goes.
There is some mixed young talent that are both good yet amateurish but this is more pointed towards Anthony Jabre which would make sense as this is his first film outing.
Well directed, and similar to films like THE RUINS, SIREN is a brilliant film to add to any horror fan’s collection.
Release date: 27th June
Price: (DVD) £12.99
We have yet another haunted house horror coming out on DVD this month is the form of After Dark Original FERTILE GROUND. From the off I found reasons to dislike this film for example the awful fantasy film style music which seems very out of place in a film like this. The music get a little better further but doesn’t excuse using it in the first place. Also I disliked the section messages that come between scenes, for example ‘starting over’ and ‘moving in’. So with my initial rant over it is time to review some of the finer points of the movie.
After suffering a miscarriage Emily and Nate Weaver leave the city for the rural comfort of Nate’s ancestral home in the country to start a new life. Once there, Emily is haunted by horrifying visions and haunted by the ghosts inhabiting their new home. When Nate’s behavior becomes more aggressive, Emily fears she might be the latest in a string of murderous behavior of the past down through the house’s generations.
We have had so many crap ghost films in recent years, each time I say the same “seen this all before”. I was hoping that i would be proved wrong this time around; however I was truly disappointed yet again to be faced with another similar type of film.
I am not saying that FERTILE GROUND is all bad, the acting chemistry between Emily Weaver (played by Leisha Hailey) and Nate Weaver (played by Gale Harold) was great and the story was passable but like i said before it is the same old story.
The whole ‘is she seeing ghosts or is she going mental due to the pregnancy’ angle ruins it slightly for me as I went into this wanting a spooky ghost story. It took ages to really kick in at the start of the film and it didn’t really go anywhere after that aside from a few shoots of some ghosts and a only a couple of death scenes.
Overall FERTILE GROUND wasn’t an awful film (of course the worse of this sub genre must be DEADLINE) but it is the same old story done again and I hate to say not as well as previous films. It was well directed however with some good acting and set designs.
Release date: 23rd May
Format: DVD & BLU-RAY
Price: (DVD) £15.99 (BLU-RAY) £19.99
Do you remember back in the 90’s when we had more and more supernatural TV dramas? You know the kind of shows that spawned from TV shows such as Buffy and Charmed? Well watching FADING IN THE CRIES was like sitting thorough the worst of these TV series. With blurry demons, god awful acting and a screenplay which would have worked better if you had split it into two different films. In this day and age of film making there isn’t really any excuse to have all of those bad aspects in one film. FADING IN THE CRIES also stars Brad Dourif (CHILDS PLAY, CHAIN LETTER) which has disappointed me no end as he has been in same damn good films throughout his career. Ok so down to why I hated this film so much.
When you have demons involved in a film you expect at least a little bit of effort on the costume front (okay granted the white skinned demon looked OK however what is up with the cloaked kid with the mini scythes?). Our young hero (played by talentless young actor named Jordan Matthews) looks like a member of an emo rock band and his sword wielding skills are bloody awful to say the least. The supposed heroin Sarah (played by a seriously dull and untalented youngster Hallee Hirsh) lacks any kind of appeal whatsoever and I swear if she was up against a horde of zombies in any other kind of horror film she would have been taken out by those flesh eaten fiends in the opening massacre.
So here we go with the plot. In pursuit of a mystical necklace, Mathias (Brad Dourif), an evil (yeah right) sorcerer, puts a spell on a small town, turning the residents into zombie like creatures. As you can probably already guess that our Heroin, Sarah, is in possession of said necklace leading to her family being attacked by the creatures. Sarah is saved by Jacob (Our little Emo friend) a sword wielding teenage looking for vengeance for his own family’s death. Meanwhile Sarah’s mother and her sister are fighting off the zombie horde (Which to be honest is the best part of the film) leading to the introduction to a creepy white skinned demon woman sent by Mathias. Sarah and Jacob join forces to break the curse placed on her family by Mathias with a half arsed excuse for a sword battle near the end between Jacob and Mathias.
Over the years I have seen so many lower budget horror films that I have actually enjoyed and on reading the plot of this film I was actually excited in watching it. Watching this made me feel like I had wasted a good hour or so of my life. The film basically lacked in good acting. The only positive in can give is the soundtrack which was pretty cool. I think that if this story was for a younger age, and you take out some of the (fake looking) blood they could of easily aimed this film for the 12A market in the same genre setting as film such as BEASTLY and CITY OF EMBER.
Release date: 30th May
Price: £12.99 (DVD)
Insidious is certainly a film that everybody has an opinion on. I’ve heard it described by my friends as both ‘shit your pants scary’ and ‘ridiculous’ but my thoughts lay somewhere in the middle. My main issue with Insidious is that it felt as though two different directors took charge of each half of the film, which made for a strange shift half way through the story.
The first half of Insidious terrified me and elicited constant screams from the cinema audience – always a good sign, in my opinion. I will admit to a girly scream when the title came up (it was jumpy, okay?) and the tension just built from there. Whispers on the baby monitor, mysterious figures in the shadows, a creepy (bloody hell was he creepy) kid catching your peripheral vision – the first forty minutes of this film ticked all the boxes.
I’m glad that Insidious managed some genuinely terrifying moments without the use of excessive blood and gore and Barbara Hershey’s recollection of her nightmare really did send chills down my spine. Really unsettling and that scene got a great reaction from the cinema audience.
The acting was hit and miss. I was impressed with Rose Byrne, who I always find is a lovely actress but was a little disappointed with Patrick Wilson’s performance, particularly in the second half. He wasn’t great at ‘scared’, which is pretty much the most important emotion in any horror movie – add in the mysterious fog and strained facial expressions and the realism built up in the first act was lost somewhat.
So, the disappointing second half. When the gas mask came out I have to admit I began to switch off. Before that I’d been a little nervous about walking from the cinema to the train station in the dark but as soon as we saw too many close ups of an overly CGI demon any fears I had subsided, which is a real shame as it definitely let the film down.
The first half of Insidious reminded me a little of The Strangers (one of my favourites) but by the time the predictable final scene rolled around I was getting much more of a Jeepers Creepers vibe – why oh why do we always have to see ‘the monster’ so explicitly? It’s proof over and over again that our imaginations can create something so much darker than anything that’s ever shown on screen.
I would recommend this one for those of you who prefer jumpy to gory – Insidious probably won’t make it to the top of your list of favourites but it’s a good film and it’s clear everybody involved as a lot of love for the genre.
Evil Twins, a twisted project and a Police detective who wants to know the truth about their psychic connection. Welcome to the world of SECONDS APART.
Seth and Jonah are pair of strange twins who share an evil psychic connection mixed with a murderous rage. Cursed from birth, the brothers have a gruesome talent for telekinesis - a power that they use in horrific ways to complete their perfect project. As their fellow students start meeting gory deaths, local police detective, detective Lampkin, starts to suspect the boys are behind the twisted murders. However when Johan falls for a beautiful new girl, Eve, a jealous rage escalates into a supernatural showdown.
SECONDS APART was an OK film, i wouldn’t say it was brilliant but it is watchable non the less. I think what lost it for me was that after such a strong start the film took a massive dip in the middle which cause a little feeling of boredom inside of me. The end did match the excitement of the start if the film once the showdown between the boys started to come to a head but again the middle was a little weak. The acting wasn’t bad, it is nice to see actually real life twins instead of what you normally get within these kinds of films and this gave the film a little more edge. The boys were damn creepy and there was little else wrong with the casting overall. The soundtrack was eerie and matched perfectly.
After Dark have always delivered when it comes to these kinds of films and, even though they have released some questionable stuff in the past (Hated THE GRAVES and LAKE MUNGO) this is one of the films that will either be loved by horror fans or forgotten over time. I enjoyed it and I do think you should give it a go, but I just didn’t feel the build up as much as I wanted to.
Release date: 30th May
Format: DVD & BLU-RAY
Price: £15.99 (DVD) £19.99 (BLU-RAY)