The normal boring life that Joe (Martin Compston – THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED) once had is destroyed when his brother John (Neil Maskell – KILL LIST) is stabbed to death by a gang following an altercation in the pub. Distraught that his brother has died Joe is surprised when an old friend of John’s, a man calling himself Piggy (Paul Anderson – A LONELY PLACE TO DIE, SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE GAME OF SHADOWS), arrives at his door to give his condolences. As the days pass Joe and Piggy build a friendship, being a shoulder for the troubled boy. Piggy then drops a bombshell, telling Joe that they are going to get revenge on the five men behind his brothers stabbing.
One by one, with plastic pig noses to hide their faces, they kidnap each of the men. Joe watches as Piggy tortures each one, trying to find out which one of the five actually did the damage. Dragged into a world of violence Joe’s life changes for the worst. Joe begins to question who Piggy really is.
What I was expecting when I was offered PIGGY to watch for review was another one of these serial killer films that America are so famous for. I knew nothing of the film, no plot, nothing only a DVD cover art which I have seen floating around the internet. I have to say I am so happy that PIGGY didn’t end up the way I thought it would. We are given a top class and very gritty British horror thriller which I would class as HARRY BROWN meets FIGHT CLUB. Paul Anderson was fantastic in the role of Piggy giving the performance of his career so far. The thing I liked about Piggy was you still had no idea what was going on even at the end. Was Piggy just the violent part of Joe? Or was he really there pulling the strings. The reason I wonder this is because you only really see Joe talking to Piggy, none of the victims talk to both so it leaves to guessing till the very end.
As a fan of gritty British Cinema this was a great film in my eyes. It was pretty much flawless overall but it won’t be to everyone’s taste. If you like your films violent and gritty then this is perfect for you and stars some of the best in new talent in the UK.
Release date: Out Now
Running time: 100 Mins
Amazon Price: (DVD) £8.99
Oh look another haunted house horror film, how original....
Welcome to THE HOUSE a Thai horror film from director Daisuke Nishio a film which personally tries too hard to impress. Oh yes this is one of THOSE reviews where I may rant away so dear reader I will warn you now that there may be *SPOILERS*
Asked to open up an old case for a documentary, young female reporter Shalinee (Inthira Chaloenpura – THE UNBORN) discovers a link between three brutal murders, all committed by doctors, and an old medical house where all three men lived. Intrigued at what she may find Shalinee enters the house where she is met with ghostly visions and bloody images of the past deaths. Shalinee faints as her boyfriend, Nu (Chutcha Rujinanon – THE EYES), enters the house. While checking on her body Nu comes face to face with a black mist like spirit that (and you don’t see this till near the end, but it is pretty dam obvious) enters Nu and possesses him.
Shalinee delves deeper into the history of the deaths as she visit the doctors in prison, has even more ghostly vision and the like whilst on the other side the spirits of the house do a number on the mind of Nu, who begins to get paranoid about Shalinee and a man at her work. So we find out the real story, Nu and Shalinee have a showdown and I yawn my way through yet another film.
Generally all we have is another Asian ghost story which, unfortunately, doesn’t match up to films such as THE RING or DARK WATER. The acting was a little stale to be fair and the visuals were nothing special and I actually thought I was going to fall asleep midway through. I respect what the director and writer were trying to do and I admit I thought it was more original than a lot of the films out there today HOWEVER this just didn’t live up to expectations. Maybe that was the problem here, I was actually looking forward to watching this and I was left with a bad taste in my mouth instead.
If you don’t mind the same old style of ghost story then you may enjoy it, but I am personally getting bored of this ghost sub genre as much as I am bored of the zombie sub genre.
Release date: 4th June 2012
Running time: 103 Mins
RRP: (DVD) £15.99
Possibly one of my favorite end of the world films, THE DIVIDE is a dark, gritty and extremely powerful film that delves into the darkest regions of the human soul.
When a bomb explodes in New York City, a handful of residents of a city apartment building are forced to take shelter inside the basement of the building. Watched over Mickey (Michael Biehn – TERMINATOR, ALIENS) the group are confused about what is going on. Is it a terrorist act? Or is this something more home made? As the days pass by Mickey rations out food in an attempt to keep order, however when the group are attacked by armed men in radiation suits from the outside they begin to fear the worse. Heading out to see what is going on beyond the door of the basement, Josh (Milo Ventimiglia – HEROES, ROCKY BALBOA) volunteers to go. What Josh finds is more shocking then he could imagine as he is chased back to the basement. Back inside the basement the group watch in horror as they are welded in from the outside leaving no way of escape.
What follows as the days and nights mould into one is a slow and agonising look at the lengths human beings will go. THE DIVIDE takes greed, torture and sexual torment to a whole new level as Josh turns into a crazed power hungry leader of the group as paranoia settles into his mind. We watch as one by one everyone starts to unravel in some way or another.
Now THE DIVIDE will surely do to audiences what the name says. This is my second viewing of the film, my first being at Film4 FrightFest 2011 and while speaking to fellow frightfesters afterwards I was met with a mixed reaction. There were people who agreed with me that this is truly a brilliant film, but then I found some people thought I wasn’t up to par or just a tad too dark. My thoughts are, and I have said this before in this review, that THE DIVIDE is a look into the darkness of the human soul. You see how someone who may start with good intentions can slowly be devoured by greed and just pure vileness and how the weak are dominated by the strong.
This is a heavy film, there are some hard to watch scenes as Josh and Bobby (played by Michael Eklund – HOUSE OF THE DEAD, WATCHMEN) break down Marilyn (Rosanna Arquette – PULP FICTION, AFTER HOURS) to the point where she is basically their sex slave for their own sickening amusement. The stand out role has to go to our main girl Eva (Lauren German – THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (remake), HOSTEL PART 2) who holds the story in place till the dramatic climax of the film.
I loved THE DIVIDE, it is a film I will recommend to anyone and everyone but I can see how this may not be to everyone’s taste. If you like your end of the world films dark and close to the bone then go and buy this now.
Release date: Out Now
Amazon Price: (DVD) £7.99
In 1939 the Nazis begin secret chemical experiments on captured soldiers in an underground bunker on the border of Russia and Finland. Two years later, Hitler orders that the project is abandoned and with that orders all evidence of the experiments to be destroyed and for all test subjects to be buried in an unmarked mass grave.
A few years later a squad of US troops, lead by Martin Stone (300,INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE), team up with a small Finnish task force, lead by the dark and calculating Captain Niemi (Jouko Ahola – KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, INVINSIBLE), are sent on a mission to find the bunker and destroy whoever is still inside. After an ambush takes out half of the combined squad, Stone and Niemi decide to retreat only to come back during the night to find the same dead soldiers laying in wait. Forced to take cover in a nearby house the small band of survivors meet Russian soldier Kolya (Samuel Vauramo – THE AMERICAN, TEARS OF APRIL) who helps them escape to a nearby village. With zombies dead on their tail the group decide that the only way they can get out alive is to find the bunker and call for help.
Now I’m not really a zombie fan believe it or not. I have always made the point that it is the most over used sub-genre in horror but when you see that WAR OF THE DEAD has been picked up by Momentum (who do a huge chunk of the better films reviewed here on snakebite) I thought I would at least give it a look, and to be truthfully honest this is one of the best zombie films I have seen in a long time.
WAR OF THE DEAD drops you deep in the action right from the word go and it fails to let go. The direction was spot on and you felt like you was in a war torn Russian during world war two, and the zombies looked like real cinema zombies and not just some art student project. No this isn’t the first time we have seen Nazi zombies; however what we are given is the best example of what it could have been like if there was a zombie attack.
The choice of actors was a little confusing, using British actors as the American actors. I mean to be honest you could have just made them British soldiers, but this is just me picking fault in a film which has very little. The only true dislike for me was the final fight scene between Stone and zombie Niemi. Niemi reminded me more of Nemesis from Resident Evil 3 (the game not the final) and he had an air of unbeatable about him which you wouldn’t get from just a normal zombie.
Overall a well made and well directed zombie film which does for Nazi zombies what dog soldiers did for werewolves
Release date: 28th May 2012
Running Time: 90 mins
R.R.P: (DVD) £12.99
When Mia (Ella Purnell – NEVER LET ME GO) finds a piece of a story in side a small box hidden in the trunk of an old tree, she decides to continue it on as he own. The story tells of a faceless monster named Hollowface who is searching for the face of a child to take as his own. Unable to sleep Mia starts to see things moving in the shadows of her room. She seeks comfort in her father John (Clive Owen – CHILDREN OF MEN, SHOOT EM UP) who tries to help her forget about the fears by playing a game in the garden to help combat it. But when the next night comes around John wakes up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep due to a tragic accident at work, and checks on his daughter. His daughter is not alone however as Hollowface makes himself seen to them both. Meanwhile in Spain, A young boy named Juan (Izan Corchero) is having the same dreams of a hooded creature attacking him during the night. As the boy’s dreams become reality his mother Luisa (Pilar Lopez de Ayala – LOPE, LAS 13 ROSAS) seeks help from the church to help her son battle the shadowy demon.
INTRUDERS is a small time horror film which actually packs a big punch, which seems to be the way Universal Pictures is going when it comes to its horror. A straight to DVD title this one however, as with THE CALLER and WAR GAMES which we reviewed last year, it really doesn’t mean a thing. INTRUDERS isn’t gory and it isn’t your typical jump and scare kind of thing, it is more of an easy watch which doesn’t drag or end in a way that i may want to shoot myself afterward with frustration. This is a perfect choice for an easy night in with a group of friends or even a starting point for anyone who is looking to dip their toes into the world of horror. Clive Owen was, as he always is, very good as the father but the runaway performance of the film has to go to young Ella Purnell who is showing the world again that there is some fantastic young talent out there.
I enjoyed the contrast between the Spanish and British stories with them being similar but not identical. I also think the film was closed up nicely for a change which makes a change from the slap dash endings that seem to be coming out of the US.
If you want a nice easy watch then this is a great choice and with only a small about of swearing and only one scene of nudity it is a good choice for a teenager film fan to start getting more into horror.
Release date: 21st May 2012
Format: DVD & Blu- Ray
R.R.P: (Blu-ray) £17.99 (DVD) £12.99
YEY another handheld camera horror film! *sorry I am being sarcastic*. Am I the only one getting bored of this growing trend? There have, in my opinion, only been a handful of handheld horror films released that you cold class as good, for example PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and one of my all time favorites REC, but time after time I have been sent films of this sub-genre and have wanted to cry out of shear disappointment. That brings me to TAPE 407, yet another release from Snakebite favorites After Dark so I thought I would give this one the benefit of the doubt especially as so far this year I have been impressed with the films they have brought out in 2012.
TAPE 407 follows the survivors of a plane crash on New Year’s Eve when the plane hits extreme turbulence. Finding themselves deserted in the middle of nowhere the group are attacked by a creature that is lurking in the shadows. Realising they need to find shelter the survivors head to a nearby abandoned building where they find Government Issue torches and a radio. After getting attack yet again they have no choice but to make a run for it, which leads to a cat and mouse game between the survivors and a pack of prehistoric creatures.
Now to be fair I have seen far worse Handheld Horror in the last two year, and TAPE 407 isn’t really at all bad HOWEVER I do think that this sub genre is being milked for all it is worth. I like the Dinosaur aspect of the story, it gives it a kind of JURASSIC PARK meets BLAIR WITCH kind of feel and as a whole the acting wasn’t awful either. The blood from the plane crash was a little over done but I can see what the director was trying to do with it as a whole. Midway though we do suffer a slight slump which makes the film drag a little but at least it wasn’t all screaming throughout the whole film. The ending actually fits for a change and but I wouldn’t really class it as a TWIST ending as you kind of know what is going on about half way into it.
As a whole if you like this kind of Sub-Genre then you will really enjoy this as there are far worse ones of its kind, however if you are like me and are getting a little bored of them it is a decent watch, but don’t expect to be blown away.
Release date: 2nd July 2012
Running Time: 89 mins
R.R.P: (DVD) £15.99