Optimum Classics continue to bring more classic cinema to our living rooms as Nic Roeg’s (THE WITCHES, THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH) Adaptation of Daphne du Marurier’s DON’T LOOK NOW comes to Blu-Ray this July.
Following the death of their daughter, John (Donald Sutherland – FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN, INVASION ON THE BODY SNATCHERS) and Laura Baxter (Julie Christie – DEMON SEED, FINDING NEVERLAND) travel to Venice where John overseeing the restoration of an old church. Whilst having a relaxing lunch the couple encounter a pair of elderly sisters: one of them a blind psychic who claims to be able to communicate with the couple's dead child. Whilst Laura is intrigued John resists the idea, despite the possibility that he is having his own visions that threaten to put his life in danger.
Personally for me DON’T LOOK DOWN was a little bit slow on the build up, I got to about an hour and a half in to the film and I felt like i had wasted my time. I soldiered through, in the shear hope that the film was going to get better hoping that there may be a twist that i wouldn’t be expecting. The film did start to become a little more interesting a little bit after this once John spots the mysterious little girl in the red rain coat on the river bank and gives chase.
I wasn’t expecting the ‘Twist’ at the end, another example of the great storytelling of Daphne du Maurier , who is best known for her books such as REBECCA and the Hitchcock Adapted classic THE BIRDS. Even with the slow build up DON’T LOOK NOW shows Roeg’s expert direction, the film does look good and with it being remastered on Blu-Ray it looks even better, which can’t always be said for the classic films of yesteryear.
The disk is full of special features including interviews, a compressed version from Director Danny Boyle (SHALLOW GRAVE, 28 DAYS LATER) and a special introduction from FrightFest’s own Alan Jones.
DON’T LOOK NOW may be a slow burner at the start but the film is a film which is well placed in the history of Horror cinema which will always be the reason for the iconic red raincoat. I loved the twist ending and it was worth the wait to get to the end. It’s not a film for casual film watchers but if you love your classic cinema then this is a must have in your Blu-Ray Collection.
Release date: July 4th
Running Time: 111 Minutes
RRP Price: (Blu-Ray) £22.99
Tru Calling and Buffy the vampire slayer and all round beauty Eliza Dushku stars in a film I like to call the adult version of JUMANJI mixed with STAY ALIVE in a board game which is literally a game of life or death.
Open Graves is the twisted tale of a group of friends who are given an old game salvaged from the 15th century Spain called “Mamba” and Board game made from the skin and bones of an evil witch killed during the Spanish Inquisition. One drunken evening the group decide to play the game in the hopes of their wishes come true, however the fun turns to death as one by one the players are eliminated not only from the game but from real life also. Erica (Eliza Dushku – WRONG TURN, BRING IT ON) and Jason (Mike Vogel - THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, CLOVERFIELD) race against time as they try and save their friends before the game reaches its diabolical end.
I do love Eliza Dushku! From her days in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER to WRONG TURN and DOLLSHOUSE Eliza is a highly talented actress who should be seen more on the big screen. (I will honestly say there was only one film I disliked Dushku in and that was SOUL SURVIVORS) OPEN GRAVES was yet another hit. The story was very fresh with some pretty good young actors and a screenplay which flowed really well. Compared to a lot of straight to DVD horror films (and there is a lot right now) i didn’t find myself thinking I was seeing the same old crap again.
The death scenes were okay; I thought the crab death near the start of the film was pretty cool but, as with a lot of horror, could of done with less of the mediocre deaths and put in some more exciting, edge if your seat, deaths in there.
Overall OPEN GRAVES would be a great addition to any horror fan’s collection, with great acting and a cool storyline i would recommend this to everyone and anyone.
Release date: OUT NOW
Price: (DVD) £15.99
I do like a well done zombie flick, from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to THE HORDE and more recently one of my top horror films from the 2010 fright fest THE DEAD. Zombie films can be the most fun of any sub genre but I have also seen some awful films (ZOMBIE DIARIES anyone?) so when I was passed a copy of upcoming Spanish Zombie flick EATERS: RISE OF THE DEAD I found myself saying “hmmmmm” out loud to myself. EATERS: RISE OF THE DEAD is presented by writer-producer and director Uwe Boll, who has been behind such films as HOUSE OF THE DEAD and BLOOD RAYNE which are two questionable video game adaptations which didn’t really make a massive impact. However the film's directors Luca Boni and Marco Ristori have given the film that zombie apocalypse feel to it with a great set that makes you feel like you are in a deserted wasteland.
The film is set after a worldwide outbreak called the Great Epidemic, a virus that has been released but a terrorist calling himself the Plague Spreader. A small ground of survivors, including a pair of zombie hunters named Igor (Played by Alex Lucchesi – KISS ME LORENA) and Alen (Played by Guglielmo Favilla – HUMAN TEST) who are sent out to collect live zombies for a former Scientist named Gyno, and former colleague of Alen’s girlfriend Alexis, in return for food, beer and a safe haven away from the undead.
On their journey the two of them find themselves crossing the paths of several odd survivors including an insane artist and a group of neo-Nazi’s led but a Hitler obsessed midget Fuhrer. But is Gyno playing by the same rules as Alen and Igor? Or does he have another agenda?
As zombie films go EATERS: RISE OF THE DEAD isn’t the worst zombie film I have ever seen but saying that it isn’t the best. There are some pretty good scenes like the ‘selection’ process in the neo-Nazi compound and the cannibal in the church however I found the parts with Gyno a little boring compared to the rest of the zombie action. The paring of Igor and Alen is a good one; the characters seem to gel very well together with the out of control Igor as the muscle and Alen as the sensitive yet forceful one who keeps him in check. The zombie make-up look pretty good for most of the film but there was a few scenes where the make-up looked a little amateurish; this is only in a few scenes though so it doesn’t ruin the film in all honesty. EATERS: RISE OF THE DEAD reminds me a little of the Resident Evil games with the twisted Gyno, who reminds me of a little of Resident Evil baddie Albert Wesker.
Overall EATERS: RISE OF THE DEAD is a good watch with some pretty cool moments that are only let down by questionable zombie make up and a handful of scenes that look a little fake, but don’t let that stop you buying this as the film flows well and i enjoyed this a hell of a lot
Release date: 13th June
Price: (DVD) £12.99
Since hearing of THE SILENT HOUSE I have been waiting patiently in excitement to watch it. The premise of the plot and the slick trailer left me wanting more, but to my disappointment THE SILENT HOUSE was a major let down.
The film follows Laura and her father who are staying in a cottage in the middle of nowhere in order to restore it for her father’s friend who wants to put the house up for sale. As they fall asleep Laura hears a sound from outside. As the noises move to the upper floor of the house, her father goes up to investigate. But her father is attacked leaving Laura alone downstairs.
Based on a true story from the late 40's in a small village of Uruguay, THE SILENT HOUSE has all the ingredients of a decent horror film with elements of the supernatural to it and with the film shot in a single shot (or so they tell us) it all should have worked, however the ending of the film was confusing and badly done. The build up to the end feels slap dash and doesn’t work for this style of horror. I will say that if the film wasn’t shot in the way that it was then the ending could have worked better, as it would be very much in the style of HAUNTE TENSION, but this was not the case.
Not everything was bad though, I have seen films that having been ALOT worse. The backing track was well fitted and there was some moment during the film that made me jump out of my skin, which is rare for me. The film was let down by some bad acting from Florencia Colucci who plays the part of Laura and again the ending, but let’s hope that the American (sigh) remake is changed slightly to this version even though I do hate when America remakes foreign cinema.
Release date: 1st August
Format: DVD & BLU-RAY
Price: (DVD) £17.99 (BLU-RAY) £22.99