When Brian Karter’s mother, a medical doctor whose life was surrounded in controversy dies, he finds that he has inherited The Sanctuary the place which was home to her controversial experimental addiction treatment centre. Along with some of his friends Brian reluctantly heads to The Sanctuary to see if it can be sold off or renovated. While exploring the building the group discover a secret passageway in one of the church confessionals which leads down to an underground research facility which Brian’s mother was using for her addiction experiments. The truth of her experiments slow begin to unravel as the group find out the real power of the Revolutionary machine created by Brain’s mother doesn’t just cure addiction but creates a host which can produce the addictions in a human mutated form and now one by one the group are hunted down by mutant children who are hunting them for food.
Now 3D films seem to be the in thing at the moment, however you have a lot of films like HIDDEN 3D (SHOCK LABYRINTH 3D being one of these films) which have very minimal big 3D moments in them. You can see where some of these 3D sections are however given the choice I would always rather watch the 2D version which I was given to watch. Saying this though these films can still be well written and well directed, and this is NOT 100% one of those films.
HIDDEN 3D is a strange one, i really wanted to love this film but there was so much that either made little sense or just didn’t work. I loved the mutant Children; they looked bloody creepy and reminded me a lot of the way J-Horror children are like with the effects used. The acting isn’t even that bad, aside from a few actresses who just couldn’t act but they get picked off pretty quickly. I was shocked that Devon Bostick, who I know best from his role as Rodrick in the DIARY OF A WHIMPY KID films, got killed off so quickly but in saying that it normally his kind of character (the deadbeat drug type) that seem to go pretty quickly at the start.
The film in general, for me, didn’t work as well as it could have and the story was very hit and miss with not enough focus on the mutant children that there should have been. The whole film had that cheap feel to it even with the great effects that it has. Visually I enjoyed HIDDEN 3D but I just think there should have been a lot more done in the case of the story as this where the whole film flops.
Overall HIDDEN 3D should have been really good but what we get is an empty story which is wasting the acting talents of the film’s stars. It is visually well done so i will leave it to you to make up your minds.
Release date: OUT NOW
RRP Price: (DVD) £15.99
Mary just wants a peaceful life. After divorcing her abusive husband she finally moves into her own little place in a rundown block of apartments in Puerto Rico, getting as far away as possible from the life she once knew. Quickly she befriends a few of the locals including College tutor John and she begins to think she can love again.
Inside the house Mary finds an old Phone sitting on the counter. Taken in by it’s antique charm she decides to keep it and puts the phone pride of place in the centre of the kitchen table. That is when the phone calls from an old lady named Rose begin. Assuming that Rose is a sad lonely lady remembering her late husband however Rose is adamant that she is calling from the past. Not wanting to be plagued by prank calls Mary decides to break of contact with Rose. Rose however doesn’t like to be ignored and once Mary reconnects the line begins threatening Mary, leaving her own proof that the calls are really from the past as she begins to hatch her twisted revenge of Mary.
Before FrightFest 2011 I put my neck on the chopping block and announced to the world that THE CALLER was going to be the runaway film of the festival and to my overall joy i was right. It has been so long since we have had a film like this hit our screens that is not only well written but also well directed and well acted. We have a cast of hugely talented actors and actresses in the form of TRUE BLOOD star Stephen Moyer and (unfortunately for her) TWILIGHT and NEW MOON star Rachelle Lefevre, who have such great chemistry on screen. British Director Matthew Parhill has made this film extremely edgy and creepy without having to delve into buckets of gore, which is a nice change from the usual films of this sub-genre. I would also like to do what a lot of people don’t and congratulate the writer of the films screenwriter Sergio Casci who has managed to turn a, may i say over done, sub-genre that is the ghost story and turn it into a fantastic screenplay that anyone would be proud to film. If you are sick of all the haunted house films of the 00’s and fancy a really cool and creepy film then i beg of you go out an buy THE CALLER when it hits the shelves in time for Halloween in October as you will be missing a treat with this one.
Release date: October 24th 2011
Format: DVD & BLU-RAY
RRP Price: (DVD) £14.99 (BLU-RAY) £19.99
While out in the woods practicing his golf skills, Max (Nicolas Gob – BLACK OCEAN), an agoraphobic with a dark past living in the remote Belgian countryside, stumbles upon an unconscious woman (The debut of the very beautiful Helena Coppejans) covered blood Deciding to take her home with him max begins to start gaining feelings for her, calling her Bianca when she doesn’t give her real name. Then late one evening Bianca runs from the house and towards the woods. Curious on when she is heading Max decides to follow her, only to find her cannibalizing a man while having sex with him. Max’s revulsion turns to fascination which then leads to an odd romance where we see Max burying the bodies of the men Bianca ends up eating. However when gypsies turn up to reclaim Bianca, Max is forced to re-enter his shady past to get her back.
Hurray! I hear you shout, an ultra violent cannibal film. Erm...no you are wrong on that account as what we end up with is a slow burn art house film which looks nothing like the trailer is implying it to be. Now if you are a regular reader of this site you will know by now I have a pure hatred for most art-house style films, and even though this film had so much potential I am inclined to say the same about CANNIBAL. If, like me, you were looking for some gore and people being eaten then this film is not for you. Throughout the whole film we only have 2 or 3 moments of cannibalism and this has only really been thrown in to tell remind you that Bianca is actually a cannibal.
The relationship between Max and Bianca is a bitter-sweet one. Max is forced into watching Bianca have sex with these men before she chows down on them (poor guy) however they both seem to have a very close attraction to each other. Fine i admit the start isn’t the part that bothered me, and i got use to the annoyed green tint the film has but then the gypsy folk get involved and we are thrown into a black and white image for the final thirty minutes where we change from horror to a film none to different then a British Gangster film with a oddly place Hip-Hop soundtrack.
CANNIBAL is one of those films that will please the art-house fans out there, but for the general horror fan this isn’t one of them films you will watch over and over. The cast was good but that isn’t enough to save this for me. After an hour of nothing happening I had begun to get bored of the whole thing and what followed didn’t fill me with happiness or excitement.
An art-house film which can’t deliver, CANNIBAL is a film that will have a limited audience and i wish it all the best in its future endeavors.
Release date: 26th September 2011
Running Time: 90 mins
RRP Price: (DVD) £9.99
In 2008 Gemma her boyfriend Dan and his friend Nathan visit Whitstable in Kent to film an on location shoot for Gemma’s Big Brother TV audition tape. Whilst taking a break in the local pub they are told to stop filming by a local farmer who they later learn, from the pub’s barmaid, that the farmer hosts swinger parties on his farm. Sensing a chance to earn some cash by filming the parties secretly, Dan and Nathan trick Gemma into going to the farm, telling her that they will be filming part of her audition tape there. Searching the somewhat abandoned farm, the three teenagers begin to think that the gossip at the pub was untrue. That is until Dan discovers a room full of S&M gear. As the Farmer’s guests begin to arrive, the trio wait patiently for them to enter the room, however things take a dark turn as they soon realize that what they are witnessing is no swinger party.
Done well a “Found Footage” horror can be really good i.e PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and REC, but then you get the films that drain the life from the sub-genre like this film. THE TAPES wasn’t badly acted and it even looked really good however you can tell the film was improvised and drawn out. One major thing that annoyed me about this film, as with most of these “found footage” films is the “this films is true” aspect whilst using actors from films that have had a pretty good following like ADULTHOOD and 4,3,2,1 which starred Arnold Oceng and FISH TANK which starred Jason Maza. The think about that tag is you know it isn’t true which makes the film less enjoyable to watch. The film was also dragged out for an hour before anything really started to happen, and when something eventually did happen it was a bit of a letdown.
The idea is good, which begs to question would this of been better as a non-found footage film? The whole films reminded me a little of the US snore-fest that was BORDERLANDS with the evil cult aspect of the story which is a huge shame because I think THE TAPES could of been the film that BORDERLANDS wanted to be.
Release date: September 23rd
Running Time: 77 mins
RRP Price: (DVD) £9.99
Here we go again with another film to enter the already over done sub-genre known as the Slasher. After a whirlwind year, Breakthrough pop sensation Winona (Hanna Oldenburg) travels back to her home town to relax and try and get some inspiration for some new material. Arriving at a house that her manager has rented for her she is shocked to find it dilapidated and almost unlivable, in top of that there are strange noises coming from the attic which straight away puts her on edge. Needing to get out of the house Winona heads to a local bar where she bumps into old flame Richard (Patrick Saxe) and his friends Carl (Andreas Rylander – DEAD ON ARRIVAL) and Liz (Elin Hugoson). After a few drinks, and not wanting to be alone in the house, Winona invites them back for a few more drinks. The night draws to a close and the four head off to bed, however unknowing to them they are not alone as a man (dressed like a homeless man) is stalking the house with axe in hand.
BLOOD RUNS COLD was one of the many films in the discovery screen at this year’s Film4 FrightFest which I missed, due to the good selection of film being shown on the main screen this year. I am glad i gave this one a miss in all honesty. We have another addition to the crap Slasher films we seem to be getting on the shelves as of late and personally I'm getting a little bored.
Now don’t get me wrong i do love a good Slasher flick THE COLLECTOR was fantastic and the scream series is one of my most favorite horror franchise series to date along with HALLOWEEN, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and even the CHILDS PLAY series but all I seem to be getting as of late are plot-less and meaningless drivel. What I want is a decent (even semi decent) Slasher horror to be released, is much to ask? Or is it too much for people to do?
Okay maybe I am being very harsh here but you have to see it from a film lover’s point of view, and let us be honest, there is way too many of these coming out. The acting wasn’t great and some of the camera shots were a little odd but the plot had promise in its own way. It is just a shame it wasn’t executed well enough.
The one shining hope for this film was the gore factor. I thought the killer was dark and creepy which is always good when you do this kind of film. The death scenes were at times brutal and the fact that this guy has no blood gives him that franchise quality. If BLOOD RUNS COLD had a way bigger budget, had a quick rewrite script wise and had a way better cast of more exciting actors then this may of been a semi decent film, however this will probably end up being one of those forgotten horror films you find in the bargain bin in your local supermarket.
Release date: October 3rd
Running Time: 80 mins
RRP Price: (DVD) £12.99
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of MANHUNTER, Studio Canal is releasing the original adaptation of Thomas Harris’ bestseller novel RED DRAGON on Blu-Ray for the very first time.
In MANHUNTER we meet, for the first time in film, the psychopathic genius Hannibal Lecter, who was originally portrayed by Bafta winning actor Brian Cox (JACK KETCHUM’S RED, BRAVEHEART) and sees William Petersen (CSI, YOUNG GUNS II)take on the role of Will Graham, the former FBI agent who is dragged out of early retirement to track down a serial killer by the name of ‘The Tooth Fairy’. Knowing he needs expert help Graham must come face to face with his old nemesis Hannibal Lecktor, the man Graham arrested for the cannibalistic killings of young women. To catch a killer Graham must trust the instincts of a psychopath which leads to a dramatic show down between him and the tooth fairy.
On Blu-Ray MANHUNTER looks visually stunning, the film looks so good in fact that with a modern soundtrack you could easily pass it off as a modern day cinema release. As adaptations go nether MANHUNTER or the rebooted RED DRAGON hold true to the book (which Is in my top 5 films of all time), however this version holds up well as a standalone. Brain Cox as Hannibal Lecktor (god knows why they changed the name) just doesn’t do it for me as in my eyes Anthony Hopkins will always be Hannibal Lecter. On saying this, for the shout time he is on screen I think Cox did a fine job and with a cast of highly talented actors in the film MANHUNTER works really well even by today’s standards.
If you are fan of the books then MANHUNTER will be a good addition to the other films and the original RED DRAGON novel. With a good solid cast and direction from Micheal Mann ( HEAT, ALI) this will be a film that will hopefully be watched in the 25 years to come by a more younger generation of Thomas Harris fans.
Release date: September 26th
Format: Blu Ray
RRP: (Blu-Ray) £19.99
When are group of teenage street thugs mug a young student nurse named Sam (Jodi Whittaker – VENUS, ONE DAY), the last thing they expect to happen is to be attacked by a creature falling from the sky. Sam runs from the scene as the distracted teens, lead by Moses (the debut performance from John Boyega), hunt down the creature and kill it. As some kind of trophy the boys take the body of the creature back to their south London apartment block.
When the boys spot more of the creatures falling from the sky they head out to kill the rest, only for Moses to be arrested by the police, with a nervous Sam. After being attacked by the creatures Sam is forced to join forces with the youths in a battle with bigger and badder creatures than before. The estate is about to become a battleground and the bunch of thugs who just attacked Sam are about to become her, and the blocks, only hope.
ATTACK THE BLOCK is a small budget British horror comedy that is high on the list next of great Horror comedies next to films like SHAUN OF THE DEAD. At first i wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the film. We are handed a bunch of youths who, to start with, you want to see be ripped to shreds by the creatures. This changes the more you get into the film as slowly you begin to actually warm to the little buggers. There is some great dialogue in the film with some laugh out loud moments, which makes the film as good as it was. ATTACK THE BLOCK is like a mixture between CRITTERS and ASSAULT OF PRECINCT 13 which makes great use of full body creature actors and green screen instead of the usual over the top CGI we see so much of in modern cinema.
The look of the film has that John Carpenter 80’s horror feel to it, with dank lighting and that atmospheric look to the apartment block which sums up the kind of apartment block you get in South London.
There are some great extras with this DVD including an insight of the design and execution of the Creatures, which is well worth a watch. You also have a meet the cast section and Joe Cornish describing an unused fight scene.
ATTACK THE BLOCK will go down in history as a cult classic no doubt about it and it will be a comedy horror which will be around for many many years to come. Will the American audiences get this film as much as they did with SHAUN OF THE DEAD? I sure hope so as they will be missing a treat otherwise. I promise if you hate the kids at first you will grow to like them.
Release date: September 19th 2011
Format: DVD and Blu Ray
Running time: 99 mins
RRP: (DVD) £17.99 (Blu-Ray) £22.99
How far will you go when faced with the choice of life and death? Whilst driving home one night Nick and his friends decide to stop for gas at a local gas station. Nick comes across a middle aged woman, whose car has broken down further up the road, seeming perfectly normal Nick offers her a ride back to her car. Once at her car however the group are gassed and they fall unconscious. When they awake the Nick and his friends find themselves in a room with four other people all with no idea what is going on. All they know is that attached to the back of their skulls are medical viles and if removed will kill you instantly. Their questions are answered when they discover a video message which tells them that if they want to live they must fill the viles with fluid from the brain which is only produced in times of extreme pain. One by one the group are forced to take turns in torturing each other is the most horrific ways possible.
Amidst all the middle of the road and god awful torture films that I have been watching over the past year (and let me tell you there has been a lot) VILE was actually a really well done film which had a decent ending for a change. Yes I admit there are a lot of Torture Horror films about now but you do get, on the rare occasion, a film which reminds you of the greats in the sub genre such as SAW and HOSTEL. The concept is a good one, work together in torturing your fellow prisoners or die once the timer counts down to zero, and we also get some top of the line torture moments which will be hard to beat going forward.
VILE is actor Taylor Sheridan’s ( best known for his roles in VERONICA MARS and SONS OF ANARCHY ) first attempt at directing and I personally hope that he will continue to direct following this film. Eric Jay Beck, who also wrote the screenplay for this film, puts in a great performance as the leading man of the film and he is supported so some great up and comers in the form of Maya Hazen (SHROOMS, SHUTTER) and Akeem Smith (SECTION 8, SUICIDE GIRLS).
VILE is a well directed and welcome addition to the sub-genre with some horrific moments and some damn good acting. If you are a fan of the SAW franchise the this is right up your street.
Jaime and Marta are in the middle of moving themselves and their teenage daughter Isa into their new home in a seemingly safe Madrid community. Everything seems to be going perfectly the boxes are almost unpacked and the delivery drivers have left but all of that changes when three masked men force their way in to the house. What follows is a brutal fight for survival as Jaime and his family are forced to endure the most blood filled day of their lives.
Am I alone in thinking that they should really give this home invasion sub genre a bit of a break for a while? Over the year if have seen a hell of a lot of these kind of films and every time I am more and more disappointed. Last year at FrightFest 2010 we watch a similar film to KIDNAPPED called CHERRY TREE LANE, a little British film which had no feeling to it at all and focused a lot of the rape of the woman of the house. KIDNAPPED is a little different but yet again we have a young woman raped by a psychotic member of the group and personally it is getting a little old now. The film has some gory moment in the film when Isa and Marta are forced to fight for their freedom which helps the film progress, however as an overall film KIDNAPPED lacked a certain something.
On the positive note KIDNAPPED wasn’t as bad as films like, FUNNYGAMES and CHERRY TREE LANE and it does have some moments that gets you on the edge of your seat, however this is ruined by an unwanted rape scene and questionable acting. This is bound to be remade by the US (as is the way) but I would like to see more home invasion films like THEM and (at a push) THE STRANGERS which have the terror aspect that you just don’t get anymore.
Kidnapped is another mediocre Home Invasion horror with a lack of tension and a start which is never mentioned again throughout the whole film. It isn’t un-watchable but it isn’t one of those films you will watch more than once.
When five friends cross the US border on their way back from a wedding in Canada, they are stopped by two border control officers who the group assume are doing a routine check due to the broken headlight on the car. Things however seem to get out of control when the men find a small amount of pot in the car, but this ends up being a cover up for a more sinister (or not as it seems) plot. The group are blindfolded and marched into the woods where they are forced into small cages. What follows is a series of psychological and physical torture at the hands of the two officers (who we find out are ex-service men who are taking their patriotic duties too far) in a way similar to those carried out in Guantanamo Bay.
TERRITORIES is yet another addition to the border crossing/torture horror sub genre which just shouldn’t have been bothered with. Like BORDERLAND, which I reviewed last year, TERRITORIES is one of those films that has a hell of a lot of potential but just falls at the wayside. The disappointing thing about this film is that the start was actually really good, that is until you start getting into the life and past of our DIY Border control men. This is the very moment the film begins to show some cracks. The films does look like it is going to start picking up with the intense torture scene involving flashing lights and pounding heavy metal music but in another awful twist the director and screenwriter seem to forget we even have these prisoners held captive and we are yet again left with a set of scenes involving an odd bro-mance between the captors. We meet the hobo like private detective and his back-story which has no actual relevance to the plot of the film whatsoever. We watch as he finds our prisoners, but this AGAIN is less than 2 minutes in length and only leads to our friendly hobo detective being killed off. Finally, you think to yourself, we can go back to the young people and we will see them get picked off one by one in normal horror film style, I hate to disappoint you but all you get is a long shot of the container the prisoners are being held in and then the film ends.
This is yet another example of a really bad script that has no overall end point. The actors actually did a good job and their part in this film has absolutely nothing to do with its downfall. If you want a pointless and plot less film then by all means waste 94 minutes of your time and regret it afterwards.
Release date: September 12th
Running Time: 92 mins