Sunday, 30 August 2009

Jumanji - Pure absolute terror (Horror Film Review)

I saw the 'kids' film Jumanji the other day. I can fearfully report that it is the most creepy, sick, depraved film I have seen this year! I can't believe it's only a PG! it should be a 15 at least!

I had goose bumps watching this torture porn. The basic plot is this; a young boy in the 1960's, tormented by bullies when out, and brutalised by his strict father when at home discovers a Africa themed board game called Jumanji. Him and a female friend decide to play the game. She is attacked by rabies ridden giant African bats, while the boy Parish is sucked into Hell. 30 years later a young brother and sister discover Jumanji, and inadvertently become involved with the game. They, with a freed Parish (played by Robin Williams), and a mentally impaired woman (the girl from the 60's now grown up) must travel to the very depths of Hell to close the gates, and forever lock away the nightmares they have unleashed.

The film is scary on many levels. Each roll of the dice releases another monstrosity from Jumanji. There are plagues of animals released, natural disasters, and even a deranged serial killer. All these are evil, and intent on death and destruction.

The animals are not real animals, as is shown by the special effects for them. Instead they are a mockery of gods work, vessels for demons to invade the world, and are pure evil intent on causing mayhem. Creepily intelligent, you get a stampede of Elephants and Rhinos intent on crushing people to death, psychotic monkeys armed with guns, and infestations of Killer plants and insects.

The (in)natural disasters are terrible, an indoors flood, supernaturally contained to one house nearly drowns the heroes, while a earth quake splits the house in half, intent on dragging the heroes down a chasm to Hell. The whole forces of nature are under the games Demonic control.

The films themes are quite adult. The Serial Killer (in the form of an English Explorer complete with Blunderbuss) is played by the same actor who plays the Parish kids Dad. He repeatedly tries to hunt down Parish, showing a terminator-esque terrifying determination to kill him at whatever cost to himself. It shows Parish's internal fear of his Dad, and speaks of his fear of his fathers abuse.

The board game itself 'Jumanji' is a sick depraved game. It emits a drum beat, audible only to children, and hypnotically drawing children to it. It wants to eat children's souls, feeding off their fear. However it was created, it was done only for evil reasons, a fear of which I have never felt since I received upon thinking on how this game came into existence. In a twist of irony, the only way to defeat the games evil is to play it, each roll of the dice gets you closer to defeating the game, but also opens more doors of Hell, unleashes more horrors onto the world.

It is only a fluke that the characters actually survive. The girl is fatally wounded by a poison dart spat from a flower, the boy is turned into a mutant child monkey, and the adults (Parish and the woman) are both executed by the serial killer hunter, but the lucky dice roll of the doomed Williams closes off the powers of the game and reverts the entire world back 30 years.

The ending is bone chilling. The evil game, weighed down with chains and thrown into a river and many years later washes up on a Japanese beach. The horrific tribal drums start beating, and chillingly ends with 2 young Japanese girls discovering the game as the screen fades to black and the credits roll.

A very very sick, scary film, one to watch with the lights on!


Tuesday, 25 August 2009

The Return (2006) - Horror Film Review

I picked this up on DVD cheaply the other day. The film stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as a young 24 year old woman who has been away from her home state of Texas for many years. She has stayed away for a reason, but a business deal brings her back to the state. Soon she starts having vivid hallucinations about a creepy stranger in blue jeans, and starts seeing her features change when looking in mirrors. It all seems linked to a small Texan town, and in particular a man whose wife was murdered many years previously.

The film is not in the least bit creepy, but it is a really nice film to watch. Gellar is fantastic as the kinda disturbed young woman. The plot is nothing exciting, but is brought to a satisfying conclusion without needing ridiculous twists or turns. Though nothing much happens, the film has a certain dream like quality to it.

If I was to pick a fault it would be that the chase sequences are designed to be thrilling, but are quite lame in actuality due to the plot point which leads to Gellar hiding rather than running away each chase sequence, of which there are many.

A short review, but a nice example of how much better my reviews are now!


Sunday, 23 August 2009

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End - Review

First off; the DVD I saw was a bit bust, and as a result I was forced to skip about 4 minutes of the film, highly annoying, but I will try to avoid it affecting my review.

Wrong Turn was basically 'The Hills Have Eyes' but set in woods. It was about a bunch of inbred mutated rednecks hunting some teens. Wrong Turn 2 was released straight to DVD. It's set 4 years after the first, and stars the musical legend Henry Rollins. A 'Survivor' style gameshow is being filmed in isolated woodland. 6 contestants are competing for a prize of $100,000. The show is hosted by Rollins (as an ex army man). Pretty much straight away everyone starts getting picked off by a family of inbred cannibal mutated rednecks. The producers really chose a lame place to hold the game show, being so near to the mutants home.

To tie the film to the first one is the surviving mutant from it, now reunited with another family. The origins of the mutation is briefly discussed, but mostly the film is scene after scene of bloody deaths.

The film is entertaining if a bit thin on plot. Being straight to DVD shows with an obviously lower budget. The special effects are mostly good, though the mutants all look quite identical, rather than the unique look each mutant had in the first film. The film is quite predictable, and features the usual teen stereotypes, though the deaths are mostly quite fun to watch.

Brain dead horror, but nice in a trashy kind of way.

Friday, 21 August 2009

A Perfect Getaway (2009) - Horror Film Review

I hadn't actually seen the trailer for A Perfect Getaway at the cinema, though I had seen the trailer on TV a few times. To be honestit didn't make me particularly want to see the film, however due to lack of other options me, my sister, and her husband ended up watching it.

The film is a thriller set on an island in Hawaii. A newly married couple Cliff (Steve Zahn) and Cydney (Milla Jovovich - Resident Evil) have gone there on their honeymoon. Not long after getting to the remote, isolated island they discover via other tourists, and via the internet Cliff gets on his mobile that a newly wed couple were murdered on a nearby island by a duo, and that the murderers are predicted to have travelled to the island they are currently on. The pair meet another couple, Nick (Timothy Olyphant) and Gina. They decide to stay with them figuring there would be safety in numbers if it did happen that the killers were on their island. However it starts to seem more and more likely by the couples odd actions and stories that Nick and Gina may not be who they seem...

The film's scenery is beautiful; lush tropical forests, beaches, and mountains make the setting a paradise. The film is shot in a really cool way, a flashback later in the film is filmed totally in black and white which works really well at separating it from the bright colours of the present. Also there are some really nifty camera pulls, plus some 24 style screen splits. The cast is quite small, the four main characters, plus a handful of secondary characters. Jovovich and Olyphant in particular show really great acting. It wasn't till near the end of the film that I realised the character Cydney was played by Jovovich, as I'm used to her naff acting (eg: the Resident Evil trilogy) so assumed it couldn't possibly be her.

The plot is quite good, and the action ramps up to a thrilling conclusion, with cool twists. A Perfect Getaway was a very unique feeling thriller, with an excellent cast, and while not really scary, the characters are interesting enough that you care what happens to them.


Friday, 14 August 2009

Hide and Seek - Horror Film Review

In my review of Orphan I said how it was good as it was different to the usual creepy child genre of films. Hide and Seek is a prime example of the stereotypical creepy child film.

Robert De Niro stars as the psychologist Dad of a creepy little girl. The little creepy girl is played by hollow eyed Dakota Fanning. I'm not a big fan of either of these two it has to be said.

The film starts with De Niro's wife committing suicide in the bathtub. As a result he moves with his traumatised daughter out to the country, as he sees a new location as the best way for the child to get over the tragic event. His daughter is not that nice, mostly just staring at people in her hollow eyed way and disliking her father. Soon after moving into their new house the daughter starts talking with an imaginary friend she calls 'Charlie'. She tells her father that Charlie doesn't like him, he assumes it's just her resentment of him over the suicide. Much in the way of creepy child films it soon turns out that Charlie REALLY doesn't like the Dad, causing untold misfortune to him, which starts to take a more sinister turn. The daughter insists that all that is happening is due to her imaginary friend Charlie, and that she's innocent. It leads up to the usual twist, and the last 1/5 is much like the last 1/5 of Orphan.

The film is just too long, it got really boring in places, and the end part of the film just drags on and on and on. It wasn't a bad film, just not original in the slightest. The story wasn't anything new, and it was really obvious how it was going to turn out.

See it if you must, just don't expect much more than a well filmed, nice looking bland thriller.


Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Orphan - Horror Film Review

Last Sunday I went to Cineworld and saw 'Orphan'. I really wasn't expecting anything good, as it looked just like another 'creepy child' film of which theres been so so many (The Ring, The Omen etc). The trailer wasn't particularly memorable. In my bedroom I had put up a mini poster of 'Orphan', I had resolved to take it down if the film was any worse than average. The poster is still up, the film defied my expectations and was really quite good.

The films plot concerns a seemingly happily married couple (played by Peter Sarsgaard, and Vera Farmiga) who have decided to adopt a young child after their 3rd baby was stillborn. They visit an orphanage and are delighted to find an intelligent, articulate, polite young 9 year old Russian girl (played by Isabelle Fuhrman) to adopt.

At first it seems she is a great addition to the family, but bad things start happening to people around her, and it starts to seem like there might be a more sinister side to the girl. Her previous foster family all died in a mysterious fire, which starts to seem less and less like a tragic accident. To give anymore away would spoil the film, it is definitely much better to watch not knowing what is going to happen. One of the tag lines for the film is 'you'll never guess her secret', and the secret really was an original twist which is believable within the context of the film.

The film looks fantastic, the lighting for the film is very well done. Despite being a 15 the film is quite violent and bloody. Bones get broken, blood gets spilt with really wince inducing special effects. The films tone is quite creepy, Isabelle Fuhrman is fantastic as the Russian girl. Most child actors are utterly terrible (eg: the entire child cast of the Harry Potter films) but she pulls off the role really well with fantastic acting both physical and verbal which really makes the film all the more creepy. The last section of the film is a real thrill ride.

The only problems with the film are that first of all there are too many anti-climatic scares. One memorable instance is when the mum is looking in her fridge. As she goes to shut the fridge door the music goes crazy, and you fully expect to get a cheap 'jump' scare with something leaping out at her from behind the fridge door, but instead there is nothing and the music fades. It's effective once as a trick for the audience, but it happens a number of times through the film. The last 1/4 of the film goes on a bit too long, it kept feeling like it was going to end and then carried on, so could have maybe done with some cutting.

The film is really good though, and recommended. You will be creeped!