Monday, 30 November 2009

Paranormal Activity - Horror Film Review

Paranormal Activity - supposedly the most frightening film of the year. I entered the cinema excited, but sceptic. Is it actually as terrifying as the hype states?

The film belongs to the 'found footage' sub genre of horror (the most famous example of this genre being The Blair Witch Project). The film starts with some text stating that what is to be shown is all real footage filmed by a couple called Katie and Myka. Basically weird stuff has been happening around the young couples house. Lights have been flashing, taps have turned themselves on and off, and there has been weird unexplainable noises. Myka has brought a video camera in order to try and film some of this stuff. Katie is scared of all the happenings and just wants it all to stop, while Myka is really excited by it, and wants to catch it all on film. The events of the film take place over 20 days in the couples house. Things start off fairly tame, but the weirdness just keeps on ramping up, which pushes the sanity of the couple to the limit.

This review is gonna be kinda boring as I'm not gonna give anything away. The film is shot entirely in a suburban house. There are 4 characters in the film, but for the vast majority of the time it is just the couple. Being filmed with a hand camera could have led to shaky vision, but a lot of the time a tripod is used, a fixed viewpoint of the couples bedroom each night. The special effects in the film are amazing, and look more realistic due to an amateur camera being used. The acting is to a very high standard, the couple really seem like a authentic real life couple.

The film is very scary. By the end I had tears of fear streaming down my face. There were only really 2 or 3 really terrifying bits, the rest was anticipation of scares that caused the fear. This really felt like a spiritual successor to The Blair Witch Project, completely unrelated plot, but the actual feel was the same feeling I had watching Blair Witch. One of creeping dread, and real fear for the safety of the characters. The film is set on a day/night cycle, so most the scary stuff happens at night, making the day scenes wonderful each time they arrive.

Complaints though. Firstly it seems stupid the couple would continue to stay in the house with all this awful stuff happening to them. Sure there is the argument that whatever is happening will follow them no matter where they are, but couldn't they go to an open all night place, just to be surrounded by people and safety? I would have ran out that house as fast as possible very early on, and not just stayed there and endured night after night of terror. Secondly, being single I feel I missed out on some of the terror. It's just so hard to relate to the couples situation having never been in a relationship, as such the film sometimes felt alien to me.

As a side note, there is a story Katie tells her boyfriend early on in the film about being haunted as a child. The tale she tells is nearly identical to what my Mum told me many years ago allegedly happened to her as a child, which lent some fearful reality to the film.

Well worth watching, and quite scary.


Friday, 27 November 2009

Colin (2008) - Zombie Film Review

Colin is a low budget zombie film with a difference. The difference being that it is a fantastic film! After utter dross like The Zombie Diaries and The Zombie Chronicles I had convinced myself that low budget meant non-existent acting, non-existent plot, and painfully bad effects. Colin was like a ray of sunshine.

The film is kind of unique in that it follows the exploits of a zombie, rather than the usual focus on survivors. The film follows Colin as he ambles around some unidentified British town during a zombie apocalypse, accidentally getting involved in various activities such as a house siege, zombies vs. humans street battle, and even a kidnapping. The film appears to have no plot, but at the end in an inspired Usual Suspects style twist it becomes apparent in a bitter sweet way just how much relevance to his pre-zombie life the locations and people he comes across during his amble actually were.

The film is amazing at creating a real sympathy for the zombie Colin. He comes across as almost an innocent. Sure he is a flesh eating innocent, but guiltless nonetheless. Following him in between the usual zombie shenanigans he comes across as sweet almost. Whether it be his angry confusion as some humans attempt to steal his trainers, or his puzzled wonder at some Duplo bricks he finds he comes across as endearing.

The soundtrack is good at creating a mood of just how messed up things. For the most part it sounds like the music is playing in reverse, a dreamlike quality to it. The zombie makeup is very good seeing how little the films budget was (just £45 allegedly). The worst parts of the film are actually those involving humans. The film for the most part has no dialogue, but scenes involving large groups of humans reveal the usual dreadful acting and oddness (eg: a man at a zombie invaded party when dragged to the ground, repeatedly stops trying to push away the zombies clawing at him to adjust his hat).

An amazingly bitter sweet and original film, a definite must buy for any zombie fans, or horror fans in general.


UPDATE: my dear friend (who I actually found as a result of this blog) uses Colin against me in any argument about her sometimes bad taste in zombie films. She insists it is a terrible film and so I put in a disclaimer here that this may not be for every-ones tastes.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Modern Warfare 2 - Videogame Review (X-Box 360)

The game on everyones lips at the moment is Modern Warfare 2, the wait is finally over; here are my thoughts on it! The game is good, probably even great, and is made up of 3 distinct parts.

Firstly there is the single player campaign. I have played through this on Normal, Hardened, and Veteran mode so have a good feel for what it's like. The plot carries on from the first game, in fact the introduction credits have scenes from the previous game playing behind them. It's 5 years later and...stuff is happening? This stuff involves an international terrorist Makalov, plus a invasion of the USA by Russia. To be honest the story is a garbled mess and makes no sense which is a shame, even after multiple play through I'm not quite sure of the games events. What I do know is that Makalov was a student of the one armed bloke Soap killed in Modern Warfare, a man called Shepherd is in charge of the USA army, and that Soap and others make a big appearance.

The game is shorter than Call of Duty 4's single player. My first play through took just under 5 hours on Normal. Subsequent playthroughs on the higher difficulties took around 6 hours I think. The game looks fantastic, and the missions are quite varied and full of spectacles, mostly set pieces such as helicopters falling out the sky, buildings collapsing etc. There is the controversial airport massacre level, but in all honesty it's quite boring, and I skipped the level for my repeat playthroughs. There is nothing to rival the nuclear explosion of the first game, and nothing could replace the amazing slow motion ending of that game (it pointlessly tries, but of course fails).

The second part of the game is Special Ops mode. This is a collection of mini games involving lots of different challenges. There around 25 of these. They range from missions involving surviving waves of enemies, to defusing bombs in a set time, to snow mobile races down a mountain. They are fun, but quite hard, but a welcome addition. My only gripe is that some missions are co-op only, meaning I can't experience them.

Lastly is the team online modes. The longest replay value. It builds on everything good about Call of Duty 4's death matches, and improves it with more options. There are a variety of Kill Streaks to unlock, as well as Death Streaks (rewarded to players repeatedly dying). The maps are a similar size, but seem to feature more areas to hide. I didn't like the original as I joined it too late so couldn't get any fun out of it. This time I'm going to try and play daily to keep the map layouts fresh in my mind.

A great game then, I picked it up for £26, so damn worth what I paid for it.


Monday, 23 November 2009

Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare - Horror Film Review

Freddy's Dead - The Final Nightmare is the film in which Freddy is finally defeated once and for all (or had meant to be at the time). A weird message at the start of the film states it is 10 years in the future, every single child bar one in the Town of Pine Woods has been killed by Freddy. The adult population have gone insane over all the deaths, and are in denial that it could be Freddy Kruger. Freddy chases the last surviving child out of the Town so that he can bring more children/teenagers back for him to kill. It is revealed that Kruger had a child who was adopted, he hopes to be able to escape Pine Woods (to which he is confined) by using his child.

There is more back story revealed in this film. Finally a reason for his power is given which neatly explains how he has been able to keep returning after being defeated in each film. The back story to his wife and child is odd in that it has never been mentioned in previous films, but it's cool to see Freddy as a normal human in the flashbacks. You also get to see him as a child in the film which is also cool.

The Town in the film is very odd, it seems really odd that all the Towns people would have been made insane by Freddy's reign of terror, and the whole scene set at the Town fair is just really odd with too much over acting.

The film doesn't look as grimy as previous films, more clean. Freddy Kruger's role is played more for laughs with him breaking the 4th wall by him giving winks and nods to the viewer, he is the least scary he ever was here which is a shame. The way his death is dealt with is not very spectacular either. A good film, but would have been a disappointing end to him if it really had been the last film.


A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child (1989) - Horror Film Review

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is another good entry in the Elm Street series, surprise surprise. Alice (Lisa Wilcox) the survivor of The Dream Master, and her boyfriend return for this one. Freddy (Robert Englund) has gone, he can only return if Alice dreams him back, or so it seems. But Freddy manages to return and soon her friends are being killed off one by one. Alice realises he's using the dreams of her unborn baby to return, and as unborn babies dream up to 70% of the time (allegedly) her and her friends are in deep trouble. Salvation seems to lie in solving the riddle of what happened to Kruger's mothers body.

Yet again the deaths are the highlight here. Inventive as always. A man who is turned into a bike, someone turned into a comic book character, and someone force fed to death are some of the kills here. Freddy is as good as always, though just as unscary as always also. Established lore from previous films is explored, such as Freddy taking the souls of his victims, and the whole back story with his mother and the 100 maniacs. Every single Elm Street film has a really attractive main female character, this is no different.


Friday, 20 November 2009

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) - Horror Film Review

A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master is another good film in the series. The film is a direct sequel to The Dream Warriors. The survivors from that movie are now in high school, pretty soon they are all killed off by a recently resurrected Freddy (Robert Englund), but before the last one dies she transfers part of her soul into her friend Alice. Alice and her friends start to be terrorized by Freddy. She realise Freddy needs her to bring people into her dreams as she is the last link to Elm Street. She discovers that she absorbs the powers of everyone Freddy kills, while he himself absorbs his victims souls, this leads to a battle in the dream world between the two.

Yet again the deaths are a real highlight. From a victim having their insides sucked out, to someone being turned into a human cockroach and then squished, they are a treat to watch. Robert Englund is as good as always, and even turns up sans makeup as a cross dressing nurse in one of the scenes. Freddy's death scene is amazing, and probably the most visual highlight of the film.

Unlike other franchises Elm Street films never slipped into monotony, and kept on an even keel rather than feel progressively lower in budget. Also, I loved the hilariously bad eighties theme tune complete with a terrible Kruger rap.


Thursday, 19 November 2009

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors (1987) - Horror Film Review

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors is a great film, and Elm Street at its best. A proper sequel to the first one it features the character Nancy (again played by Heather Langenkamp), now grown up and a dream specialist who gets a job at a children's psychiatric hospital specialising in children with sleeping disorders. These include a recently admitted teen girl with physic powers, a disabled boy, a mute, a recovering drug addict among others. All the kids have been dreaming about the same scary man - Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund), and are slowly one by one being killed off by him. Nancy knows they most confront him to stop his murdering rampage, and has to go against the wishes of the other hospital staff who see it all as a shared delusion. The psychic girl is able to pull others into her dreams, so they all go to her dream world and plan to use their dream powers to stop Freddy.
Meanwhile Nancy's Dr friend has teamed up with Nancy's dad (another returning character) to locate Freddy's remains and bury them in consecrated ground which they think will lay his spirit to rest.

The film is very entertaining, and features Freddy in more interesting guises within the dream world. He appears with syringes for fingers, as a giant worm, and even as a puppet. Again he kills people in ironic and entertaining ways, eg; the girl who wants nothing less than to be on TV has her head smashed into one. The special effects are quite good, with a bigger budget being apparent. Back story for Freddy's parents is explained which adds more to how he turned out like he did. The characters are all interesting, and fun, though at times it bizarrely feels like a kids film despite being rated eighteen.

After the averageness of Freddy's Revenge the series came back on track with A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: The Dream Warriors, a definite classic, and doesn't even feature a lame twist ending! My only complaint is that Freddy is supposed to be buried on consecrated ground, but he isn't blatantly, but that's a plot point that gets forgotten.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Fourth Kind - Horror Film Review

Now this is how you make a scary film. The creepiest film I have seen all year. The film purports to be based on real events, Milla Jovovich introduces herself at the start and speaks to the viewers. She explains that along with the film there will be real footage and recordings from the event used, and that "viewers may find some scenes deeply disturbing".

The film is a sci-fi thriller. A recently widowed lady; Dr Abbey Tyler (whose husband was murdered next to her as she slept) has returned to her job as a psychiatrist in Nome, Alaska. Many of her patients are experiencing the same nightmare. They wake up at 3am to find an owl watching them through the bedroom window, but the owl is not an owl, they seemingly all have false memories. An attempt to hypnotise a patient to discover what happened ends in tragedy. The chief of Police blames Abbey for creating panic in his towns people, and warns her against pursuing the strange cases. Then she discovers to her horror that a similar thing has unbeknown been happening to her as well at night. It sounds lame, but it is really creepy and unsettling.

The film is shot with a mix of 'real' archive footage and recreation footage. There are interviews with the real Abbey Tyler, recordings of psychiatry sessions with her patients, and police footage, as well as the film made based on these facts with Milla Jovovich playing Abbey Tyler. At times both footage is shown together, 24 style screen splits showing the acted scene, along with the actual real footage. The film at times feels very heavily like a Blair Witch Project if it had been filmed in a small Town rather than remote forest. All the tension of that film is recreated. It is often said that what is not shown, but implied can be more creepy than actually showing events. That is very true for this film. The whole carrot on a rod being what actually happens to these people is never implicitly revealed, or shown which makes it all the more creepy if your imagination is good.

The film did drag to begin with, it was a good 20 minutes before I could start to get into the film. The film keeps silent as long as it can on what is happening to these people visited by something strange at night, but the films title alone gives it away (not a spoiler to say it is a film about Alien abduction). I can't help feeling if they had kept the whole Alien angle a secret it would have been more effective. The best way to really get the most out of the film is to forget the 'real' footage is fake, made for the film, and instead let yourself to believe it is real, and that these events may have actually happened.

I enjoyed this. Well enjoy isn't the word, but as a piece of horror this really should give you goosebumps.


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) - Horror Film Review

A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge is considered the weakest of the series. I would agree. The film does something different to all the others, but is unsuccessful.

Jesse (Mark Patton - Amityville Clownhouse), a teenage boy and his family have moved into Elm Street. The boy gets frightening nightmares every time he sleeps. He finds Nancy's diary (the protagonist from A Nightmare on Elm Street) and realises that he is dreaming about the same man that she did, Freddy Kruger (Robert Englund). Soon he comes to the shocking realisation that Freddy is able to possess him when he sleeps and make him kill people. This all leads to an internal battle by the boy and Freddy for control of his body.

The film is different in that Freddy is actually out in the real world. As a result there are no inventive deaths as Freddy just kills with his claws for the most part, and also kills at random rather than for any rhyme or reason. Added to this is the fact that the boy is just unlikable, he spends most the film shouting at people and acting like a jerk to his friends. Some staples of the series come back, such as animals with human faces, and the obligatory dreadful twist ending.

Robert Englund of course is fab again, but that's about the only good thing about the film. Wes Craven had nothing to do with this film, and it shows. This time around it was directed by Jack Sholder (Arachnid, Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies), an ok film, but not exactly great.


A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - Horror Film Review

A Nightmare on Elm Street is of course a classic. This is down to what I see as two factors. Firstly it is an original take on the slasher genre. Rather than taking place in reality, the deaths in the Elm Street films take place in people's dreams, the place where they are most vulnerable. Secondly is of course the cult icon Freddy Kruger. A hideously scarred child murderer, with his iconic brown trilby, green and red striped jumper, and of course the glove with those claws. Robert Englund plays the role with relish, and makes it totally his own. Unlike other slashers Freddy has personality, constantly wise cracking, and murdering people in ironic ways, and existing in the dream world makes him much harder to defeat.

A Nightmare on Elm Street is regarded by many as the best of the Elm Street films. A teenage girl and her friends are plagued by nightmares featuring a man in a stripy jumper, after they start dying off the girl realises it's to do with their dreams, but no one really believes her. After her boyfriend is violently killed in his sleep (the boyfriend played by Johnny Depp in his debut film role) the girl decides she can't avoid sleeping anymore and must confront Freddy to end his reign of terror.

The film is still as ace today as it was then. The deaths are quite spectacular at times (Johnny Depp getting sucked into his bed followed by a torrent of blood gushing out of it up to the ceiling is one of my favourite death scenes ever), and the girls increasing madness due to sleep deprivation is hypnotic to watch. Kruger's backstory and motivation for the killings are interesting and original.

The film is not scary though, I remembered it as being so, but it wasn't. Also the bleak theme tune doesn't fit the style of film, and seems kind of out of place at times. Kind of a token thing in the series; the twist ending is abysmal and made the film end with a whimper. A Nightmare on Elm Street is a definite classic though!


Monday, 16 November 2009

Resident Evil: Degeneration - Zombie Horror Film Review

Resident Evil: Degeneration is a Japan made CGI film set in the Resident Evil universe. It is an original canological story that takes place between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5. The director states he sees it as a sequel to Resident Evil 2.

The film takes place 7 years after the 2nd game. There have been terrorist attacks using bio-weapons around the globe. The T-Virus now being on the black market following Umbrellas demise. An airport Claire Redfield has arrived at comes under terrorist attack via the T-Virus which turns its victims into brain dead flesh eating zombies. The airport is sealed off, and the Governments special agent for biological attacks - Leon Kennedy is called in. He teams up with a special forces woman, and Claire Redfield to stop the terrorist who is a survivor from the Raccoon City Incident (in which a T-Virus outbreak led to the government nuking the City) from getting his revenge on the people he saw as responsible.

There are two main sections to the film. First the initial Airport attack, and later on the 2nd set piece takes place at an ultra modern research facility where an antidote to the T-Virus has been created. The film is ok, and looks quite good. The characters are all motion captured, so move fluidly, but crawl too much into the uncanny valley.

The plot just falls flat nearly right away. There's no desire to find out the reasons for the attack, the characters are all boring, likable enough, but not fantastic. Really it's just an action fest. There are zombies in the film, sure, but only in the first half, the 2nd half just features a battle with a G-Virus infected human (G-Virus turns the carrier into a mutant monster). A few nods to the games which is nice, but overall just kinda a bland film.


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Jennifer's Body - Horror Film Review

I had a call before seeing this film yesterday. It was my sisters husband, weeping and pleading he told me not to see Jennifer's Body, he said it was awful and not worth seeing even for semi-free. I considered for a bit not going to the cinema, to take his advice, but then I thought that I probably had a far better taste in films than him, so went anyway.

The film is a teen horror set in a small American Town called 'Devils Kettle'. Jennifer is an attractive popular student, while her best friend Needy (that's what it seemed her name was) is a plain looking geek with thick glasses. Jennifer convinces Needy to go along to the Towns only Club to see a band from the City as she fancies the singer. But tragedy occurs when the Club burns down, killing countless members of the small Town community. Jennifer is taken off by the creepy band in their van, leaving Needy. Jennifer later appears at Needy's house, she is covered in blood, puking up black puke, and roaring inhumanly freaking Needy out. The next day at school Jennifer is back to her old self, but too much so. While everyone is grieving over the deaths Jennifer is fine and dismisses the whole disaster. Random students start being killed and partially eaten, Needy seems to have a psychic connection to the killer who is in fact Jennifer now seemingly sharing her body with a Demon.

Sounds lame from my boring plot description, but in fact the film is really quite good, something that was missing from the lame trailers for the flick. It starts off at the end of the film, then recaps to a earlier time to show how things got to that point which is a plot device I absolutely love in films, and in games in fact (eg: Brothers in Arms Route to Hill 1.0). The film is quite funny in places, and while some of the jokes are really awful mostly they are hit rather than miss.

There is a bit of blood in the film, not gallons, but a nice enough amount. The soundtrack is made up of popular teen bands (I assume) such as Panic at the Disco, and Fall Out Boy and as a whole the film is geared towards the teen crowd. The characters are all good looking, especially Megan Fox playing the part of Jennifer. No nudity, but some girl on girl action for those who like that sort of thing.

A fun, entertaining film which brought to mind The Faculty. Cool ending as well.


Modern Warefare 2 - My impressions of the 'controversial' airport scene *SPOILERS!*

I picked up Modern Warfare 2 yesterday. Much hoo-har has been made of the scene in which you play an undercover C.I.A agent who as part of his cover has to help terrorists massacre an airport full of civilians. For me personally it wasn't all that. When the terrorists first started firing on the crowds I hesitated for about a second, then I joined in, spreading my gun fire out to kill as many people as possible. Cursing when I had to reload and civilians escaped my line of sight. Shooting injured and dying men and woman crawling around on the floor, or leaning against walls. Firing grenades at lines of riot police.

A day later I have thought about that scene more in depth. Firstly it is important as a story device, as that is the catalyst that leads to Americas invasion, sure it needn't have been an actual level, but cut scenes really are not Modern Warfare's thing. Thinking back I do feel bad at having so routinely killed all those innocents. I didn't do it gleefully at the time, it was just what I was expected to do, so I did it emotionless. It was easier to shoot at the airport security officers as they were actually armed and posed a threat. The second half of the level after all the civilians are dead or gone is easier as its you vs armed riot police, though it is still the good guys you are killing, and your still watching out for the terrorists. The twist at the end when you are killed by your gang was unexpected, but thinking back it would be weird to play further levels with this character knowing what he had done.

Overall though - it's just a game! It's part of a game, and has no bearing on reality, so yeah, who cares really?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Dead Space: Downfall (2008) - Zombie Film Review

Dead Space: Downfall is a film prequel to the ace 2008 survival horror game. The game Dead Space takes place on a giant 'Planet Cracker' class spaceship called the USG Ishimura. You play the part of Issac Clarke an engineer who has travelled with a small group of others to the ship to investigate a distress call. Soon after getting there monsters appear, lots of monsters.

Dead Space: Downfall is a Manga style cartoon, rated 18. It takes place during and after the events of the excellent comic/web comic. The comic followed emerging chaos and death on a colony. Downfall takes place on the USG Ishimura which is in orbit above the planet the colony is situated on. The story details the origin of the weird virus on the ship and is shown mostly via the perspective of Vincent a loyal leader of a small security group. The crew of the Ishimura are aware of all the madness happening on the planet, so when a small vessel from the colony gets on board Vincent and her crew are assigned to put the occupants of the vessel into quarantine. From here on the ship quickly gets taken over by the virus which morphs the crew into hideous clawed monsters who exist just to turn the surviving humans into zombie-monsters (called necromorphs).

The film is really well animated, it looks beautiful. At times 3D models are used which don't stand out from the regular animation too much, so works well. The film is very violent, and has mountains of blood throughout, but being a cartoon I could not find it scary. There are some cameos from the Dead Space game. Issac's girlfriend turns up briefly, and a prominent character from Dead Space features quite a lot, and even seems to feature the same voice actor. Some of the video diaries found in the game are shown first hand in this.

All the way through I was looking for inconsistencies between this and the other Dead Space mediums. It seems to fit in well, I didn't notice any glaring faults. I have yet to play Dead Space: Extraction (the Wii prequel) which also takes place on the USG Ishimura at apparently the same time as this. So that is one where if there were any inconsistencies they would be shown.

I can't help feeling that if you watched this out of context as a film on its own you would be completely confused as to what was going on. Knowing what went on before and after probably helped me in understanding it. Looks amazing, super cheap (currently), and a great soundtrack. Recommended Sci-fi Horror.


Monday, 9 November 2009

Updates for the near future

I noticed on my internet travels that now has a section on its site dedicated to zombie films. I don't know if this was just for Halloween or if it will stay, but that's cool.

Have got lots of films to watch, so will be posting my thoughts of each one. Awaken the Dead looks like a zombie film, with the main character being a priest. Colin is supposedly a cult zombie film, had a budget of just £45 and is done from the perspective of a zombie 'Colin'. Resident Evil: Degeneration is a CGI Resident Evil film, the trailer featured Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield in an airport. I have wanted to see the film for quite some time. Dead Space: Downfall is a manga prequal to the excellent Dead Space game. I have already seen the prequal web comic, but this takes place after that I think. Waxworks looks like an 80's horror. I assume it will involve waxworks coming to life. Lastely I got the complete Nightmare on Elm Steet collection, all 7 films. I have the first 5 already, but the boxed set was near cheap.

Also will be doing game reviews for 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand, Ben there Dan that, and Time Gentlemen Please. Not horror, but ridiculously action packed, and twisted fun respectivly.

Friday, 6 November 2009


Watched 9 at the Cinema last week. I knew absolutly nothing about this film at all. I wasn't even sure if it was live action or animated, as all I had seen was the movie poster for it. What I did know was that it involved Tim Burton, and most of his films are fantastic.

9 is a computer animated film. It looks utterly fantastic with materials in the film looking real. Effects have really advanced from the days of films such as A Bugs Life. I guess technology just keeps on getting better.

The film is set post armageddon in what appears to be a Russian state. It starts with a small sack doll coming to life in a house. He looks outside the building to see a landscape of ruination. Collapsed buildings, rusty broken cars, and corpses eveywhere. He spots a similer looking doll out on a street, so hurries to catch up with it. The 2nd doll is called 2, the original is numbered 9. After revealing to 9 that there are others like them they are attacked by a lethal looking robotic/clockwork cat which carries 2 off to a giant factory. 9 is found by another doll (3?) who takes him to a giant cathedral where the other dolls are hiding out under the orders of the dolls leader 1 who wants everyone to remain there until the monster (the cat thing that stole 2) has died. Ignoring his orders 9 heads out to go to the factory and rescue 2. This leads to the discovery of more live dolls, as well as the reawakening of a terrible evil which may well have been the cause of the armageddon they were born into.

The film is morose and dark, which I guess it is hard not to be being set in a devastated town with dead bodies of humans everywhere. Being around 15cm tall the dolls appear out of place in the dead world, being dwarfed by everything, and getting around using tools left over from the humans world. They all look fantastic, and lifelike, and the robots appear deadly and insane.

It is a bizarre film, and odd, I come away not really knowing what I thought of it, it feels really unique and different. As mentioned it is kind of downbeat with many character deaths, and the flashbacks to pre armageddon. A good film, and fresh.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers - Horror Film Review

I've spoken previously about Halloween I, and II. I know their named with normal numbers rather than roman numerals, but the Halloween series is so great that it deserves the Romans. The Halloween films are just excellent. Other examples like Friday 13th were just plot less and pointless, but there has been a constant story ark through the Halloweens.

At the end of Halloween II Michael Myers night of terror was brought to an end when his (kinda useless) Dr; Sam Loomis blows himself and Myers up in the basement of Haddonfield General Hospital. Ten years have passed. Myers has been in a coma since that night, kept at a mental hospital. A badly scarred Loomis has kept watch over him, convinced that Myers is pure evil, and that there is nothing human left of him. The bureaucratic hospital manager secretly arranges for Myers to be transferred to a state prison, not informing Loomis who he sees as a kook. During transit one of the Ambulance staff casually mentions about Laurie Strodes daughter living in Haddonfield, this brings Myers out of his decade long coma and on a murderous path back to Haddonfield.

The body count is much higher than in the previous films this time around. Myers seems stronger now (in one scene he pins someone to a door by thrusting a shotgun right through them!) His bizarrely good driving skills are still in place, as is his ability to get around Haddonfield without drawing suspicion (at one point in broad daylight he manages to walk into a Halloween store and steal a mask without being seen. Keep in mind he's a giant, badly scarred man wearing bandages and a bloody boiler suit).

Dr Loomis is as useless and crazed as always. If anything he is even crazier than previous films, ranting and raving about the evil of Myers. But he is the only one who truly understands what Myers is capable of. In previous films Loomis would spend most the film in totally the wrong location before finally turning up where the action is at, and it's nice to see the same thing happens here, also he carries on the tradition of being knocked out by Myers. This time he is thrown through a plate glass window. Also in tradition is Myers death being ambiguous. It's always plausible that he could have survived.

The plot is well done and has the best ending of any of the Halloween films, totally unexpected. There is a fantastic scene between Loomis and a priest where there are allusions to Loomis vs Myers being like Good vs Evil. Myers seems less scary though. He walks oddly, and his boiler suit is a bit baggy and his mask not as fearsome. The deaths are plenty, and violent, though quite a few occur off screen. There is nearly nudity, but nothing is shown (if that is your bag).

The 2nd best Halloween film, and fantastic sequel to a great franchise.