Sunday, 30 June 2013

Lord of Tears - Horror Film News

Now I do not know much Lord of Tears to be completely honest, I saw it on my vast list of things to do blog posts about and thought it might be an easy post to do on a hot, lazy Sunday afternoon. Ok, now I have just watched the trailer, quite an awesome trailer it has to be said, I will include it at the bottom of the post.

Going by the trailer it seems to be about a man haunted by a mysterious and sinister looking being dressed like a Victorian gentleman but with the head and claws of an Owl at a remote country house. If the film is directed anything like the expertly made trailer it will be a real treat as I got goosebumps (maybe owlbumps?) watching it. It is described on the kickstarter page as a Slenderman Lovecraft Supernatural Horror. I love Lovecraft tales, there are no scarier stories so am actually quite excited for this. Creator Lawrie Brewster says the tale was inspire by the Gods and monsters of ancient religions.

Lord of Tears was a kickstarter project, achieving its goal after just 10 days. It is going to be shown at the San Diego Comic Fest in October and at the Bram Stoker International film festival and even has a real life Sultan as an executive producer on it! I get the vibe that this could really be something special. The Kickstarter is over but still go to the page to get some more information on it if you wish; here.

Anyway check out the trailer below, see what you think...

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

World War Z (2013) - Zombie Horror Film Review

After what seems like half a year of advertisements World War Z is finally out at cinemas. Based on the popular book by Max Brooks it shot into mainstream due to famed actor Brad Pitt attaching himself to the project. I was actually due to interview Max Brooks at one point but unfortunately I was not free on the dates he was in London!

A mysterious plague quickly sweeps the world turning normal humans into undead ghouls who exist solely to pass on their disease to non infected. Gerry Lane (Pitt) a former United Nations investigator and his family find themselves caught up in events as New York is rapidly consumed by the horror of the outbreak. His ex employees rescue Gerry and his family and ask him to assist a leading scientist in travelling to South Korea to try and find the origin of the disease in order to get a cure. Left with no choice Gerry reluctantly agrees, but his search for answers leads him on a wild goose chase around the world...a world over run with zombies.

The book is a collection of different accounts on a zombie uprising told from around the world, not exactly the easiest book to turn into a film so it is no surprise that this is not really based on that too deeply. It does take place in many different locations including America, Jerusalem, Korea, and even Wales. The outbreak happens very quickly, the opening sequence in which Gerry comes face to face with it is very quick paced, utter chaos. The zombies are of the running type and are insanely fast, also quite good at free running it has to be said, clambering over walls and leaping over cars in gigantic numbers.

Having seen the trailers where there are literal rivers of zombies I was concerned. They looked kinda ridiculous and I was left wondering if you would ever even see zombies on their own or if they would always be a mass of faceless monsters. Thankfully you do get to see zombies up close and actually leads to an intelligent reason for the difference between slow shambling zombies and the crazy running type. The effects for the zombies are quite good, one in particular had an Alien style teeth chattering noise that was memorable. For a zombie film there really is not much blood or gore at all, I didn't even stop to think about that until after I left the cinema. Certainly no The Walking Dead levels of gore but it didn't distract from anything. The zombies seem to be dancing when they stand still, I don't know if this was meant to be funny but it was hard not to laugh at the dancing zombies! On that note the scene when Gerry's daughter whizzes past in the background in an unmanned shopping trolley screaming had me laughing out loud, again not sure if that was the intended reaction.

The plot does seem secondary to the action, each new location bringing with it new crazy action sequences much of which was shown in the trailers. If you have yet to see the trailer for World War Z then don't! I wish I could have gone into the film untainted as nearly every action sequence is shown in the trailer meaning I always knew what was going to happen next. World War Z ran into a lot of problems during film that led to a totally new final part of the film. It is very different in tone to the rest of the film but this slower paced piece was by far the best part of World War Z. It had real tension; a thing that the rest of the film lost in its pursuit of big set pieces and wild action. It has some good ideas throughout though, the City of Jerusalem being safe due to huge walls hastily erected was a neat thing.

Pitt is believable in his role even if there is not really much to the character of Gerry, his family also do a good enough job but there are not any stand out memorable characters but it is still an entertaining film and it really looks fantastic even in dreaded 3D (not a fan at all since seeing The Hobbit butchered by the damn thing). With the worldwide plot device used it does at times feel like a collection of disjointed tales, I am not sure if that was on purpose in keeping with the books separate accounts or if it was just a failing of the writers in keeping a cohesive story going.

Far better than I expected it to be and anything that pushes zombies further into mainstream is very welcome by me. Not a bad film at all, could have been far, far worse.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Doom 3 BFG Edition (2012) - Horror Videogame Review

Doom 3 is one of my favourite videogames of all time so when I saw it was being remastered in HD I was quite excited to say the least. Doom 3 BFG Edition contains a remastered version of Doom 3, the expansion pack Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil, Doom, Doom II, as well as a new campaign titled 'The Lost Mission' all for a resonable price of £30. Ok, so you also get multiplayer, but let's be truthful; no one is going to play that!

To sum up the stories then. Doom had a portal to Hell opening up on a Mars base. Doom II was the same kind of thing but this time a portal to Hell opened up on Earth. Doom 3 was story wise a re imagining of Doom, as experiments in portal technology on Mars led to an accidental gateway to Hell being created and plunging the base into chaos. Resurrection of Evil was a follow up set several years later when the discovery of an alien artifact causes a new portal to Hell to be reopened on Mars. The Lost Mission takes place 6 hours after demons start invading the UAC base on Mars in Doom 3 and concerns a soldiers attempts to destroy a gigantic teleportation device that has the power to teleport demons all the way to Earth if used.

The graphics updated do look good seeing as they are based on a game from 2005 but the update to HD has caused some issues which are very minor. Firstly some of the textures are very muddy so have not been up-ressed, they were never intended for close scrutiny. Characters now have very pointy and angular heads that is kind of off putting, they look wrong due to the polygons, I realise it would have been expensive to create new character models. After all this is a re-release of an old game, not a remake. This also applies to the enemy designs which also look quite dated technology wise.

I did not play Doom or Doom II, I own these about 5 or 6 times each on other platforms,  I assume the games are the same as ever. Doom 3 is still as fun as it was but has had some some would say controversial changes. In Doom 3 your torch was a risk/reward item as you were not able to have a gun equipped while using it. On the one hand it let you see through the darkness at possible hidden enemies and items, but on the negative side you had to quickly switch to a weapon if you were attacked. The BFG version does away with this, you can now get your torch out whenever and still be using your weapon. Some sections of the game are not designed for this though so it looses scares even if it is more convenient. There are now pockets of the game where you will come under sustained attack from enemies. This seems to be added in to get back some of the fast pace of Doom that critics of Doom 3 complained the game was missing. These sections feel out of place, I never really appreciated them. It is still a fantastic game, expertly designed I just wish there had been an option to play it the original way.

Resurrection of Evil has shot up in my favour as it is now a good port, the X-Box version was not a good version, featuring some sloppy bugs, and a general rushed feel such as the video discs which juttered and skipped when watched. Far more fun now, I was in almost a hypnotic trance playing through it, the gravity gun blatantly based on Half Life's one but not a bad little weapon. I no longer feel short changed at it's relatively short length (three and a half hours) as I did not have to pay £20 as I did for the stand alone release on the X-Box. Very fun.

I don't know why but I thought I had heard that not only did The Lost Mission take place exclusively in Hell but that there was also no audio logs or emails to be found. Both of these turned out to thankfully be false. The Lost Mission is so called as it was originally planned as part of Doom 3 but got cut out. It is far more action focused than before, you are never far away from a glut of enemies spawning everywhere. The locations are all new ones with the action taking place mostly in the Exis Labs which are in the process of being built still (some of these levels are very well designed!). There are just the 9 staff I.D's to collect but have fantastic and quite long audio logs as well as some laugh out loud emails so there is no filler. The levels set in Hell do create a little niggle though. The labs are very linear, this is all fine as they are designed realistically, but Hell should be chaotic but instead you get pretty much a straight path from the start to finish even if the range of locations is impressive with many giant skull heads, bleeding walls and even a boat ride across a river of lava. A few new enemy types also to spice things up.

The lack of variety of character models is annoying nowadays, everyone looks identical, when you see the exact same corpse for the billionth time it does take away from the immersion a bit. I also don't like that trophies/achievements include ones for multiplayer, not appreciated by me! Last complaint is the sound of the weapons still sound really puny! Overall the changes don't affect the overall experience. Doom 3 is still one of the best games I have ever played, you get a lot for the asking price, very highly recommended! Ultimate Doom would have been nice to complete the package, but I own that anyway.


The Ring (2002) - Horror Film Review

The Ring is a remake of a Japanese film Ring (1998) that itself was based on a novel. The Ring actually paved the way for a load of American made remakes including among others The Eye, The Grudge, and One Missed Call. I have seen the original Ring, I even own it, but think this version is a lot superior.

After her niece dies in mysterious circumstances journalist Rachel decides to investigate. She comes across an urban legend about a cursed videotape that her niece apparently saw. Whoever watches the tape receives a phone call informing them they will die in seven days time. In her search she actually locates the videotape...and watches it. Finding out the curse is all too real she has just seven days to find a way to stop it from not only killing her, but her ex Noah, and their son Aiden who also saw it.

A real slow burner this one, until I re-watched it this had totally slipped my mind. If you have a short or belligerent attention span then the slow, stretched out path the film takes may leave you cold. There is only a few sections of pure terror, for the most part it is Noah and Rachel doing research and slowly uncovering the mystery behind the creation of the tape. The tone of The Ring is bleak and this is reflected by the direction and lighting. Cities are cold, emotionless blocks of stone, the countryside is harsh, windswept and rain persists throughout. Rachel is a workaholic who seriously neglects her son often leaving him with a babysitter and doesn't take him to school or even make his school lunches. He is more of a parent to her, one scene on the day of a funeral she wakes up late to discover her son already dressed in his suit, her clothes ironed and laid out for her by him perfectly demonstrates this. I guess her mistreatment of her son runs parallel with the mistreatment of Samara who is the Japanese style ghostly girl who starts the curse.

What I remember of seeing this at the cinema was the jump scares generated by going from quiet scenes to loud ones which still have the power to get a jump when watched on TV. I am not a huge fan of the jump scare but having a film designed to elicit them via location changes is quite unique and better than things popping out at you and screaming as is usually the case. The Ring is a proponent of leaving the scares to the imagination in part, it is only later in the film you see the results of the curse and even then only for a split second. The cursed film is shown a few times throughout and subliminal images are inserted also throughout which is cool. This actually makes watching it on VHS more creepy than DVD. I love that the film ends with a clip of the tape, creates tingles as the screen cuts to static and then the credits.

So The Ring is more of a thriller really, each section introduced by a title card saying how many days are left before Rachel is due to die which does an awesome job of instilling slight panic and tension into the proceedings. While this is a slick and well made film it has had a lot of imitators which can steal from the reaction of this if seen before this one. As mentioned One Missed Call is pretty much a poor mans remake of this, as is Boogeyman, and the fantastically creepy videogame Project Zero (Fatal Frame in America) recreates a key scene.

The acting is of a high standard though I really am creeped out by child actor David Dorfman who plays Aiden in everything he did at that age. I got just as spooked by his dead eyed stare as I did when he appeared in a few episodes of Ally McBeal, something not right with children acting as if they are mature adults. Also I appreciate the black humour injected every now and again as well, actually some quite funny characters and lines to be found.

Overall if you have the patience then The Ring is a great slow burner thriller that creates a murky world of terror and achieves this in a clever way and does enough to distinguish itself from the original that even if you have seen that there is enjoyment to be found here.


Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Purge (2013) - Horror Film Review

I love the idea behind The Purge, it is something I had kinda come up with independently and great minds do think alike.  There are few films better worth seeing on the big screen than horrors.

In 2022 unemployment, crime and violence are at an all time low, the government known as 'the new founding fathers' have passed a radical act. Once a year for a 12 hour period crime becomes legalised in order for the populace to work off their aggression on each other. James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) is a successful home protection sales man with a loving wife and two children, Him and his wife Mary are firm believers in the purge initiative and expect to face no trouble as the purge starts and they lock down their house in their rich suburban neighbourhood. However their annoying son Charlie takes pity on an injured homeless man begging for help and lets him into the house...only the man has been followed. Now the house is surrounded by a group of masked rich kids who demand the man be given to them or they will break down through the defences and kill everyone inside. With a series of terrible events making James rethink his approval of the purge he decides to stand and fight rather than give the innocent man over.

Ethan Hawke with this and Sinister is fast becoming one of my favourite actors. Here he is again fantastic giving real depth to James whose beliefs are questioned and whose real desire to protect his family at all costs can be seen through his fantastic acting. Special mention must also go to Rhys Wakefield  as the face and voice of the masked strangers, immaculately dressed in a suit and well spoken his barely contained rage and madness is delightful to watch, his creepy as all hell grin is fantastic but never straying from being crazily polite. One point in which he calmly executes an over zealous member of his gang before saying to James (to paraphrase) "Now I just killed him and he was my friend, you, you I don't even know". It is hard such to believe Wakefield came from the Australian soap Home and Away; not really known for its amazing acting. Also on the soap front daughter Zoey is played by Adelaide Kane who was a main character in the other Australian soap Neighbours also not known for great acting but who here does as good a job as possible with the stupid character she is given.

I loved the idea for the film even if it did feel a bit similar to Assault on Precinct 13 with its near identical plot. Before the house is breached the air is thick with tension, I wanted to leave the cinema as the tension was killing me, I couldn't bare the anticipation of the horrors to come. This is milked for all its worth, mostly through montages of the strangers creepy antics shown through the cameras monitoring the outside of the house. Their masks are of smiling people, very sinister. When the breach occurs the action comes thick and fast with the tension sizzling out as the strangers act with a frenzy that leaves them prone to ridiculous mistakes, these are not intelligent people regardless of what the polite stranger says. A later plot twist was an interesting decision, I am on the fence on if it worked or not but I did not expect some of it.

Being a 15 there is not much blood or violence really to speak of which is not that big a deal, what takes away from the film is little annoyances based on my preferences. If I lived in a world that has the purge I would certainly make sure I was suitably protected, I guess it is down to the arrogance of James that he is not despite him knowing the security systems he sells are not 100% fool proof. I would design a security system that would torch anyone coming onto my property, but hey, that's just me! The children Zoey and Charlie are super annoying also, didn't care about those idiots.

The tension of the first 40 minutes is quickly dissipated by the fast action that follows, just too many times a character is about to be killed before they are saved at the last second by someone off screen, at least three or four times this happens, it becomes kinda predictable by the end. Still, I think this is worth seeing.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Edge of Hell (1987) - Horror Film Review

I used to have a friend who would put this film on constantly as background noise, it looked very cheesy and I watched enough to find out the twist but never paid much attention to it. One day she chucked all her VHS tapes out, as in literally chucked them out, they were all in black bin bags outside her flat. Knowing she had some awesome horrors in her collection I rooted through the bags in the pouring rain and liberated a few including this gem. The Edge of Hell is known in America as 'Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare' just so you know.

After a opening sequence in which a family are terrorised by a demon/zombie thing living in a cooker a glam rock and roll band turn up at a house and barn to record some new material for their forth coming album.  The band is called Tritan and is led by singer John Triton (played by Jon Mikl Thor who also wrote all the songs for the film). In between band practice and a glut of sex scenes the group are slowly picked off one by one by demons until just Triton is left but that's when the twist comes in...

Sometimes films are so terrible that they are fantastic. Manborg did that, but then Manborg set out to do that as its goal, with The Edge of Hell though I think it must have been purely accidental what with it being a film of the 80's. It was filmed in a week for starters, just 7 days and the actors if you can call them that are hilariously terrible, very wooden, my favourite being the 'English' drummer whose accent makes me think he had never heard an English person speak before! When demons appear the usual course of action is to stand still and scream until killed, usually the demon starts off quite some distance away so is funny every time this occurs.

The demons in this film have to be seen to be believed, a load of hand puppets for the most part, and latex effects, quite hilarious. The end sequence in which a load of flying starfish monsters attack someone is astounding as the victim holds the pathetic looking things onto his skin and wrestles with them as if they had latched on. Spoiler! - The big demon at the films end is hilarious and features in one of the most pathetic good vs evil fights I have ever witnessed. After some weak school boy grappling it gives up and retreats back to Hell. The films epic showdown can't help but be one sided as it appears no one is actually puppeteering the monster at all.

Now Jon Mikl Thor was reportable a big glam rock star of the 80's so it is no wonder the film is full of sex, drugs and rock and roll (well actually no drugs, one of the films messages is only monsters do drugs...or something like that). It often feels like one big music video with the group listening to rock music whenever they are not playing and have two entire songs they themselves play in the film. A lot of sex scenes, very badly done, funny at times, other times awkward. Worst sex scene goes to Triton and his girlfriend in a shower, they stay bizarrely dry for the most part and interact like two people who have never seen another human in their life.

I loved this film, it is hilarious with some pitiful acting that made me smile like a loon. Definitely a film of its time, well worth a watch!


My version with equally awesome box art!

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Cottage (2008) - Horror Film Review

The Cottage is a British made horror flick that has a handful of great actors in it. Andy Serkis is a fantastic one, and Reece Shearsmith is a master of dark comedy. The trailer to this film did not make me want to see it but it does accurately reflect the tone of the film.

The Cottage starts with two brothers; David (Serkis) and Peter (Shearsmith) arriving at a cottage in the English countryside after kidnapping Tracey who is the step daughter of David's rich boss in order to get £10,000 as ransom. The boss's son Andrew is also in on the plan but unwittingly reveals to his boss's men the location the kidnappers are at. During a comedy of errors the kidnappers all get accidentally revealed to the kidnapped girl and eventually Peter ends up being in turn kidnapped by her and taken to a remote farm house. Exasperated David and dozy Andrew head off after them. The owner of the farmhouse however is psychotic and all four find themselves in mortal danger from the leatherface lookalike.

This is quite a disjointed film with distinct feelings to them. The first half is a dark comedy, the whole kidnapping situation is quite funny, every single thing that could go wrong does go wrong; Peter keeps accidentally calling his brother by his name in front of the girl, she keeps escaping and beating the trio up, the ransom money Andrew thinks he has gotten is actually a case full of tissue paper, and finally Peter and Andrew walk in on Tracey forgetting to put on their balaclavas. All funny stuff in a dark sense. Peter and David are not heroes, but neither are they true villains, they have goals they want to get and have no intention of actually causing the girl harm.

The 2nd half of the film can only be described as grim and violent, almost to torture porn territory, each of the four characters gets terribly injured right off the bat; one gets half their foot sliced off, one is stabbed through the stomach, one gets their leg caught in a bear trap, while the last gets a pick axe through the leg all relatively early into the battle against the psychotic farmer. For the most part this part of the film is far more serious with a misguided attempt every now and again to inject some humour into things but which feels out of place. The effects are well done and really made me grimace.

It really doesn't seem like the two half's gel together well, almost like the director couldn't decide if he wanted a comedy or a horror and not settling on either very well. I can't complain about the effects but can about the lazy plot, nasty characters (Jennifer Ellison as Tracey is super irritating) and bad guy who just doesn't come across as that exciting a villain. Not a bad ending it has to be said though.


One Missed Call (2008) - Horror Film Review

I loved the premise for this film so have long wanted to see it. This is actually based on an Asian film of the same name, it feels like an Asian film in that it shares many similarities with The Grudge and The Ring.

A girl dies days after receiving a missed call on her phone that had a creepy voice mail message that sounded it was like herself speaking. Her friend then gets a similar call, again it sounds like herself talking and again she dies a few days later at the time specified in the answer phone message. Beth seeing her friends die off one by one by the same method becomes convinced something bad is happening, she teams up with Detective Jack Andrews whose sister died in similar circumstances to find a way to stop the chain of death, quite the task seeing as how she has just received a similar deadly message on her phone...

The similarities of this to The Ring and Boogeyman are so striking that it was impossible not to get a heavy feeling of deja-vu when watching. I loved the idea of the victim receiving a soundbite of how they would die on their phone days before it happened but not enough was really done to explore this better. No one attempts to analyse how they would die and try to prevent it, no one even seems to make an effort to not say the words they were saying when they died. If I had some creepy as hell message of me saying some thing I had yet to say I would sure as heck take a vow of silence or something to make sure it didn't come true! Knowing the exact time of death put it in line with The Ring where the victims in that film also know the time of their death.

A lot of the special effects are done using CGI, not good CGI at that, seeing a giant millipede burrow into someones hand via the wonders of computer generation made me sad, it looked terrible and was a watermark for most the effects of the whole film. It's telling that by far the best looking effect of the film is one that was done using traditional effects rather than low grade CGI. As the death day approaches the victim starts to hallucinate creepy people watching them, ruined by fake looking effects put over them. If something looks like it was created on a computer it's not going to be an effective scare.

The main plot is kinda silly and has been explored before, I keep mentioning The Ring but it is pretty much identical plot wise, even having the same twists which is a real shame. One Missed Call is creepy, it succeeds I just wish originality had been used., There is a damn creepy ring tone used for the missed call, I have set this as my real ring tone, it is cool despite the startling lack of original ideas. That's another thing; everyone in the film owns the exact same type of phone...surely not a freaking licencing deal? Apparently in the world of One Missed Call there is just the one type of mobile!

The acting is ok, the only stand out performance is by television psychic Ted Summers (played with conviction by Ray Wise of Twin Peaks fame). Characters have the usual film trope of oh so quickly getting over the death of friends, Edward Burns as the detective is bland, bland, bland while Shannyn Sossamon as Beth does a passable impersonation of any hundreds of other horror movie heroines but brings nothing new to the role at all. The plot is silly and makes even less sense than the films it copies but is watchable at least.

I may check out the Asian original at some point to see if that is any better but for now, unless you have not seen the far superior The Ring then there is not really much here worth seeing.


Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Last Exorcism Part II (2013) - Horror Film Review

I quite enjoyed The Last Exorcism, I thought it was an interesting take on the possession tale and really enjoyed the curve ball the film threw the viewers at the end. I was surprised when this sequel was announced though. Where the original was created as a documentary this is a straight up traditional horror.

After a very bad recap of events of the first film we find Nell in a state of extreme shock and with no memory of the events that have happened to her. Some time later and she is living in a shelter for women slowly rebuilding her life when strange events start to occur, mysterious people stalk her, she has horrific nightmares and hallucinations. The demon that tried to possess her in The Last Exorcism still wants her and is determined to make it so.

For the most part Part II is kinda boring, I had the entire cinema to myself and found myself texting a friend halfway through, not paying much attention to it. A lot of the scares come from the tried and tested jump category, they never failed to make me jump but when this is the only way a film maker is able to create fear you know they are doing something wrong, just look at Sinister to see how to make a real terror that gets under your skin.

Ashley Bell as sheltered teen Nell does a good job but the similarities between her and Sissy Spacek's role in Carrie are quite close and they even have a similar character arc which is a tad distracting. Other characters are not so great, in fact there isn't a single memorable character other than a great turn by David Jensen and E.Roger Mitchell as two odd ball psychics who sadly get small screen time.

The film has 'exorcism' in the title yet the actual exorcism takes up less than ten minutes of screen time and comes far too late, most the film is Nell wandering around trying to lead her life while ghostly visions of friends and family haunt her, and some demon tries to get her to have 'sexy times' with it that must also be an allusion to her sexual awakening happening as she becomes a woman. There are a few demonic possession scenes but these are not anything special with it just being humans given 'demonic eyes' that wouldn't look out of place in your average episode of Supernatural. The ending section is enjoyable enough, though does reach too much for the WTF ending of the first film. It sets itself up for a third film which I really don't think is wise when this film was not that good.

A boring, albeit well shot and directed film about possession that fails to get the blood pounding or the skin crawling. There wasn't really any need for The Last Exorcism Part II to exist.


Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) - Horror Film Review

The Blair Witch Project made the 'found footage' genre of horror films mainstream, everyone knows the iconic premise of 3 teens vanishing in the woods and a year later their filmed footage being found. The sequel wisely ditched the found footage aspect, a move that the Paranormal Activity films should have taken long ago.

After the worldwide success of The Blair Witch the town of Burkitsville whose woods that film was filmed in has become a tourist trap with thousands visiting the area much to the anger of the local townsfolk and most specifically the long suffering Sheriff . One such group arrive to go on the 'Blair Witch Tour' led by local resident Jeff. The plan is to go into the woods and visit the locations used in the film. They set up camp at the ruins of Rustin Parr's house. After a run in with a rival tour group they decide to stay up all night to ensure the group don't return to cause them more trouble. The next morning they awake to find chaos. All their cameras have been destroyed, and the work of researchers Stephen and Tristen has been torn to shreds and raining down like snow over the group. With no memory of what occurred in the night the group head to Jeff's wood side house to go through their tapes and discover what happened during their missing hours. This is just the start of their nightmare...

Why all the hate people? I have only ever met one other person on this planet who loves this film as much as me, it is no joke one of my favourite films of all time. I wasn't that big a fan of Blair Witch, it was ok on the first watch but repeated viewings it lost it's impact. Not so for this sequel, every time I see it I see something new. The film much to director Joe Berlinger's anger was vastly changed on the cutting room floor creating a really chopped up, messed up feeling. Throughout the film there are quick shots of vicious murders as well as scenes of the future with the group in Police custody. As it progresses clues unravel to the events that have happened.

The key hook of discovering what has happened to the group in their missing hours is a great plot device that creates some genuine creepiness and has a great pay off. Though not a found footage film it still has plenty of handheld cameras, as Jeff comments at one point 'cameras never lie'. The whole mystery of the film is left to viewers interpretation. That the group are newly met and don't know each other leaves ambiguity for just what sort of people they really are, lot of mysterys!

Now there are some pretty terrible effects used I must admit. The ghostly children who appear throughout the film have terrible makeup on them, the scenes of violence don't look that great either but the locations are fantastic. The woods are used sparingly with most the action taking place at Jeff's house that is a converted mill. This place manages to be more creepy than the woods themselves, would love to live somewhere like that! Special mention has to go to the soundtrack. The introduction with Marilyn Mansons 'Disposable Teens' playing out as the camera sweeps over the woods inter cut with close ups of people being killed is genius, other tracks such as Queens of the Stone Age playing over a drunken montage is also just perfect. The score by Carter Burwell is fantastic also, the signature tune is sublime and the score is chock full of drums and wind instruments evoking a feeling of the woods that seeps everywhere.

Blair Witch 2 is almost a perfect film, one that stands up to repeated viewings, has an astounding soundtrack and is a hell of a ride. Before you judge it give it a view, you may just fall in love with it like I did.


Tuesday, 11 June 2013

ZOMBIES Stole My Liquor! (2012) - Zombie Horror Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

Ok, now at least this game has a different look to it. ZOMBIES Stole My Liquor! goes for a retro look and sound to it, it evoked feelings of old computer games when I first started playing.

Starting off in a square you play as some blocky guy with a gun who must locate a bottle of alcohol via a giant arrow. Once you have the alcohol you must return it to your base where you can use money to buy new weapons and then repeat to infinity.

If not for the controls this game would be fun. The controls are terrible! Your character controls like a tank making it frustrating to turn around as you are forced to go in big circles, especially annoying when you miss your target and have to go a huge circle to get back to it, being hit by zombies all the while. The zombies are blocky and die in a satisfying retro style but when the controls are this broken there is little enjoyment to be gotten.

It may look and sound different but it is at it's heart another over head shooter that cannot hide it's core blandness.


Zombies, Zombies Everywhere! (2011) - Zombie Horror Videogame Review (X-Box Indie)

Oh goodness me, another day another darn X-Box Indie channel zombie game review. Zombies are numerous on the indie channel as they don't need any A.I to speak of, here it is no different. I have to say my review is based on two goes at a 40 second demo so do take that into account.

The game is played from a fixed first person perspective. You are in a fantasy style world with huge red and blue mushrooms either side of the screen. From the distance groaning zombies walk forward, using an antique looking double shotgun you blast them away to stop them reaching you.

I assume you get access to a variety of different weapons to battle the zombies with. The controls are a bit twitchy for my liking. The zombies are as bland as always even if there is a bit of variety, they are more cartoony than realistic. The title screen has some decent horror music but for the game itself it is just unmemorable filler.

Not an exciting game, this does nothing to stand out from any other number of cheap zombie games, hard to recommend in the slightest.


Camping (2013) by Mike Eshelman and Alex Levasseur - Horror Comic Review

Camping is a short 20 page indie comic from DustBunnies comics. Originally it was planned as a short film but adapted to comic book form as it was felt it would be better suited.

Three men have gone hunting in the woods but have gotten lost. They sit around their camp fire drinking beer and talking about how anyone could have gotten lost and how they will be rescued soon enough...but is everything as it seems?

This isn't going to be much of a review as I can't really say too much without ruining the surprise. The tale would feel perfect in a horror anthology and has a great last few pages twist to it that was the perfect icing on the cake. At first I thought the text was a bit off but there is reason for that, and the extreme close ups of objects and the characters gives a slow reveal. The black and white art is well suited and the dialogue is actually well written.

Camping can be purchased for download or physical from the Dusk Bunnies Comics website here for $1 or $3 respectively. Good stuff!