Saturday, January 2, 2016

Let Us Prey [2014]

Let Us Prey [2014]


Although not any small component of Brian O'Malley's feature length debut, Let Us Prey, is Earth shatteringly great, it's a complete and genuinely satisfying package of gore and blood, gripping tension, interesting story and capable cast.


In a town where it seems every criminal, citizen and police officer is a murderer, a Grim Reaper-like figure arrives to ensure "that the price of our sins is paid for in blood".  A first day on the job officer is left to piece together the mystery of the entity and the darkest secrets of everyone in the station.


Possibly describable as Assault On Precinct 13 (1976) where the terror is actually inside the police station, Let Us Prey was a treat to watch.  O'Malley knows how to build the characters, pace the story, and put the foot down on the gas pedal when necessary; not to mention how to deliver some truly epic level kills.


Despite all of the entertainment value of Let Us Prey, it's a shallow pool of water.  There is little to no originality, and nothing presented or hinted at outside of the narrative.  But sometimes that's all a horror film needs to be, entertaining.  So if you can shut your brain off, handle a healthy dose of violent death, and swallow a truly absurd ending Let Us Prey is totally worth spending an hour and a half on.

7/10

Friday, January 1, 2016

Horsehead [2014]

Horsehead [2014]

Romain Basset's feature length debut is an atmospheric and visually stunning film to watch, but to sit through, that's a completely different endeavour.


While away at school Jessica studies within the field of psychophysiology with an emphasis on lucid dreams (dreaming while being aware that you're dreaming), an interest prompted by her lifelong troubles of inescapable nightmares.  At the request of her mother, Jessica returns home for the first time in 3 years to attend the wake of her late grandmother.  


Possibly provoked by longstanding questions surrounding the mystery of her biological father and a strained relationship with her mother Jessica becomes feverishly ill and her nightmares worsen. 


When her lucid dreams begin the to suggest answers to her deeply embedded family mysteries she's lead toward a downward spiral where dreams and reality intertwine and things buried become uprooted.


If Argento-ish color, visual artistry, gallons of blood, and a pulsing score were the only ingredients needed for an epic horror The Strange Color Of Your Body's Tears (2013) wouldn't have been a complete failure.  


But Horsehead is drunk with symbolism, proposes more questions than answers, and the score's more disruptive than menacing.  No matter how many creepy stepdads, incestual imaginings, It's a classic case of style over substance.  

6/10










Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Editor [2014]



The Editor [2014]


Every bit as brilliant as other recent homage/satirical gems such as Black Dynamite, Mirageman, and Norwegian Ninja, The Editor is a treat for any fan of 70's-80's Italian giallos and zombie splatter flicks, who can take a healthy side salad of hilarity with their main course of exploitation.



Rey Ciso, the Editor and "perhaps the greatest editor the world had ever seen", loses his fingers editing the "world's longest film" and suffers a nervous breakdown.  Once healthy he returns to editing, but finds himself working on trash horror with bottom of the barrel actors.  

"If this is living, I want no part in it."

While working on his latest job, blood (and black lace) starts flowing and actors begin dropping like (four) flies (on grey velvet).  Rey continues to edit the film in his (your vice is a) locked room (and only I have the key) and he stands atop of the Inspector's case (of the bloody iris) suspect list. 

"I'm an inspector, I have to wear the same clothes every day."
"Hysterical blindness...a woman's eyes were not meant to see such things."
 Gallons of gore, nudity galore, and a hundred quotable lines make The Editor an absolute blast.   There's chainsaw hackings, kitchen knife stabbings, church wizards and spilt gizards, leather gloves and severed guts.


"I don't want to hear your wizard speak!"
"A man slapping a man, imagine that."

But also, technically, it's an extremely accomplished production.  Well seasoned horror fans will appreciate the nods to Cronenberg, Fulci, and Argento, and gialli fans will be taken aback by the brilliant crimson reds, stark teals, and cold blues draping every scene.




9/10

Friday, September 25, 2015

Housebound [2014]

Housebound [2014]


Everyone has heard the quip, "jack of all trades, master of none", but many wouldn't realize it'd be an actual compliment when throwing it at a horror film.  Yes, most of the "masters" are long gone (RIP Wes Craven), but being a jack is pretty solid, and being a jack in all aspects of a horror film is pretty bad ass, let alone it being from a first-time director, writer, editor, actor...err...ok, so he didn't act, but I bet he even prepared the small sandwiches table for the actors. 


Kylie Bicknell is a rebellious hellion living the life of late teen crime, when an ATM robbery goes bad, and she ends up being sentenced to house arrest at Ma and Pa's house, a couple seemingly pulled right out of a J&E Coen's Fargo script, and things aren't all right in the old and creaky abode.


Once home, Kylie settles in and mayhem begins.  Meatloafs eaten, Coronation Street's missed, "Hello Moto" is scary, and somehow a bitch becomes endearing.  Housebound is scary, funny, well written, and a blast from start to finish.  Highly recommended.



7/10

Friday, September 11, 2015

Triangle [2009]

Triangle [2009]


If you've never seen a time loop flick before, you'll probably be drooling over Triangle.  But for those well versed in this psychological mind fuck gag it's just another ripoff.  Triangle ripped off Timecrimes (2007), which ripped off Salvage (2006), which ripped off Primer (2004), which ripped off Run Lola Run (1998), which ripped off Groundhog Day (1993).  Now if only Groundhog Day ripped off Triangle...miiiiiiiiiind, bloooooooown (pakeww!).  

Now, I'm not saying the time loop gag is overdone, or can't be successful, it can...clearly...as every film I mentioned above I'd call a helluva good movie.  Unfortunately, that's all of them except Triangle.  Why?  Triangle is about as scary as Groundhog Day.

Triangle had a card to play, in a hand all too often played, and it folded.  Besides Salvage, none of its time loop predecessors had the horror card up its sleeve, the cinematic Ace of Spades, and that's where Triangle falters.  It's a horror film, where the only actual horror, is the fear of the time loop itself.


6/10

Blue Ruin [2013]

Blue Ruin [2013]



Perhaps not a "horror" in its purest summation, Blue Ruin is as terrifying and hands over your face scary as any recent jump-scare ghost flick, The Conjuring and We Are Still Here included.  Add in some bursting-flesh bullet kills and foot on the pedal pacing, it could rival any of the recent ultra-violent crime thrillers as well.

The homeless and mentally scarred son learns the killer of his parents is being let out of prison via plea deal, and well holy shit he just won't stand for that.  And that's literally all I'm going to tell you about the plot.  I'd even advise you to skip the trailer...the least you know going in, the better.



10/10

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pieces of Talent [2014]

Pieces of Talent [2014]


Gore + Substance.  Oh yes, FearFinder shall rejoice.

Don't let any pics or its trailer fool you.  
Pieces of Talent has as much heart and soul as it does blood and guts, 
and both tandems are done to perfection.

Now go here and support these guys.
http://piecesoftalent.com/


9/10