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.


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.