Tag Archives: Horror

Exclusive Review: The Conjuring

The_Conjuring_1Director:  James Wan

Writers: Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes

Principal Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor 

Horror, my favourite genre; well one of them. Yet it’s a genre in a terrible state of affairs at the moment. Especially mainstream horror, the bigger studios are playing safe, removing the shocks, controlling the gore and driving films into a ratings band that they shouldn’t be in. While US horror films are in a major lull, I look to the Indie and foreign language films to fuel my horror needs, they seem to be pushing the genre forward, France and Spain seem to be leading the way, while the East is always a good place to look for a decent horror film.

So you may be wondering how I’ve seen this film, a month before general release, well I have Frightfest and the infamous Sleepy Q to thank for that. This was our “Thank you” film for buying tickets to this years festival, braving the elements etc etc; though I only joined the queue at 6am. Some had been there all Friday ; hats off to them brave souls! We also got a video introduction by James Wan.

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The Conjuring, claims to be based on real case studies by Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren, who’s most famous case study happens to be Amityville. Though a little research shows that while the Warren’s did investigate paranormal events at the Peron’s family home the story has been embellished for the big screen, we shouldn’t be surprised really, but on the plus side knowing this now makes no difference to how I feel about this film.

James Wan’s previous film Insidious was 2/3’s brilliant to 1/3 average, the average section being the final act. The build up and overall creepiness of this film showed a lot of potential in this young film maker. Yet he undoes some of his hard work with that final section and forced final scare. Though he has filmed a second Insidious, which I’m looking forward too.

Even more after The Conjuring,  for me this is Wan’s best film so far, he doesn’t let it fall apart at the end. The film builds nicely and then explodes into a relentless final act which really had me unsure of the fate of the Warren’s and the Peron’s. It opens  with a good introduction to what the Warrens do and how they see the paranormal world. Wilson (also the star of Insidious) and Farmiga are very good here, very solid in their roles. Then we meet the Peron family, the house and shortly after that the paranormal happenings start. From here the tension builds, the feeling of unease while we are around the Peron family grows and grows. There are obvious moments, but Wan also deals us some curve ball moments as well, and I admit I jumped a couple of times (and I never really jump!). Yet it was the creepiness of it all which got me, on numerous occasions I felt the hairs stand up on my neck; a great sign I am enjoying it.

As for the rest of the cast I have to praise Lili Taylor in her role as Carolyn Perron, she is brilliant, never over plays it and looks genuinely scared at times! The rest of the Perron family are all good, the kids especially. I really had no issues with much in this film at all;  maybe I was just happy that I was finally enjoying a horror film from America.

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Yet all this will be undone if you watch the trailer, even the hand clapping teaser,  the trailer which opened this weekend on the cinemas had 3 or 4 of the best scares in it, my advice is just see the film. If you are in the cinema and the trailer comes on close your eyes, it’s a much better experience if you don’t know what’s about to happen!

This is the best horror film I’ve seen this year, I am curious to see how well it plays on a 2nd viewing, and I will be there on opening weekend. This is a film to see with a full house and hopefully some people who haven’t seen the trailer!

Though my faith in US horror isn’t restored this is a big step in the right direction; yet for every really good film like this we have 5 or 6 bad ones like Texas Chainsaw 3D to drag us back down. I would have really enjoyed seeing The Conjuring on Empire’s screen 1 in the Frightfest festival – I really think it would have played very well.

5/5 – Maybe not – but in terms of the horror films this year it is!

The Conjuring @ IMDB

SPOTLIGHT: Fangs for the Memories – The Evolution of the Vampire.

Vampires.

Blood-suckers. The pale ones. The Undead. Leeches. Parasites. Bats. Shapeshifters.

Whatever you want to call them, the Vampire remains one of the most used (and mis-used) mythical creatures in existence. Thousands of films, books and comics have adapted them in so many different forms, that the word ‘Vampire’ now means a million different things.

The core definition of ‘Vampire’ still remains however. A creature that survives off another living thing’s essence – usually blood, or occasionally the soul or life force.

Whether such a thing really exists is doubtful – a Vampire is a creature of storybooks and folklore. However, there are people in the world (perhaps mentally disturbed) who consider themselves ‘Vampiric.’ People who dress in black, avoid daylight and drink teaspoons of each other’s blood. (Check this or this out if you don’t believe me.)

It’s a fanciful idea, and some people believe the existence of a blood-thirsty human based creature has a solid grounding. However, let us not dwell on whether or not we believe in real life Vampires, but forget that there may be a 0.00001% smidgeon of a chance they really exist, and focus on the ideology of the ‘Vampire’ – portrayed in literature and film.

There are very early Vampire films dating right back to 1913, but for the purpose of this article we’ll start at one of the earliest films that helped shaped our modern perception of the blood-suckers (you all know who I’m talking about.)

Continue reading SPOTLIGHT: Fangs for the Memories – The Evolution of the Vampire.

PROJECT: Finding The ‘Scariest’ Movie of all Time – VOTE NOW!

The time is here, the gloves are off, and it’s time for our scary movies to battle it out and see who gets the status of the ‘Scariest Movie of all Time.’

Note: Since the last post, two new films have been added – Halloween (1978) and The Thing (1982).

Get sharing this post and cast your vote – a champion will be crowned on Friday!

PROJECT: Finding The ‘Scariest’ Movie of all Time – The Contenders!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the suggestions are all in and have been compiled into a list.

We’d like to thank everyone for their contributions to this post!

In your opinion, these are the 15 great contenders for the most terrifying film of all time. Get thinking!

Session 9 (2001) Directed by Brad Anderson, Starring David Curoso, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle.

The creepy horror about an asbestos cleaning crew in an abandoned mental hospital. Catch our review here. Submitted by the Generic team.

Event Horizon (1997) Directed by Paul WS Anderson, Starring Laurence Fishburne, Sam Neill, Kathleen Quinlan.

Classic stuff – intelligent, and genuinely scary. Submitted via email.

Continue reading PROJECT: Finding The ‘Scariest’ Movie of all Time – The Contenders!

REVIEW: Session 9 (2001)

session9 posterTensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.

DirectedBrad Anderson

Stars:  David CarusoStephen GevedonPaul Guilfoyle

What we think:

Few horror films have had much of an impact on me in terms of getting inside your head – I don’t go in much for blood splatter and gore.

I’m not a huge fan of the mainstream horror films, although some have been enjoyable. It’s always the hidden gems that really have an impact that make you want to sleep with the light on.

Forget torture porn, something which I fail to see any benefit from; watching a group of stereotypical teens getting ripped to shreds is not my idea of a great horror film.

I want to be impressed and terrified, not disgusted and repulsed.

Continue reading REVIEW: Session 9 (2001)

SPOTLIGHT: The Slasher Film Unmasked – An Exploration of the ‘Marmite’ Genre

Slasher Poker

Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees and Freddy Krueger walk into a bar…

The slasher genre and its iconic anti-heroes almost became a bad joke towards the end of its golden era, with poorly constructed sequels and unnecessary, outlandish concepts to create a film all about the inventive ways a masked madman could pick off innocent young teenagers rather than plot or characterisation. But from the foundations of the genre to the height in its heyday, the slasher film became more than just a death-by-numbers picture. Though some would cash in on the concept with cheap thrills and spills, the iconic originals have longevity because of the creativity and the subtext beneath their seemingly simple concepts.

Continue reading SPOTLIGHT: The Slasher Film Unmasked – An Exploration of the ‘Marmite’ Genre

REVIEW: Evil Dead (2013)

Review by Mike Shawcross.

Directed by: Fede Alvarez

Written by: Fede Alvarez (Screenplay), Robo Sayagues (Screenplay)
Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci,  Jessica Lucas and Elizabeth Blackmore

Evil Dead 2013 Poster
Another remake, another re-imagining of a so called classic horror film, yet to tell you the truth, I’m not too bothered this has been remade; I’m not a massive fan of the original film. That said they could very easily have made a complete mess of this one, thankfully they haven’t.A friend of mine Martin (who also writes for this site) won two tickets to see the film 2 weeks before release; how could I say no when he asked. There was a pretty decent turnout really at the screening, possible 2/3’s full and a very mixed crowd, and I mean a mixed crowd. This was not your a-typical horror fans, not your Frightfester’s that’s for sure. I was expecting a few walk outs, and a couple did leave half way through.I have to admit I was pretty excited about this film, firstly I was hoping I would enjoy it more than the original, which I did. Secondly my media blackout, no trailers, no reviews, no knowledge might just enhance the experience a little more; which I think it did, actually it made the experience a lot more rewarding for me. That said though I really didn’t need anything to get me that excited, it’s a horror film at the end of the day, and that is one of my favourite genres.

REVIEW: When The Lights Went Out (2012)

wtlwo posterPoltergeists attack a family in Yorkshire during the 1974 nationwide blackouts.

DirectedPat Holden

StarsKate AshfieldNicky BellAlan Brent

What we think: There is nothing more terrifying than strange and unexplained goings on.

Objects moving by themselves or things lurking in the shadows is enough to put the chills through anyone.

It is a genre that is done to death, however, it seems that it’s one that shows no signs of slowing down.

All you need is a good script and director, sadly When The Lights Went Out doesn’t really enjoy either of those.

Poltergeists are plaguing a family in 1974 Yorkshire, and after moving in it doesn’t take long for the manifestations to reveal themselves.

Continue reading REVIEW: When The Lights Went Out (2012)

REVIEW: Evil Aliens (2005)

Directed by: Jake West

Written by: Jake West 

Starring:  Emily BoothJamie HoneybourneSam Butler

In order to review this properly, let me first tell you a story. I’d just turned 13, and I considered myself a horror fanatic. I’d sat through films such as ‘Reeker,’ ‘The Dark‘ and other low-budget trashy horrors that seemed terrifying at the time. I knew what I was doing – nothing could scare me. So one night my best friend and I made a deal. We’d watch our first ’18’ rated movie, and the first one to get scared would not get any popcorn.

Continue reading REVIEW: Evil Aliens (2005)

REVIEW: The Divide (2012)

Directed by: Xavier Gens

Written by: Karl MuellerEron Sheean

Starring: Lauren GermanMichael BiehnMilo VentimigliaCourtney B. VanceAshton HolmesRosanna ArquetteIván GonzálezMichael EklundAbbey ThicksonJennifer Blanc

If The Divide were a big-budget, high-concept Jerry Bruckheimer movie, the pitch to Hollywood executives might be something along the lines of “It’s The Lord Of The Flies in a New York basement”. Like William Golding’s novel, The Divide is about the murkier, primal area of human nature, and it’s probably the bleakest genre film you’ll see all year.

Continue reading REVIEW: The Divide (2012)