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Donnie Darko (2001, 2016, USA) 15th Anniversary (4K Restoration)

Donnie Darko (2001) 15th Anniversary

I emerge from the darkness of a doorway, blinking into the daylight of a Soho street. I look up at the sliver of wintry sky between the tops of the buildings, hoping that a random wormhole into a time portal might somehow open up.

Admittedly, this is almost a daily occurrence with me, but [at the time of writing] it is particularly significant as it is October 2nd [2016], and I have just come out of a special 15th anniversary screening of Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly’s much beloved and oft debated cult movie.

“What would you do if you knew the future?”

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The Wailing (2016, South Korea)

The Wailing (2016)

The Wailing offers images that appear in many a horror films: disembowelled livestock; creepy candlelit shrines plastered with odd photographs; curtains of blindingly heavy rain; a foul-mouthed, possessed child; blackened, rabid zombies lunging at stunned victims and blood-splattered murder scenes.

It’s unlikely however, that any horror aficionado has seen all these tropes thrown with such bravado into the same melting pot, producing such a rich and unsettling brew.

“You awoke something recently that you weren’t supposed to. You disturbed it.”

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A Cure for Wellness (2016, USA / Germany)

A Cure for Wellness (2016)

What a delightful coincidence that the young actress in Gore Verbinski’s latest feature A Cure for Wellness should be named Mia Goth. Never has an appellation been more appropriate.

A Cure for Wellness proves to be an audacious, intoxicating, feverish piece of cinema – administering copious doses of Freudian symbolism and classic Gothicism. If you’re not a fan of things Gothic, or if you suffer from ichthyophobia, this may not be the film for you…

“Do you know what the cure for the human condition is? Disease. Because that’s the only way one could hope for a cure.”

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The Eyes of My Mother (2016, USA)

The Eyes of My Mother (2016)

In The Eyes of My Mother director and writer Nicolas Pesce offers a disturbing examination of serious emotional dysfunction and disorientation.

We meet a little girl named Francisca (Olivia Bond) who lives on an isolated farm with her mother and father. She is unfazed by death from this early age because her mother, formerly a surgeon in Portugal, is educating her in a dispassionate and thorough understanding of human anatomy.

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. And whether or not it is clear to you, the universe is unfolding as it should.”

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Train to Busan (2016, South Korea)

Train to Busan (2016)

I usually have a bit of a problem with zombie movies – I find them dull. Yes, I know zombie fans will be throwing their Walking Dead box sets at my head (and those are some hefty tomes) but I find that, although they may be a popular horror monster, zombies are forced to rely heavily on the cheap, gross-out factor in order to distract from the fact that they have scanty horror mileage, no rich mythos to draw on and offer little scope for variation, tension or development. I am left to suppose that zombie fans are in it for the fashion statement. I am however, an Asian horror enthusiast.

“Life-or-death survival begins.”

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The White King (2016, UK / Hungary)

The White King (2016)

In The White King, directors Alex Helfrecht and Jorg Tittel cleverly introduce the viewer to the world in which their tale is set by means of a beautiful animated exposition during the beginning credits. We then enter the film with some background knowledge of what we are dealing with – a harsh, rural, dystopian society, created by a mythical ‘hero’…

The White King is adapted from a series of short stories by the Romanian novelist György Dragomán.

“We make sacrifices today, for a greater tomorrow.”

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Shin Godzilla (2016, Japan)

Shin Godzilla (2016) Theatrical Poster

Once I heard the news that the new Japanese Godzilla film was going to be playing in my city, I was overjoyed. Ever since I was a child, I have always loved Godzilla. I went into Shin Godzilla very excited to see how my favorite giant monster was going to be reimagined.

Shin Godzilla (also Godzilla Resurgence) is the latest installment and 31st film in the Godzilla franchise. Produced by Toho, this film is a reboot in which Godzilla’s origin story is retold in modern Japan. The film was written and directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi.

“A god incarnate. A city doomed.”

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The Sky Has Fallen (2009, 2015, USA)

The Sky Has Fallen (2009, 2015)

Doug Roos’ independently produced, feature-length, post-apocalyptic horror film was promoted primarily on it’s practical special effects, make-up and lack of computer-generated imagery (CGI). In this respect The Sky Has Fallen does not disappoint. Shot in Missouri and clearly influenced by Ryuhei Kitamura’s Yakuza/Zombie splatter-fest Versus (2000), The Sky Has Fallen combines elements from various horror subgenres and, whereas most would fail, Roos’ somehow manages to make everything work cohesively with only a few missteps.

“All practical FX. No CGI.”

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Giving DTV Action Films a Better Rep

Nemesis (1992)

Back in the late 80s/early 90s I was not allowed to watch the many horror films that adorned the plastic shelving of my local video store. Some might say that is wise parenting, considering I was only 5 or 6 at the time. But strangely action films were deemed ok to view (such as substandard fare from Cannon Pictures and Guild Video).

“Look, there’s a lot of us working to make a bad world better. Remember that.”

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Anthropoid (2016, Czech Republic / UK / France)

Anthropoid (2016) Theatrical Poster

There are worse ways to spend an evening than in a darkened room with Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan, watching a movie. In this case we were watching the Premiere of the Sean Ellis WWII thriller Anthropoid in which they both star.

Ellis’s film is a labour of love – he produced, co-wrote and directed the movie and, as if wearing all those hats was not enough work, he was also his own cinematographer.

“Resistance Has a Code Name.”

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Remainder (2015, UK / Germany)

Remainder (2015) Promotional PosterIn Remainder, his debut feature, Omer Fast gives us his take on Tom McCarthy’s brilliant cult novel, an original, reality-bending, psycho-thriller which submerged us in the bizarre mind-warp of a damaged protagonist.

A young man is left both mentally and physically shattered after a mysterious accident in which he is struck by heavy debris falling from the high glass-canopy roof of a swanky London building.

“Based on the acclaimed novel by Tom McCarthy.”

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