ActionAdventureFantasyFilmReviews

Mortal (2020, Norway / USA / UK) Review

Mortal (2020, Norway / USA / UK) Review

A grubby and disheveled young man wanders through the Norwegian countryside. He’s clearly distressed and disoriented. He sticks to lonely places and avoids people, but everyone has to eat and eventually he ventures close to town. Trying again to escape into the woods, he is harassed by a gang of youths. The encounter is one he attempts to evade, but it ends up being far more disastrous for the bullies, than for him. In Mortal, director André Øvredal again delves into Scandinavian mythology as his did in Trollhunter.

“He’s been in the woods all this time?”

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The Assent (2019, Israel / USA / UK) Dazzler Media DVD Review

The Assent (2019, Israel / USA / UK) Dazzler Media DVD Review

In Pearry Reginald Teo’s new horror film, The Assent, a widowed father named Joel, is taking medication to keep at bay the hallucinations he suffers due to his schizophrenia.

We learn that Joel is trying to care for his young son Mason, while they piece together their lives in the wake of his wife’s death in car accident. Sadly, Joel is in danger of losing his son to social services if he fails to prove that he can hold down a permanent job and provide financially and emotionally for Mason. In his current situation he is barely making ends meet.

“It feeds on the darkness within.”

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The Fanatic (2019, USA) Dazzler Media DVD Review

The Fanatic (2019, USA) Dazzler Media DVD Review

Supposedly based on Limp Bizkit front man Fred Durst’s encounter with an obsessive fan, The Fanatic manages to offend every trope in the human spectrum. I try not to pan movies, no matter how much they deserve it, but The Fanatic welcomes, yes even begs the audience to do just that. Where to begin? Why not with the film’s star, John Travolta. Travolta has had a career downturn of late with Gotti roundly recognized as his worst performance, but here he plunges into a deep, bottomless ravine. The Fanatic makes Battlefield Earth look like Blade Runner by comparison.

“Moose didn’t just cross the line. He fucking nuked it!”

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Dragonheart Vengeance (2020, USA) Review

Dragonheart Vengeance (2020, USA) Review

The latest Dragonheart was only released this year, but continuity wise it takes place between Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse and Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire. This is a standalone film however, and the only mention to a previous film in the series occurs during the opening minutes, when it explained that this story focuses on one of dragons born from the dragon eggs in Dragonheart 3.

Dragonheart Vengeance is a film of Dragonheart firsts in many regards, and I wonder if this will be a new direction for the franchise.

“I’m out to avenge the death of my mother and father.”

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Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015, USA) Review

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015, USA) Review

On the night of a Condor Badge ceremony, three unlikely teenage scouts find themselves battling zombies in an attempt to save their town, prevent a pan-American outbreak and impress as many girls along the way as possible. This movie had me from the premise, but it could have easily been a total disaster. There haven’t been many stand out zombie movies over the last ten years, the exceptions being those with a fresh perspective, such as Maggie or Warm Bodies. So, I was well prepared for Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse to leave me underwhelmed. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a genuinely funny zombie flick with excellent production values and a perfect cast.

“Always bring protection.”

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Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire (2017, USA) Review

Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire (2017, USA)

Dragonheart: Battle for the Heartfire is a sequel to the third film, Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse, but you don’t need to see the earlier film to understand the plot. Battle for the Heartfire begins during the last moments of King Gareth, the once young knight from Dragonheart 3 (now played by Valeriu Bazu), and focuses on potential rival rulers. The dragon in this story is still Drago from the previous film, but he is now voiced by Patrick Stewart; whose voice is on par with Sean Connery as Draco from the original Dragonheart.

“Boy king! You ready for a man’s death?”

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Alien Outbreak (2020, UK) Dazzler Media DVD Review

Alien Outbreak (2020, UK) Dazzler Media DVD Review

Special effects master turned director, Neil Rowe gives us this disturbing, and disorienting tale about aliens and mass suicides. Audiences will immediately recognize touches of Alien, Night of the Living Dead, and War of the Worlds in this slow burn of a sci-fi/horror that shifts tone from scene to scene offering some surprises and disappointments along the way. Dark and brooding for the most part, the movie also uses its daytime scenes to great advantage. This bizarre mash of genre is reminiscent of so many other movies, at times it looks like a string of trailers.

“No one gets out!”

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Saint Maud (2019, UK) Review

Saint Maud (2019, UK) Review

Producer Jason Blum was quoted as saying, “There are not a lot of female directors period, and even less who are inclined to do horror”. It wasn’t long before Blum had to backtrack on his statement when it was pointed out to him how many female directors there were in horror, all of which were eligible to create imaginative horror features. Recently added to that group is Rose Glass, who has set her first feature, Saint Maud, in the traditionally male-dominated horror genre and was named the winner of the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award.

“Never waste your pain.”

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Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse (2015, USA) Review

Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer's Curse (2015, USA) Review

Dragonheart: A New Beginning was released in 2000 and for 15 years it was the last Dragonheart. Probably because it didn’t do as well as the original – it no longer had Sean Connery as the voice of the dragon, Draco – and the story elements were too similar. Another possibility for the long delay is because storywise Dragonheart: A New Beginning was about the very last dragon, so it left little room for a sequel. However, there have now been three direct to DVD/streaming prequels produced for the Dragonheart series in the last five years. Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer’s Curse is a prequel to the original film.

“Gone are the days when good men ruled.”

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Day of the Stranger (2019, UK) Review

Day of the Stranger (2019, UK) Review

I’m going to be honest here; I don’t really know what happened in this movie. I mean I think I do, but I’m not entirely sure. So, apologies in advance to the filmmakers who obviously put so much work into this psychedelic (often referred to as “acid” or what I’ve dubbed “twistern”) western filmed primarily in Wales. A bounty hunter is hired to collect a…demon gunslinger? Story points are integrated into the plot just as they are in most movies, other than the great Godfrey Reggio’s experimental eye candy, sure. But do they add to the proceedings or just further confuse the world that’s been created?

“Better the Devil you know.”

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Luz (2018, Germany) Review

Luz (2018, Germany) Review

Luz is a cryptic, supernatural chiller and the directorial debut from writer-director Tilman Singer. It hearkens back to the horror style of the 1980s, offering grainy 16mm film, a creepy mood and an unsettling, synth-heavy score. It is the kind of film that will be enjoyed by fans of David Lynch or Peter Strickland, but Singer creates his own brand of surreal eccentricity. It’s challenging to describe Luz’s narrative because it’s far from straightforward. The film begins with a long-fixed take – a Chilean-born taxi driver called Luz, staggers into a German police station.

“My girlfriend has a very special gift.”

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