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Bloody Hell (2020, Australia / USA) Review

Bloody Hell (2020, Australia / USA) Review

Meet Rex Coen, a convicted felon who has just spent the last eight years in prison after a bank heist went off-kilter… You see, the mask-wearing misfits didn’t realise Rex was in the building, and he had no problem fucking up their day. Wrong place, wrong fucking time!

Unfortunately, laying down vigilante justice has its drawbacks… And thus an extended European vacation is in order. The destination? Helsinki, Finland!

“My concern is getting back to the life I had. Getting the fuck out of this place. And getting back to my friends in the good ol’ U S of A where we don’t fucking EAT people! Capeesh?”

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The Game of the Clock (2019, UK) Review

The Game of the Clock (2019, UK) Review

For the most part, The Game of the Clock had me intrigued. Michele Olivieri’s short film begins well and in typical horror fashion. A beautiful girl visiting her friend finds she’s not answering the door, so she enters her home, quickly realising that she’s missing and that there are some sinister, supernatural shenanigans going on. Once on the premises, she’s faced with a ringing alarm clock and a series of unnerving notes left asking her if she can endure the next five minutes; along with other handwritten and hand-drawn riddles.

“Can you endure 5 minutes?”

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Better Watch Out (2016, Australia / USA) Review

Better Watch Out (2016, Australia / USA) Review

A home invasion at Christmas is what I expected when I first heard about this film, but what I watched was different… The home invasion elements are there, and as it’s based during Christmas, it reminded me of Home Alone; the trip-wire outside being an obvious reference. But Better Watch Out is even more disturbing than I imagined; a story about a child obsessed with his babysitter who is planning to leave town after Christmas. Levi Miller as 12-year-old Luke is the star of the film and flips between a range of emotions at ease. This makes him Luke more unnerving than if he was pure evil.

“You might be home but you’re not alone.”

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Ashfall (2019, South Korea) London Korean Film Festival 2020 Review

Ashfall (2019, South Korea) London Korean Film Festival 2020 Review

The South Korean film industry is known for crafting quiet, poignant dramas about family and society, but give the Koreans any genre and they’re usually guaranteed to step it up a notch. In the case of Ashfall the genre is the ‘disaster movie’. The South Korean film industry has had several previous disaster flicks – 2009’s Haeundae saw a tsunami destroy Busan, 2016’s Pandora imagined a Fukushima-like nuclear catastrophe and 2019’s Exit depicted a toxic gas cloud engulfing Seoul. However, none of these movies were on such an epic scale as Ashfall (aka Baekdusan).

“No option for failure.”

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Relic (2020, Australia / USA) BFI London Film Festival 2020 Review

Relic (2020, Australia / USA) BFI London Film Festival 2020 Review

There is horror and pity in witnessing the mind of a loved one as it unravels and fragments. This is the misfortune of Kay who is called by concerned neighbours when her elderly mother Edna disappears from her isolated home in the woods. Taking her own daughter Samantha with her for moral support, they set off to the old family house to see what might have become of Grandma Edna. The first feature from Japanese-Australian Natalie Erika James’, Relic manifests its horrors slowly, perhaps influenced in part by the bleak emotional mood of J-horror family drama.

“Everything decays.”

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The Truth Will Out (2020, UK) Review

The Truth Will Out (2020, UK) Review

A low key, documentary/found footage horror film from Portsmouth, England based Trash Arts, The Truth Will Out, is a skillfully made movie worth checking out. Although it doesn’t break new ground as far as the genre goes, and while it isn’t full of action and cheap scares, the film thrives on its great acting and photography. A hit reality show, Hard Streets UK, hosted by the completely obnoxious and degenerate Thomas Laboss, is on its way to interview the Braussau family, Gypsies who claim to be true Wiccans. Along for the ride are Thomas’s sound and recording engineers, Stanley and Darren.

“That, ladies and gentlemen, is a petrified penis apparently.”

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Zardoz (1974, UK / USA / Ireland) Review

Zardoz (1974, UK / USA / Ireland) Review

Director John Boorman’s cerebral and eerily dystopian sci-fi tale Zardoz was released in 1974, not long after Boorman’s iconic Deliverance, and saw the director team up with Sean Connery, three years after his final official appearance as James Bond and light years away from anything either had done before.

In a post-apocalyptic 2293, Zardoz, a colossal stone head, floats over desolate plains, pausing to receive grain from masked horsemen, vomiting weapons as payment from its grimacing mouth.

“Beyond 1984, Beyond 2001, Beyond Love, Beyond Death.”

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Skylin3s (2020, USA / UK) FrightFest 2020 Review

Skylin3s (2020, USA / UK) FrightFest Review

Years have passed since the Earth’s skyline hypnotized humanity with its other-worldly blue light; an alien race descending from the skies to steal our brains! For those that were unfortunate to look directly into the light, they became bio-mechanical killer extraterrestrials known as ‘Pilots’. Fortunately, humanity was able to survive! Forming a resistance, skyline survivors fought off the alien invasion; re-engineering the ‘Pilots’ biology so their humanity could be restored. Now the ravaged Earth’s survival depends on the peaceful coexistence of the human race and extraterrestrial ticking time-bombs…

“There is only one thing harder than winning a war… Keeping the peace.”

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Possessor (2020, UK / Canada) BFI London Film Festival 2020 Review

Possessor (2020, UK / Canada) BFI London Film Festival 2020 Review

If David Cronenberg was the prime mover of the horror sub-genre known as ‘body horror’, his son Brandon is taking it to the next level. With Possessor, his second feature after debut Antiviral, Brandon Cronenberg starts with a scene that braces you for the bloodletting that will come… A young woman stands in the bathroom of a hotel and stabs a long metal electrode into her skull as blood seeps around the wound. Her face runs through a gamut of emotions as the electrode fulfils its mysterious purpose in her brain.

“You have a very special nature. One we have worked hard together to unlock.”

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I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu (2019, USA) Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment Blu-ray Review

I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu (2019, USA) Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment Blu-ray Review

40 years after the theatrical release of I Spit on Your Grave became one of the most depressing experiences of Roger Ebert’s life, Director Meir Zarchi has returned with a sequel so vile, so morally reprehensible, the new generation of film critics won’t be able to contain their stomach contents. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a new Day of the Woman! The ultimate day of terror!

“Before setting out on revenge, first dig two graves…and spit on one of them.”

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Shirley (2020, USA) BFI London Film Festival 2020 Review

Shirley (2020, USA) London Film Festival 2020 Review

For some people, confronting a house full of ghosts might seem a more benign situation than braving a pack of judgemental housewives, especially in the 1950s, an era haunted by impossible standards for women. Finding herself amongst the snooty wives of academics, Shirley Jackson must often have been the target of their gossip and probably preferred to imagine herself trapped in ‘Hill House’. Jackson reputedly cultivated an interesting, if fearsome, persona – prickly, idiosyncratic, unkempt, contemptuous. She was tolerated in academic circles, being a successful author in her own right.

“Let’s pray for a boy. The world is too cruel to girls.”

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The Dare (2019, Bulgaria / USA / UK) Lionsgate UK DVD Review

The Dare (2019, Bulgaria / USA / UK) Lionsgate UK DVD Review

Directed and co-written by Giles Alderson, The Dare could easily be dismissed as a copycat of the movies that led to the mid-2000s resurgence of the splatter subgenre; unfortunately labelled “torture porn” by film critics and horror detractors. James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s Saw (2004), and Eli Roth’s Hostel (2005) are both seen as the pinnacle of the subgenre; the first to be labelled “torture porn” due to their emphasis on extreme violence and sadism, and never surpassed by the countless thrillers that followed. But despite a certain familiarity, The Dare breathes new life into the art of splatter.

“Let the evil out.”

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