Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Review: Lights Out (2016)

Stars: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman

Directed by: David F. Sandberg

Budget: $4.9million

I've not been a massive of the recent slew of mainstream horror films. You know things like paranormal activity and the millions of sequels.
Yes they've done well but they're just so run of the mill and the same things, like jump scares and creepy over used situations.

Lights Out is a recent horror film too from 2016, yes it's taken a while for me to review it but I've been put off afraid it's going to be so standard.
I finally tried it out and was reasonably happy by what I saw though. The effects are nicely practical for the most part and very good at conveying the point they needed to.
That point is an innate fear of the darkness and what lurks in there.
Unfortunately the main story kind of spoils it ultimately by making it not just about the dark but spirits attached to people too and mental illness.

problem is this film seems to try to stick to much in, as all the separate parts are good coupled with some decent acting even from the child actor (which can be rare). So i'll get on with the movie description and leave the choice in your hands ultimately.

So we join a man in work, he seems rather busy and it's late. When his co-worker/secretary tells him she's leaving for the night. She turns off the lights in one of the work rooms and briefly see's a shadowy outline there. Scared she turns the lights back on quickly, then off, then on each time the thing keeps appearing and disappearing.
She gets freaked out and goes to see the boss, he dismisses it but she warns him to look out and be careful. When he eventually decides to move, out in the storeroom he is attacked by the shadowy thing in between each over hanging light. Making back to his way back to his office turns on the lights to fend off the creature. The electric blinks off and the man is killed by the dark creature.

We learn the man was the step father of Martin a young child who is also terrified of the beast which pops up in the night scaring him from sleeping. When he starts to fall asleep in classes and they can't reach his mother they get hold of his sister.
His sister is a twenty something whose father left at a young age and has bonding problems with her current boyfriend. She goes to pick Martin up and when he starts to tell her about the the thing and about their mother talking to someone in the night times Rebecca seems to recognize something about the stories and takes him to see their mother.

We learn she suffers from severe depression and that Rebecca left when she was young, her mental state seems to be worsening though but not so far that child services are getting involved. Rebecca gets Martin to stay with her. That night the creature comes and scrapes a message into her floor that she doesn't see until the morning.

We learn the entity is a woman named Diana who had a weird skin condition and when their mother was was in a mental asylum was her only friend. Though it seems she was forced into the friendship by Diana, Diana is treated by the doctors with some extreme light therapy. This seems to kill her, though it doesn't she just loses her body and imprints herself onto Rebecca's mind.
Rebecca's boyfriend who loves her a lot despite her attachment problems believes her totally and helps so much throughout the film too. Near the end they all try to sort out the situation by helping the mother get rid of Diana but things go wrong.

Like it said it's a decent film and better than some of the other mainstream rubbish that's about these days, like usual i don't spoil the ending and it's a decent enough film to not spoil. THN awards lights out with a 3 stars out 5 and watch if there's nothing else to do.


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Details: Cult of Chucky

Cult of Chucky
Release Date: 20th Oct 2017


No remake, no rehash, this is a straight up sequel seeing people from all the last movies return in a great come back of the series. This is what we as fans want more of the same especially in horror franchises we have grown with up and love very much.
Andy Barclay returns as the woman from the last film is incarcerated in a mental institution after being blamed for the deaths of everyone. Andy finds out and tries to help free her as the warden and a bunch of other seem in on a plot that involves Chucky himself.
We even see a return of Tiffany, in human form somehow. I'm so interested to see how this plays out and will Andy survive again?
It seems we are in for a violent and macabre twisted fun filled return to the franchise just from the trailer alone, it's posted above please feel free check it out for yourselves!

Review: Here Alone (2016)

Stars: Lucy Walters, Gina Piersanti

Budget: Unknown

Directed By: Rod Blackhurst

The tired old zombie apocalypse setting needs to do something special these days to grab the attention of people.
(unless your a die hard zombie fan like me who'll give anything zombie based a go)

This movie thankfully does break the usual mold, still holding a few tropes and also making a few silly mistakes here and there.

Since the death of my son I also find it hard to watch films where babies end up in any kind of peril too. This, the hallows and a few others i find hard to watch due to this reason.
But thankfully this movie had a lot going for it that kept me powering through the scenes involving the baby.

The setting is more infected rather than zombie they are maddened and fast much the likes of 28 days later, yet they do crave food especially in human shaped form.

Lucy Walters stars as Ann a woman who has survived this viral outbreak thanks to her husbands fast thinking and skills in the wild. We join Ann in the woods where her husband Jason was brought up, she is alone and isolated. We realise Ann smears herself in dung etc to mask her scent from the crazy people when she needs to get food. We see her in this state as the film starts she then quickly gets naked and cleans herself off in the nearby lake.
We watch as she slowly eats her supplies then checks her traps to find nothing caught in them running low we see her do her dung trick and head off to a nearby house looking for supplies.

Finding some food she unfortunately makes some noise and attracts a few of the crazies. In so doing she drops a few of the tins on the ground after putting her pack down for a while.
On her way back she spots a young girl and a man stumbling around on the road she seems to decide whether to help them or not. Once the man stumbles once last time and falls to the ground as he passes out Ann decides to help them.
The young woman is Olivia and the man is her step father, Chris. In-between peeks at how her husband taught her to survive in the wild and then losing him We see her strike up a friendship with Olivia and Chris regain his strength.

Trust is hard though to begin with especially for the jaded Ann, Chris (in a bout of good acting and writing) starts to win over Ann though coaxing more and more information about her past. There is some real humanity on offer here, where they start to relax and laugh with each other.
This is where two of the things that make me go a bit off the film happen one is of course the flashbacks to just her and her child left surviving, of which the baby gets some blood smeared on her because Ann carelessly picks her up while splattered with crazy blood.
This of course leads to the baby getting infected and Ann having to crush loads of aspirin tablets (and blood) into some milk to send the baby off.

The second thing is a sub plot that Olivia is actually in love with her step father and when Ann and him start to fall for each other she gets jealous over it. I know they needed something, something other than an inevitable camp invasion from the viral's but this was just a little off putting especially as Olivia initially seems to come across as quite intelligent and wanting to learn from Ann.

So the film continues on in this fashion until Ann and Chris eventually have sex much to Olivia's chagrin as she had also the same night prepared herself to have sex with Chris too. She rebels after seeing them stealing food and eating loads while they spend the night together.
She is attacked in the forest too and just about saved by Chris and Ann, low on food they decide to go foraging again. Chris distracts the viral's while Olivia and Ann check out the same house as earlier. Again Olivia in a uncharacteristic and stupid jealous bout knocks Ann out and ties her to a cupboard and screams to attract viral's.

Ann being plucky escapes the bonds and the infected and gets back to her camp seeing both Chris and Olivia being attacked by the infected. With one bullets left she keeps aiming between Chris and Olivia unable to decide who to save (I know who I would).
But you know here at THN we won't spoil endings of good or even half decent films unless they're so abysmal it's not worth watching them. This despite it's flaws to me both in the story and person reasons is well worth a watch, THN awards Here Alone 4 out of 5 stars.


Sunday, 9 July 2017

Review: Chopping Mall (1986)

Stars: Barbara Crampton, Kelli Maroney

Budget: £800k

Directed By: Jim Winorsky


This film seemed like a nostalgic pleasure of mine distributed by none otherthan Roger Corman the king of schlock horror films.
Starring two of the cutest ever scream queen's ever, Babs
Crampton and Kelli Maroney.

Both known for their active roles in the weird and wonderful. Bab's best known for Reanimator, Kelli possibly for night of the comet.
Both great films in their own respects, poor Babs though seems to cop it in any film she's in. Reanimator, this a bunch of other horror films too.

Now I hadn't seen Chopping Mall for quite a while. One of the things that caught me off guard was the running time,
I could have sworn nigh on 15 years ago the film I watched seemed longer than it is.

May be I'm right though as this 77 minute film may well have a 95 minute run time version too. Maybe that's the one I actually watched all those years back?
Anyway the film doesn't suffer in this respect from a short run time.

This film has all the classic tropes of horror movies even the typical drinking, sex and partying. Though all this is capped by evil robots, made evil by lightening!
If you needed a robot security system or army weapon robot to turn either good or bad back in the 80's or 90's all you needed was their systems scrambled by a blast or two of lightening. So the movie starts with a security firm showing off a demonstration of their new advanced robots, laser eyes, sleep darts, taser shots and sharp claws.
A nice cameo by Mary Woronov who was/is also a veteran to horror films as her and her work partner take turns cutting jibes at the robots expense. The Mall has employed the services of three of these robots. We are then shown our heroines of the movie Bab's as Suzie and Kelli as Alison Parks both working in a greasy little cafe in the Mall.

We are then shown the guys who work in a bed shop, Ferdy (played by Tony O'Dell) is rather nervous as the rest of the guys want to throw a party in the shop once the Mall is closed. Gerrit Graham from C.H.U.D. II is also in here as one of the technicians of the security bots.
His partner is in the security room relaxing before the robots go online when a random thunderstorm throws down three bolts of lightening that fry the central computer that controls the robots. They then kill the one technician and hide his body, Gerrit's then taken out next. The robots then go on patrol around the mall.

After partying and sex one of the teens is killed after he goes to get cigarettes for his girlfriend, not only that a cleaner played by Murray Futterman actor Dick Miller is electrocuted by one too. The girl goes looking for her boyfriend and is chased almost back to the others. The rest of the teens see her screaming outside and her head is blown up by a laser blast. The rest of them then go about arming themselves and trying to take out the bullet proof killer security robots.
They slowly get taken out one by one occasionally destroying one of the mad robots every couple of teens killed. It is yes, very standard and straightforward as many horror films, this time though there's just a certain chemistry that makes this feel good to. By far no gem but definitely worth a watch and deserving of a place in many peoples cult classics.

THN awards Chopping Mall a good 3 out of 5 stars and watch on a rainy day!


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Review: XX (2017)

Stars: Natalie Brown, Melanie Lynskey

Budget: Unknown

Directed By: Numerous

Nice another anthology film I thought as I clicked on Netflix what a strange name though, then I read the description four shorts from women's point of view. I did also have some trepidation that it was magnet distributed but they do on occasion back some decent films.

Now these four movies are not without flaws, some of them downright puzzled me not in a how did that happen, more so the choices made and things not explained.
not that, that is a bad thing though,

Of the four stories the first story The Box and the third Don't Fall are by far the strongest of the four stories
told on this collection. Sun dance festival January 22nd 2017 was it's original debut then magnet released to video on demand services.

So these are all reasonably strong written pieces, some however have more than a few glaring flaws which I will go over when it's each segments time.

The first short The Box sees a mother on the subway with two excitable children after a long day out with them. It's close to Christmas so when her young son spots a man with a red present upon his lap he's quick to inquire what's in the box. After some badgering and his mum telling him off the man happily shows him what's inside, only the boy see's and he goes very somber afterwards.

That night at dinner the boy doesn't feel hungry the parents are fine but a little concerned he might be getting ill. That is until 3 or 4 days later the father starts getting very worried, yet the boy says he's fine.
They take him to a doctor who believes it to be a traumatizing effect that has made him this way. When the mother spots the son telling the daughter something in a whisper she gets concerned. Sure enough the girl stops eating to, it quickly passes to the dad too.

In a bizarre dream sequence we see them eating parts of the mother then, but it's not real. They even have a nice Xmas but everyone apart from the mother is dreadfully thin. I wont spoil the rest as this is probably the strongest story on here. But I tell you I'd love to know what's in that box and it's that, that keeps this so suspenseful just what was it that stopped them eating?

The second story the birthday party is possibly the weakest and oddest of the bunch. A woman setting up for a girls birthday party is beset by odd neighbors or family members as she does this.
Not only that she stumbles in on what I can guess is her husband dead, seemingly from an overdose. Although the woman see's this as more of an inconvenience than something sad. She then spends the rest of the short trying to either hide or divert people away from his corpse.
That's basically it for the short till the end so I won't spoil anymore other than the short does have a longer title than first seen!

The third short Don't Fall doesn't really have anything to do with it's name but is probably the second best story on this quadrilogy. Four friends/family members have found themselves, thanks to a tip off from some gas station worker in a remote yet beautiful part of the wilderness.
Having traveled there in their RV. So right at the beginning the one girl (Gretchen) is playfully mock pushed by her friend on top of a height. She gets scared and backs off to a little covered rock area, in that area the four of them discover an old wall painting. The painting is depicting 3 people being stalked by a giant demon/creature.
While outside later on Gretchen is attacked by a weird demon and transforms into a creature herself,she then proceeds to stalk the other three. There's not much more to it so THN won't spoil any more for you,

The Fourth is for me probably the worst of the bunch. Her Only Living Son see's a mother dealing with a seemingly rebellious teen son, nothing quite out of the ordinary there. That is until you see people acting strange around her and her son. We also get some get flashback story filler helping explain what is going on with her son. Of course all is not what it seems as there is definitely more to her son than meets the eyes.

This film is certainly a bold step forwards for every female involved and i would love to give it extra points based on just that. But as a movie which i have to judge it on this is a definite 50/50 hit and miss with it's 4 stories, even saying that the third one with it's pointless setting was hard to judge, so this film at least for me gets 2 stars out of 5 from THN, possibly only worth watching if you like me love multi story films like this.