Thursday, 17 May 2018

Short Film Review: Family Game Night (2018)

Director: Nicholas Ferwerda

Budget: $4000

Stars: Meredith Heinrich, Brad Linton

I was contacted like I usually am through twitter if I would like to watch a short film, Nicholas intends for this to show case his comedy horror skills for a feature they are working on this summer. Nick was a very agreeable person who has made this amusing and satirical short with a little twist.
It's very rare these days that families spend any time together what with social media, phones, Ipads and many other reasons to not spend time around the dinner table.

This short manages to bring together a family for a very specific reason, family game night, what this entails is slowly and amusingly revealed once the families daughter brings home a homeless man. Also despite this being family game night the son is still trying to sneak in the use of his phone, amusing berated by his father every time.

it quickly takes a turn for the odd when us as the viewers realise FGN is something a little more sinister than we first realised. I mean when do families these days look forwards to doing something together as much as these are?
The trick is realised when the homeless guy sinks his kindly offered glass of 86 red wine. Game night is apparently family sacrificial night, aaw how nice is it that satanic worship can bring a family so close together!!

It is going to be played in the Toronto Indie Horror Festival in late August. This had some fantastic scripting and genuinely funny moments that brought a smirk to my face many times in this 11 minute short. The acting was fantastic and the fathers creepy facial expressions should have warned anyone else other than an oblivious homeless guy that something wasn't quite right!!
Remember let your family come together for at least one night a year and enjoy your Family Game Night!!!

THN gives this a strong 4/5, can't wait to see more work by this talented Director.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Review: The Asphyx (1973)

Image result for the asphyx full movieStars: Robert Stephens, Robert Powell

Budget: Unknown

Directed by: Peter Newbrook

You ever watch a film that shits you up so much you stop watching it?
The Asphyx is one of those films, well one of only 2 movies that I've had to do that with in my entire life.
I was young though again to young to properly understand the film and just got terrified of the screaming ghost stuff that was going on, lol.

Made in 1973 it has great effects for its time but there's a problem with modern day releases. The american version is an inferior 35mm copy but longer. The UK version is shorter but a much better quality print. I've seen the most recent version that splices some of the inferior scenes back into the UK version.
It is a noticeable jump between the scenes when this happens.

The time is Victorian England Sir Hugo is part of a duo with Giles who are interested in death, ghosts and the afterlife. They come across a discovery that a photo taken at the right time of death will reveal a strange blurry shadow escaping from the body.
They believe it's the soul leaving the body, though Hugo is a tad skeptical over all of this. Later while he using a very early form of a camera to record family movies his wife and son unfortunately meet their demise to drowning in a boating accident.
Re-watching the film over he realizes that the dark blur is actually moving towards the target at the moment of death rather than leaving away. This is apparently from old Greek mythology a creature named the 'Asphyx' further research into this leads them to using a machine they built with phosphor stones and filming a man being hung for crimes and witnessing the same phenomena.

Later watching the film back they realize the beam caught the asphyx in it before it shorted out the men come to the conclusion that a persons asphyx my well indeed be caught or trapped possibly preventing their death.
they use newer equipment to successfully capture a guinea pigs asphyx, Hugo asks Giles to perform the experiment on him. He gets a great vault built so once he has trapped his asphyx he can seal it away so no one can ever free it once it's caught.
He uses an electric chair to kill himself, except slowly so Giles has sufficient time to capture his asphyx. Giles however needs help as it's a two man job and he gets his fiance to help out with capturing Hugo's. He offers them his blessing to get married if she does help out with the experiment, she agrees despite being horrified by the whole ensemble.

Christina ends up getting killed through a very bad sequence of events that lead up to them attempting to capture her asphyx. Hugo blames himself and insists on freeing his asphyx so he can actually die, Giles agrees so long as Hugo makes him immortal first.
Hugo doesn't know that Giles is tricking him and has removed the phosphor stones from the lamp so he can die when Hugo tries the experiment. Hugo realizes and tries to reverse the gasing of Giles but Giles manages to light a match and kills himself also destroying the equipment.

I'll leave it there as this is a decent enough film to warrant at least one watching especially if you are fan of old hammer horror stuff THN awards The Asphyx 3 out of 5 stars.


Friday, 4 May 2018

The Rain (2018 Netflix series)

Stars: Iben Hjejle, Alba August

Image result for netflix series the rain

This Danish made Scandinavian show is set to break records for non English speaking series even more than other recent programs from Japan or other areas that are breaking out with amazing must watch programming.

It's started on Netflix today and is around 35-45 minutes per episode. It is Scandinavian spoken so will unfortunately require you to read English subtitles.
If your anything like me though if a program or film that is subtitled is good enough your often find yourself watching and understanding what's going on despite the language barriers (often forgetting to read the subs anyway).
Image result for netflix series the rain
It's set in a dystopian future where the rain carried a deadly virus that wiped out most of humanity six years previously.
Simone and Rasmus a brother and sister leave their underground bunker in search of remnants of humanity.
I have only watched on episode myself so far but I'm hooked. It is apparently going to deal with everything from coming of age to love and other emotions, mixed with how a world with no moral or social barriers will effect how we go about those feelings.
I strongly erge anyone who doesn't mind subtitles to give this a go!

Review : Hungerford (2014)

Image result for hungerford movieStars: Drew Casson, Georgia Bradley

Budget: £20,000

Directed By: Drew Casson

Well well I like to be good to low budget b-moviesb but this movie has some flaws I absolutely hated i'm sorry to others it might seem petty but these heavily detracted from my viewing pleasure.
Right first off I've NEVER been a big fan of 'found footage' films. The janky way of filming just grinds on me but if the film is good enough to make me forget or see past that it's always a bonus.
This film tries out things filming wise to cheaply achieve some of their effects and I appreciate that, they're trying something new but when it detracts not only from the viewing pleasure but also understanding of whats going on in film that's never a good thing.

The fuzzing and distortion whenever one of these creatures is near is very annoying, (also is never really explained why it does this either) with the already (to me) shitty nature of found footage filming makes this film at times a little hard to follow.
Which is annoying because I like to think of myself as at least moderately intelligent. So when a film loses ME on the plot midway through I think it's damn near going to confuse the hell or lose the interest of a lot of people.

So that's the filming gripes out of the way, now onto the acting, it was very by the numbers and very over acted like the actor being overly enthusiastic over a crumb (not literally a crumb just an over exaggeration of a point) though as the film goes on this does dumb down slightly.
Now for the plus points, made for an amazingly small budget in British pounds, this £20k would not have gone far trust me. On that budget this film does have some mighty impressive effects for it's buck. Good blood and shooting effects as well as the anomalies in the sky.

So lets get on with the film. Cowen a film student of sorts decides to film his life for a week or so after waking up from a night on booze. we are later shown some kind of rocking explosion from the inside of their flat. When they go out and see whats going on they see some kind of weird storm going on throwing out random guff. An out of breath cop shows up, who they all happen to know explaining radios, phones etc are all knocked out of action.
A council man of some kind also stops the officer to see whats going on and exclaims that a nearby empty factory has been hit by lightning. Slowly but surely people start acting weird and getting violent all over town, after a botched party where one of the friends gets accused of drugging someone who has a fit they all leave for home.
When they get back they are attacked unable to stop the attacker until they spray him with deodorant (a plot that is quickly lost as well as inconsistent throughout the film) this kills the guy.

Now here's a another niggle I have with this plot, as explained in the brackets above. The deodorant thing seems to kill some people, or make the bug spring from their neck, though neither really matter all that much because by the end of the film they are just shooting people dead anyway.
So yes the cause the attacks and people getting angry are some kind of burrowing alien bug that controls you by going into your neck.
They seem far to big for this but meh film logic. Soon loads of people are infected and they try to escape multiple times only to have something go wrong. Car crashes, finding other people, getting caught the think it, it happens to this group.

Like i said i kind of lost the plot when the cop shows up and they try to escape, i picked it up quite quickly but its a bit of a cluster fuck of an ending especially when sometimes you don't know whose left alive at certain points too. They all get captured near the end but are saved by some military types, after seeing some kind of humanoid kind of alien in the dark.

I haven't totally spoiled the ending as it seems pointless and just sets up a sequel, which yes they have indeed made and yes I will endure to see if it's any improvement on this mess. THN awards Hungerford a paltry 1 out of 5 stars.