Posts Tagged ‘thriller’

Many would put the first Hostel right at the beginning of the ‘toture porn’ genre (even though there were many foreign films before featuring similar themes). This is probably because it was one of the first big mainstream US films to openely advertise itself as such. It was a pretty good little horror film and made enough money to get a sequel green lit.

Hostel 2 (directed by the same director as the first, Eli Roth) doesnt aim to do much differently from the first on the outset as we yet again have a group of backpackers (this time all females) who get caught in the sights of the ‘hunting club’. But upon watching the film its clear Eli Roth has a much clearer sense of world building and characterisation. It would have been so easy for him to have done a quick easy rehash of the first but i’m happy to say this feels fresh and tense.

The three female leads have an interesting dynamic between them that feels realistic thanks to a well written script that clearly has had a lot of thought put into it. It wont win any screenwriting awards but it is nice to see some well written characters in a genre that seems to thrive on the opposite. As there backpacking holiday quickly unravels each handle things very differently, which creates some very tense and quite thought provoking consequences.

This time round we also get an almost equal time following the people who are planning on commiting sadistic acts on these girls which also highlights how the club wirks and is organised. This for me is one of the highlights as its well thought out and gives everything another dimension.

While the film does feature strong violence and gore, it doesnt focus on it as much as one might expect. It also never feels out of place as it all benefits and guides the story along its path.

The final act features some truly great twists and turns all of which work well and help elevate this film from the usual genre tropes.

I never expected to like this film as much as i did. Its easily the best in the series and is well worth your time if you like tense horror thrillers.

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Written by James Gunn (director of Guardians of the Galaxy 1& 2 and writer of films such as Tromeo and Juliet) Belko Experiment feels like a refreshing hark back to something like Lord of the flies.

A group of employees are locked in a building and are told to kill each if he, otherwise a bomb charge in the back of their skull with detonate. It’s a very simple pemise and one similar to any number of films such as Battle Royale or even Hunger Games. But the office environment gives it a new spin.

At the start no one wants to kill but as the film progresses we all know some are going to change their minds. Gunn gets creative in his writing and keeps throwing in new rules to keep the film fresh and entertaining. Everything leads to a truly great ending which keeps he momentum going until the very last image.

I loved how the film didn’t wait around. There’s always something new happening as we jump between the small groups of people. It would have been easy for the film to get boring and repetitive but it never does.

The cast are great and really work well together. It’s amazing how many pretty big names there are in the film, even if some feel like small cameos for James Gunn (Michael Rooker for example is in almost all of Gunn’s films). Many of these actors play roles very different from their usual styles.

Although directed by Greg McLean it really does feel like and early James Gunn film. It’s fast, witty and violent, all things that Gunn does really well. It’s a breath of of tense almost horror. It’s well worth checking out.

Blind army veteran VS 3 burglars = one hell of a tense film.

The home invasion film has been done to death over the years, from kids films like Home Alone, to more adult films like Strangers and Panic Room. It’s a genre which for the most part works due to the semi relateability of the fear of intruders in your home. The problem is there is only so many times you can see the same thing happen time and time again with just a new family to differentiate the films. 2011’s film You’re Next tried to turn things around with its fun twists and clever pacing and for the most part worked.

2016’s Don’t Breathe aims to get again create something fresh in a seemingly stale genre and it’s nice to say it really works.

The basic premise is 3 burglars break into a house of a blind military veteran but are quickly outwitted when he wakes up and isn’t happy having intruders.

The film is tense from the outset and only magnify as it progresses. Stephen Lang gives a phenomenally creepy performance as the blind man (who seemingly has no name). His whole house becomes an extension of him. Every creaking floorboard, every little noise it’s all part of him and it allows I’m to ignore his blindness and know exactly where the burglars are.

It’s interesting to look at the blind man as he is neither villian or hero. Ultimately his house has been broken into and he is depending himself, but as an audience we are pushed towards rooting for Rocky the sole female of the trio of burglars. For me I was rooting entirely for he blind man and saw him as the anti hero of the piece. It of course unfurls that the blind man might not be as nice and clean as he seems, but that didn’t stop me avidly watching to see if he could kill the three burglars.

I’m not sure if it was intended this way or if it just happens that Lang gives a stronger and more powerful performance then the others but I found it worked. If it wasn’t meant to be this way round then the film kind of fails as the burglars as all unlikable thrives who deserve everything they get.

The direction is great and the law if the film flows beautifully as it builds to the final confrontation (which is both turns good and bad) the film doesn’t freely on jump scares as it prefers to use a slow build up of tension. It’s a remarkably well crafted horror thriller.

If I have any negatives to say about the film they would have to be surrounding the unlikable burglars who I just want to die and the lackluster ending. They aren’t deal breakers as the rest of the film is so strong, but they do detract a little from the film as a whole.

I really enjoyed the film and feel it is a refreshing breath of fresh air in the horror genre. I give it a strong reccomendation.

With so many horror films being pumped out in recent years, it’s easy to see the genre as stale and unoriginal, but in amongst all of the remakes, sequels and zombie films there are some truly great gems. Get Out is one of them.

Going into the film I had no expectations and knew nothing about it apart from what the poster showed me (A screaming man in a chair), which really wasn’t much. What I Got was an intense horror thriller that constantly kept me on the edge of my seat.

Actor Daniel Kaluuya plays Chris, a young African-American who visits his white girlfriend’s parents on a secluded estate in the middle of the woods. What starts as a happy romantic trip quickly spirals into something much different.

In a way the film is reminiscent of the original Wicker-man film in the whole ‘outsider trying to figure out what’s happening’ sense. And it works. Throughout the film there is always something that feels ‘off’ with everyone, something not quite right. This feeling builds at a nice rate as the story evolves and begins explaing itself. Some moments are quute predictable when you see the ditection the film is heading but that doesnt detract from the quality. The acting is great from everyone and every character plays their part in the story. The writing really does help fully flesh out each character and make them feel unique.

Direction and writing are great with both allowing the film to flow at a brisk pace and taking the viewer through a refreshingly fresh tale. It’s rare that a film works from opening image through to credits but this film does and the ending is perfect.

It’s hard to not instantly see the messages about racism both in an historical sense, but also in the now. The film makes some powerful points which many could learn from as racism, as we all know is something that is always around no matter how much people pretend it isn’t. Right at the start of the film Chris asks his girlfriend ‘do your parents know I’m black?’ Her response is to shrug it off like it doesn’t matter. It’s scary that we live in a world where even today the colour of one’s skin effects how people treat you. Even scarier is that the people in charge of some of the most powerful countries in the world allow this and sometimes openly encourage it.

These messages run rife through the film and help give a good base to everyone’s mindsets. What is good is that this provides a level of gritty realism to proceedings. The horror is never forced and never relies on silly jump scares. It’s all about creating tension and intensity through the characters and the script.

I recommend this film whole-heartedly and feel it is one of those horror films that will stay long after it has finished.

I’d wanted to see this film for quite some time due to my love of extreme Asian cinema such as ‘Visitor Q’ and ‘Tetsuo: the Iron Man’. I’m happy to say that it was worth the wait, well kind of.

How do you start to describe a film like this?

Well firstly I’ll say it’s not a film for the easily unnerved as the atmosphere created through clever use of music and visuals is pretty unsettling from the get go. It’s not as extreme or graphic in terms of its depictions of sex and violence as say ‘Visitor Q’ but it has a more eerie vibe about it all.  I guess you could say it’s a kind of sexual horror film. But it’s not that simple.

The film is pretty complex in its themes and ideas. The plot of the film is about a husband and wife who are being stalked by a twisted individual. But I’d argue the film is about the futility of life and the need for companionship. The husband and wife are both missing something from their lives and it is only when the third party intervenes in their lives that they start to openly address these issues. You could even argue that the film is about voyeurism and how everyone is being watched without even knowing it.

There is a lot of focus on the unity between nature and the industrial world we are all accustomed to. Not that the film is set in any specific time period. It’s kind of timeless and feels vaguely futuristic at times. In fact the whole film feels very dreamlike with its unusual camerawork and creepy score. Throughout the film the city is shrouded by constant rain which helps emphasise the characters depression. I must say that the cinematography is stunning throughout, especially during the outdoor sequences. It is this amazing camerawork that helps create a beautiful sadness to the whole film, making it much more than your usual semi erotic horror film.

As the runtime progresses so does the craziness of the onscreen antics. All of it culminates in one of the most confusing and messed up fights I’ve seen in a long time. Even when it is being crazy the film is still weirdly believable due to the slow way it draws the audience in. The story is compelling and constantly keeps you on edge, wondering what will happen next.

I think that the decision to release the film in black and white adds to its beauty.  It means you are not distracted by the colours of the world around the characters, while also helping merge the industrial with the natural.

I came away from the film thinking hard on what I truly thought of it and I’m still slightly mixed. It is definitely good but I’m not sure if I’d consider it anywhere near a classic. I’d say it’s well worth watching as it is a truly unique experience and one that I doubt I’ll forget. 7/10

Sean Patrick Flanery stands up to a biker gang led by Lou Diamond Phillips. The biker gang don’t take kindly to this and vow revenge. They decide to get this revenge by attacking the wild west show town that Flanery acts in. Flanery must lead the actors in the stand against the bikers. Will he prevail?

I was really excited about this film when I found it cheap on dvd. I really like the two main actors and thought that they could bring charm to a low budget ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ style flick. Sadly, although they do their best, they don’t save this mediocre flick.

It may be because I was expecting more of an action film from what I read on the dvd box and I didn’t get that, or it may have been just because it wasn’t very good. We have a long build up with the odd confrontation between Flanery and Phillips but no proper action until the end. In the way it felt a little like the modern film ‘The Last Stand’ but just nowhere near as fun. This would be ok if the film knew exactly what it wanted to be but unfortunately it feels very much stuck in the middle between character piece and action flick.

The music is ok as is the cinematography. While neither is great they get the job done and make it easier to watch the slow meandering thriller where nothing really happens.

As you’ve probably guessed I didn’t really like the film. It’s not that it’s fundamentally bad, it’s just ‘MEH!’ It sits in that middle ground between being not good and not bad. It could have been a fun little action romp but what we get is a slow build up to a very anticlimactic ending.

I wouldn’t waste your time. 5/10

‘A man returns from the grave to solve the murder that he was accused of committing.’

The first film in the series was, for a time my favourite comic book movie of all time. It featured amazing performances, an amazingly well realised gothic world, and a great script.

The sequel ‘The Crow: City of Angels’ tried to expand on the world created in the first but fell quite short of the first films greatness. (Not that it’s a bad film. I really like it but I can see why a lot of people don’t)

‘The Crow Salvation’ is the third film in the series and bears little resemblance to the first to apart for the basic premise of the crow bring the dead back and the makeup (which I’ll get to soon).

I think the film works better because of the fact it goes off on its own course. It was made for television but is by far the most brutal and violent of the 4 films in the series (the 4th is by far the worst with barely any redeeming features). For a made for television movie it looks surprisingly good with some great camerawork and direction. It also evokes some of the haunting soundtrack of the first two films which helps create a great atmosphere. It has a pretty good revenge story at its heart and it plays out pretty well, even if it is very predictable.

The acting is generally pretty good and almost everyone does their job. The weakest entry into the acting department is probably ‘Kirsten Dunst’ who really isn’t very good in the film, not knowing if she is playing a love interest, a friend or just someone who’s somehow gotten involved in the films revenge storyline. Eric Mabius is great as Alex, the main character. He holds the film together and is really watchable.

For me the biggest fault with the whole film is that it is a ‘Crow’ film. As I said before it doesn’t have much in common with the other two. (The second felt very much that it was set in the same world as the original with the reintroduction of Sarah from the original and the gothic world.) This film feels like it could be set anywhere.

The makeup/scarring is my other major complaint. I know the white face with the black eyes and mouth has become synonymous with the franchise but it doesn’t fit in here. The make up in the first film is done as a copy of a mask Eric has hanging in his house that his fiancée had bought. It was his way of coping and having a bit of her with him (along with the ring around his neck). In the second film the makeup is drawn onto Ashe by Sarah (from the first film) as a way of her remembering Eric. It this film the electric chair burns the scars into his face in the shape of the makeup. WHY? The makeup has no relation to the actual Crow of the story and there are no characters (or at least non I noticed) from wither of the first two films. There is no reason for it and I think it harms the film (well it did for me).

If the film had been a straight revenge thriller with no relation to ‘The Crow’, I think it would have been far better. But on the other hand without the established name it would have probably disappeared in amongst all the other low budget thrillers out there. It’s an enjoyable watch, if a vaguely depressing one. It’s worth watching if you like this sort of thing and it does do what it sets out to do pretty well. 6/10

Taken was one of those films that never needed a sequel. It was a pretty self contained revenge/rescue picture in which Liam Neeson punched a load of people in the throat. Come 2012 and they decide that in fact they should make a sequel, but this time instead of his daughter being kidnapped it would be Mr Neeson himself (and his wife, but she’s not that important)

I was never a big fan of the first film. I found it boring thriller with a poor script and some poor action sequences (except for Neeson’s throat punches.) So I was not excited at the prospect of a 2nd film. I put off watching it until this evening as I had nothing else I could be bothered to watch.

Boy, was I surprised…….

I really enjoyed it. Yes it has a poor plot and some awful dialogue but it was just fun. It focused almost entirely on action and it did the action really well. It kinda harked back to old school action flicks from the early 90’s. It’s pace was good and I never found myself getting bored. The fight sequences were well choreographed as well as a long car chase (which as car chases go, was very good.)

There are a few things that annoyed me such as the fact that no one seems too bothered by the random explosions that are going off around the city as Neeson’s daughter throws grenades so he can triangulate his position on a map (it is pretty far-fetched.) I think this is one of the reasons why I enjoyed the film. It never really felt it was taking itself too seriously (unlike the first one).

I’d say it’s well worth a watch and should provide a good couple of hours of mindless fun…. 7/10