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Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

In the Flesh (2013)

In BBC, Horror, Recommendation, series, supernatural on 27/04/2013 at 2:03 pm

The dead have gone walkabout again on BBC Three, but different. The story of In the Flesh is as follows: there’s been a wave of the dead rising, turning dead and buried people into zombies. Then a ‘cure’ was found: a way to make the dead think, feel and behave like humans again. The story begins when ‘PDS sufferers’ (partially deceased syndrome) are reintroduced into society, four years after ‘the rising’.

In the meantime, militant civilian armies have learnt to protect their communities from the flesh munching dead, and when protagonist Kieren returns to his family, packing contact lenses and make-up, he finds his kid sister (now 18) is one of the most militant in his home town.

The three-part miniseries is refreshing for its new take on the whole zombie apocalypse trend, introducing interesting moral conflicts. The militant anti-PDS crowd are small minded bigots waving guns around, or are they? Can formerly dangerous undead be turned back into humans, despite the flashbacks and their dependency on medication? Is there a point to life if you don’t age and can’t eat or drink? And there’s Kieren, who topped himself in his late teens – he didn’t even want to be alive, so how is going to cope with being only half alive?

It’s also tense, intriguing and well made and acted, so very much worth the watch. Oh, and as with everything BBC Three, yes there is a moral to the story, not that it messes with the drama at all. I think you can guess what it is.

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Kill List (2011)

In Crime, film, Horror, Review on 10/05/2012 at 11:57 pm

A little film that is certainly excellent for being something else entirely,  highly upsetting at some points, shows some very engaging acting – and ends with a shaky finale.

Kill List follows best friends and Iraq military veterans Gal (Michael Smiley) and Jay (Neil Maskell) on their new assignment as hitmen. Refreshingly, there’s no guns-a-blazing quasi super-heroic nonsense here: they are perfectly average pals. Jay, his lovely wife Shel (MyAnna Buring) and their kid Sam are a close family with day-to-day troubles and rows over money. Gal is a loveable lonely old sod who brings a new girlfriend to dinner and her role is blatantly dubious from the start. Gal also loves his friend Shel more than anything in the world. Besides this, the two guys just happen to make their living as hitmen.

The story subtly progresses from a fun kind of tense to creepily unsettling, all spurred by Jay’s inability to keep his killing urges under control. He is the destroyer of all, from beginning to end. This is all done very well, until the bit where it’s supposed to become a real horror flick and it contradicts human nature instead. Without spoilers: people don’t run towards firing guns. Ever. It just doesn’t happen. Then the ultimate finale upsets and shocks, but it’s completely void however you choose to look at it. It doesn’t reveal the drive behind the plot: it remains unknown why the people on the list were to be killed and what the motives of the instigator are, or anything about protagonist Jay: we already know he is anything but the master of his violent reflexes.

That said and ranted, Kill List is interesting and intriguing. Still well worth the watch.

 

 

Dorian Gray (2009)

In Amazing, based on novel, Classic Story, Crime, film, Giggles, Horror, period drama, Recommendation, Review, romantic, supernatural on 30/12/2011 at 9:19 pm

This amazingly seductive production is quite a tribute to The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), that classic bit of praiseworthy cultural heritage from the hand and genius mind of Oscar Wilde.

Ben Barnes is a convincing Dorian: naive in the beginning, arrogant and attractive in the middle and a tormented wolf in sheep’s clothes towards the ending. Colin Firth, as to be expected, is a nothing less than excellent Lord Henry Wotton in this horrific tale about eternal youth, about the glorification of youth and its effect on 19th century London society.

While most films that attempt to tell classic stories like this tend to emphasise only the least interesting bits (the general plot), this one somehow made enough room for the good stuff to shine through (the meaning of the general plot) without being annoyingly explanatory. Plus it is a real treat for the eyes. Not only because Dorian is (necessarily) pretty – all of it is: London, the gentry and their attire, the dark blue skies and… some special effects that do give this surreal tale just that extra bit of oomph.

The Fades (2011 -?)

In BBC, Horror, new, Recommendation, Review, series, supernatural on 29/10/2011 at 4:14 pm

Of all of this past year’s new productions, this was the last one I expected to actually be any good. Another supernatural series, now about the undead and an unlikely teenage superhero-in-the-making – uh-huh, good luck. But BBC Three went along and well surprised me: it’s nothing short of very good!

The Fades are dead people who got stuck in this world for no reason. They cannot touch, but they do wither with time. Some people can see them and might have some other powers, they call themselves Angelics. Problems arise when one of the Fades finds a way to come back to life. I won’t tell you how, but trust me: it isn’t pretty.

Young Paul (Ian de Caestecker), an unpopular teenager who is terrorised by his stuck-up sister Anna (Lily Loveless – Skins), is haunted by apocalyptic dreams and he soon finds out that he can see the Fades – as well as do a great deal more. The supposed good guy, an Angelic called Neil (Johnny Harris), does a great job at being a questionable and fanatic human being throughout, and tries to convince Paul to leave his normal life behind and save the world. Another former Skins star, Joe Dempsie, does a superb monster-villain with a story as John, and the series would surely lack depth without the part of Angelic/Fade Sarah (Natalie Dormer).

The Fades is very well plotted, acted and also very tense and not to forget proper horrific. I almost would go as far as to say it is a horror series. It’s very enjoyable nonetheless and I urgently advise against eating anything while watching.

2012 won’t see a new series made due to BBC cutbacks – which is a damn shame.

Eden Lake (2008)

In Horror, Recommendation, Review on 06/09/2011 at 10:48 pm

First of all, don’t even watch the trailer if you’re squeamish. Second, it may not look like it in the beginning, but this horror turned out to be surprisingly good and is much worth the watch. Oh- and one more thing: if you’re going camping in the near future, do yourself a favour and watch something else. Please.

So I’m not a horror pundit at all, but I very much believe that a good film has nothing at all to do with its genre. I did have to elbow my way through the beginning, where Michael Fassbender does a truly spectacular job at being a shite actor for some reason. His character Steve and girlfriend Jenny (Kelly Reilly) are going on a camping trip on Eden Lake. Here, the dialogue is soppy and the acting is unconvincing, which is a shame because you kind of need to ‘feel the love’ between the two for the disaster to kick in later on.

But, the story does make up for the dramatical glitches. Eden Lake is a very unlikely story, not because of any nightmarish fantasy monsters, but because the enemies are rather average teenagers. Teenagers with a messy background, bottled up frustrations, a big scary dog and a charismatic albeit very aggressive leader in the shape of  Brett (Jack O’Connell). The teens are the stars of this movie, beyond doubt – and O’Connell really makes it work. He plays the ultimate baddie – yes- but he remains so very human. He doesn’t go psycho murderer with an axe on you and still does very very VERY bad things (which I won’t tell you about right now) and gets others to do them too. Now that is where this film is pretty unique.

Also, without spoiling anything for anyone, I can say that the final half hour makes this film as good as it is. The tension build-up is absolutely amazing.