Published on February 27th, 2015 | by SgtKaiju0
Cult Of Consume – Vol. III
Man, this film put me through the ringer. Ostensibly the tale of a driven actress in LA, taking on an audition process from hell, the film throws up elements of Lynch and Cronenberg in one of the best body-horror films I’ve seen in recent memory. As Sarah (Alex Essoe) sinks further into her own ambition and drive, things start to go wrong in her mind and body, culmination in one of the most brutal and horrific sequences I’ve seen on scene. I literally had to stop the film and take a break after a particularly moment, I’ll never look a gym equipment in the same way again.
The film is brilliantly made through-out, with the growing sense of dread and foreboding balanced perfectly with the absurdity of the Big Taters restaurant and the low-fi mumblecore charm of the budding actors interactions. But this is a film that lives and dies by it’s main character and Alex Essoe delivers that in spades. She swings perfectly from a shy ingenue to derangement with aplomb and is certainly deserving of the Scream Queen name is making for herself.
An absolute stand-out film, a welcome take on the occasionally stale occult horror scene.
Out 16th March from Metrodome
The House Of Him
Shot for just £1000 over a fortnight in Glasgow, The House Of Him is an impressively claustrophobic film about a serial killer caught up in a world-wide paranormal event. The killer is a frighteningly terrifying creation, as if the dark recesses of the internet were given a ski mask and a machete.
Richard Rankin and Louise Stewart play their parts wonderfully, balancing the ever-shifting power-plays between killer and potential victim amid the on-going madness. And this is where the film excels. The Slow building of unease and tension is so well done, the initial ease of the killer, the grim everyday nature of him and his crimes, compounded by the rise of the dead women in his walls…
Where the film excels in content, it falls short in style. Visually the film shows it’s meager budget, with the singular location and basic lighting and dressing, but really, with a plot as engaging as this, you really don’t mind.
Out Now on TheHorrorShow.TV
Cronenberg, the undisputed master of the body-horror genre. And Rabid was one of his early films, now remastered and released by Arrow, it tells the tale of a biking accident victim who undergoes radical surgery to keep her alive. But, in true Cronenberg style, she awakes from the coma not only healed but also no possessing an under-arm orifice that she uses to infect or kill others, slowly but surely unleashing a flesh-hungry hoard upon the world.
This film came out before Cronenberg truly hit is stride and established his style, and thus ends up being the child of two masters. In many ways it has the usual traits of a late-seventies film, with the standard pacing, casting and acting style of the ear. But then you’ve got this body-horror theme running right through it.
It’s place in Cronenberg’s history makes it film of note, especially for the genre fan, but it will leave the non-fan lost and unsure of it’s purpose.
American Ghost Story
Very often on this blog I talk about films that may not have the best effects in the world, the best sets or the best cinematography, but are filled with heart and acting or ideas to the brim. American Ghost Story (aka Devil’s Mile) is almost the exact opposite…
It tells the story of 3 career criminals who are attempting a kidnapping of two Japanese girls, who get lost on a dirt highway somewhere in the american wilds. So far, so Hills Have Eyes. But then, things take a decidedly J-Horror/Lovercraftian turn, with the road looping back on itself, the criminals turning on themselves and a primal horror rears up to attack them.
Firstly, this is a great looking film, the crew behind it have done a great job with some interesting lighting, so spot-on effects. This really is a great example of how to do horror well on a small budget, with the occasional glimpse and shock being far more effective than an overload of information.
Unfortunately, the film does descend into meta-physical chaos and nonsense before the end, with the characters so lost in their own private twists and turns, the audience slowly loses interest. Compounded by a terrible sound mix that leaves the characters incoherently mumbling amoungst over-the-top sounds effects, I left this film thoroughly bored.
Out 9th March from Metrodome
The Device tells the story of two sisters, up at their family’s cabin who discover an odd ‘device’ (see what they did there?) from what appears to be a crash-site. Taking it back to the city, their lives start to unravel as the families get pulled into the device’s influence and long-dead secrets start to tear them apart.
Winner of this month’s ‘Most Misleading Cover Art’, The Device is, at it’s heart, a small, personal, family drama about two sisters coming to terms with their dark history. But also with aliens. The film itself is a very much a mixed bag of quality. Amoung the three main leads, Kate Alden is the stand-out star as the younger sister, her naturalistic style and, for want of a better word, star quality, shine out. Whilst the other two main leads are in no way bad, they are occasionally eclipsed by her.
Visually, the film is also a bit of a Curates Egg, with the alien effects being great and very believable, yet I’ve not seen a film in a while so in need of a better editor and some sort of colorist. It is most reminiscent of a mid-90s shot-on-video film, with burnt out skies and drab colours.
There is a film worth watching here, but you’re going to have to wade through some things first.
Out 23rd March from Image Entertainment
The Haunting Of Black Wood
Another entry in the Misleading Cover category, The Haunting Of Black Wood is essentially a re-packaging of the 2011 film Enter Nowhere, very much not the supernatural horror film that the new name and cover sell it as. But don’t let that put you off, this is genuinely a good film, despite the misleading packaging.
The film follows three seeming strangers who get lost in the titular Black Woods, all ending up at an abandoned cabin, with just a bag of oatmeal and a broken radio for company. Of these roles, two shine out, Katherine Waterston as Samanatha and Scott Eastwood (yes, that Eastwood!) as Tom. Both show great intensity with what are very sketched out roles, it’s no surprise that both have gone on to greater things.
But the real star of the film is the mystery at it’s core, who are these people and why are they here. The first half of the film can drag a bit, with the filmmakers a bit timid to show their hand too early, but once the twists and turns kick in, the film really finds it own. The conclusion, whilst marred by some TV-like effects, is a emotionally satisfying and deftly handled.