Many new Argentine films dream of the country. While the nation’s soap operas and television news prefer the city, some of its movies travel out to nature. Perhaps the most extraordinary exponent of this trend is Lisandro Alonso, who, along with Thai master Apichatpong Weerasethakul, is perhaps one of the strongest nature filmmakers in the world, capable of extracting existential and spiritual mystery from a few swaying trees. We might also mention Lucrecia Martel’s rural landscapes, although these, in Martel, are always juxtaposed with the interior design of bourgeoisie decadence. Equally noteworthy is Mariano Llinás’ Extraordinary Stories, with its real-time excursions down winding streams and tall grass, reminiscent of Alonso’s greatest long takes in his masterpiece, Los Muertos. Into this tradition – which includes many other films, some of which I haven’t seen yet, like Fadel’s Los Salvajes and Otheguy’s La León – walks The Vampire Spider, by Gabriel Medina.
The town of Silent Hill is pretty much its own character. You’ve seen the first movie incarnate back in 2006, and you’ve played the games. You’re used to slow burn fantasia the town creates. As the famous saying goes, it’s not the actual act itself that kills you… it’s the waiting. It’s the sound of the alarm that warns you when grey turns into tortured flesh. You know the route inside, and you know the feeling. It’s literally hell on earth. Well… what if all of that was compromised?
Cast: Katie Featherston, Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively Director: Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost Country: USA Genre:…
The one question few found footage movies ever consider, let alone answer, is just who did the finding. Why have these terrible images found their way to a cinema screen rather than into the hands of the relevant authorities; why are they being marketed for entertainment and not being studiously examined for evidence? Being as it relates always to fictional footage, it’s not a terribly pertinent question, yet it hangs heavy over Sinister when true crime writer Ellison Oswalt discovers a batch of grisly Super 8 films in the attic of his newly-bought home. Shot in gory detail by the serial killer whose series of family murders vacated the house, these horrific home movies offer Ellison precisely the material he desires for his next hit book.
Whether a lover of the Rec series or not, there’s a certain amount of commendation due Paco Plaza for his boldness; turning a franchise on its head is a brave move with risk aplenty, testing the fans’ loyalty and threatening total alienation of their tastes. Rec 3: Genesis, the long awaited—and allegedly penultimate—instalment in the acclaimed series takes a decidedly stark turnaround from the previous films’ established format, recognising the diminishing returns already evident in Rec 2 and opting to totally reinvent the concept. Genesis, to a large degree, is to its predecessors what Evil Dead II was to The Evil Dead, taking the prior films’ now-familiar scenario and imbuing it with a deftness of tone to offer, as well as a whole new experience, commentary of a sort on what came before.
Exorcisms aren’t just for Catholics anymore. The Possession shows us that priests aren’t the only ones equipped to do battle with demonic forces. Unfortunately, it seems the battle is pretty much the same no matter what your faith. The basic rules are still the same: an evil force is after the innocence of a child and can only be dispelled by a godly man of god of some kind. It’s a surprisingly warm and fuzzy pro-religious sentiment, but it’s one that most exorcism movies embrace. Usually you’d expect a horror film to be as blasphemous as they come, but you could argue that even The Exorcist, especially the extended cut, has strong religious convictions.
Pascal Laugier. It’s a name the average cinephile may well recognise, even be able to associate with one of his films, but hardly one to get overly excited about. To horror geeks, though, the name carries a weight of almost divine proportion. With his 2008 film Martyrs, Laugier took the ferocious brutality and feckless bloodshed that had long soiled the genre’s reputation in the eyes of its detractors and made it something more. Martyrs was a masterpiece of horror cinema, perhaps the finest example of its genre this century has yet seen. A powerful, provocative, probing film, it not only imbued worn out tropes with vast new meaning, it managed also to both embody and comment upon the transcendent potentiality of fear.
When it comes to the spooky old mansion with creaky floorboards thing, this film has it in spades. Unlike the other recent haunted gothic period piece, The Woman In Black, which clashed between overtly cheap-o jump scares and classic spook tactics, The Awakening has an undeniable classiness, a kind of unshakable commitment to the ghost films of the past. Sometimes it works and sometimes the unwavering adherence to convention is a bore.
Genre hybridity is by no means a recognised strength of Irish cinema, far better known for either its bleak tragedies the like of Garage, Adam & Paul, and Hunger, or brash comedies such as The Snapper and The Commitments. Undoubtedly influenced by the phenomenal success of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, recent Irish efforts at genre pastiches have met with mixed success, only perhaps In Bruges managing to truly shine where such efforts as Zonad, Isolation—even The Guard to an extent—have floundered. Blending disparate generic conventions into a single cohesive narrative is hard, after all, and it’s to the immense credit of director Jon Wright and writer Kevin Lehane that they’ve managed with Grabbers to convincingly mesh horror and comedy within the shell of science fiction.
Bereaved, alone, isolated, Nicole sifts through the possessions of her late mother scattered throughout her childhood home. The task is only made more difficult by the storied maternal relationship; her sister Annie even refuses to help, so much did she hate their mother. But when Nicole disappears without trace from the house, Annie must confront the difficulties of her past, and investigate the strange, supernatural disturbances which begin to trouble the familial abode. The first feature from Sundance short competition regular Nicholas McCarthy, The Pact looks into the darkness of the things that go bump in the night.