Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Awakened (2012)


(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by: Lou Simon, Douglas Villalba

Written by: Juan F. Gonzalez Lou Simon

Stars: Stephanie Pitts, Nikolas Holmes, Jonathan Perez, John J Thomassen, Nancy Sayegh.

Thanks so much to Lou Simon for asking me to check out her new indie horror The Awakened for review. Lou co wrote and directed the film which I would like to highly recommend to fans of creepy ghost stories..

The plot of the film involves five young people hold up in a house to wait out a hurricane. As the night progresses and the alcohol flows, the group mess with the spirit world by performing a supposedly innocent ritual. Sadly for these people, the hurricane is the very least of their worries as they have inadvertently allowed something bad into the house. There is no escape, no phone signal and no hope as the spirit from an ungodly place sets about attacking the friends one by one.

The thing I liked most about this movie is that is wasnt gratuitous. Because really, it did not need to be. The characters are all well defined and you are given long enough to get to know them and care about most of their fates. Therefore I feel an out and out gore fest may have cheapened things in this particular case and when bad things do happen to the characters (and oh boy they do!) it comes off as far more dramatic.

In terms of horror there are some great jump scares and several well done creepy scenes. The scene in which the first character is attacked is very well done as you see their shadow slowly joined by the  shadow of another, followed by a very nasty sound effect.  As the film barrells towards its climax you may just find yourself on edge to find out who, if anyone, might survive the night.

I really liked the idea behind the film in regards to the hurricane. Sometimes horror films can be a bit frustrating in that people find themselves in a rather dire situation but you cant help but feel there were several possible opportunities to get away/seek help. In the case of The Awakened, these people are well and truly trapped, and there is a believable reason why they cannot get any help.

The production values on the film are also top notch. Its filmed exceptionally well and the direction helps to rachet up the tension when you are starting to feel like something bad might happen.

I think all key players did a grear job in this movie. A real refreshing change to have all of the principal cast delivering good performances without several more sub par ones. I have to give props to Stephanie Pitts who was a great lead in the role of  'Gina' who is required to show quite the range of moods and emotions throughout the films running time.

I recommend this film  indeed - those who like a creepy, jumpy ghost story with some light gore will really enjoy this film I think. Its suspenseful, has some good scares and looks fantastic! Check out the official Facebook page HERE!.

And then YOU Die (2012)

(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by Daniel Murphy, Brian Gaillard

Written by Daniel Murphy, Brian Gaillard

Stars: Chuck Smith, Ellie Church, Christopher Hunt, Lindsey Mcintire, Josh Nies, Whitney Thoele, Shane Miller, Abigail White, Aaron Spanley, R.J Cecott, Eric Monroe, TJ Martin, Dustin Lawson, Melissa Chapman, Daniel Murphy, Brian Gaillard, Michael Blinn, Taylor Smith, John Haley, Sheri Gaillard. 

Firstly I wanted to give a huge shout out to Daniel Murphy for sharing his new indie horror with me of which he co wrote and directed. This film was easily the most refreshing piece of slasher cinema I have had the pleasure of viewing recently and I am so so glad I got the chance to see it.

The plot is simple - Sam Wallace is not a lucky guy - at ALL. He experienced a harrowing childhood, is married to a disrespectful cheating wife, detested at work and isn't exactly Colin O'Farrell in the looks department. One day Sams day starts badly, gets worse and worse and then climaxes horribly...and it's barely been mere hours!! Aforementioned events provide the catalyst for Sams built up anger, anxiety and stress to literally explode into a murderously brutal rage. Sam soon embarks on a journey of death and destruction, wiping out those who have hurt him without mercy

If your are in it for the bad ass kills then this film could not even hope to disappoint you. The first murder should hopefully raise a chuckle amongst those well versed in your typical slasher movie. Its a nice sly wink to audiences that I really loved. Aside from that you have some fun and creative kills mixed in with some pretty shocking and harrowing ones.

There was a heck of a lot of other stuff to love about this film. The acting for the most part is really good, particularly by the three key characters of Sam (Chuck Smith) his adulterous wife Tessa (Ellie Church) and her young beefcake on the side Brad (Christopher Hunt).  I found the character of Tessa very very interesting. She was a real bitch - mainly to Sam - yet I couldnt help but like her. I think the fact that she was realistically written helped a lot. She is a bit of a villian in her own way but not in some soapy cartoonish sense.

There ARE people like Tessa in the world, however most people are not all good or all bad and you do start to see a slightly different side to her later on. I think there is human being in there - she just forgot how to be a decent one along the way. The character of Sam is a tough one because as a killer Sam makes for the most refreshing part of this film - he is a normal guy stomping around in his bedraggled work clothes,  pushed so far to the brink that there is no going back from what he has started after his first kill. Yet he is still killing scores of people after all so is it wrong to root for him? Well I wouldnt want to spoil anyhting for viewers but you will see pretty quickly just how rough Sam has had it during his life time. The way many different people treat him in the movie is also terrible and I dont just feel for the poor chap...I can think of one character straight up that I was totally rooting for Sam to kill!!! I think I lost sympathy toward the end in one scene that I didnt enjoy which is my only real criticism of the movie. Again this is veering towards spoiler territory so I will shut up. There is  also a fun cameo from writer and directers Daniel Murphy and Brian Gaillard as two particularly rude and unkind cops so look out for that also!

 The actual ending of And Then You Die was genius and very well done...I loved it. Again I am not giving anything aware except to say this is a film you will want to watch to the end...and I mean the VERY end.

And Then You Die is a must see indie horror film. Its fast paced, engrossing, well written & acted and has some superb kills. For a film made on a low budget it is extremly impressive to see such a professionally shot final product. Daniel Murphy just happens to have been born over here in the UK and this fact makes me even prouder. I hope he, Brian and their team bring us some more of the good stuff SOON! Check out the films official Facebook page for more details and if you are lucky enough to be in the Winamac area on March 2 you can go check out the films premiere! Click here for more details.

Monday, 28 January 2013

The Legend of the 5ive (2012)

(Screeer Copy)

Directed by: James P. Weatherall

Written by: Leenah Selig, James P. Weatherall

Stars: Leenah Seelig, Greg Tanner, Lee J Higgs, Emma Hendrick, Trevor Preston, Lee Fairhurst, Damien Hale, James P. Weatherall.

Many of you may be bored to tears of the found footage/cinema verite sub genres. Not me and hopefully not ever as I just love it - sure there are a few stinkers out there and it's not always done right (generally because budget is not permitting) but when it is its damn scary and I do not scare easy.

There are some truly unsettling moments in The Legend of the 5ive which just goes to show there is still some healthy blood in the sub genre. For one, the opening scenes depicting the creepy farm location made me shudder right away. It just looked like a place you would NEVER find me on my own at, late at night. Also once the group start making contacting with someone named Anne Foster, there are some genuine chills to be had, particularly thanks to Leenah Seeligs genuine portrayal as somone completly out of her depth.

Anyway I am getting ahead, first things first: the plot. A group of paranormal reseachers descend onto Emerson Farm for a Halloween special in order to solve the mystery of a macabre local legend. It seems that Emerson Farm was once the site of five gruesome murders in which the bodies were assembled to create the shape of a pentagon. Creepy huh? The farm is now said to be haunted by the dead, named the 'screaming spectres of Emerson Farm'. Along for the ride is budding filmaker Julia Marsh (Seelig) who brings along her camera man to get in on the action. As the investigation reaches its peak the team find themselves cut off from their live web feed and all hell literally breaks loose.

This is cue for some fairly gruesome scenes and thats not something you get often in this type of film. Its usually a big build up to an ambigious end but this film doesnt abide by that rule. The only other film I can think that also manages this effectively in T. Michael Conways insidiously creepy found footage frightener June 9. June 9 also delivers on the nasty and gory goods in the final act and therefore for this reason I feel The Legend of the 5ive deserves some definate praise.

I loved the ending. One of those things where the last bad event to occur could have been avoided if only the character involved had tried to stay clam and stay where other people were nearby. Sadly this doesnt happen and the film gives us one last shock followed by a great, creepy little 'after the event' update which I loved.

Acting wise as I said Leenah Seelig did a fantastic job as Julia Marsh - she goes from apprehensive to distinctly uncomfortable to outright terrified with professional ease and her character was a pleasure to watch. A couple of the other characters sadly come across as a bit hokey due to some unfortunate over acting but it didnt really hurt proceedings to a great extent.

I recommend The Legend of the 5ive to all you found footage fans out there - I do think it brings something a bit new to the table as well as being business as usual in some respects. Check out the films offical Facebook page right HERE and find out more!

American Mary (2012)

Directed by: Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska

Written by: Sylvia Soska, Jen Soska

Stars: Katherine Isabelle, Antonio Cupo, Tristan Risk, David Lovgren, Paula Lindberg, Clay St. Thomas, John Emmet Tracy, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska.

Release: DVD (UK) January 21 2013

The new film from Canadian twins Jen and Sylvia Soska (Dead Hooker in a Trunk) is a beautiful, engrossing, disturbing journey that I honestly cannot wait to go on once again.

American Mary focuses on medical student Mary Mason (a masterful performance from Ginger Snaps Katherine Isabelle) who becomes disillusioned with her studies and has fallen on rough times financially. A chance meeting with a night club owner leads Mary to perform life saving surgery for a good pay off and it is from here that her dark journey truly begins.

Soon Mary finds herself in the underground world of body modification, performing complex procedures on a range of clientele desperate to change their appearance for various reasons. Mary becomes more and more well known and renowned amongst those seeking such extreme surgery to the point that she earns herself her very own moniker: Bloody Mary. In conjunction to this unfolding action Mary suffers a hideous attack perpetrated by a man she trusted leaving her with a broken spirit and a grisly desire for revenge. With her new found skills, Mary takes a very dark path in ensuring the wrongs committed against her are put right - with horrific results.

First thing I have to say is that American Mary is SO much more than your average horror film. The Soska sisters have crafted a very dark film with rays of light thanks to its clever streak of dark comedy. The film also works as an emotional drama, particularly due to some of the key characters you become so invested in and fascinated by. One of these in particular is Tristan Risks excellently eerie portrayal of Beatress, a sweet and perky lady who has all but transformed herself into her idol, Betty Boop. Tristan plays Beatress with an endearing level of kindness and innocence and although you may find her appearance a bit unsettling you really can't help but fall in love with her. As mentioned, Katherine Isabelle delivers an incredible performance as Mary Mason. Here is a truly captivating young lady, a mixture of dark and light which means you are in awe of her, even when she is doing something unbelievably bad. It's so great to see Katherine back on the horror scene and in such a huge way - she deserves the recognition and I hope she sticks around!

The film is actually fairly light on gore despite its grisly premise. This is no criticism or even a bad thing - the film shows enough and knows exactly when to allow the viewers minds join the remaining dots. I think the film works far better for this as it could have easily been outright gratitous when there was no need to be.

One small critcism of the film is that I really wanted it to end differently. I felt that the film has such a great build up, that there was far more directions for the film to go in and also the potential to follow the film up with another outing perhaps. While I will say that the ending was suitably tense, I just wish it was slightly different...I shall digress now as I dont want to spoil anything for readers.

One final plus point is that I must say how Jen and Sylvia Soska have come absoute leaps and bounds following Dead Hooker in a Trunk.I really enjoyed DHIAT, which was a bizarre mix of comedy, action and a nice dollop of gore. It was also extremly well made despite  wearing its indie heart well and truly on its sleeve. American Mary however is a far slicker, polished affair and should really be playing for the next few months at all UK cinemas if there was any justice. Still, us lucky Brits are able to grab a copy of the film NOW as it has just released on DVD, so I strongly urge you to grab a copy pronto.

A great great film clearly made with passion, heart....and a sick sense of humor of course!

Oh....and look out for Jen and Sylvia in an awesome little cameo.... :)

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Slasher House (2012)

(Screener Copy)

Directed by MJ Dixon

Written by MJ Dixon

Stars: Eleanor James,  Adam Williams, Wellington Grosvenor, Andrew M. Greenwood, Alex Grimshaw, Blaze Bayley, Jonny Raw.

UK Production Company Mycho, founded by film maker MJ Dixon, presents feature film Slasher House, a movie which has created quite the buzz among horror sites for a while now. I was extremely excited to be sent a screener of the movie before its official release and couldn't wait to see how it would pan out based on the strength of its intriguing trailer.

Slasher House features a young woman, RED, who awakens in an abandoned old prison with no knowledge of who she is or how she got there. On investigating the building she encounters strange notes instructing her to do various things such as put a dress on or (gulp) use a great big fuck-off meat cleaver! Safe to say things are far from right here which is very much proven when RED discovers that four of the world’s most notorious murderers are fellow residents! A fight for survival is soon under way with RED having to kill or be killed as the four maniacs close in. 

A huge compliment to this film firstly is the colouring. It’s absolutely stunning. RED isn't called RED for nothing, her vivid and vivacious bright red hair, dress and nails creates a mesmerising contrast to the bleak, grimy and dimly coloured building which she is fighting to escape from.

I also absolutely adored the films structure.The plotting of the film is masterfully laid out in segments which one by one, introduce you to the killers and their back stories. This allows you firstly to know the type of heinous crime each maniac has committed and secondly demonstrates just what RED is up against when the action reverts back to the prison. I have to say that one segment in particular, featuring the past crimes of creepy clown killer, CLEAVER, really really gave me chills. It wasn't so much the implied violence against a young child (which don't get me wrong that was horrific in its own right and I am glad it was off screen) but it was just that ice cream van, parked outside the house, late at night, with all its lights on like it was ready for business. Shudder. The actual clown attack on RED was also expertly done and had me on the edge of my seat. As did the release of barbaric killer THORN when he finally got to flex his terrifying muscles and gigantic bloody blades! There are also a few really creepy scenes involving something quite sinister lurking in the prison, but I refuse to add anything further to that particular part of the film as its heading towards spoiler territory. 

Acting wise, Eleanor James totally steals the show. It’s not just her stunning look in the movie but also her acting technique. I really couldn't take my eyes off of her; I felt her bewilderment when she first wakes up and her sheer terror when the attacks begin. I also rooted for her when she out and out kicked some serial killer arse. Here is the UK's new scream queen if there is any justice. I also thought Adam Williams did a great job as RED's fellow confused inmate Nathan, especially during his final scenes where his character does an about turn. This part of the film is brilliant I kid you not. Special mention also to Andrew M. Greenwood for being so callous as to remind me exactly why clowns terrified me as a child. There is a story there from my childhood (NOT involving murder can I just say!) but I wont go into that....seriously a very well and very scarily acted role from Andrew!

The ending of the movie provides a double whammy of  twists which I was delighted by as I thought my tiny little brain had it alllll figured out and then bam, twist one hit... didn't see that coming at ALL and then bam again, second twist hits and it really was not what I had guessed from the start. So again well done MJ for writing an extremely tight plot which truly kept me on my toes! 

The overall film, not just the colouring, looks fantastic. I could honestly see Slasher House playing on the big screen as it looks like any other theatrical release out there. The cinematography is just spot on, I cannot fault it and MJ Dixon clearly has his own unique and stylish directing technique which I would be surprised if other viewers were not really impressed with. In fact, speaking of big screens, if you are able to get yourself over to the Horror-on-Sea festival in Southend this coming weekend, 18 January 2013 onwards, then you can catch a special screening of Slasher House - this comes highly recommended.

In short Slasher House is exciting, intriguing, scary and fresh. I loved it and I think it will gain a great audience once it is released. 

Mycho are currently prepping their new movie Thorn and I cannot wait to see what they come up considering THORN was such a formidable foe in Slasher House. You can follow all of the Slasher House, Thorn and Mycho comings and goings at the following links…get yourself over there and support solid British independent cinema. I also just wanted to add that further to making great movies, Mycho has FAR more going on than just that - have a look for yourself!

Useful links:

MYCHO official Website
MYCHO Facebook
Slasher House Facebook
THORN Facebook

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Scream Park (2012)

(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by Cary Hill

Written by Cary Hill 

Stars: Doug Bradley, Kevin 'Ogre' Ogilvie, Nicole Beattie, Dean Jacobs, Wendy Wygant, and Steve Rudzinski

After recently interviewing filmmaker Cary Hill (HERE) I was delighted to get the chance to screen upcoming indie slasher Scream Park for review. Described as a homage to the stalk and slash greats of the 80s I am chuffed to be able to back this statement right up. Scream Park is a tightly made, gory, funny, and creepy watch loaded with all the stuff that made slashers fun 30 years ago.

The plot of the movie is nice and simple – a failing theme-park is gearing up for its closure and manager Marty (Steve Rudzinski) is faced with delivering some pay related bad news to his staff at the end of their shift.  Said staff members are fed up with all the issues their place of work has encountered and are planning to stay behind after closing for a bit of a party! Being a slasher movie its fairly obvious that these hapless teens are going to be made to pay a high price for being so audacious and the arrival of a mysterious van sets a bloody nightmare in motion for all involved.

I found so much to enjoy in Scream Park that I am genuinely excited for fellow horror fans to see it to see what they make of it. Firstly there is the mood and atmosphere – the creepy theme park setting, particularly at night just sets the film off in the right direction. So much emphasis is made on highlighting various lit up rides and attractions that it creates an impressively eerie feeling – and that’s not just centring on the ghost house!  Secondly the killers masks – whoa. Both of them are unsettlingly scary in their own right; you have the terrifying white plague mask with the horribly elongated nose/mouth piece and then a ragged sack with crudely cut out eye and mouth holes. Seeing these two horrors firstly pull-up, hidden by their van on the parks security monitor and subsequently seeing them creeping round the place gave me a real shudder. In fact, like I said to Cary Hill – this film filled me with that dread that only the old school slasher greats such as Black Christmas, Halloween and earlier Friday 13th films used to. That’s a huge compliment to the team behind this movie because I think it’s a tone very hard to get right nowadays when fans have seen so so many slasher movies and you often feel like you have seen it all before.   Further to these there is some fun and also some horrifying gore in Scream Park. I don’t want to give the kills away but I will say there is a great scene involving hot fat and also a brutal axing, along with your usual gory slashing’s and stabbings and I felt that these were done well and with practical effects to boot.

Another plus point was the characters and the acting.  Steve Rudzinski, director and writer of fun indie slasher Everyone Must Die, has a great turn here as the put upon and stressed Park Manager Marty.  I was pleased to see Steve’s character had a decent comedic element to it as I already know that he is excellent in both comedy acting and writing. I thought Wendy Wygant was spot on as the innocent heroine ‘Jennifer’ and made for a pretty kick arse final girl in her final scenes. This girl takes a pretty horrific beating and still fights back. I found the character of Missi ( Nicole Beattie) extremely amusing; the role of acidic, sarcastic, doom and gloom is played perfectly here. I also thought that Alicia Marie Marcucci  was fun as the bitchy blonde ‘Allison’and her final scenes really are one of the films highlights – just wait and see. It is great to see our beloved pinhead (Doug Bradley) pop up towards the end in a pivotal cameo – it’s an enjoyable scene which ties the movies occurrences up in a blood stained bow and I am pleased it got to be one of horrors greats to help deliver it. Oh and the ending of the overall film is a bit of a killer ;)

As I already mentioned the film is very tightly made. It's well paced, perfectly edited and shot like a big screen release. I can't say enough how impressive the final version of Scream Park looks. Also in its favour is a brilliant and most fitting score/soundtrack.

My only very very minor complaint would be I think Scream Park may have benefited from two or three more staff members to round the group out as the park does look rather large but that's a very minor quibble.

As you can tell I highly recommend Scream Park. You must see this movie, particularly if you are a fan of the slasher greats of the later 70s/80s. Check out the movies official website and if you are in the states you will be able to grab yourself a copy of the DVD! I also know there are plans for a region 2 DVD for the near future so if you are reading from the UK then keep your eyes on the website and/or the official Facebook page. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

Chris Morrissey brings us an exclusive Trick of the Witch Clip!

I am beyond delighted to be able to share with you a clip from the upcoming supernatural horror/thriller Trick of The Witch! The film features a bevy of beautiful fashion models who come under the spell of a mysterious horror while staying at a beautiful yet isolated house.You can also read my exclusive interview with director Chris Morrissey HERE along with interviews with Trick of the Witch cast members Share Cherrie, Owen Alabado, and Gia Franzia.

Anyways feast your eyes on this exciting clip, which shows the character of Angel (Shay Alexis) in a very frightening predicament! 

While you are at it, check out both trailers for the movie!

Friday, 4 January 2013

Murder University (2012)

Directed by Richard Griffin

Written by Lenny Schwartz

Stars: Jamie Dufault, Michael Thurber, Samantha Acampora, Nat Sylva 

Due to a very annoying mess up with mail and a long delay thanks to the holidays I had a rather long wait to finally see Scorpio Releasing’s 80s homage Murder University. I am pleased to say it was well worth the wait and I had a great time watching this hilarious splatter-fest.  It has a high body count, colourful characters, great practical effects and a brilliant soundtrack/score.  It also looks like a theatrical release which is never an easy feat on a low budget but somehow these guys have managed to pull it off.

The overall plot of the film features young Josh Greene, a shy freshman at college trying to find his way while surviving bullies, mean teachers and a rather dubious roommate.  To add his problems a series of cult related murders are taking place on campus and he is about to find himself hideously caught up in the bloodshed.  Speaking of bloodshed, there is an awful a lot of slicing, dicing, hacking and decapitating to feast your eyes on and gore hounds should be most impressed.

The opening to the film really raised my eyebrows – in a really good way. I loved how it both adhered to and stuck both fingers up at viewer’s expectations as to how the scene might play out. Think your usual slasher movie opening kill(s) with a nice mean and unexpected little twist. There are plenty of fun little oddities peppered throughout the movie also and that’s something I really found impressive about Murder University – there’s a lot to be said for making a movie which is mostly loyal to the best of the 80s stalk and slash films but also putting a bit of your own spin on it.

One thing I didn't like (although the scene does exactly what I imagine it set out to do) was the shock killing of one character who I can’t mention for spoiler purposes. Maybe I am too sensitive but I didn't want things to turn out that way – although points for taking me completely by surprise!

Aside from a few weaker performances from supporting cast members, the key cast all do a great job. Leads Jamie Dufault and Samantha Acampora, as Josh and Meg respectively, play their parts brilliantly and have genuine on screen chemistry. Jamie in particular is impressive throughout especially in his final scenes. Michael Thurber is great fun as the determined and volatile Detective Forrester and I really enjoyed Nick Apostolides (Loco Larry) and Lee Rush (Mrs Greene)  in their roles. 

I really look forward to future work from director Richard Griffin and writer Lenny Schwartz - they clearly made a great team here. All in all Murder University is a well-acted, impressively shot/directed, hilarious and ultimately FUN movie which you would be foolish not to check out once it gets a wide DVD release. For more details on this head on other to MU central HERE and find out more! 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Chill (2012)

(Online Screener Copy)

Directed by: Noelle Bye and Meredith Holland

Written by: Meredith Holland (additional writing by Noelle Bye and Roger Conners)

Produced by Noelle Bye, Roger Conners and Meredith Holland

Stars: Roger Conners, Brad Arner, Angelia DeLuca, Kelly Rogers, David Gilmore, Erinn Bakun, DJ Remark, Mike Kafury, Jason Orr, Wednesday Vinson, Ash Katt with Bella Sin, Rick Montgomery Jr. and Janine Sarnowski.

I was really pleased to be given the chance to screen and review a rough cut, early version of upcoming horror film Chill, an independent movie gathering a fair bit of excitment from fans.

When I was sent the link to view the movie I was informed of a few things which I am going to share in order to be completely honest about the version of the film I saw. Firstly the film was the first hour of the movie only and is still in need of a full score and some other tweaks such as colour correction and other audio corrections.

The main thing the first hour of Chill did for me, or rather TO me, is make me hungry to see the film in full. See Chill is a bonafide mystery slasher which builds extremely well before starting to take out its characters. This means we get a well plotted story instigating curiousity as to what is really going on and it also allows key characters to make a strong impression. For me that means there are some characters I would genuinely NOT want to see die and likewise some who just have to go! I would also say the film is presented very well, it's nicely shot and doesn't look overly cheap, and remember this is an indie.

Plot wise the film centres on college student Jared (Brad Arner) who coerces his best pal Kyle (Co writer and producer Roger Conners) into helping him stage a web broadcasted game called Chill which is kind of like a fake online murder mystery. However Jared's reasons for this is due to his interest in the killings of a group of students who played the same game years before - and were subsequently found dead. As Jared sets up his 'Chill revival', his 'cast' assemble, ready to play the game - unfortunately so does a mysterious killer, apparently keen on making bloody history repeat itself.

There were a lot of things which made me want to see the climax of this film. Many of the actors did a great job, in particular Brad Arner as Jared and Roger Conners as Kyle. I also extremely enjoyed the character of Bella 'Chi Chi' (Bella Sin) and was very interested in the introduction of the Kelly Masters character (Erinn Bakun). On top of this, the mystery involving the original murders along with the new spate of killings genuinely draws you right in. I think horror fans are going to really enjoy attempting to guess the maniacs identity. Something else that I hope fans dig, as the integration of comedy into horror can be a tricky business, is the funny bantering and one liners spewed out by many of the characters. I found a lot of scenes funny and I hope fans take the same thing away from it.

Finally I will say you really should keep up to date on the progress of Chill. Here is a link to the official Facebook page where you can become a fan and also be on the look out for news. When I have seen the full film after its out I will be re-reviewing so also be on the look out for that. Checking out Chill was a great little surprise for the new year.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

True Nature (2010)

Screener Copy)

Directed by Patrick Steele

Written by  Patrick Steele

Stars: Carolyn McCormick, Marianne Porter, Reg Land, David Darlow, John Woodruff, Marc Pitman, Michael Accardo and Kevin R. Kelly, Rob Riley, Maryann Nagel, Rohn Thomas, Christopher Popio, Jeremy Shouldis, Ellen Savaria, Kristine Logan.

Release: DVD (US) January 22 2013 courtesy of Monarch Home Video.

Many thanks to Patrick Steele for agreeing to share his supernatural thriller True Nature with me for review. I am pleased to say the film is a solid and well made chiller and has certainly kicked off my year of reviewing off in style.
The plot of the movie is centred around the Pascal family who are lucky enough to have all they could ever possibly want in life. However the families picture perfect existence is soon horrifically rocked when college student daughter Marianne disappears one night while she is out running. It is Marianne reappearance one year later, an apparent victim of amnesia that provides the key mystery of the film and as a viewer I was sucked right into proceedings, eager to learn the truth about what happened to Marianne.

What I immediately liked about this film as well as the fantastic acting, was the true reflection of everyday family life within the Pascal home. True these people have all they need to live a fulfilling and comfortable life but they still have their (realistic) problems. Mother Becky (Carolyn McCormick) is over protective and pushy where Marianne is concerned, father Reg (Reg Porter) works a lot of hours and Marianne bemoans the fact that she just isn't free enough. Clearly though this being a film dark in tone there is FAR more going on behind this wealthy little facade and it is Mariannes disappearance and subsequent reappearance which acts as the catalyst for all of the deep dark Pascal secrets to come tumbling out. Oh and tumbling out they do. This film really knocked me for six once it got going and it builds up to a most satisfying climaxes that you may not see coming. I am not going to disclose any spoilers here  but what I will say is that the truth about what happened to Marianne on that fateful night is both disturbing and heartbreaking and anyone who may have been involved are not going to come out unscathed.... Trust me when I say that the ending is insane.

As I said before there are some great performances in this film. The three leads, all members of the Pascal family are pretty much perfect in their roles. Marianne Porter plays the damaged daughter with ease, making you feel her torment at whatever dark event has led up to her current state. Reg Porter is superb as the secretive and shady father whose actions will likely keep you hooked until the end to find out what truths lie beneath the surface. My favourite performance however was Carolyn McComick as Becky Pascal. Carolyn plays a fine mixture of over protective mother and snobbish socialite with ease. You are never quite sure if her perfectly manicured lifestyle or her daughters well being is forefront of her mind, despite how much she clearly seems to care for Marianne. For this reason Becky was the most interesting and layered character for me and her final scene may leave you with some questions..

Patrick Steele has not only written an extremely tight and engaging script for True Nature but he has also made a film with keen emphasis on stylish direction. The film has lots of interesting shots throughout which work best when they veer from a slightly more normal scene to one of Mariannes many violent flashbacks. Great stuff.

I highly recommend this film. It will be availiable on DVD in the US on  January 22 2013 (Amazon link)  and I strongly urge you grab a copy, I dont think you will be let down. In the meantime, check out the films official website site HERE. Very much looking forward to Patrick Steeles next movie thats for sure!