Tuesday 19 February 2013

The Inside (2010)

(Screener Copy)

Directed by Eion Macken

Written by Eion Macken

Stars: Tereza Sborva,Kellie Blaise, Siobhan Cullen, Vanessa Matias Fahy, Natalia Kostrzewa, Sean Stewart, Emmett Scanlan, Brian Fortune, Karl Argue and Eion Macken as 'The Man'

Release: DVD (UK) 25 March 2013, Courtesy of Monster Pictures.

Many thanks to Steve Hills of Monster Pictures for sending me a screener of upcoming found footage horror The Inside. The film releases on DVD in the UK on the 25 March and for the most part is a creepy and effective watch.

The plot involves a young man who lays his hands on a shocking video, depicting the events which occurred when a group of young girls, armed with video camera, break into an old building for a birthday party. The tape reveals that following the girls brutal assault by a gang of violent rapist vagrants, them and their attackers found themselves at the mercy of a far more frightening threat. Something unknown and deadly...with escape appearing very much futile. I don't want to give much away beyond this point except to some there are some insanely creepy things going on in this building, from the inexplicable noises and blood red symbols all over the walls. Half the fun is trying to figure out exactly what is after the core cast...and hoping that their male attackers get what they deserve!

The acting is pretty decent across the boar. All of the girls come across as likeable and display a genuine air of friends trying to have fun (before all hell breaks loose). It becomes a bit tricky to keep tabs on them all once the shit hits the fan but they all also all do a good job of expressing stark terror in their unfathomable predicament. Emmett Scanlan who you will likely recognise from hit C4 soap Hollyoaks is FAR more terrifying than Brendan Brady in this film- you may think that couldn't be possible...but I promise you it is.

My main complaint with The Inside is the sheer chaos it descends into when the girls are first attacked. Of course this is a very likely scenario should this actually happen in real life however I just found it way too jarring. The girls are screaming, the guys are screaming and it quite literally gave me a headache. I felt it made an extremely disturbing predicament slightly more ineffective as opposed to the actual intent behind it. However once you hear that ominous baby crying, something even the vicious attackers cannot explain, you know we are headed into far more terrifying territory. Following this I am glad to say the headache subsided and I found myself completely sucked into the film, eager to see what the conclusion would be.

I recommend this to horror fans in general but to found footage fans particularly. Fans of the sub genre should like what they see but if that's not your cup of tea, I can't see The Inside will do anything different to change your mind. However if you love all this kind of stuff, shaky camera, raw hysteria and all, grab a copy of the film - it has some solid scares, an ominous atmosphere of dread and a great and chilling little ending.

Saturday 16 February 2013

The Leafblower Massacre (2012)


(Screener Copy)

Directed by Anthony Cooney and Josh Stephenson 

Written by Anthony Cooney and Josh Stephenson 

Stars: Anthony Cooney, Anita nicole Brown,Patrick Hozjan, Shavar D Clark,Josh Stephenson, Mariel Taren.karla Shaw monay,Martin shawn Cooney.Bryan shu -izm

Anthony Cooneys (El Hombre Muerto Pictures) new horror short The Leaf Blower Massacre plays loving homage to the SOV revenge horrors of the 80s, most specifically The Nail Gun Massacre (spot the title similarity).

The hilarious hook of this film is that our masked maniac had armed himself with, you guessed it, a leaf blower, as weapon of choice! How does one attack and/or kill another human being with a leafblower? Well jump in and find out....

I had a great time with this little horror flick - there is a lot to be said for being creative and wacky with your psychopaths MO and I felt Anthony Cooney has hit the jack pot in that respect. Ok its silly and ok you might think 'grab a machete or something and just get on with it!' but I dont think thats what this film is all about....its supposed to be different and fun and it is. The majority of the film centres around a poker game being played by a bunch of mostly unlikeable people and we all know where Mr Leaf Blower is headed dont we? The ending to the film then takes on a slightly nastier dimension as the killer takes a very angry young lady looking for her (sadly dead) boyfriend.

Oh and this film also has the best tag line EVER: 'When Autumn arrives...no one survives!' .... awesome. 

I think there is a place in us horror fans lives for a Leaf Blower Massacre feature film...maybe old leafy could descend on a sorority house or a boarding school or something? I say BRING IT.

Head on over to the films official Facebook page right HERE to find out more about it!


I was really pleased to recieve a number of short films from director Jakob Bilinski, who is behind the upcoming Giallo influenced Three Tears on Bloostained Flesh. Read on for my thoughts on the films which range from thriller to horror to exploitation! Safe to say I am officially a big fan of Jakobs work......

Foxxy Madonna Vs the Black Death (2007)

Foxxy Madonna Vs the Black Death is not a horror short. And I don’t give a damn. This is one entertaining little short film with a total kick arse main character and I had a blast watching it. The film is an action extravaganza playing loving homage to similar movies of the 1970s and features sexy and sassy Monica Barajas as the titular character up against all manner of foils including possessed folk, plagues and chalkboard wielding maniacs! If you haven’talready guessed this film does not play by rules – and I love it for that.

Not only is Foxxy Madonna Vs the Black Death entertaining but it is also very well made. It’s presented professionally, is well written and has a great little soundtrack.  The cast, particularly Monica, are well up to the challenge and help to elevate theshort to a higher standard. I am very impressed with this short film and it definitely makes me more excited for Jacob Bilinski’s upcoming work!

Obsolescense (2011)

Obsolescence plays out like a mind bending thriller/mystery which successfully keeps you guessing throughout its 26 minute running time.

Nick (Scott Ganyo) has a young woman stashed away and tied to a chair where he is demanding answers to an unknown question. The captured lady Tess (Rosalind Rubin) attempts desperately to talk Nick down from his crazed plight, to no avail. We then find ourselves back in Nicks past where he is romancing a young lady named Annie (Jen Lilley) where we start to get more clarity on what Nick is trying to find out. The film keeps you on your toes by switching between past present and future, all building to a truly stunning revelation. Actually make that about two stunning revelations! Both I'm sure you won't see coming!

Obsolescence is a great piece of indie cinema. It's well written, keeps you interested not to mention guessing and is made even better by some excellent performances. In particular Jen Lilley as Annie gives a genuinely sweet turn and I would be very interested in seeing more from her!

A final thought on this film would be that I see great scope for a feature film involving elements of the plot and the shady organisation we get to know a small amount about - that's a 100% compliment to Obsolescence.

Bloody Hooker Bang Bang: A Love Story (2012)

Not to be crude...but Bloody Hooker Bang Bang is FUCKING awesome. I demand a feature length version right NOW!

At a short and sweet 12 minute running time, this film manages to pull off an excting, action packed mixture of revenge horror and exploitation. Starring the always amazing Kristine Renee Farley (who looks kick arse AMAZING) in this film and Sidney Shripka (who gave a fantastic turn in Big Biting Pig Productions Hell is Full also alongside Farley) as a pair of sexy and tough hookers. Sara (Shripka) and Kate (Farley) have managed to incur the wrath of the psychotic Mamma (The absoutely brilliant Cindy Maples who has also starred in many of the films bought to us by Big Biting Pig) who takes it upon herself to send her motely crew of equally as crazy children to dispatch the two girls.

The film very quickly descends into chaos as a dark and dingy buiding becomes a battle ground between the girls, with support from a man with means pimp (Kevin Roach) and the hideous spawn of Mamma Crowe. This is cue for some insane and brilliant gore and bloodshed and I give massive props to Jakob for keeping the entertainment factor turned right up to ten for the whole of BHBB.

The film looks amazing, it is a low budget indie short but as I say it NEEDS  a feature because this version looks like it belongs in theatres....Sin City eat your heart out, I would rather see a follow up to this film or a full length version than the ever delayed sequal to SC!

Great acting, great costumes, amazing gore effects, and a tense, funny and towards the end extremly sad plot. You must see this film as soon as you can, one of the best short films I have ever had the pleasure of sitting through and that is a fact.

Friday 15 February 2013

The Toy (2013) (Short)


Directed By Derek Dennis Herbert

Written by Derek Dennis Herbert

Stars: Krystelle Lorraine, Benjamin Stevenson and Jonathan Sterritt

Today I had the pleasure of checking out Derek Dennis Herbert's new horror short The Toy. Derek has recently been finalising the film for release following a successful pledge campaign to raise money to make it. It's great to see that all the hard work has really paid off as I found The Toy to be a creepy, well made, 12 minutes of horror and all I can say is I would love to see more of the ominous doll Billy in the future!

It's Christmas time and young Tommy is excited to wake up in the morning to open all of his presents. His loving mother Patricia is equally as excited for him and after putting Tommy to bed she prepares for the following busy day. Christmas day soon rolls around and Tommy's estranged father Jonathan shows up much to his sons delight (and his mothers distaste). Jonathan brings with him two gifts, one rather disappointing and one a toywhich Tommy has wanted for ages, much like with young Andy in the original Childs Play with the Good Guy Doll! But it soon seems that something may not be right after Tommy is hurt and claims that the doll, who has told him that his name is Billy, is responsible. He also claims Billy has told him to murder his own parents. The Toy then delivers a cruel and haunting ending which leaves a nice touch of ambiguity as to whether it was actually the doll who has committed the vicious acts on display.  I would like to point out that none of this is delivered in poor taste and there is no on screen gore. This is not at all a hindering factor and actually works incredibly well in it's favour - you really dont need to see any extreme carnage in this film for it to be effective and I hope you will agree when you see it.

I really had a great time with The Toy. It tells a good story in its short running time and instantaneously grips the viewer. I loved the fact that the titular toy was a very non descript looking little thing as it just adds to the creepiness of it all. The mere thought that such a generic and harmless looking  childs toy, could be home to a murderous evil really raises a chill. The film also features some GREAT acting. Krystelle Lorraine steals the show as concerned and caring mother Patricia because she just comes across as genuine and likeable. Her scenes where she realises something horribly bad is afoot also shows that Krystelle has some impressive acting chops and I would love to see more of her in the indie horror world! However that's not to say the other cast members are not good as they also do a fantastic job. Benjamin Stevenson is brilliant as the cheery young Tommy and his change of character toward the end really impressed me. Likewise Jonathan Sterritt comes across as a genuinely caring father who perhaps has made some wrong choices in his life and hasn't been there for his son as much as he feels he should be.

The Toy is really well made, it looks extremely good for an indie film made on a low budget and is already making me excited to see what Derek may do next whether it be with another short or even a feature. My only complaint? I wanted to see more! Get yourself over to official The Toy website HERE and get the film rented or bought right now! I really don't think you will regret it, particularly if you are into horror stories involving toys/dolls or are simply a fan of great indie film making!

Thursday 14 February 2013


 I was really pleased to receive a number of short films from indie horror director Peter Dukes. The films  range from light scares to out and out horror and I enjoyed these immensely. Peter is certainly one to watch out for in the indie horror world!

The Beast (2012)

I thought I would start with the newest of Peters short films and work my way down, so to speak. Therefore I will firstly give my thoughts on emotional werewolf horror tale The Beast. Starrring well known indie horror actor Bill Oberst Jr. the film centres around a father named Michel (Oberst)  who is desperate to rid his son (Alexander Le Bas) of a horrifying condition which see's him transforming into a werewolf when the moon is full.

The acting in this film is top notch I have to say. It propels a fairly simple story to another level with the father so devastated by the god awful affliction haunting his son that he seems hell bent on doing whatever it takes to end his misery.

I dont want to spoil anything but will confidentally say that you will be on your seats edge in the final minutes as Michel must make an absoutely horrible choice and you will most certainly be thinking 'will he or wont he' in its final scenes.

I think there is some great werewolf makeup effects on display here and makes me excited to think what Peter might do with possibly a werewolf feature! This short made me feel like there is still some blood in the werewolf legend and perhaps Mr Dukes is the one to prove that to the world!

A very impressive and really quite sad horror short which provided great acting, great makeup effects and an extremely tense climax. You will want to watch this horror fan or not.

Lanrete (2010)

Next up is Lanrete is a 7 minute horror short which gives a nice new twist on the zombie sub genre.

The film is centered around a scientist ( John Micheal Herndon) who has been captured by a stranger in a ski mask ( Brahm Gallagher) and appears unaware of the reasons behind his detainment. It soon becomes clear that the person, sorry thing, behind the ski mask is not a living human being...but it IS able bodied...and wants answers ...NOW.

To say too much about Lanrete would be unfair as it should be seen fresh without any spoilers or indication of whats going on. What I would say is pay good attention to the nail biting conversation between the captured and the captor and I hope you agree that the outcome has not only not been done before but is actually a very rewarding pay off.

In summary, a refreshing short horror film which takes a well known sub genre of horror and presents it in a completely different way.  I think that it clearly demonstrates Peter Dukes ability to take something we all know like the back of our hand and turn it on its head - which is just fantastic.

They Watch (2009)
2009 short, They Watch is essentially a throw back to those old episodes of The Twlight Zone - you know the kind, an odd mystery which builds up to an eerie or twist pay off? I loved this short so much - its 100% in the vein of The Twlight Zone from its purposefully mysterious dialogue to being shot completely in black and white. 

The plot of the story involves a man named Marcus ( Greg Travis) on his death bed, being cared for by his wife. One day Marcus recieves a visitor  named Victor( John Michael Herndon) who comes across as a mixture of sinister and anxious. It soon becomes clear that not only do these men know each other but that they have a macabre secret which Victor is keen is not unleashed on account of Marcus' guilt prior to his  death. Now, we never find out exactly what the secret it but you could make a few good guesses based on the tense conversation between Victor and Marcus.

What gives They Watch an even more exciting angle is the chilling end where something really rather unexpected and terrifying is shown captured on video camera. This scene kind of reminded me of the few genuinely chilling moments in Insidious (Please note that They Watch came first though!) and was just perfect. Following this we get one last scare as the character of Victor goes to leave the home he has come to stir up so much trouble in. A really really great short with an intriguing plot and a scary ending - all in the space of ten short minutes!

The Scarecrow & The Princess (2009)

Also from 2009, The Scarecrow & The Princess was described to me as a light hearted horror film for families by director Peter Dukes which I agree with totally. To an extent. It certainly does play out as a family friendly mix of fantasy and non violent Halloween antics BUT I could imagine some children finding the ending a catalyst for many sleepless nights or nightmares! Or maybe I am just a wuss?

Anyway the story....the film tells the tale of a lonely old scarecrow eager to find a friend as he watches the world go by. Its Halloween night and its just his luck that a young girl (Cameron Protzman), dressed as a princess  comes along and keeps him company. However the disruption of this burgeoning friendship by several mean kinds who come along to steal the young girls candy causes the young girl to disappear in upset. Thus, our friend the scarecrow  is left alone once again. This does not go down well at all and our straw filled pal decides that some scores need to be settled.....it is at this point the film ends, but before this we see what appears to be a lifeless creation by an old guy, slowly spring into action.

This film is extremely clever in that the the dialogue of the scarecrow and the young girl is narrated by someone else, in a wonderful fairytale style way, so that you see the scarecrow exactly as he should be seen; a set of clothes and sackcloth filled with straw. This makes the final scene of the film both surprising and quite creepy and I completely congratulate Peter on this. I think this may have been my favourite of all four shorts although they are all great in their own right. I cannot wait to see more from Peter Dukes based on these films!

Monday 11 February 2013

Crossbearer (2012)

Directed by Adam Ahlbrandt

Written by Ahlbrandt 

Stars:  Issac Williams, Natalie Jean, Victoria DePaul, Kacie Marie, Tim Cronin, Julia Campbell, J.D Brown, Shaun Paul Costello, Dawn Vaughn, Kelsey Lehman.

Release: DVD available HERE

Adversary Films bring us one of the darkest, nastiest slashers I have seen for some time. It truly is a grimy trip to hell and back and writer/director Adam Ahlbrandt should be commended for really going for it with the dark stuff.

The plot of the film involves broke stripper Heather. Heather is absolutely sick of her life; her job is soul destroying and her relationship with coke addled Victoria is leaving her desperate to get out - and fast. It turns out that Heather has a girlfriend on the side, Bunny, a girl she really wants to be with. The only way Heather can see to escape her miserable existence with Bunny is to double cross her arsehole/psychotic boss at work in order to have enough money to make her getaway. Safe to say that this is NOT going to go to plan because Heather and her friends she enlists to help her in her plans find themselves trapped in a dark and dingy factory - at the mercy of a murderous religious fantastic intent on ridding the earth of human filth. From here on the film descends into a blood drenched nightmare as our resident maniac begins using his ‘hammer of god’ to brutally dispatch those he deems not worthy of life.

I firstly have to say that if you like your horror light and fluffy with a few jump scares and some comic gore then Cross Bearer will most likely not be for you. A word of warning here folks as this film includes a plethora of dark stuff – heavy drug use, abuse, graphic sex and nudity and a lot of cringe inducing gore. If you think you can handle it then jump right in as this is very much a sharp, fast paced and well-made slasher film.

The acting in Cross Bearer really hit the mark for the most part. Aside from one or two weaker performances, the principal cast were really impressive. Natalie Jean as Heather and her deadbeat girlfriend Victoria (Victoria DePaul) in particular handled their meaty roles exceptionally and were people I came to care about despite (Ahem Victoria) their flaws. Isaac Williams was absolutely terrifying as the god fearing fruitcake who has taken it upon himself to do a little societal tidy up. You may think ‘well how much acting does a masked killer actually have to do in a film?’ but I must say the killers insane ranting and cruel taunting was really effective and creepy.

Adam and co have done a bang up job with Cross Bearer in presenting a well shot indie that impressively belies a low budget. I am impressed with both the aesthetics of the film and the blatant boundary pushing Adam has done in not prettying anything up. I am not a fan of drugs in the slightest (and obviously don’t agree with cold blooded murder either!) however I guess if you didn't see some of the drug use on display in this film, the impact of the characters would have been significantly lessened.

A really great job here and I look forward very much to their next effort The Cemetery – a gory tale of demonic possession…..

Sunday 10 February 2013

Waterfront Nightmare (2012)

(Screener Copy)

Directed by Clark Birchmeier

Written by Jason B. Whittier

Stars: Bree Michaels, Liana Werner-Gray
Andrew Roth, Simone Wasserman, Dominic Ryan Gabriel, EJ Assi , Anthony Ecclissi, Elias Bahri, Kef Lee, Grady Chambless, Megan Grant, Kirk Wilcox 

Big big thanks to Jason Whittier for sending me a screener of Waterfront Nightmare, a film he wrote and co produced along with director Clark Birchmeier.

Waterfront Nightmare spins the familiar tale of a group of young friends vacationing in a cabin in the woods for some good times unaware that someone out there wants then very much dead. That said familiarity aside, Waterfront Nightmare takes the slasher film to a new and interesting level, not just in the manner in which it is filmed (which I will come onto) but also in the strong characterisation of its key players. The film very much sets out to, and succeeds in giving the young friends their own discernible identities be it good or bad. Take Emma ( Liana Werner-Gray) a fun, free spirit who likes her alcohol a tad too much but is also a sweet person under the wild child front. Or Jackson (Elias Bahri) boyfriend of lead gal Kelly (Bree Michaels) who appears gentle and loving but masks a really rather hot temper underneath it all. Even more interesting is the coupling of foul mouted but loveable Alyssa (Simone Wasserman) and her cruel, arrogant and volatile boyfriend James Dominic Gabriel). Here is a couple some viewers may find unrealistic due to James horribly poor treatment of his girlfriend and her reluctance to end their relationship. However there ARE couples like this out there, the kind you just watch in action and think 'WHAT are they doing together' but they just seem happy to carry on the misery.

I would very much put Waterfont Nightmare in the mystery thriller/drama category. There is a madman on the loose and these kids do start dropping like flies, however there is no real gore to speak of and you do need to use your imagination in many scenes. I am not saying this is a bad thing, its fairly refreshing to see what is essentially a slasher film not going for any type of hardcore violence and concentrating more on style and well written characters.

Speaking of style...this movie has it in spades. I'm no technical whizz so I am not going to attempt to 'blind you with science' or anything but Waterfont Nightmare is extremly stylishly shot. Its hard to really explain this except to say you will know what I am talking about whenj you get to see it. Lots of interesting shots throughout the film, some of which exist as a kind of warning or precusor of events to follow. I really loved this element of the movie and I hope that viewers are likewise pleasantly suprised.

The acting was also really rather good! I can see why Bree Michaels was chosen to play Kelly, as she comes across as genuinely natural in her role. She also kicks some arse toward the end and I enjoyed this a lot. In fact the whole group of kids do a great job, I loved Liana Werner-Gray and Simone Wasserman as party girl Emma and downbeaten Alyssa respectively. Elias Bahri was fantastically unpredictable as Jackaon, nice and placid one minute, going for someones throat the next! Dominic as James is also superb as the guy you really have to hate, he is just a complete and utter bastard - to his friends and his girlfriend - I would never want to go on holiday with this dude!!

I hope others are not expecting the killer to be who it turns out to be by the end of the film. I was nicely suprised and although it made perfect sense, it still was a neat reveal which made me think 'oh ok!'. A good end with a nice bit of action.

I recommend Waterfont Nightmare highly to fans to horror mysteries and also those who like a little more style to a tried and tested formula. Check out the films official Facebook right HERE and look out for news on when you can get to the see the film SOON.


It wasn't too long ago now that I had the chance to review a film called 15 by filmmaker Jason Hawkins as well as the pleasure of interviewing Jason and cast and crew members.

Now 15 is a movie that I will never forget, yet part of me wants to forget. Not that it was a bad film, it wasn't, it was actually quite exceptional...however it was also extremely raw and horribly uncompromising. Jason and the guys behind 15 made a haunting, controversial piece of film which if you get the chance to see you will never forget it. I promise.

Back to the present Jason and his team at Gravestone Entertainment bring us a new horror film: the intriguingly titled The Devil Knows His Own. Now here is a trailer that doesnt give too much away, which is great but DOES throw lots of creepy ideas, images and taped conversation at you, to truly whet the appetite. It look set to be an awfully frightening piece of horror cinema and sincerely gave me the chills - one part in particular involving a terrifying man...you will know it when you see it.....

Read on for the official synopsis and trailer - hope you enjoy it! Also check out the films official Facebook page!

The Devil Knows His Own

When Jessica and Ethan Ray receive news their Grandmother has passed, they believe the nightmares of their childhoods will finally be laid to rest. Returning home for the first time in over 25 years, the siblings reunite only to discover a mystery surrounds the house they are inheriting. Within the walls of their family estate, the dead to do not rest easy, and the horrors of their childhood are nothing compared to the terror that awaits them. 

Friday 8 February 2013

The Lodge (2008)

(Screener Copy)

Directed by Brad Helmink, John Rauschelbach

Written by Deb Havener

Stars: Elizabeth Kell, Owen Szabo, Kevin McClatchey, Mando Kreisher.

Release: DVD (UK) 14 January 2013 Courtesy of 101 films.

Steve Davey of 101 Films was kind enough to send me a screener of recently released The Lodge and due to the creepy artwork and nods to some truly great horror films I was excited to see what the movie had in store for me.

The plot is ultra-simple. A young couple, Julia and Michael (Elizabeth Kell and Owen Szabo) trying to get away from it all, hole up in a luxurious cabin to enjoy each other’s company and the fresh country air. It becomes extremely evident from the offset that something is horribly wrong as the cabin manager/owner appears suddenly, not seeming at all familiar with the area or the cabin he is supposedly in charge of….. Things go from bad to worse when the creepy guy, Henry (Kevin McClatchy) steals items belonging to them and they then make a startling discovery. From here the film launches into action with the young couple fighting against a macabre situation in an attempt to escape it alive. There are some pretty decent tense scenes once the truth has dawned on Julia and Michael and this was an element I did enjoy about the film.

The more disappointing aspects of The Lodge come mainly from its apparent lack of inspiration or originality. It’s totally fine to make a film, with a theme that has been touched on many times, however to keep many viewers interests nowadays you have to throw something else into the mix. Now while this is a criticism for the most part of the movie, The Lodge does redeem itself towards the end with a gruesome reveal related to the character of Desi (Mandi Kreisher) a young girl discovered by Julia and Michael. For the more patient viewers, this reveal should provide a well needed surprise which definitely works considerable favours for the film. For other viewers I fear that half an hour or so in and they may decide they have seen it all before and switch off…which is a shame.

Another plus point for the film is that the actors all do a really good job. Elizabeth Kell and Owen Szabo are very natural in their roles as a slightly over sexed and loved up couple, Kevin McClatchy was suitably creepy as Henry and Mandi Kreisher’s role was just great…but I don’t want to spoil anything here.

While The Lodge certainly has its shortcomings and I cannot exactly tip it as a must see, it does have its moments, particularly towards the end. I would still be very keen to see what the directors and writer of The Lodge might come up with next as there are some really good ideas mixed into what I would say is a generally unevenly paced movie with not enough bite to really keep an audience glued to the screen.

Friday 1 February 2013

Carnival of Fear (2011)


(Screener Copy)

Directed by Jay Woelfel

Written by Jay Woelfel

Stars: Aimee Brooks, Damian Maffei and Joe Unger

Release: UK DVD April 2 2012, courtesy of 101 films

Extending my thanks once more to Steve Davey of 101 Films for allowing me to review Joe woelfel’s Carnival of Fear (Known as Closed for the Season elsewhere).

The overall plot of the film doesn't give much away which is not a bad thing however this is definitely a movie where a lot of confusing things are relentlessly thrown at you so you must keep up – and even then you may find yourself perplexed. A young girl named Kristy is trapped in a creepy amusement park and finds herself tormented by all manner of nasty things – she wants to escape….they want her to stay forever….

One truly great thing about this film is its amazing imagery. Even if you find yourself a bit lost on the plot (I did) you cannot fault all of the grotesque evils that are hunting Kristy (well played by Aimee Brooks) through what I think is a brilliant setting. The lake monster in particular is awesome and I loved this part of the film.

There is also some impressive gore sequences and I really enjoyed what they did this element. Gore hounds should be suitably impressed by the amount of hacked off limbs and splattery effects and although this film is by no means a slasher movie, it still delivers in the nasty goods.

As I already mentioned the plot is a tough one. Therefore you see characters die many times due to the surreal and offbeat structure of the film leaving you really unsure of the intentions behind it. Still if you can get past this and just decide to take it for the interesting elements then you will surely find some enjoyment in Carnival of Fear.

Definitely give this one a whirl if you are not a stickler for a film that is very black and white in nature and leaves everything easily in place for you to figure it all out. The film has a great setting some decent acting and best of all its visual imagery is bloody brilliant. Head on other to Amazon UK now to grab yourself a copy!

The Maze (2010)

(Screener Copy)

Directed by Stephen Shimek

Written by Timothy Gutierrez, Katy Baldwin

Stars: Shalaina Fotheringham, Brandon Pearson, Clare Niederpruem, Kyle Paul.

Release: UK DVD October 8 2012, courtesy of 101 films

Many thanks to Steve Davey of 101 Films for sending me a copy of The Maze for review. The film is a watch-able hour or so of slasher mayhem which appears to struggle a bit due to its simplicity. Simplicity doesn't always have to be a bad thing in any movie, but something about The Maze just made me think ‘this could do with just a bit more shock value or frightening scenes’.

The premise is as follows; a group of pals break into a corn maze late at night and embark on a game of ‘tag’ (‘your IT’ for us Brits) and soon find themselves at the mercy of a killer hidden by a red hoodie. Said killer has a very twisted mind and is determined to bait and torment the group as much as he can before ending their lives and it is soon not looking good for anyone to escape intact.

My main issue with the film is that already mentioned. There just doesn't seem to be enough oomph in the plot and therefore some fairly decent actors don’t have a lot to work with which felt like a bit of a sad waste. The killer also doesn't have a strong enough identity and isn't at all frightening which is also a shame. Finally those looking for some decent kills will also not find much to take away from this film as while it has an OK bodycount, the actual deaths are your bog standard stab and slash. This would be fine in itself if the movie was genuinely scary but I am afraid in this instance this isn't the case.

On the plus side I really did enjoy the films setting. The corn maze was a cool idea for a slasher movie (ignoring films such as Children of the Corn as they are of a slightly different sub-genre) and it did look quite eerie at night. The acting as I say is really quite good and I did enjoy the performances for sure. I also thought the film delivered a strong end and if the first part of the film was of a similar quality in terms of action then I think I would have enjoyed it a hell of a lot more.

To be fair the crew behind The Maze should be commended for making an entertaining enough movie which despite its flaws does manage to end in style. You can buy the DVD right NOW in the UK and would say that it’s at least worth a watch; you may well have some fun with it.