Halloween (2018) – review

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The eleventh movie in a horror franchise that now includes seven increasingly shoddy direct sequels, a remake, a sequel to a remake, and one entry that has nothing to do with the other films at all, 2018’s Halloween takes the bold step of ignoring all the previous instalments except for John Carpenter’s  legendary 1978 original. It’s a rare bit of audaciousness that’s otherwise largely missing from director David Allen Green and co-writer Danny McBride’s workmanlike follow-up. Continue reading “Halloween (2018) – review”

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Hereditary – review

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‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad,’ runs Philip Larkin’s famous poem. It’s a concept that runs central to Hereditary, the debut feature from writer-director Ari Aster, which has been racking up an unusual level of plaudits for a horror film over the past few weeks. Critics have been lining up to breathlessly declare it the scariest film of the year. But despite an intriguing first act and a reliably ominous atmosphere, this creepy but ultimately derivative film doesn’t quite stick the landing. Continue reading “Hereditary – review”

A Quiet Place – review

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A Quiet Place, the ingenious and effective new chiller from John Krasinski (best known for his role as Jim in the American version of The Office), lets you know from the start that it is not playing around. A title card announces that we are day 89 into some unknown crisis. A group of ragged survivors scavenge a deserted supermarket in complete silence, moving cautiously, voices not even rising to a whisper. Stress is etched into their faces, but what has them so alarmed? An ill-timed outburst of noise and, with a sudden, shocking eruption of ferocious violence, we have our answer: it’s fair to say that A Quiet Place shows its teeth early. Continue reading “A Quiet Place – review”

IT – review

Stephen King’s 1986 novel IT, and particularly its Tim Curry-starring 1990 TV adaptation, helped create a whole generation of coulrophobes thanks to its creepy central villain, Pennywise the dancing clown. Now Andy Muschietti’s feature film adaptation of the lengthy book’s first half (a sequel covering the second half is in production) aims to reignite those fears all over.  Continue reading “IT – review”

Gaming Retrospective – Silent Hill 2

The immediacy of video games as a medium in many ways lends itself to horror. After all, the player’s on-screen avatar is, in a way, an extension of themselves in a way that a movie character is not – you control them, you make their choices. In a weird way, those horrors onscreen are happening to you, and this often gets the heart pumping and the pulse racing in a way that watching a film as a passive observer just doesn’t manage. The Resident Evil games and movies might both share a taste for campy dialogue, B-movie thrills, and action set-pieces, but only the games are ever truly frightening. Continue reading “Gaming Retrospective – Silent Hill 2”

It Comes At Night – review

It’s a sign of the overall ambiguity of It Comes At Night, the hair-raising new chiller from writer-director Trey Edward Schults, that it’s never entirely clear what ‘it’ is. ‘It’ could  be the deadly virus that has ravaged the world at large, forcing Paul (Joel Edgerton), wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and 17-year old son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr) to barricade themselves in their woodland homestead. ‘It’ could be the nightmares that plague Travis whenever the sun goes down. ‘It’ could be the intruder who one night breaks into their home. Continue reading “It Comes At Night – review”

Ranking the Alien Movies

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Few movie series can boast the longevity of the Alien franchise, which now spans eight films over nearly forty years. It’s hard to over-emphasise just how influential the Alien movies have become since the release of the first film in 1979. The alien has become one of cinema’s most famous, universally recognised monsters, while in Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley the series has arguably Hollywood’s most celebrated female protagonist.

With so many instalments in the series, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the quality has been…somewhat variable. With the release last week of the franchise’s latest entry, Alien: Covenant, I decided to go through and rank all eight films from worst to best, starting with:  Continue reading “Ranking the Alien Movies”