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Latest Movie Reviews: Fairy Tales, Zombies, Aliens, Car Chases, Corrupt Cops and Contract Killers

4 Aug

This month I have a quite a backlog of DVD and Theatrical reviews, so let’s start with the most recent. Mirror Mirror is one of two major movie adaptations of the classic Snow White tale, released this year.

While Mirror Mirror doesn’t boast a star-studded cast, there are a couple of familiar faces that pop up, including Sean Bean as Snow’s father and Mare Winningham (Miracle MileTurner & Hooch) as Baker Margaret. The rest of the cast are mostly unknown, but all put in great performances – you can’t help but love the seven dwarves, who stalk the woods as giants, with springy accordian-like stilts (complete with accordian sound effects). This is just one of the many imaginative spins on the story – but who’d want to spoil any more of it for you? Watch it and see for yourself.

Click here to read my review and catch the trailer below.

Next up, is the first ever Taiwanese Zombie movie – Zombie 108. 

The zombie makeup and special makeup effects overall are pretty good, it’s just a shame that the shaky plot and direction are so distracting and let the side down. If you have an odd sense of humour and a high tolerance for the oversaturated zombie genre, then by all means give Zombie 108 a whirl – just don’t come crying to me when you end up with a headache. You have been warned.

Click here to read the rest of my review.


On to one of the best British genre films of the year, Noel Clarke and Johannes Roberts’ Storage 24.

The microcosmic script works so well – with almost all of the action taking place inside the storage depot you don’t even think about how it will effect the outside world and that’s the beauty of it. It is a story that is containable, a necessity when working to a tight budget.

Click here to read the full review and see the trailer below.

On to some foreign cinema and two very different French Thrillers. First up is The Prey, starring Albert Dupontel.

Directed by Eric Valette, who also made the J-horror American remake One Missed Call (which may be enough to put some off watching this altogether), does a pretty good job of keeping a rather derivative plot interesting to watch. I’ve not seen any of his other films (including Malefique) but The Prey has some unusual directorial choices to offer that pay off – a chase scene on foot for example, featuring our main protagonist Franck, is filmed head-on, showing the chase from a new perspective that the audience isn’t used to seeing.

Click here for the full review.

The second of the French films I recently reviewed was Requiem For A Killer, starring Melanie Laurent, of Inglorious Basterds fame.

What starts off as a simple contract killing job becomes rather more complicated as more people get involved. For most films of this genre, that means an opportunity to involve more thrilling and cerebral plot developments, double-crossing characters, red herrings and the like.

See the rest of my review here.


Finally, its on to Woody Harrelson taking a break from comedy to play a corrupt and troubled cop in Rampart.

A very strange film with almost no relatable characters is a brave move for any director or writer, but somehow this works. It is very oddly shot for the most part; with actors or props obstructing the view of other actors and some shots horribly out of focus (on purpose it seems), yet while jarring and almost annoying on one level, it adds to the feeling of despair.

Click here to read the full review.


Also, keep an eye out for my next DVD review coming shortly, which also happens to be one of my top films of the year – the touching, mid-life, coming of age drama, This Must Be The Place.

Review: Storage 24

29 Jun


Rising star Noel Clarke (Kidulthood) and Johannes Roberts (‘F’) join forces to bring you the ultimate S.F.H. (Science Fiction Horror) movie – is that even a genre? – Storage 24. Set almost entirely in a London storage depot, the film follows recently dumped Charlie (Noel Clarke) and his best mate Mark (Colin O’Donoghue), as they head over to their local storage facilities so that he can collect his belongings. To pour salt on the wounds when they arrive the Ex-girlfriend (Antonia Campbell-Hughes) is there along with her friends Nikki (Laura Haddock) and Chris (Jamie Thomas King), and it doesn’t take long before arguments ensue.

A domestic is the least of their problems though, as the lights begin to flicker and strange noises fill the room, distracting them from their Jeremy Kyle like situation; Something is on the loose, and it’s picking the people off one by one.



The main problem I had with this movie (and it’s only a minor one) is that the Alien is revealed in it’s entirety a little too soon – there isn’t enough mystery surrounding the reveal of the creature. Having said that, both the special and real effects (Roberts revealed at the Q&A that a lot of what you see of the alien is a guy in a suit as opposed to CGI) are pretty damn good and there are some tense scenes involving the Alien that had a couple of girls on the row behind me screaming for their lives!

The same girls could be heard throughout, wincing “I can’t take any more of this, it’s too much!” – it’s got some nice tense moments, sure, but it’s not that scary. Examples like this are a great barometer for a typical audience reaction – you could tell that these girls weren’t hardened horror or Sci-Fi fans, they are the people who will see this film on a whim or because Noel Clarke’s name is attached. For these particular audience members, Storage 24 will do a grand job of scary the crap out of you!

Written by and starring Noel Clarke, it could easily have turned into a self-indulgent, Tommy Wiseau style affair, but it didn’t. Some of the dialogue is a bit clunky at first but the humour throughout is genuine – there are some great laugh out loud moments and considering that 95% of the movie is set in a storage depot (which gives it an eerie spaceship feel) it flows quite nicely. At no point do you find yourself checking the time because it feels like its dragging. One of my best friends happens to work in a storage depot – unfortunately I didn’t get to watch the film with her (despite going to see it twice), but I’m keen to see what her reaction is to it.

The movie focuses quite heavily on the characters’ backstory and relationships which, while it may seem very obvious and over-saturated, it works quite nicely here. The fact that the biggest audience reaction (both times) was an audible gasp (in horror) at a non-alien related plot twist, says it all.

It’s also quite refreshing to see a modern British Horror/ Sci-Fi movie with a cast of solid actors – they all have a relatively natural acting style, going against the archetype of the genre; overacting. But not here, the performances remained understated for the majority of the film, only ramping it up in the final act for when it ‘hits the fan’ in the final act for extra effect.

The microcosmic script works so well – with almost all of the action taking place inside the storage depot you don’t even think about how it will effect the outside world and that’s the beauty of it. It is a story that is containable, a necessity when working to a tight budget. In the Q&A, Roberts and Clarke revealed that the film was made for an eighth of Joe Cornish’s Attack The Block budget – a fact I think most would need to be told, as it certainly doesn’t show. The script, effects, moral underpinning and cast are far superior in Storage 24, and more importantly it is more original – I’m sick of seeing these council estate horror films (Cherry Tree LaneAttack The BlockOutcast), it’s been done and we’re over it now.

Overall a pretty awesome movie. Half a star deducted for the last 30 seconds of the film – it may have been a budgetary decision or perhaps an attempt to pave the way for a sequel, either way it ‘jumps the shark’ and the film would have been better without it. Half a star added purely for the plot device involving a battery operated toy dog, which was a pure stroke of genius!

Latest DVD reviews: Basements, Lycans and Dragons

6 Jun

Hi all, apologies for not having posted recently (has it been a month? blimey!) My three latest DVD reviews are now up on Chris and Phil Present – if you haven’t read them yet, what on earth are you waiting for?

First up is The Divide, one of the better films of last year’s Frightfest. It’s flawed, yes, but it does have the god-like Milo Ventimiglia, so we can all be thankful for that. Check out my full review here.

Next is Underworld Awakening. Kate Beckinsale is back in the PVC for more werewolf vs vampire action. I didn’t dig it that much, find out why here.

Finally it’s Jabberwock: Dragon Siege – I’m not sure I can articulate my feelings on this better than I have done in my review – check out what I had to say about it here.

Also, keep an eye out for a mammoth Friday the 13th marathon blog post coming very soon!

Latest DVD reviews: Lot of ‘or’s – Mumblecore, Roger Cor, Thor.

6 May

Time to point you lovely people in the direction of some of my most recent DVD reviews, if you haven’t read them already (where have you been?)

First up is A Horrible Way to Die, check out my review here


Next up is Roger Corman’s eagerly anticipated documentary Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel. My review over on Chris and Phil Present can be found here.

Finally, it’s TV movie Thor: Hammer of the Gods – review here

I’ll also have three more reviews up in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for those. There’s The fourth installment of the Underworld series, Awakening, TV fantasy adventure movie, Jabberwock, and one of my favourites from last year’s Film 4 FrightFest, The Divide, starring the gorgeous Milo Ventimiglia.

FrightFest Glasgow 2012 Line-up Announced!

18 Jan

Friday 24th Feb:


101 mins Director: Alex Stapleton USA 2011



90 mins Directors: Dale Fabrigar & Evette Wallin USA 2011


6:30pm – CRAWL (UK Premiere)

81 mins Director: Paul China Australia 2011


9pm – THE DAY (UK Premiere)

90 mins Director: Doug Aarniokoski Canada 2011


11:35pm – WAR OF THE DEAD (UK premiere)

85 mins Director: Marko Makilaakso Lithuania/USA/Italy 2011


Sat 25th Feb:

11am – EVIDENCE (UK Premiere)

80 mins Director: Howie Askins USA 2011


1:15pm PENUMBRA (UK premiere)

85 mins Director: Adrian Garcia Bogliano Argentina 2011


3:30pm – RITES OF SPRING (UK premiere)

80 mins Director: Padraig Reynolds USA 2011



82 mins Directors: Manetti bros. Italy 2011


9pm – CASSADAGA (UK Premiere)

90 mins Director: Anthony DiBlasi USA 2011


11:15pm – THE RAID (UK Premiere)

100 mins Director: Gareth Evans Indonesia 2011

Wordy Review: The Innkeepers

9 Sep

‘Ghost story for the minimum wage’, Yankee Pedlar Inn, closing time, ghost stories, Claire and Luke, goofing off, website, screen witch, candid camera, Kelly McGillis, Asthma, piano, EVP, laundry room, the hanging, don’t go in the basement.

Wordy Review: The Divide

9 Sep

Milo!, basement, trapped, caretaker, is that Rosanna Arquette?, group dynamics, chaos, hide, taken, beans, spaceman, the tunnel, sealed in, down with the sickness fingers, close shave, Bobby and Marilyn, ration-stash, cross dressing, depraved, gun, man on fire, Eva.