Monday 30 April 2012

Apartment 143 [Emergo] (2012)

With a VOD release on April 27th and a theatrical run beginning later on June 1st, I took full advantage of the VOD.

This is a found footage / faux documentary, with a feel of Paranormal Activity (2007), Poltergeist (1982) with a touch of The Exorcist (1973) and a mix of a supernatural / possession / psychological thriller. Sounds complicated? I guess so, but the film itself isn't.

A team of high-tech parapsychologists, Dr. Helzer, Paul and Ellen, set out to investigate a series of anomalous phenomena taking place in a an apartment, where widowed father Alan White lives with his two children Caitlin and Benny. The team arrives at the apartment and things kick off pretty much straight away with strange noises, footstep type sounds and banging. It soon dies down as they go about setting up their equipment and make themselves familiar with the White family.

After having suffered similar problems in the house they lived in previous, they up sticks only to have the unexplained phenomenon follow them. With gizmos and gadgets galore, a lot of activity is not only captured, but experienced first hand.

The four year old son believes it to be his dead mother, the teenage daughter seems to be ignoring what's going on and the father is distraught and scared for his kids. There's a quite obvious strain on the relationship between father and daughter and with the truth behind the history of the small family being discovered and how Alan's wife died, things get a whole lot worse as that history is manifesting itself more and more through Caitlin. The team capture everything with a plethora of equipment but also get to close too the action.

OK, so found footage films are becoming more and more present in horror as there's certainly no shortage of them now. By no means is this an original piece of film making but the movie still pulls it off with a certain flare. The effects out weigh anything Paranormal Activity has to offer. The story is solid and there's more to it than just a simple haunting or a mysterious possession.

The well written script is delivered by all the cast in equal measures of good acting. There's no prolonged gaps of uninteresting dialogue. Rather, every conversation relates to what's going on. Which means it's easy to get to know the family in a short period of time and you can connect with each character. Character development in these kinds of films are so important. It can make or break a film, even effecting the shipment of scares. There is certainly a fair share of freaky and jumpy moments, which are not just put there for the sake of it. They tie in with each character's chronicle, namely Allan and daughter Caitlin, who provide a simple yet stand out performance by Kai Lennox and Gia Mantegna respectively.

The Spanish duo of Torrens and Cortés have stepped up to the plate that is found footage and given us a worthy opponent to take on and beat the best of them out there.

Apartment 143 gets an 8/10

The Cast -                                               Director - Carles Torrens
Kai Lennox as Alan White
Michael O'Keefe as Dr. Helzer                    Writer - Rodrigo Cortés
Rick Gonzalez as Paul Ortega
Fiona Glascott as Ellen Keegan
Gia Mantegna as Caitlin White
Damian Roman as Benny White 

Check out the trailer below...

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)

The Cast -
Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider
Idris Elba as Moreau
Violante Placido as Nadya
Johnny Whitworth as Ray Carrigan/Blackout
Ciarán Hinds as The Devil/Roarke
Fergus Riordan as Danny
Christopher Lambert as Methodius

Directors - Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor

Writers - Scott M. Gimple, Seth Hoffman & David S. Goyer

The Plot -
Johnny Blaze, a man who made a deal with the Devil who called himself Roarke at the time, is on the run trying to make sure no-one is harmed by his alter ego, The Ghost Rider. He is approached by a Monk named Moreau who tells him that he can help be him free of the Rider, but first, he needs Johnny's help to protect a boy, whom Roarke has plans for.

The Review -
In the second instalment of Ghost Rider we find Johnny Blaze hiding from the world in an attempt to control his dark passenger (yes, that is a reference to Dexter!).
While Blaze is off the grid, Roarke has sent his minions to capture a boy called Danny, who has more about him than first meets the eye. But the boy's mother, Nadya, won't let him go without a fight. Under the care of a secret brotherhood of monks, Danny and his mother have to flee from their safety and go on the run.
Moreau, a monk himself, knows of the plans Roarke has set for the boy. So he enlist the help of Blaze, offering him the chance to free himself from the Ghost Rider once Danny is delivered back to the monk brotherhood where upon the mission is complete.
Along the way, Blaze has internal turmoil with the Rider inside. But in order to save Danny, Blaze must let the demon out in an all out war against the Devil, with the help of Moreau, Nadya and Danny.

Along with a battle looming, Blaze learns that his inner Demon is much more than the evil he once feared. Can he use his power to protect and not just for destruction and is giving it up the best option?

This sequel really has a different feel to it. It could almost be described as a dark comedy horror. But don't let that put you off as it works to it's advantage. It is darker than the original and some of the scene worked so well that they could have been pulled straight out of the comic book. I watched this on DVD which made me wish I'd gone to the cinema to see. Some of the effects are made perfectly for 3D. With a good mix off balls out action and drama this is an enjoyable watch. The only real bad point for me was that it felt a little bit rushed and if you're a fan of the first film, like in a big way, then you might not like it. I personally like both of them.

If you're going to watch this movie, if you have the facilities, I would recommend that you watch it on 3D Blu-Ray on a 3D TV to get the most out of it.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance gets a 7/10

Check out the trailer below...

Saturday 14 April 2012

Dear God No! (2011)

The Cast -
Jett Bryant as Jett
Madeline Brumby as Edna Marco
Paul McComiskey as Dr. Marco
Olivia LaCroix as Evelyn Marco
Nik Morgan as Spyder
John Collins as Collins
Shane Morton as Randal
Rusty Stache as Jimbo
Heath Street as Todd
Rachelle Lynn as Laura

Director & Writer - James Bickert

The Plot -
Outlaw motorcycle gang The Impalers' tri-state rape and murder spree ended in a bloody massacre with rival club Satan's Own. The surviving members sought refuge in a secluded cabin deep in the North Georgia mountains. What first must of seemed like easy prey for a home invasion, became a living nightmare of depravity and violence. A young innocent girl being held captive may hold the key to the twisted secrets locked in the basement and the killing machine feasting on human flesh in the forest outside.

The Review -
The Impalers biker gang are down in members, as they make they're way to safety at a local strip club after raping and pillaging a bus load of nuns, it's not quite the safe house they thought it would be.
Things get ugly very quick as the leader of the outlaw bikers, Jett, kills the owner of the strip club, which leads all the strippers to fight back in a blaze of gun fire and tits!
The bikers hightail it as they are outnumbered and outgunned.
Back on the road, one of the outlaws has been shot so they stop at a gas station, which again turns into violence. They stop further down the road on their travels, where they come across a small boy who points them in the direction of a rich Doctor, who happens to live in a secluded cabin in the woods with his daughter.
Dr. Marco and daughter Edna, are carrying out some kind of experiment and have a secret down in the basement. They have guests, a man and his pregnant wife, that were undergraduates of the Doctor a number of years ago, that are there to help with the experiment. Whilst they are sat down for dinner, the biker gang turns up and cause more mayhem, as only they can. In a drug and alcohol fuelled frenzy, they murder and rape there way to the secret in the basement and soon find that there's something lurking on the woods outside, which in turn, is out for blood also. What's hiding in the basement and what's on the prowl outside? Will the bikers get out alive and will they leave any survivors?

This movie takes you back to the Grindhouse, Exploitation, B-Movie days and pulls it off perfectly. With nudity, graphic violence, blood and gore, and scenes of rape, even with the cheesy and low budget effects it isn't for the faint hearted, but, genuine horror fans should enjoy it. The acting is bad as it's supposed to be, which actually adds to the whole film in a good way. It's brutal, it's bloody, it's funny as hell and definitely worth checking out!

Dear God No! gets a 7/10

Check out the trailer here -

Wednesday 11 April 2012

The Awakening (2011)

The Cast -
Rebecca Hall as Florence Cathcart
Dominic West as Robert Malory
Imelda Staunton as Maud Hill
John Shrapnel as Reverend Hugh Purslow
Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Tom
Shaun Dooley as Malcolm McNair
Joseph Mawle as Edward Judd

Director - Nick Murphy

Writers - Stephen Volk & Nick Murphy

The Plot -
The movie is set in 1921, England. Florence Cathcart is a published author on supernatural hoaxes who works with the police to expose charlatans and debunk supernatural phenomenon, having begun her foray into her profession upon the death of her lover in World War I. Upon a visit from Robert Malory, a teacher from a boarding school with the request to investigate the recent death of a student and how it is related to sightings of a ghost of a child, she travels to the school hoping to explain the sightings and the death.

The Review -
The movie starts off set in a room with a table surrounded by people attempting a seance. Things get a little spooky with ghostly things happening, but it is quickly interrupted by Florence, exposing the whole proceeding as a hoax, where upon the police swoop in and make arrests.
Later on Florence is paid a visit by Robert Malory, who has a case for her, involving the death of a boy at a boarding school which is believed to be link to a ghostly sighting. She decides to take the case.
Arriving at the school just before vacation time, using simple investigation methods, it doesn't take long for her to find the real reason why the young student died. When the students and the teaching staff leave for vacation, only Florence, Robert, Maud, the caretaker Edward and student Tom are left. Florence goes about setting up her equipment around the mansion, in order to debunk the ghost stories and complete her work there.

After discovering the truth behind the boy's death, not all is over as Florence experiences some strange goings-on herself and her equipment picking up the appearance of a spirit. With the start of Florence suffering flashbacks, it soon becomes clear that Tom has a pivotal role in Florence's investigation. But what do the flashbacks mean and how is Tom connected? Will Florence find the truth and unlock a hidden secret?

With this classic British supernatural thriller comes a feel of a Spanish movie, much like The Orphanage (2007) (, it's slow paced but keeps your attention with good acting from the main cast and good directing. When it comes to the use of the ghost detection equipment, it's a lot like the reality TV Show Ghost Hunters, but without the hand held cameras. The small amount of scares are predictable but it has a nice little twist towards the end. This movie is an enjoyable watch, if you like suspense instead of all out horror, blood and gore.

The Awakening gets a pleasant 6/10

Check out the trailer below...