Sunday, 22 December 2013

Face (2013) Review

Taka Arai and Norith Soth's found footage film Face made it's premiere at the Another Hole in the Head Film Festival. Together, Arai and Soth produced, directed and edited the flick which is based on the short story "An Ironic Twist of Fate" written by Mikal Britt.

The movie is pegged as "leaked police evidence" from an event involving a collage sorority and a fraternity.

The film caught my attention straight away with nothing but simple words on the screen...

"The footage you are about to watch was recorded on October 31st, 2012. The Halloween Fear Factory was an annual competition amongst a fraternity and sorority that tailspinned into a gruesome nightmare of carnage and depravity...

The survivors claimed to not recall any details of the crimes. There is debate whether the loathsome acts were the result of drug use or "mob mentality." That the event was recorded by both parties has turned this account into one of the strangest in American History."

Carnage and depravity? Great, That's what I like to see in a film!

The film stars Scott Alin, Karoline Matini, Roby Sobieski, Brooke Diane Flint, Dillon Paigen, Lauren See, and Johnny D'Angelo. The main antagonist Matt, leader of the frat, is a real piece of shit and Jamie, the head of the sorority, fell victim to Matt in last year's event. Names of the characters are really not important though as there's no real character development, but that's not a bad thing. It's simply not needed in the movie. By 15 minutes in, I already hated the frat boys. They're pigs and had already committed numerous crimes including sexual assault! I was routing for the sorority girls straight away.

So the main plot here was the competition. The age old battle of boys vs girls. The previous year's Halloween Fear Factory was won by the Fraternity, so they already expected revenge from the sorority. Most of the film is occupied by partying and drinking etc. With the fact that the film takes place at a party it means there's a soundtrack, something that we wouldn't normally get in other found footage flicks. Mikal Britt, a writer/musician, provided the music in the film which adds a sense of chill and enjoyment to it, even though what's going on is the opposite.

With a few twists and turns, the film slows down the tension as it concentrates more on the story, but the fun soon kicks in again around 45 minutes in. Now, I kept thinking to myself "Come on girls, you can do better than this!" I wanted more than what I was seeing and initially took this as a sign of weakness about the film. But just over the hour mark I got what I wanted. In fact, at one point I actually said out loud "Did she just do what I think she did?!"

I had to rewind it to watch it again. This was due to 2 things. 1 - I wanted to make sure I was right. 2 - Because it's filmed in the manner it is, it was a little hard to make out.

This leads me to point out that if you're NOT a fan of the shaky found footage sub-genre, you might not like this movie. This however has no bearing on the overall feel and quality of the film. I don't mind found footage at all. It very cleverly uses footage from different sides, giving us a perspective story of both frat and sorority. And without spoiling it, the use of a certain camera angle was brilliant, something I can't recall seeing before. I have to admit I didn't see it coming, although most of the film is predictable. The script is kept simple and the acting flows quite naturally, holding your attention and making ready for the big pay off.



From the Press Kit:



















































































The project also had the help of Bloody Disgusting's very own Mr Disgusting (and producer on V/H/S). The overall result was an enjoyable watch and a very solid addition to the found footage sub-genre. The ending made the impact I was looking for throughout the the whole film. With a total run time of 1 hour and 14 minutes, it worth checking out. For further news of release dates, keep it locked to the Maven's Movie vault of Horror's Facebook page.

FACE WILL KEEP YOU HANGING TILL THE VERY END RESULTING IN A DISTURBING SHOW OF DRUG FUELLED WARFARE. THE MORAL OF THE STORY? GUYS, DON'T MESS WITH FEMALES ON THE PATH OF REVENGE!

Face gets a very respectable 3 Stars

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Fright Meter Awards 2013 Nominees


When it comes to film awards, everyone looks towards the Oscars as the pinnacle of achievement. The only thing wrong with the Oscars? Our beloved genre of horror is often or completely overlooked! That's where the Fright Meter Awards comes into play. Along with myself, there's 35 plus committee members made up of genuine horror fans, bloggers, actors, writers, directors and producers "making the Fright Meter Awards truly the most prestigious horror award given."

From mainstream to independent, big names to newcomers, popularity or form of release, nothing is overlooked and if it's worthy of a mention, we consider it. So without further ado, here are this year's nominees...

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

The Conjuring
Insidious Chapter 2
The Lords of Salem
Maniac
Stoker

BEST EDITING:

The Conjuring
Evil Dead
Maniac
Stoker
V/H/S 2

BEST SCORE:

The Conjuring
Evil Dead
Insidious Chapter 2
The Lords of Salem
Maniac

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS:

Carrie
The Conjuring
Evil Dead
Insidious Chapter 2
World War Z

BEST MAKE UP:

American Mary
The Conjuring
Evil Dead
Frankenstein's Army
V/H/S 2

BEST SCREENPLAY:

American Mary
The Conjuring
Insidious Chapter 2
John Dies at the End
Stoker

BEST SHORT HORROR FILM:

Baby-Sitting
The Captured Bird
Familiar
The Girl at the Door
SEANCE

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST PERFORMANCE:

American Mary
The Conjuring
Evil Dead
Insidious Chapter 2
Stoker

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Tristan Risk for "American Mary"
Julianne Moore for "Carrie"
Lily Taylor for "The Conjuring"
Isabelle Nelisse for "Mama"
Nicole Kidman for "Stoker"

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Ron Livingston for "The Conjuring"
Lou Taylor Pucci for "Evil Dead"
Rhys Wakefield for "The Purge"
Epy Kusnandar for "V/H/S 2"
Rob Corddry for "Warm Bodies"

BEST ACTRESS:

Katharine Isabelle for "American Mary"
Vera Farmiga for "The Conjuring"
Jane Levy for "Evil Dead"
Sharni Vinson for "You're Next"
Mia Wasikowska for "Stoker"

BEST ACTOR:

Patrick Wilson for "The Conjuring"
Patrick Wilson for "Insidious Chapter 2"
Elijah Wood for "Maniac"
Matthew Goode for "Stoker"
Jeffrey Combes "Would You Rather"

BEST DIRECTOR:

Jen & Sylvia Soska for "American Mary"
James Wan for "The Conjuring"
Fede Alvarez for "Evil Dead"
James Wan for "Insidious Chapter 2"
Chan-wook Park for "Stoker"

BEST HORROR MOVIE:

American Mary
The Conjuring
Evil Dead
Maniac
You're Next

For more details about the Fright Meter Awards the full list of contenders head to the website - http://www.frightmeterawards.com

You can also find two pages on facebook here - Fright Meter Horror Movie Reviews & Awards and here - Fright Meter Awards

Thursday, 19 December 2013

David Cronenberg: Evolution


Body. Mind. Change. BMC Labs, in partnership with visionary filmmaker David Cronenberg is proud to announce their first commercial product - POD (Personal-On-Demand). I was lucky enough to be selected to partake in the experimental project and when I received my prototype POD for testing, I couldn't wait to get started! Here's a copy of the letter I received...



































POD (PERSONAL-ON-DEMAND)
"POD can learn all the complexities of the human emotion to best serve you. When your POD is properly calibrated, it is integrated directly into your neurological processes via a minor, non-obtrusive incision just below the base of the skull. POD will effortlessly discover your needs, desires, and loves. POD is your intuitive companion, enhancing life and storing the best that the world has to offer for immediate recall at any time."

Does it sound to good to be true? Does this technology really exist? Well, to find out more check out MINDBODYCHANGE.CA and register for your very own POD today!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Of course this is all part of a promotional pack as part of the David Cronenberg: Virtual Exhibition which goes live this week! "Learn more in the 4th floor Gallery at Toronto International Film Festival Bell Lightbox."

To find out more simply click the links in RED.

















A big thank you goes to Jonathan Bunning for sending me out the promotional kit. You can also check out BMC Labs on Facebook.

The big question is, if this kind of technology existed today, would you consider having it done?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A Look Back in Horror - My 2013 Review

It's that time of year again! 2014 is fast approaching and behind it it leaves the ups and downs of 2013 in horror film. This year covered three remakes of classics, two of which I loved. James Wan sat in the director's chair twice and then announced he won't be directing a horror film again. I also got to see a few films at a festival this year. So here's my guide to what I liked, loved and hated...

I'll Start with the Worse.

13/13/13 was doomed from the start. Why I hear you ask? Well, the film is from the company that gave us such classics as The Haunting of Whaley House and Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies. I am of course being facetious! Yes, good old The Asylum once again delivers the shit we need never watch and wish we hadn't when we did. The acting is so poor that it's hard to tell if the script is decent or not. The only saving grace is James Cullen Bressack's direction.


Nobody Gets Out Alive. The title says it all really. After watching it you'll wish were dead! You can read my review HERE.

Two sequels next, both nothing to do with their respective predecessors. Fright Night 2 had the same characters as the original Fright Night (1985) and the 2011 remake, but the story was completely different and didn't follow on. If it was called something else and the names of the characters changed, I might of liked it, a little. Even Jaime Murray, who's been great in everything else she's been in, was below par.

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia, same place, different story, worse film! Check out my mini-review HERE.

Texas Chainsaw 3D, sequel to the 1974 masterpiece, deserves a mention here too. I thought it was average at best, and my word Alexandra Daddario is hot, but the horrible and shameful line that she delivers at the end just ruined it for me... "Do your thing cuz!" Really, REALLY? What were the writers thinking?!




Also worthy of the worse list is Hallows' Eve starring the beautiful Danielle Harris which is the only positive about it, Bloody Homecoming, Sorority Party Massacre which in all honesty was that bad I couldn't actually finish it (that hasn't happened in a long time!), ultra annoying The Purge and Sadako 3D, that was kind of a pointless reboot/re-imagining of The Ring. That's my worse list over!

Onto the Best...

Now, before I go any further, I simply have to give this next film another mention. It hit the festival circuit last year, and I saw it at one, but got it's general release this year on DVD/Blu-Ray and VOD. I'm talking about Jen and Sylvia Soska's (read my interview with The Twisted Twins here) American Mary. I love this film and it topped my 2012 list! You can read my review HERE.


It's remake time. I hope you all know how I feel about remakes by now. When done right, I welcome them. And for those that don't, there's only one thing worse than a remake, people that piss and moan about them!

When it was announced that there was to be a new Evil Dead, it caused a lot of disorder among Deadites around the world! Plus, if Sam Raimi does go ahead with the other two films he's talked about, then technically, the new Evil Dead will be a sequel as the timelines will cross, or so the rumours go. Anyway, I digress. Boasting some outstanding practical FX and some very solid performances, it hits my list for one of the years best. You can read my full review HERE.
Maniac, remake of the original 1980 movie, stars the unassuming Elijah Wood as the killer, albeit he's rarely actually seen throughout the film! Mostly shot from Frank's POV, this is an unsettling film with a fantastic retro feeling score.

The Fun Stuff...

Bad Milo! was a complete blast from start to finish. Comedy horror at its silliest with an ass demon causing carnage and mayhem, what more do you need to know?!

Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal is another comedy horror that delivers fun with lots of gore thrown in for good measure. Excellent performances were giving from Lindhardt and Smith, even though Eddie has no lines. Lars provides comedy timing and Eddie gives us the blood!

 Best of the Indies...

Neil Jordan's beautifully crafted vampire drama Byzantium has undertones of Interview with the vampire and a rich story. You can read my full review HERE.

Antiviral has two things in common with the aforementioned film, besides being brilliant, it also stars the excellent Caleb Landry Jones who plays a technician at The Lucas Clinic which provides their clients with the ultimate step in fandon. You can read my full review HERE.


Best of the Mainstream...


James Wan's first film of the year, The Conjuring (Insidious Chapter 2 being the other), came with lots of frights and thrills and pulled in $316,700,141 at the box office, well over it's budget of $20 million. You can read my review HERE.
Stoker is Chan-wook Park's (Oldboy, Thirst) English speaking directional debut and also Wentworth Miller's writing debut. The result? Sheer brilliance in every aspect. The slow burn psychological horror delivers great acting, tense scenes and a suspenseful score.

Other movies worth a mention that I enjoyed include Rob Zombie's acquired tasting The Lords of Salem (read my review here),  Astron-6's Manborg, the near perfect but let down by some poor CGI Mama (read my review here), V/H/S/2 (a hell of a lot better than the first film), British flick Lord of Tears (read my review here), my guilty pleasures of the year All Hallows' Eve and Would You Rather (read my review here) and, why not, Insidious Chapter 2 as it is better than the first film.

But wait, I've not finished yet! Before I reveal my favourite of 2013, here's a look at two films I caught at this year's Mayhem Horror Film Festival.



British indie flick The Borderlands is a religious/supernatural found footage piece that's high on tension and scares. You can read my full review HERE. It's arguably the most important found footage film since The Blair Witch Project!

The Demon's Rook features pagans, demons, zombies and a hero with a most manly beard. More indie goodness here with some great make-up and practical FX. Read my review HERE to find out more.

So here we are at the end of my 2013 review. Now you could call me slightly bias with my top pick as it's in my favourite sub-genre, but I don't care! I've seen it three times via VOD and recently got the chance to see it on the big screen, which just made me fall in love with it even more.

Here you go, my favourite film of 2013...

Xan Cassavetes' feature film directional and writing debut Kiss of the Damned is uber cool and super sexy. With a sensual touch of styling, this vampire movie pays homage to the Euro-trashy vamp flicks of the 60s/70s. It's not just my favourite film of the year, it's now one of my favourite Vampire films, ever! You can read my review HERE.

Check out the trailer below...



What are your thoughts? What are your worse and best horror movies of the year? Let me know.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Lord of Tears (2013) Review

I always look forward to British independent horror, and Lord of Tears was high on my list to watch since first hearing about it. The film premiered right here in the UK (Whitby) at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival.

Set in the picturesque Highlands of Scotland, the film follows school teacher James Findlay (Euan Douglas) and his journey to past truths. Upon the death of his mother, James inherits the old family mansion, but a letter from his mother included in her will warns James not to revisit the home of his childhood.

He seeks advice from best friend Allen (Jamie Scott Gordon), who has problems of his own, and confides that a certain part of his childhood is missing from his memories. Against the warning in his mother's will, James heads to the house to see what he can dig up.

On arrival he meets Eve (Alexandra Hulme), a spirited woman, who he befriends. Over the course of the next few day, Eve starts to bring out the more cheerful side of James. But as night falls James is plagued by disturbing and far too real dreams of an Owl Man, that he fears is somewhat linked to more than his past.

The further James and Eve delve into the past, the stronger the presence of something dark and disturbing grows. When the truth becomes clear, James tries to make sense of what he sees right in front of him, but the past comes back to do more than just haunt him.

The first thing that instantly struck me from the very beginning was the eerie and rather sinister score. It creates a compelling feel of dread and fear throughout the entire film.

Secondly, the Cinematography was spellbinding, both devastating and spectacular and all at the same time in certain scenes! The dream sequences and flashing imagery give a an overwhelming foreboding feel which increased with the added score. And with an undertone of Gothic feeling, it really is very stimulating to eyes.

Onto the performances. This really is the only negative thing for me. I just couldn't warm to Euan Douglas. I understood his character, his motivation and that really was down to the excellent writing. I guess it was his inexperience as an actor as his delivery seemed a little to forced for my liking. Now, you would think that this would affect the rest of the film, specially since Douglas is the lead. In this case, not at all. This is testament to Sarah Daly delivering an incredible screenplay.  

Gordon has very little screen time as Allen, but he still has considerable impact and although we never see his face onscreen, David Schofield provides the voice for the ever so creepy Owl Man. His voice over narration is entrancing. I have to add that, as a beard grower and connoisseur myself, Jamie Scott Gordon beard is magnificent!


Then there's the leading lady, Alexandra Hulme, with her classically beautiful 50's "Pin Up" style. Quite frankly she stole the show! She goes from innocent to sensual to caring throughout the film. She even gives an almost dream like performance a in couple of scenes.

This of course is helped along by some superb and clever direction from Lawrie Brewster. Brewster also produced some of the best editing I've seen. What may seem as random imagery is a very clever set up for the important parts of the movie. That's all I'll say without giving anything away!

This is a bit of a psychological slow burn horror, and that's always a good thing when done right, as it was here, which meant the film held my complete attention. With some interesting use of mythology and a major plot twist that even me, a seasoned horror veteran didn't see coming, this is definitely one to watch.

WITH A SPINE CHILLING SCORE & VIVIDLY NIGHTMARISH IMAGERY, THIS IS BRITISH HORROR AS IT'S EERIE BEST


You can head over to the website here and order a copy. Check out the Facebook page here and give it a "like." In the meantime, check out the trailer below...