The First Purge review “Yet another wasted opportunity”

The First Purge posterYes! Get in! Finally, the producers over at Platinum Dunes and Blumhouse realised that what fans of the Purge series were wanting was a look at how the night of legalised crime came to be. It’s all we’ve been asking for since 2013 after all.

After three films of decent quality in which the second, Purge: Anarchy is the highlight, The First Purge promises to shake up the formula by introducing a prequel into the horror franchise. But does it do enough to stop the series from feeling stale or are we looking at yet another paint-by-numbers horror flick? Continue reading

Hereditary review “What was that ending?”

Hereditary movie posterThe nauseating anxiety triggered by this film has only just receded from my psyche. It’s rare, nowadays, for a film to imbue such writhing terror onto a usually desensitised and skeptical audience.

The jump scares are scarce as the film titters towards a creeping-dread approach to horror; horror that emerges from our inevitable capacity to inflict pain on ourselves and those we love. Comparisons with The Exorcist and The Shining do this film little justice however, as Ari Aster’s directorial debut has much more in common with subdued tension-builders like It Comes At Night and The Witch (both films are also distributed by indie-powerhouse A24). Continue reading

Ghost Stories review “A horror movie that doesn’t fall flat”

Ghost Stories movie posterA horror film is a hard thing to do well. Most horror movies are predictable, with overused tropes and twists turning the story from scary, to sub-par. Ghost Stories, from writers and directors Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman, is one of those horror movies that doesn’t fall flat.

Ghost Stories follows arch-skeptic Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman), as he stumbles across a long-lost file containing three cases of inexplicable hauntings. With demons, ghostly little girls and a surprising twist, this movie is the epitome of a horror film. Continue reading

A Quiet Place review “Quietly terrifying”

A Quiet Place movie posterCinema is awfully quiet these days. Todd Haynes’s Wonderstruck and Kim Ki-Duk’s Moebius are among the small but substantial handful of films to have embraced the power of keeping schtum. In the cacophony of modern cinema, silence is an underrated commodity. John Krasinski’s directorial debut A Quiet Place is the latest to hold back on the sound in order to enhance the visual horrors. If ever a film had me inwardly crawling my way into a booby trapped bear pit whilst silently gabbering with fear, A Quiet Place is that film.

There’s been some kind of apocalyptic event, biological or alien that we don’t know, in which humanity (or the US at least) is now hunted by giant, super fast and super vicious reptilian creatures. Completely blind, they hunt with an acute sense of hearing meaning survivors must live in a constant state of silent, fearful anticipation. Even the slightest noise will draw them out and if they hear you, well, you’ll see. Continue reading

Folk Horror Revival Movies of the Decade: Top 5

Folk horror movie postersThe countryside, cults and the occasional demonic goat. The sub-genre of folk horror extols and explores all the dark, dreamy and often macabre elements of the folk sort.

A term first coined by Piers Haggard (director of ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’) and later popularised by Mark Gatiss in the BBC documentary A History of Horror, folk horror is built upon a feeling of isolation and paranoia as thick as the fog that shrouds the haunted landscapes of its setting.

Bleeding into the early 70s from the heady highs of the late 1960s, the genre found its roots in the now infamous ‘Unholy Trilogy’: Haggard’s ‘Blood on Satan’s Claw’ (1971), ‘The Witchfinder General’ (1968) by Michael Reeves and ‘The Wickerman’ (1973) by Robin Hardy. This trifecta of films defined a generation of horror obsessed with the unflinching wilderness both within and around us. Continue reading