Showing posts from February, 2015

My Bloody Valentine (2009)

Dir. Patrick Lussier A remake of the classic 1981 slasher of the same name, My Bloody Valentine actually improves upon the original with a decent script, likeable cast (including Jensen Ackles, Jaime King, Kerr Smith and Tom Atkins) and buckets of atmospheric tension. While released well after the post- Scream slasher boom of the late nineties/early noughties, but in the midst of a (still on-going) classic horror remake phase, My Bloody Valentine attempted to set itself apart by filming in 3D - it arguably initiated the current trend of 3D films. While it boasts irresistible retro-slasher leanings, it doesn't do so in a smug, post-ironic manner; it takes itself seriously and at its core is a decent mystery regarding the killer’s identity. Various red herrings are successfully established and Todd Farmer’s screenplay is mindful enough to examine the effect of the ensuing paranoia and mistrust on the residents of the small town community, vulnerable and isolated as it is. A

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

Dir. George Mihalka Slasher films typically feature a cast of teenaged characters cavorting in an isolated location and falling victim to a (usually) masked psychopath brandishing various sharp implements. The teens are systematically picked off until only one (usually) female character is left. She’s nearly always someone who abstains from indulging in drugs, alcohol and pre-marital sex - unlike her peers - and must use her resourcefulness to defeat the killer. Highly conservative in their morality, many slashers feature a sex equals death formula, with killers avenging past misdeeds committed against them or someone close to them, and sating their bloodlust by offing copulating couples. For hardened horror fans such as myself, they offer a strange sense of comfort due to their familiar structure and conventions, which rarely change from title to title. Of course, it’s always great when a slasher deviates from the rigid formula, but as long as there’s tension, atmosphere and a su

Beware the Autumn People...

Having just finished reading Ray Bradbury’s creepy carnival-based Something Wicked This Way Comes , I was incredibly struck by his vivid, immensely atmospheric prose; particularly the following passage, which proved to be one of the most evocative of the whole novel. It appears late in the story, as Charles Halloway is talking to his young son Will about the duel nature of mankind. He is attempting to explain the existence of evil in the world, and warn his son about the kind of people who have completely succumbed to their darkest desires; so much so they’ve been utterly consumed by them. He recalls an old religious tract written by Pastor Newgate Phillips in which these individuals are referred to as 'Autumn People'...  “For these beings, fall is ever the normal season, the only weather, there be no choice beyond. Where do they come from? The dust. Where do they go? The grave. Does blood stir their veins? No: the night wind. What ticks in their head? The worm. What spea

The Guest

2014 Dir. Adam Wingard Following on from You’re Next and A Horrible Way to Die , The Guest is the latest genre-melding offering from director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett. As with their previous collaborations, it fondly harks back to genre movies of yesteryear while slyly subverting tropes and conventions audiences are now all too familiar with. All bets are off as rules are bent, expectations toyed with, and the viewer is sucked into Barrett’s twisted and twisting story, which emerges as one of the most interesting - and entertaining - genre offerings of recent years. The Guest begins as David (Dan Stevens), a recently discharged soldier, arrives at the home of a family still grieving for the death of their son, whom he claims to have been good friends with. David is too good to be true and represents something for everyone in the family, filling the role of their absent son. Only daughter Anna (Maika Monroe) is wary, but she fails to find anything to support her

The Haunting of Black Wood

2011 Dir. Jack Heller With a plot revolving around several apparent strangers stranded at an isolated cabin in the creepy backwoods of beyond, audiences could be forgiven for assuming The Haunting of Black Wood is a tired retread of the likes of The Evil Dead and The Cabin in the Woods . Nothing could be further from the truth. Initially titled Enter Nowhere (a much more fitting title given the plot and central themes) the film is part sci-fi, part indie drama, part supernatural thriller. Head over to Exquisite Terror to read my full review and win a copy of The Haunting of Black Wood , which has just been released on DVD in the UK .