Rating 18 Length 1h29 Release 12.4.2017 Director Greg McLean (Writer James Gunn) About An ordinary day at the office becomes a horrific quest for survival when 80 employees (John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona) at the Belko Corp. in Bogotá, Colombia, learn that they are pawns in a deadly game. Trapped inside their building, a voice over an intercom tells the frightened staffers that two workers must be killed within 30 minutes. When another ultimatum follows, friends become enemies and new alliances take shape, as only the strongest will remain alive at the end. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Part of MGM subscription on Amazon Prime Trailer:
There’s a few narrative choices that wind me up. The use of the lift again. Some of you reading might remember my rant from Prom Night (2008) a few weeks back, but here it is again. Only, its even mentioned. Mike goes so far as to tell people not to use the lifts. He tells them that during these sort of problems in buildings, they’re not safe. So why the fuck is he seen using one in the next god damn scene?!
I wish the film had perhaps used the company appraisal or review system to select people to be killed. It would add a second layer to the plot as often appraisal systems are flawed and corrupted by management to allow brown nosers to succeed and keep those who a sincerely good at their job at a certain level.
This is a budget movie and, as a result, the CGI is shit. I’m talking about the sequence in which the building is locked down and I’m just of the thought that CGI, and the very poor establishing shot, was unnecessary.
This film is everything you love about James Gunn’s work; from casting familiar faces to music selection and odd-ball comedy ticks. There’s a bit where a number of workers have headed to the roof and are calling for help. They grab the attention of the guard, who turns, drinks his tea, lowers it and turns away. That sort of obscure humour really tickles me.
There’s too many amazing people on the cast list to mention individually, but I want to mention regulars to Team Gunn: brother Sean and Michael Rooker. Both of them have clearly been given roles made for them and I am here for it. While its fair to say I could have done with more of both of them, they worked perfectly in the time that they had on screen. Tony Goldwyn and John Gallagher Jr are incredible in their own roles, but it is the conflict between these two characters that makes them both the perfect choice.
Its dark, its gruesome and perhaps not for everyone, but the casting and visual style works for me. It is also obscure enough that tweens won’t ruin it by telling me how amazing the violence is.
Rating 15 Length 1h40 Release 29.11.2013 Director Kimberly Peirce About Carrie, an awkward teenager protected by fanatical mother, becomes the butt of all jokes in school. When the pranks of her classmates go out of hand, she unleashes her telekinetic powers. Moon: Full moon when Sue Snell puts away her prom dress Where to Watch: Available on MGM subscription via Amazon Prime Trailer:
The CGI in this version is shockingly bad. The blood scene in particular stands out as fake along with the car crash that has Chris and Billy inside the car and the final shot of Carrie’s grave.
The music is a little underwhelming.
This version gives us a much better opening, which shows us much more about ‘Mama’ and shows that Carrie always has telekinesis. The simple inclusion of the fact that her mother tried to kill her at birth immediately has me on Carrie’s side.
The shower scene is a million times better; a much better representation of awkward teens and Chloe Grace Moretz really gives a better performance of a young girl experiencing her first period without having any education on the process. The added touch of someone filming Carrie, curled up in a ball and afraid that she’s dying is such a brilliant touch. Mainly because, again, this director is showing you what teens would do in the situation. The one thing I absolutely loved more than anything, was the fact that Sue became more sympathetic on her own. The gym teacher did not intervene or pressure her into regret. They also, very easily, manage to solve many of the issues I had with this scene; they have the girls explain to the teacher that they don’t think Carrie knows what is happening to her. It’s simple, but damn it, it works.
Judy Greer is always fantastic, but in this, she is the perfect authoritarian who genuinely cares for Carrie. I do enjoy that they kept in some of the character’s unprofessional behaviour while acknowledging it as such. Her handling of Carrie right after the shower is spot on, and is how I would expect a teacher to handle the situation.
In fact, so many of questions the plot raised in 1976, are answered here. I will also note, that it is in fact helmed by a female director and do feel like that makes the world of difference due to the subject focus. The biggest being; if Mama was so fearful of her daughter being influenced by society, why the fuck wasn’t she being home schooled? Just a line by the principle “You have to be here because the State denied your mother home school privileges” or something like that.
The Sue, Tommy, Carrie triangle is handled a little better in this film and at the very least they don’t include the Tommy/Carrie kiss. I also love that Carrie responds to Tommy’s death and that almost forms the catalyst for her rampage. However, I am only convinced that the plot truly will ever work if it was a brother of Sue’s (maybe a twin), that Carrie likes.
A superior version that answers a lot of the questions the 1976 instalment raised.
Rating 18 Length 1h38 Release 27.8.2021 Director Brian De Palma About On the day of her prom night, seventeen-year-old Carrie discovers that she possesses telekinetic powers. She puts her powers to use when she is humiliated after a prank. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Part of MGM subscription package on Amazon Prime (£4.99 a month) Trailer:
I loathed this film! Just fair warning…
My biggest issue is the entire opening scene/act. It is beyond gratuitous and does such an injustice to everyone involved:
Did we really need to see teenage girls (I’m aware they were all nearing their 30s, but that’s not the point. They’re playing teenagers) fully naked. This isn’t about me being a prude, the film is an 18 after all, but about the realities of teen girls. No way, no fucking how, are teen girls prancing about *that* naked. When this is also meant to be about the awkwardness of teen years, why throw that away so you can give your audience a stiffy or wide-on?!
Going on from that, what the actual fuck was with that introduction to Carrie White. Bullying her for starting her period and not knowing?! That becomes a bit hard to buy given that she’s spent the entire credit sequence all but orgasming there in the shower, in full view of her class. Going on from that, Carrie’s hysterics and the fact that its her first period are so mishandled that I’m lacking sympathy for this character. Just needed even one girl to acknowledge that they thought it was Carrie’s first period and that she didn’t know what one was. Either that, or we really needed more screen time with her not cleaning herself like she was in a porno.
Well, I can only imagine the character of Billy Nolan has a microscopic dick, because Chris has flawless speech for someone who is meant to be sucking off her boyfriend. Also, why the fuck was she the one moaning like it was her receiving oral sex?! I honestly felt like this was directed by someone who really just wanted to work in porn. For a film that’s event trigger is menstruation, you’d think that you’d be more aware of your demographic.
Now, I’ve read a few bits about De Palma being accused of being misogynistic. I’ve not read King’s book either, so I don’t know if I can put the blame solely on De Palma, but what kind of bullshit is it that girls (I assume it would be the boys too, but that was unclear) cannot go to prom without a date? That’s some discriminatory crap right there and it angered me so much I almost stopped watching there and then. Which leads to the reason why they had to put that in play; Sue Snell forcing her boyfriend, Tommy Ross, to ask out Carrie. Like what the fuck?! It doesn’t work or stand up to scrutiny. It’s just as cruel as what Chris has planned because its not established that it’s as friends and Tommy even goes as far as kissing her, which I find hard to take as sincere.
The Mum is illogically fucked and leaves me with too many questions: – If this mum is so against the society, why is she not home schooling Carrie? – Periods are a punishment of sin? What the fuck? Also, what’s the underlying cause of Carrie starting her period late? – A religious nut so against sex? Yes, pre-marital sex, I get. However to be so against it that she refuses sex even to produce a child really does make me wonder why she got married at all?! – Carrie is clearly a victim of abuse and no one has picked up on it? I guess that’s a bias one because I’ve been trained in spotting such thing, but when the film is called Carrie, I shouldn’t be questioning the morality of everyone else.
I love all the split screen editing that allows both the forground and background be in focus at once. Even the Vaseline smudge between the two really adds to the visuals.
Everything from the start of prom onwards is brilliant visually, musically and tonally.
The use of the Psycho score is perfect. I thought I’d imagined it at first, but as Carrie’s powers develop and you heard more you couldn’t deny its presence. It works just as effectively here as it does in Psycho.
Over-rated bullshit. Probably should have been called Mama, given she was the asshole of the film. The film leaves way too many plot holes that solve so many bits of the cause and effect that leaves you with way too many questions.
Rating 18 Length 2h01 Release 10.12.1999 Director Peter Hyams About The Devil crashes a New Year’s party in New York and inhabits a man’s body. He searches for his bride, a woman named Christine York, as he wants her to bear his child and destroy the world. Moon: Full moon during the establishing shot of 1979 Where to Watch: Disney Plus Trailer:
Some of the CGI hasn’t aged well. I would also argue that it wasn’t designed to live up to repeat viewings. The one scene that’s most noticeable is the homeless guy who shatters like glass in Christine’s dream.
It’s a visually dark film. There are ways in which you can suggest this level of darkness while still keeping the scene lit. The way in which this film is produced, you cannot have any light in the room in order to watch the film. That doesn’t make for enjoyable watching on my part.
For me, this film is faultless casting. I was reading that the role of Jericho was originally offered to Tom Cruise. Given that the role is so similar to John Anderton in Minority Report, I cannot see how that would have worked. Whereas Arnold Schwarzenegger offers something different to the man broken by life.
Kevin Pollak is always a welcome addition to any project, but he’s spot on here and provides a comedic relief that fits the tone of the film. His story arc is a touch of genius too. The careful editing, snappy dialogue all helps his journey and increases its believability.
The religious symbolism and imagery within the film is something you might not notice at first watch, but it is well thought out. What is also good about these elements is the fact that they’re value added; you don’t miss anything by not knowing this stuff, but it does add layers.
From having the priest who prophesied Christine’s existence called Thomas (While there’s the literally link of Thomas Aquinas, there’s also the idea that he called by name after the Pope disagrees with Thomas’ plan to kill Christine; perhaps an alluding to Doubting Thomas).
Jericho Cane shares his initials with the Christian saviour and his story arc involves a beautifully cruel mirroring of the temptation of Christ and even the final act has comparisons to Jesus’ rejection of violence in the Garden of Gethsemane and His prayer for strength from God.
Christine herself is believed to bring about the birth of the anti-Christ, so its quite fitting that she has a feminine name similar to Christ.
What I love most of all about this film is its action sequences. This is a typical Arnie film where you can switch of your brain and watch the Muscles from Brussels save the day.
Its not perfect, but that’s why I love it. Just don’t ask me to choose between this or Stigmata because 1999 really came through for us with the religious horror!
Rating 15 Length 2h02 Release 21.8.1998 Director Rob Bowman About Two FBI agents set out to unravel a government conspiracy related to the alien colonisation of Earth and attempt to rescue the people on the planet. Moon: Full moon at 33 minutes in Where to Watch: Disney Plus Trailer:
There’s not enough Mitch Pileggi. There is literally never enough Mitch Pileggi, but it’s still very true here. He sort of bookends the film and then pops up one or two more times. It’s weird to see him in a role where he’s not the one in charge.
The Lone Gunmen are used poorly. They’re nothing more than lip service and its a real injustice. While I’m sure the actors were happy to appear on the big screen, they could have played a bigger, better, part.
Due to this being a film, set between series, there’s an element of setting the scene for none fans. It’s why there’s two segments before getting to Mulder and Scully. For the tv show, a cold opening works. It doesn’t here and, even as a fan of the show, I’m restless until our protagonists appear.
This movie really does give the fans some epic pay offs for five years of mythology content. Cigarette Smoking Man has a B-plot thread and the Well-Manicured Man shows his true-ish colours. The whole thing not only gives us answers, but it adds gravitas to the mythology.
There’s something more to this than it being an episode story with extra time. The budget is bigger, so the plot is able to take us beyond what we’d ever see in even a multi-episode arc. The set pieces are bigger, better and serve the plot well.
David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson prove that they are made for the big screen; their chemistry, their character portrayal and story arcs are still able to shine through despite the grander scale; not many actors would be able to do the same.
The horror comes from the rather oddest part in this movie. It’s not the extra-terrestrial or the plot that comes with their existence, but the actions of the group that both the Cigarette-smoking Man and The Well Manicured Man belong to. The lengths that they’ll go to cover things up is truly terrifying.
The only shame is that Fox Studios wouldn’t allow Chris Carter to follow through with his plan of a number of movies following this one. Its a good watch for this time of year and it works well to watch outside of viewing the series.
Rating PG Length 1h 43 Release 15.9.2021 Director David Yarovesky About Scary story fan Alex must tell a spine-tingling tale every night, or stay trapped with his new friend in a wicked witch’s magical apartment forever. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
The opening of the film is really off putting. It throws you in the deep end, for the purpose of a payoff later in the film. It doesn’t work for me and makes me a little detached from the protagonist.
The theme of abuse and trauma is a little too on the nose for what should be a children’s film. To also contain it in such a way in a fantasy film is a little problematic when a lot of children are made to believe everything they experience is in their own head.
It’s really dark, and scary. Which, yay, its Halloween. However, this is not a family affair and it will scare little ones.
Krysten Ritter was born for the role she plays, if not a little too young looking for the role. The fear and the horror comes from her unpredictability and clashing sugary sweet look.
The way in which Alex’s stories are told really is awesome. The stylised approach really allows to make a distinction between Alex’s stories and Alex’s experiences.
Its not too sure on its target audience, so be aware if you intend to watch with little horrors.
Rating N/A Length 55m Release 1985 (no further details to be found) Director William G Claxton About The restless ghost of Sir Simon Canterville has been endlessly haunting his castle in search of a brave soul who will release him from the Canterville curse. A family then moves into the castle, and upon discovering the ghost, finds him to be quite amusing. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Trailer:
At 55 minutes, the first is a little too short to do Oscar Wilde’s short story its true justice. It’s such a charming and wonderful story, that has been retold through the decades and with such little screen time, this does very little to stand out from the others.
I hate it when it is so obvious that the film is not being filmed in the place in which the story is set. It’s such a shame, as it is only a few establishing shots that really ruin the illusion and reveal the California home.
I absolutely adore the effects. Are they old and cheesy? Damn right, they are, but that’s part of the charm.
The cast is wonderful. From ‘that guy’ Mr Hammond spared ‘no expense’ for the narration of Jurassic Park’s tour (Richard Kiley), to Diagnosis Murder’s Barry Van Dyke and the girl that looks eerily like the one from Poltergeist. They all provide solid performances.
It is Mary Wickes, who viewers will recognise from Sister Act, who steals every single scene she’s in as the long standing house-keeper. Her personality wins you over so quickly that you can’t even be mad that this woman is grumbling about the invasion of American owners in her own, unhidden, accent.
A solid entry into the Canterville offerings, but I still prefer the Neve Campbell and Patrick Stewart version.
Rating 18 Length 1h40 Release 11.5.2007 Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo About Six months after the Rage virus turned half of Britain into zombies, the US Army helps secure London for the survivors after a carrier of the virus enters the city and the horror begins once again. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Disney Plus Trailer:
There is an authenticity to the actions of the two leads. However, when their selfish and stupid actions lead to entire chaos of the 90-odd minutes, it’s really hard to root for their survival. Especially at the cost of some excellent characters.
What a waste was Idris Elba? Firstly, you make him American when we all know his London accent is the best. Then, where the fuck does he go?! He just disappears. What the actual fuck? Justice for Elba.
Flynn ploughing through the field of infected didn’t work for me. How the fuck did no blood splash back and infect him? I know, I know, suspend belief. But seriously?! That would have been so fucking cool had he gotten infected and lost control of the chopper, you know?
The filming techniques are absolutely incredible. There’s movement, without it coming with nausea. There’s a ghostly quality to the night-time scenes that heightens the tension; while there’s darkness, you can also see the detail. That final scene is guerrilla filmmaking at its finest. Not only is it beautiful, it throws the story wide open and plants a seed in your imagination.
The story, while a continuance of the 2002 film, tells a very different story. It expands on the concept of a zombie being more of a virus, playing on our own fears of bio terrorism.
Watching the film in the light of our own pandemic, the realism of how the second wave of infections were triggered is so on point. At first I scoffed at how easily the returning Brits accepted the tests given to allow access. Then, the plot gave us two characters who could not follow rules, broke quarantine and fucked everything up. Does make you realise there’s a reason we’re the worst country in the world right now.
This films major flaw is expecting the audience to root for the two individuals who caused the secondary outbreak. It’s fucked and makes me angry, and when I’m angry I’m not scared.
Rating 18 Length 1h53 Release 01.11.2002 Director Danny Boyle About After a mysterious virus wreaks havoc in the United Kingdom, a team of survivors tries to cope with the aftermath of the disaster and find security. Moon: full moon sighted at 1h40 Where to Watch: Disney Plus Trailer:
Christopher Eccleston’s accent isn’t right for the part; it’s more fitting for a Politian than a soldier that’s presented. The other issue is that Eccleston does not keep the accent consistent. The recorded broadcast has Eccleston use the more familiar Northern accent that he is known for, yet upon meeting him the accent becomes closer to an RP, and even Shakespearian at times. It’s not the crapiness of his rah, rah, rah accent that bugs me, but the inconsistency. Especially when you consider the base is near Manchester.
The opening and the initial cause of the outbreak is genius. From the way climate crisis groups like Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion are behaving, it is totally realistic that people would be so self-righteous as to blaze in and create chaos all in the name of what they think is ‘right’.
The filming technique, editing and use of sounds is impeccable. It all adds to the atmosphere and apocalypse. You feel like you’re there with Jim.
There are so many scenes in this film that are beautiful. From the collection of money and cans of drinks, to the raid of the supermarket and the picnic at the side of the motorway. They’re scenes of truest humanity in the face of an apocalypse.
The casting is incredible. Naomi Watts is a force to be reckoned with and truly makes me wonder why she hasn’t been in more things other than Bond. Brendan Gleeson and Cillian Murphy are perfect in their survivor roles.
A film I’ve not watched in years and I think that worked in its favour.
Rating 18 Length 2h23 Release 26.4.2012 Director Joss Whedon About Nick Fury is compelled to launch the Avengers Initiative when Loki poses a threat to planet Earth. His squad of superheroes Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: In cinemas and on some home streaming platforms Trailer:
It can’t keep the momentum of the first of this timeline and it certainly doesn’t hit the bar in terms of quality.
There are almost too many character threads being followed. In a similar way to Halloween II (1981), Laurie is hospital bound and has little to do, there’s Anthony Michael Hall’s Tommy and a few other returning characters from the 1978 original, but how they’re used makes their inclusion too much like fan service than a need for them in the story; almost as if casting and characters were prioritised over telling the story.
In a similar sense, this instalment feels like a set up to the next film. They knew how they were starting, they knew there were two more sequels and how this was going to end, the rest just feels like padding.
I really hate the immortality aspect of The Shape/ Michael Myers. It’s fucking stupid because that is part of the legend of him and undermines the believability of a mob mentality.
The body count and kills are unrelenting and imaginative. From the first responders, to the final showdown this film really earns its 18 rating.
Jamie Lee Curtis will always be impeccable in everything she does. Ever since seeing her in A Fish Called Wanda, I’ve trusted that anything she’s in will be something I’ll enjoy.
Anthony Michael Hall as Tommy is quite a genius bit of casting and characterisation. To see how those 40 years have gone for Tommy, how much it’s effected him is not something I’ve really thought about. His ability to move and motivate a crowd into a mob is incredible, and something I’m not certain Joseph Gordon Levitt would have been able to pull off.
There are Call backs and Easter eggs to many of the other films in the franchise. I particularly loved the nod to the third film that didn’t even feature Michael Myers.
The scariest thing out of all of the violence is the mob. Michael Myers, due to his apparent immortality, and known volatile tendencies doesn’t have the same shock and horror as the group of ordinary people; doctors, citizens and police who are all but frothing at the mouth at the thought of killing Michael. It’s all within the realms of possibility and the fact that they all ignore the harm they do to others and actively ignore the voice of logic and reason is the sole bit of this film that chilled me to the bone.
I found aspects of the film interesting, but it just didn’t quite live up to the expectations the 2018 offering gave me.
Rating 18 Length 2h01 Release 14.2.2007 Director Edgar Wright About Police officer Nicholas Angel is known to be the best across London. His seniors, who are jealous of his achievements, transfer him to a remote village where he encounters various challenges. Moon: Full moon at the group showdown Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
It’s a tad too long for me. Even shaving 20 minutes off the total running time would really help it feel like a well paced film. As it stands, I often find myself flagging in the last third; there’s almost too much after the big reveal and it does the film a disservice.
For me, the best thing about this movie is the editing and how it is able to show things that other police shows and films omit in an interesting and artistic way.
Casting, as with any Edgar Wright film, is spot on. The best casting choice of course is the one and only Edward Woodwood, who is the biggest bit of foreshadowing I’ve ever noticed in a film.
Nicholas Angel is one of the best characters. His story arc and how he interacts with everyone he comes into contact with provides so much entertainment and quotable content.
The homage is just as good, if not better, in this when you compare it to Shaun of the Dead.
So many subtle things, that have massive payoffs later in the film. In fact, its a film that I’ll watch and notice something new each time.
The best of the trilogy, both in terms of casting and genre. For me, its more akin to Wicker Man, than the action movies lampooned, but that’s actually the beauty of this film.
Rating 15 Length 1h39 Release 9.4.2004 Director Edgar Wright About Shaun is a salesman whose life has no direction. However, his uneventful life takes a sudden turn when he has to singlehandedly deal with an entire community of zombies. Moon: no moon sighting Where to Watch: Netflix Trailer:
The biggest thing for me is the lack of a Bond actor. It’s a really stupid complaint given how little money this film was made on, but with both Hot Fuzz and World’s End both prominently starring a Bond, it just would have been a brilliant touch.
Where do I start? I must admit that the first time I watched this movie, I wasn’t too enamoured. That said, I hadn’t watched too many zombie films at that point, so I couldn’t appreciate the homage. It’s all there; from camera angles to lines, it is a love letter to the zombie sub-genre.
The cast is spot on. Simon Pegg as the lead, Nick Frost as his best mate. Everyone who supports. Stunning! This film wouldn’t be the same without any of the people involved.
There’s so many sequences that really just… work. The record tossing in order to kill the invaders in their garden is genius and I love the ‘action’ sequence to Queen with the follow up of Your My Best Friend leadingus out to the credits.
I love this film. Not as much as I love Hot Fuzz, but this is what a spoof should be. Not the Scary Movie type.