The Girl With All The Gifts (2017)

Yes… I’m going to be one of those assholes that screams the book was better… (just)

A scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.

Previously a novel of the same name from 2014, The Girl with All the Gifts, is an oddly adapted screenplay penned by the author M.R Carey. I say oddly, because the film is completely different to the novel, so much so that major characters have entirely different deaths and defining character moments are completely missing. For me that is just a no no.

Director Colm McCarthy’s vision of the film, is an unfortunate lazy adaptation of the book. The monstrous makeup was exactly that, the crusty rot was overly exaggerated and moments so painfully awkward that there could possibly be no saving grace for the film.

The backdrop of The Girl with All the Gifts is a wonder to admire and both Paddy Considine and Gemma Arterton are powerful in their roles, but the characters are paper thin and the lack of chemistry was noticeably missing. It’s an unfortunate slip for what was a semi-powerful novel to be adapted into another ineffective cringe worthy zombie film.

4.5 / 10

“If I had a box of bad things I’d put you in it and close the lid”

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Berlin Syndrome (2017)

Home girl, I’m from Brisbane too – I understand the desperate need of wanting to travel!

A passionate holiday romance leads to an obsessive relationship, when an Australian photojournalist wakes one morning in a Berlin apartment and is unable to leave.

Cate Shortland’s third feature film entry comes in the form of a heart pounding claustrophobic thriller Berlin Syndrome. Based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Melanie Joosten, Shortland’s confident and interesting thriller is a slick atmospheric step into the genre.

Both Teresa Palmer and Max Riemelt bring strong sharp performances, they play off one another well in an evil game out cat and mouse. There are moments of truly terrifying spine tingling tension and shocking moments of brutal bloody violence, it is everything you could ask for in a confinement thriller.

The Australian production is beautifully shot but it unfortunately loses its steam half way through, and instead of a slow burn its pacing begins to feel lethargic. Slightly overextended at 116 minutes long, a shorter in length version would have been a far superior film and kept the tension burning throughout.

7.5 / 10

“I wish I could stay”

Get Out (2017)

Next up the sequel… Go Away.

A young African American man (Daniel Kaluuya) visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s (Allison Williams) mysterious family estate for the weekend.

It is hard to believe that this is Jordan Peele’s feature film directorial debut, who impressively also penned the script. Get Out blends horror, satire and social thriller into a smashing mash up of Skeleton Key meets Stepford Wives.

Get Out is a film that has globally hypnotised us all. Certainly due to its strong vein of social commentary that runs throughout the narrative. Don’t be mistaken, Get Out isn’t exactly a movie that deals with racism, rather how some deal with race in general. Peele plays with racism in a way that won’t anger you, but will have you squirming uncomfortably in your seat while you cringe at the awkwardness that poor Chris (Kaluuya) endures from a bunch of white privileged rich folk, who don’t realise they are being racist with their condescending comments.

Get Out is clever and absorbing film that manages to balance humour and horror so fittingly. The actual horror is fairly light, there are more moments of graceless etiquette than moments of terror. Rather the horror here is focused on the slow build up of unnerving paranoia and it is the sound design that will eerily have the fine hairs on the back of your neck stand and the simple chink of a teaspoon against a tea cup that will make you shiver.

The performances of Get Out are wonderfully pleasing. Both Kaluuya and Williams ooze with screen presence and a near unrecognisable Bradley Whitford – my god! – is so authentic as the trying to be hip dad it is chilling. But it’s LilRel Howery (Rod) who steals about every single scene he is in with his side splitting comic relief.

I feel like a proud parent every time I see any form of horror thrive and no doubt Get Out has been a huge word of mouth success. Get Out creates an interesting angle of social and cultural observation, but the narrative does fall a little predictable half way through… it wasn’t hard to guess the villainous twist. Whether you read the films title as a threat or a warning, Get Out will have you hooked with its rich atmosphere, sharp comedy and nail biting horror.

8.0 / 10

“Now you’re in the sunken place”

I Am Not A Serial Killer (2016)

He’s not a serial killer, he’s just emo…

In a small Midwestern town, a troubled teen (Max Records) with homicidal tendencies must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer whilst keeping his own inner demons at bay.

Originally an adaptation of Dan Well’s young adult novel of the same name, director Billy O’Brien brings the supernatural murder mystery to the big screen. With a mature performance from Max Records, I Am Not A Serial Killer is a darkly funny hybrid of mystery, murder and monsters.

I Am Not A Serial Killer is filled with interesting characters, that are essentially unfriendly folk but ultimately have some heart. Both Max Records and Christopher Lloyd do well to tug on the audience’s heart strings and evoke a sense of sympathy. All round the performances are excellent, with a peppering of wry humour. However, the film is a bit of a slow burner with a rather shocking revelation early on, that unfortunately leaves the second half of the film to suffer with slow pacing.

I Am Not A Serial Killer plays with some interesting dark themes with dry humour. Billy O’Brien blends quirky and creepy rather well and creates a unique little film with an original narrative, that regrettably just isn’t inspiring enough to ever hold for a re-watch.

6.0 / 10

“I have rules to keep me normal and to keep everybody else safe”