Insidious: Chapter Three (2015)

To be honest I hope we get a whole book of Insidious films…

 A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.

James Wan’s partner in crime, Leigh Whannell, who has previously been attached to Wan’s projects (Saw, Dead Silence, Insidious) as either writer, co-producer, or even sometimes actor, now finally steps up and takes the reigns and sits in the director’s chair for his own entry into the franchise with, Insidious: Chapter Three.

What comes as a surprising improvement from Chapter 2, Chapter 3 delves into prequel territory with dread filled atmosphere and jump scares that come with a gasp and a giggle. Whannell who is a long time player in the horror genre, cleverly utilizes the feeling of claustrophobia with keeping our leading lady, Quinn (Stefanie Scott), immobilized and unable to escape any lurking threats.

Although not as terrifying as the original, this haunted house number builds it tension with care with a few legitimately frightening moments and a villainous demon that will chill you to your very core.

6.5 / 10

“If you call out to one of the dead, all of them can hear you”

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It Comes At Night (2017)

Some would say it certainly does NOT come at night…

Secured within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son, but this will soon be put to test when a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.

Where to begin? It Comes At Night is absolutely brilliant! Trey Edward Shults follows up his festival favourite ‘Krisha’ with an impressive and well executed tense cabin in the woods psychological thriller, It Comes At Night.

What comes as a surprise is how polarising this film has been, and it’s easy enough to notice that it’s between those who watched the trailers and those who didn’t. I fall in the latter… so naturally I adored the film. The initial poster was all I saw and that was enough to grab my attention.

It’s a true shame to see audiences so hot and bothered over the film. I’ve now seen how A24 has handled the marketing and truthfully it was cheeky of them to promote this film as the next kind of Blumhouse scare fest project, but those already familiar with the studio would recognise their niche taste in art house horror, particularly with Robert Eggers The Witch, which also split audiences in two. Like The Witch, It Comes At Night delves into creepy and unnerving imagery that depicts humanity at its darkest. Expectations should be put aside here and with a second look its hard to see how haters could not see there is real finesse here.

It Comes At Night is an insanely rich and one of the most beautiful shot films of the year. It’s a character driven nightmarish tale that never lets up on its constant sense of uncertainty and unease. The performances are raw, emotional and haunting. Joel Edgerton is a force to be reckoned with and by far this is his best performance yet, he easily steals every scene he is in. Christopher Abbott too is a breath of fresh air and Kelvin Harrison Jr is no doubts a youthful break through star in the wings.

Shults proves once more that what is left unseen can sometimes be so much more terrifying. Yes, there are demons here, but they are the demons we personally battle with and It Comes At Night is a intense look of what fear can turn a person into.

The films does leave a lot of questions unanswered that are difficult to overlook, but the dramatic tension and skilful performances will win you over. Heartbreaking and ultimately bleak It Comes At Night is a marvel, that shouldn’t have its misleading marketing ruin its reputation.

9.0 / 10

“You can’t trust anyone but family”

An American Werewolf In London (1981)

“Winston Churchill was full of shit… Shakespeare’s French…. Fuck… Shit… Cunt… Shit” … Yeah that scene pretty much sums the tonal feel for this iconic creature feature.

Two America college students on a walking tour of Britain are attacked by a werewolf that none of the locals will admit exists.

My my my… An American Werewolf in London is clearly timeless. Director/Writer John Landis, more commonly known for The Blues Brothers (1980), but for us horror enthusiasts will find him more memorable for his cult classic horror / comedy An American Werewolf in London (1981).

American Werewolf may in fact be the best werewolf film there is, it is iconic horror at its finest. Landis cleverly balances the humour and horror so perfectly that he has created a film with real quirkiness and charm. The dialogue is witty and the performances of David Naughton (David) and Griffin Dunne (Jack) are exceptional. There chemistry with each other is so loveable and goofy.

The real star of the screen though is the jaw dropping makeup and practical effects. It is an absolute marvel to behold! The transformation scene is so god damn flawless, it is grisly and painful to watch. There is also the ghastly cadaver of Jack who is gooey gory goodness! It is no wonder that makeup man extraordinaire Rick Baker would go onto win an Oscar for the film.

An American Werewolf is proof that CGI is a tool overused in todays features and it pains me to know there is a remake in development… It eases my soul a little to know that at least the current director attached is John Landis’s son, Max Landis. But, how you could compete with a cult classic is lost on me!

An American Werewolf in London is breath taking! It succeeds on all fronts in horror and humour. It will carefully stray into campiness, but never stay there for too long and how could you forget a film with that ending! I am still deciding on whether it was the worst or absolutely best cut to credits ever!

8.5 / 10

“I will not be threatened by a walking meat loaf!”

The Bad Batch (2017)

It’s like if Nicolas Winding Refn made his own version of Mad Max: Fury Road…

 Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is one of the thousands of Americans deemed unacceptable to society and is unceremoniously dumped into a hostile desert wasteland fenced off from civilized society. Wandering the desert in exile, she is captured by a savage band of cannibals and quickly realizes she’ll have to fight for her very existence in this human eat human world.

Following up from the fantastic debut ‘A Girl Walks Home Along At Night’ Ana Lily Amirpour’s sophomore film ‘The Bad Batch’ is a visually stylish, sun scorched post apocalyptic horror meets romance. Slow burner, yes, but Amirpour demonstrates her knack of director/writer combo ability with her illustrious talent of world building.

The Bad Batch is a tricky one to assess. After falling heads over heels in love with Amirpour’s breathtaking debut, I went into Bad Batch ready to be amazed yet again. Boy, was I ever… The opening scene is fucking brilliant. It is nasty and effortlessly filmed but the rest of the film doesn’t quite live up to its savage opening.

Both Suki Waterhouse and Jason Momoa are fun to watch. The both have an absorbing screen presence, but there just wasn’t enough depth there. Giovanni Ribisi is painfully underused and the majority of time spent with Keanu Reeves are drawn out scenes of pretentious blabbering’s.

The Bad Batch begins with little to no dialogue and it was those early scenes that were the real hook of the film. Would this movie have been better if it remained silent throughout? Absolutely! It could have been a bold entry into the post apocalyptic subgenre, and no doubt one Amirpour could easily pull off.

The Bad Batch has it moments. It’s a stylish nightmarish love story that has an absolute killer of a soundtrack. Striking, yet unfortunately a little dissatisfying. It doesn’t help that in its closing moments I was thinking “No, no, no, nooooo” …. Fuck that ending.

6.5 / 10

“Heres the thing, being good and bad… mostly depends on who you’re standing next to”