Thursday, 15 June 2017

Pool Party Massacre (2017): Review


Pool Party Massacre is a 2017 slasher film. Directed by Drew Marvick and starring Alexis Adams, Dora Deceuninck and Mark Justice. This is Marvick's directorial debut and he also wrote and appeared in the film.

The film centres around Tiffany (Adams), a spoiled suburbanite who throws an impromptu pool party while her parents are away on vacation. Among her friends is Dora (Deceuninck), who has long since outgrown their shallow high school friendship and is starting to pull away from Tiffany. After a boyfriend and his half wit brother crash the party, things start to go wrong and people start to dissapear as a mysterious handyman dispatches the attendees of the pool party massacre. It's down to the final girl to avoid being dispatched and escape the deadly LA suburbs.

Pool Party Massacre is an overt homage to the cheesy teen slashers of the 80s, such as Slumber Party Massacre (1982), Sleepaway Camp (1983) and The Mutilator (1984). In this it is very successful, complete with splatter kills and porno dialogue, and wisely walks more on the side of parody so you can laugh with it, rather than at it. A lot of attention is paid to the gruesome murders and, although initially they involve basic stabby techniques, they do advance to various gardening tools and there's a nice bit of dramatic irony as we get to see the unknown killer pick his weapon from a wall rack.

The movie comes with a great electro/metal soundtrack and always feels like the cast and crew are having a great time making the film. The authentic cheesy dialogue does tend to grate after a while and not all the jokes land in the way I believe they were intended to, but there's a decent central performance from Deceuninck and Marvick's own character is delightfully over the top. The film rattles on at an advisable pace, not leaving you time to get bored of the brainless plot, but I have to say I guessed the identity of the killer about halfway through, leaving the resolution somewhat lacking.

A great film for a friday night with a few friends and a few beers, Pool Party Massacre is exactly the kind of enjoyably dumb trash that was churned out at an alarming rate in the 80s. As long as you don't take the film any more seriously than any of the cast and crew, you'll be on the right side of the joke and have a lot of fun.

*** 3 Stars

What did you think of Pool Party Massacre? Are you a fan of 80s slashers?

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Flatliners remake gets a trailer


The upcoming remake of Joel Schumacher's Flatliners has released it's first trailer. The 1990 supernatural thriller helped to turn Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon and Kiefer Sutherland into huge 90s movie stars and has now received a modern update. Seemingly following the same plot as the original, the film follows a group of young medical students as they experiment with pushing themselves to the brink of death, and beyond.


With a much more underwhelming cast in the form of Ellen Paige, Nina Dobrev and Diego Luna, although Sutherland is also credited, the film would appear to be scraping the very bottom of the barrel when it comes to unnecessary remakes. However, the aesthetics are at least a change from the grungy, gritty original and, you would assume, there will be some incorporation of new scientific ideas that have emerged since the early 90s. The film is released this September.

What do you think of the trailer? Does Flatliners need to be remade?

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Adam Wingard to direct Godzilla vs Kong


Indie horror legend in the making Adam Wingard (You're Next, The Guest, Blair Witch) has been announced as the director for upcoming kaiju mashup Godzilla vs Kong. Wingard is a tried and tested hand in several different variations of the horror genre, but he's never tackled anything on this scale and has a writers room to contend with.


We'll wait and see what fellow indie horror director Michael Dougherty (trick r treat, Krampus) can do with Godzilla 2 before seeing Wingard's epic monster clash in 2020.

What do you think of the choice of director? Are you a fan of Wingard's previous movies?

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Colossal (2017): Review


Colossal is a 2017 indie kaiju film. Directed by Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes) starring Anne Hathaway (Interstellar), Jason Sudekis (Horrible Bosses) and Dan Stevens (The Guest). The film debuted at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.

The film follows the self destructive Gloria (Hathaway), an unemployed alcoholic who's just been dumped by her boyfriend Tim (Stevens). Forced to move from New York back to her small hometown, she soon rekindles a friendship with childhood friend Oscar (Sudekis) who employs her at his local bar. Suddenly, A giant monster is spotted attacking Seoul on the other side of the world and, although initially shocked, Gloria soon discovers she can control the monster from the safety of her local park. However, Oscar also learns that he can control a giant robot in Seoul, and their relationship soon begins to strain under the great responsibility of having your very own city smashing avatar.

Colossal is a wonderful little indie movie that surprises you at every turn, and ends up being a film about personal relationships that just happens to have giant monsters in it (much like Gareth Edwards Monsters). However, when it comes time to do a bit of smashing, the effects are spot on and the monster a fairly original design. The film is beautifully shot and the small town setting and flawed characters well drawn, if indie film cliches. What's most impressive is Vigalondo's restraint, whenever using the monsters in the plot, he always does so to get across a point and to draw parallels with his human characters.

The only drawback of the film is the characterisation of Sudekis' Oscar. The intention is to have him become the anti villain to Hathaway's anti-hero, however, you're either a villain, or you're not. Swinging wildly between drunken tirades, pathos, and punching Gloria in the face, serves only to confuse audiences and I wasn't quite sure how to feel about him by the end. Hathaway's performance, however, is tremendous. Playing against type, she is a disheveled, damaged mess and creates the same sympathy for her monster avatar as she does for her own character.

The subgenre of indie kaiju is a small niche indeed, but a welcome twist on the genre as Legendary are doing a bang up job of the blockbuster variety. Colossal joins the likes of Monsters (2010) and The Host (2006) as a charming tale of small town relationships set against the larger backdrop of giant monsters and Vigalondo continues to prove one of the most original minds in the business.

**** 4 Stars

Wha did you think of Colossal? Would you have liked more monster action?

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Zac Efron is...Ted Bundy?!


In a somewhat surprising casting move, former child star Zac Efron has been cast this week in an upcoming biopic of infamous serial killer Ted Bundy. Noted documentarian Joe Berlinger will be directing the ridiculously titled "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" as Efron attempts to shake off his teenage typecasting. 


In fairness, Efron obviously has the looks for the role and, as you can see, there is a pretty strong resemblance. What remains to be seen is whether Efron can turn on the darkness when it comes time to stop the charming and start the killing.

What do you think of the casting? Can you see Efron as Ted Bundy?

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Alien: Covenant (2017): Review


Alien: Covenant is a 2017 sci fi horror film. Directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) and starring Michael Fassbender (Frank, Shame), Katherine Waterston (Steve Jobs), Billy Crudup (Watchmen) and Danny McBride (This is the End). The film is a direct sequel to Prometheus (2012) and a prequel to the Alien franchise.

Alien: Covenant picks up ten years after the events of Prometheus as the colonist ship (cleverly titled "Covenant") is forced to wake up it's crew a little earlier due to system malfunctions. Served by ship android Walter (Fassbender), Captain Oram (Crudup) discovers that there is a much more habitable planet much nearer to them than their original destination and decides to take a task force to invesigate (what could possibly go wrong?). Aided from the air by pilot Tennessee (McBride, Oram takes second in command Daniels (Waterston), Walter and others down to the surface where they get a lot more than they bargained for in terms of the planets inhabitants, both alien and artificial.

In 2012 Ridley Scott dissapointed legions of Alien fans across the world by promising a prequel that would reveal the fascinating origins behind the revered Alien franchise. What we actually got was a disjointed, confused mess of a film (albeit visually stunning) that barely resembled the orginal franchise and Scott is nothing if not consistent. Covenent is so clearly a response to the poor reception of Prometheus, you can almost hear Scott off set, as the Xenommorph is eviscerating a crew member, shouting "is this what you want?!". Sadly, the answer is still no. The characters are supremely bland, the plot laughably predictable, the horror about as subtle as a brick and the dialogue howlingly bad. No, people were actually howling with laughter in my screening, and I can't say I blame them.

What really breaks my heart is that the great Michael Fassbender bears the brunt of most of this garbage dialogue and tries to carry it off with a scenery chewing performance as the villainous David, but to no avail, and to think, David the android was one of the highlights of Prometheus. The paint by numbers plot is so formulaic that it is clearly one gigantic MacGuffin to get to the creation of the Xenomorph itself, so these pointless prequels can tie up with the original movies. And for what? In what must be an in joke, one of the characters actually speaks the dialogue "none of this makes any sense" and, from the moment the film opened and I saw Guy Pearce returning as Peter Weyland, I knew nobody had learnt anything from the failure of Prometheus.

I never thought I would say this but Covenant is even worse than Prometheus and, to watch a once great director, now a stubborn old man, trying to recapture the glory of his masterpiece is the real shame here. Covenant is like Alien but without any of the suspense, style or atmosphere and truly shows how out of touch Ridley Scott is with the iconic franchise that he once helped to build. Scott continues to dominate the genre of "visually impressive nonsense" and it now seems that the franchise is doomed to float through unimaginative sci fi hyperspace for good. In space, no one can hear you yawn. 

** 2 Stars

What did you think of Alien Covenant? Is Ridley Scott out of touch?

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Darren Aronofsky returns to psychological horror


Acclaimed arthouse director Darren Aronofsky gave everyone a mother's day present yesterday in the form of the poster for his surprise new film "Mother!". The film stars Jennifer Lawrence alongside Javier Bardem, Domnhall Gleeson and Michelle Pfeiffer. 


Although it certainly had it's fans, I was no fan of Aronofsky's last foray into the genre with Black Swan. However, with a strong cast and a potentially less melodramatic approach, I could be convinced otherwise. The film is slated for a November release in the UK.

What do you think of the poster? Are you a Darren Aronofsky fan?