Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Mind's Eye (2016): Review

The Mind's Eye is a 2016 sci-fi horror film. Written and directed by Joe Begos (Almost Human) and starring Graham Skipper (Almost Human), Lauren Ashley Carter (Jugface) and John Speredakos (House of the Devil). The movie debuted at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

The film follows Zack Connors (Skipper) and Rachel Meadows (Carter), 2 incredibly powerful telekinetics who find themselves imprisoned by the evil Slovak corporation. Dr Slovak (Speredakos) is a fellow telekinetic intent on keeping their powers contained and, eventually harvesting them for his own devices. After escaping the Slovak facility, Zack and Rachel find themselves on the run, pursued by Slovak's goons, and their powers still suppressed from chemical injections. They eventually find their powers returning to them as Zack is forced into a final confrontation with the twisted Dr Slovak.

It may be stating the incredibly obvious, but The Mind's Eye IS Scanners (1981). Not a sequel, or an homage but a carbon copy of the classic sci-fi film. Little effort is made to disguise this, or maybe tweak the plot a little to give it a new twist and the lazy script is a constant reminder that there is no involvement of such a visionary as David Cronenberg. The plot limps along, punctuated by laughable scenes where telekinetic individuals stare and grunt at each other until something explodes (possibly in their pants), although this sometimes results in impressive gore, it usually results in not much at all.

The dialogue walks that fine line between being intentionally schlocky and just being really bad, usually landing on the latter side. The only redeeming feature about the movie is the music and sound design. The film begins with a message telling you to turn your volume up and the various pulses and dubstep style womps added an extra dimension to otherwise uneventful telekinesis battles. The music is a synth soaked, John Carpenter love letter and helps to support the period setting (although this is in 1991) but also reminds you of much better films you could be watching.

Quotes for the film heralded it as "The best Scanners Sequel we never got" but I would argue it was the Scanners sequel we didn't need (and we already got two of them in the 90s). Wholly derivative and unoriginal, sometimes it's worse to get a remake that doesn't declare itself, and this is it!

* 1 star

What did you think of the film? How does it compare to Scanners?

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Let the Right One In gets the TV treatment

Next up, in the long line of movies being adapted into TV shows, is the cult Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In (2008). Alfredson's film, having already been an adaptation of a best selling book, was also excellently remade in 2010 by Matt Reeves as Let Me In.

You might wonder what story could possibly be left to tell but since adapting horror movies into TV shows is in right now (From Dusk til Dawn, Teen Wolf) TNT are going to order a pilot anyway. You could also wonder how they are going to maintain the same age for Eli over multiple seasons since she's, yaknow, immortal!

What do you think of the idea? Are you fan of the original film or remake?

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Rings gets a new poster and trailer

The upcoming Ring reboot has received a brand new poster and a rather revealing trailer. Scheduled for a Halloween release, the film is directed by F. Javier Gutierezz and will update the ring franchise for the internet generation.

I'm quietly excited for this as The Ring is one of the greatest remakes ever made, however, The Ring 2 severely damaged the franchise so there will be a lot of making up to do. Also Kayako vs Sadako has been released in Japan and will be making it's way west later this year, which could overexpose the franchise. Check out the trailer but, be warned, it reveals an awful lot about the film:

What do you think of the trailer? Does The Ring need a threequel? 

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Baskin (2016): Review

Baskin is a 2016 Turkish horror film. Directed by Can Evrenol and starring Gorkem Kasal, Ergen Kuyucu and Mehmet Cerrahoglu. This was Cerrahoglu's first acting role as he suffers from an extremely rare skin condition.

The film follows 5 police officers over the course of a night. Initially starting out as a tense meeting in a coffee shop, the group soon start to receive visions and leave the café to respond to a distress call. After crashing their van, they find themselves at the source of the call, the mysterious area called Inceagac, and are drawn into an abandoned police station. The group are then captured by a satanic cult led by "Father" (Cerrahoglu) and made to suffer in what they soon discover is hell on earth.

Baskin is a very stylish example of the kind of films usually associated with the French new wave of extremism (Martyrs, Inside etc). The fact that so few Turkish films ever see a wide release in the West gives it an instantly fresh perspective and the incorporation of native ghost stories and folklore is a welcome change. As well as executing an impressive level of gore, the film is also set to a gorgeous 80s synth based soundtrack that wouldn't be out of place in a John Carpenter film.

Much has been made of Cerrahoglu's performance and it is a strong villainous role that makes the most out of his unique physical appearance (like a modern day Michael Berryman). Sadly, the same can't be said of his occultist minions who tend to take on a much more generic design as the film goes a bit "House of 1000 corpses" towards the end. The initial tension and intrigue also tends to dissipate towards the end of the film as the horror clichés start to mount, but there are still a myriad of graphic ways for our protagonists to meet their end at the hands of Father.

An impressive feature length debut for Evrenol and a sign that things are changing in Turkish cinema, a country previously known for it's hilariously bad knockoffs of films like Rambo and Star Wars. Hopefully we'll see more roles for Cerrahoglu too as his unique look and charm can certainly be returned to in future films. A good step forward in the evolution of Turkish horror.

*** 3 Stars

What did you think of Baskin? Have you seen any other Turkish movies?

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Lost Boys TV show in development

A new television adaptation of the classic 1987 vampire flick is, reportedly, in the works. Helmed by iZombie creator Rob Thomas, the series will apparently take place over several decades, starting with the 1960s, and change up the setting, time period and non vampiric characters every season.

I think this is a really good concept and makes the most of the immortality of the central characters, however, it's also very ambitious and The Lost Boys is a movie steeped in 80s pop culture. More importantly, will we see a rebooted version of the frog brothers? probably not.

What do you think of the idea? Do you think too many movies are being made into TV shows?

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

New Pennywise design revealed

Entertainment weekly have scored the official, full length picture revealing the design for Pennywise in the upcoming reboot of the classic Stephen King book.

Bill Skarsgard (Hemlock Grove) is taking over the iconic role from Tim Curry in the film scheduled for release next year. I've been an advocate for this reboot since it's announcement as the original TV movie is not the strongest King adaptation and director Andres Muschietti (Mama) is a very promising new talent. However, I'm not convinced by this super serious, dark update of the once vibrant, but terrifying, character. Maybe I'm more of a Killer Klown kinda guy.

What do you think of the new design? Are you excited for this upcoming reboot?

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Green Room (2016): Review

Green Room is a 2016 horror thriller. Directed by Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin) and starring Anton Yelchin (Fright Night), Imogen Poots (also Fright Night) and Patrick Stewart (X-Men). This was the last film to be released before Yelchin's tragic death in 2016.

The film follows a hardcore punk band brilliantly called "The Ain't Rights" as they tour the pacific northwest. When one of their gigs falls through, a replacement show is arranged out of town which turns out to be held in a neo-Nazi skinhead club. Presumably too punk to care, the band play anyway and things are going surprisingly well until they return to the green room to find a young girl has been murdered by one of the skins. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues as the band become trapped in the green room, along with Amber (Poots) and "Big Justin" (a skinhead enforcer), as club owner Darcy (Stewart) makes it his mission to violently remove the band from the situation.

Green Room is a Hitchcockian exercise in high tension thrills with an incredibly gritty ultraviolent coat of paint. The film itself is shot through a grimy, greenish filter and really sucks you into the hopeless situation that the band find themselves in. This is enhanced by some extremely graphic violence, but warranted given the context, and the visual of Poots tightly gripping her boxcutter (before doing something horrific) will stick in the mind longer than you want it to. The late Anton Yelchin is the emotional core of the film (supported by Arrested Development's Alia Shawkat) and we quickly see his punk bravado melt away and reveal the scared little boy in the face of the highly dangerous situation.

I liked the way that the film didn't completely confine itself to the "green room", as I was expecting, but rather had it's protagonists test the waters every now and then by attempting to venture outside. Although the film was very realistic, I did have some problems with what I felt were some slightly far fetched plot holes. Why would the band agree to play a neo-Nazi compound? Could they possibly have escaped sooner than they attempted to? Also, although he did his best, I found it pretty hard to take Patrick Stewart seriously as an evil Nazi crime lord.

Top marks for being the bleakest film to be released this year (and in cinemas no less!), Green Room is not for the faint of heart. For every band that's found themselves playing a slightly suspicious gig, or anyone who's ever found themselves in the wrong pub in the wrong part of town. This is that feeling turned all the way up and makes for a terrifying, thrilling and sometimes nauseating experience that you won't soon forget.

**** 4 Stars

What did you think of Green  Room? Did you find the film too intense?

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Teaser for "final" Resident Evil movie

A teaser trailer has been released for the forthcoming Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. The entry promises to be the last in the long running franchise (we've all heard that before) as married couple Paul W.S Anderson and Milla Jovavich return for the swansong.

Like it's slow moving, deteriating antagonists, the Resident Evil movie franchise has gone on far too long and has mirrored the similar decline in quality that has plagued the game franchise. The trailer doesn't seem to suggest any reason for one last movie but does feature jovavich high kicking her way through raccoon city to a guns n roses soundtrack, wrapping up the franchise in suitably cheesy fashion. Check out the trailer...

What do you think of a final Resident Evil movie? When do you think it should have ended?

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Jason Eisener returns!

I've long lamented that Jason Eisener has yet to follow up his incredible debut Hobo with a Shotgun (2011) with another blood soaked, grindhouse revival flick. Well now it seems my prayers have been answered as news has emerged that the vastly underrated director will be directing an upcoming adaptation of cult 80s comic book "New York City Outlaws".

The comic is set in a dystopian New York City after crime has taken over and rendered the streets a lethal battleground. Sounds to me like a cross between The Warriors (1979) and Escape From New York (1981) and this fits in perfectly with Eisener's talent for exploitation filmmaking. I couldn't be more excited about this and, although I'd still like to see that Plague spinoff movie, I can't wait to see what Eisener comes up with.

What do you think of this project? Have you heard of the comic before?

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Movie B Bad #8: Runaway (1984)

I saw the film at a Bristol Bad Film Club screening as a killer robot double bill with the fantastic Chopping Mall (1986). Check out their website and facebook.

Runaway is a 1984 sci-fi thriller. Directed by Michael Crichton (Westworld) and starring Tom Selleck (3 Men and a Baby), Gene Simmons (Never Too Young to Die, Wanted: Dead or Alive) and Cynthia Rhodes (Flashdance). This marks the feature film debut of Simmons who landed the role after meeting Michael Crichton.

The film follows Selleck's washed up cop Jack Ramsay, a police officer now confined to the robot malfunctions squad after bottling it in his previous division due to suffering from Vertigo (hmm sounds familiar). Titled the "runaway squad" the team are tasked with neutralising the rogue robots that society has now come to depend upon. Joined by new recruit Thompson (Rhodes) they uncover a plot by evil tycoon Dr Luther (Simmons), doctor of what I'm not sure, who has been installing the robots with black market chips turning them into deadly killing machines. The duo have to navigate various robotic creations in order to take down Luther and stop the robots from taking over the world!

Runaway is like a really unsophisticated version of Blade Runner (1982), but instead of fighting robots disguised as humans, our protagonists have to face what I can only describe as an army of VHS players, midi hi-fis and mechano spiders that poke you in the chin with a needle. It's also one of the least futuristic films I've seen, making for an extremely dated and hilarious vision of the future. Tom Selleck is a deeply adequate lead, although his moustache turns in a far more convincing performance, but most of the comedy gold comes from Simmons who chews the scenery and says far more with a creepy stare than he ever could with words.

Perhaps the fact that Crichton wrote this directly for the screen, rather than adapting from a novel, explains why the plot is pretty thin and it doesn't really say anything that hasn't already been said a hundred times ie. don't rely on technology too much. The heat seeking mini missiles were a nice touch and the pov sequence where Ramsay is being chased down by one of them was particularly naff, somehow moving very quickly and very slowly at the same time. This also leads to a fantastic sequence where Ramsay insists on removing a highly explosive bullet from Thompson's arm as a robot would only make a hash of it.

An incredibly 80s vision of the future and stark warning against reliance on technology that would be kind of overshadowed by another 1984 film known as The Terminator. The film is delightfully daft and the fact that Selleck never really took off as a big action star is perhaps down to this movie. However, for Simmons, this would be the launching pad to play several more gurning villains as the 80s wore on. Keep your eyes peeled for an early appearance from bombshell Kirsty Allie too.

*** 3 Stars

Have you seen Runaway? What's your favourite killer robot film?

Monday, 1 August 2016

Phantasm: Ravager coming this October

The long awaited Phantasm sequel will be getting a release this October. The fifth in the series, and first since 1998's Oblivion, will see the return of the iconic tall man (by the late Angus Scrimm) and will be produced (but not directed) by series creator Don Coscarelli.

I've never been a huge fan of the series but at least it's not a remake, and I love the subtitle: Ravager. Check out the teaser poster and see the film this October.

Are you a fan of the Phantasm series? What do you think of this upcoming instalment?