Friday, 29 July 2016

Trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's "Split"

A trailer has been released for the upcoming M Night Shyamalan film "Split", starring James McAvoy (Filth, X-Men). The film follows Kevin (McAvoy), a troubled man with no less than 23 distinct personalities who abducts 3 teenage girls and holds them hostage.

This one looks like a powerhouse performance from McAvoy, an always reliable actor, perhaps showcasing a darker more villainous side (much like in Filth).  Shyamalan is back in vogue since his fantastic "The Visit" last year and, of course, there's bound to be a twist in the tale regarding the multiple personality concept.

The film will be released January 2017, check out the trailer...

What do you think of the trailer? Are you bored of Shyamalan?

Thursday, 28 July 2016

He Never Died (2016): Review

He Never  Died is a 2016 horror film. Directed by Jason Krawczyk (The Briefcase) and starring Henry Rollins (Johnny Mnemonic, Feast), Jordan Todosey (The Pacifier) and Booboo Stewart (Twilight saga). The movie is also being planned for a TV mini series.

The film centres around grumpy old loner Jack (Rollins). Of course, the reason he's so grumpy is that he's both immortal and a cannibal, which can get pretty boring after a couple of centuries. Jack likes to live a simple life of bingo, sleeping and going to the same diner every day, which is soon disrupted by the appearance of his daughter Andrea (Todosey). It becomes clear that a gang of thugs have been hired to kill him, or try their best to kill him, and kidnap Andrea in attempt to gain leverage. Jack has to fight his way through these goons and track down Andrea's location whilst also evading a mysterious old man that stalks him throughout the film.

He Never Died is a movie that succeeds solely on the strength of Rollins' performance. His stony faced, deadpan delivery turns what would otherwise be a very flat script into some hilarious and very memorable dialogue. I can only imagine the role was written for him as he has the perfect face to portray the character and creates a lot of intrigue around what would otherwise be a pretty archetypal character. I also loved the idea of Rollins posing as a straight edge, vegetarian (something he would have been no stranger to in his punk days) and this also gave a little twist to the familiar character.

That being said, the magnetic performance from Rollins wasn't enough to prevent the film being dragged down into generic fare at various points. The hardened old outcast, the estranged daughter that teaches him how to be normal again, the distant love interest that becomes attracted to him despite his flaws. This is a story that's been told many, many times and I was able to see much of the plot coming. I also personally felt a lot of the mystery was left unresolved and wasn't really left with a sense of who the Jack character really was with an ending that didn't really feel like an ending at all.

As a showcase for Rollins flair for black comedy, He Never Died is a really strong piece. However, as a standalone film it feels underdeveloped and like the writer didn't really know where they were going with the story. Perhaps this can be rectified with the rumoured TV series and I'm definitely interested in seeing more of the Jack character. For now, this will have to suffice as an entertaining, if not completely satisfying horror movie.

*** 3 Stars

What did you think of He Never Died? Did you like Henry Rollins character?

Monday, 25 July 2016

Kong: Skull Island Comic Con trailer

The first teaser trailer has been released for the upcoming Kong: Skull Island at the San Diego Comic Con. Following up on director Justin Vogt-Roberts revealing the film would be set during the Vietnam war era, the trailer really goes to town on this.

For me this is perfect, knowingly evoking the iconic imagery of Apocalypse Now, except with a massive gorilla. And the final reveal of Kong in silhouette shows just enough of the monster (much like the Godzilla Comic Con teaser), which gives me even higher hopes for the film. Check out the trailer and count the months til March 2017 (it's 8 btw)...

What do you think of the trailer? Are you a fan of the Vietnam war setting?

Saturday, 23 July 2016

The Woods is Blair Witch

In a surprise twist, the upcoming horror movie "The Woods" has been revealed to be a new entry in the Blair Witch franchise. Helmed by genre veteran Adam Wingard, the film will aim to reboot the franchise that pioneered the found footage phenomenon.

To me, this can only be a good thing as the movie was looking fairly generic and massively overhyped up until now. I have complete faith in Wingard to reinvent this genre classic.

What do you think of the surprise?  Are you a Blair Witch fan?

Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Conjuring 2 (2016): Review

The Conjuring 2 is a 2016 horror sequel. Directed by James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring) and starring Patrick Wilson (Insidious, Bone Tomahawk), Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel) and Francis O' Connor (A.I). The film focuses on the real life investigation into the Enfield haunting.

The film picks up with Ed and Lorraine Warren (Wilson and Farmiga) investigating the famous events that occurred in Amityville in the mid 70s. After a particularly intense séance, and a demon nun attack, The warrens decide to give paranormal investigation a rest and stick to the talk show circuit for a while. Meanwhile, in Enfield, the Hodgson family begin to experience intense poltergeist activity in their dingy council house, seemingly led by the ghost of an elderly man. As the haunting intensifies, the Warrens are brought across the Atlantic to help and quell the media circus developing around the family. However, as the poltergeist begins to reveal it's true nature, the Warrens realise they are more personally involved than they first thought.

James Wan has a real skill for walking the thin line between homage and parody when it comes to his classical style of directing horror. In terms of the Insidious franchise, the sequels stepped way over this line and were completely superfluous, cutting the legs out from under the entire series. However, I'm pleased to say that the Conjuring 2 is a triumph and will hopefully sustain several more entries in the franchise. The reason for this is no doubt the wealth of real life hauntings detailed in the Warren files and the strong central performances of Wilson and Farmiga that carry the film. The inclusion of an Amityville sequence felt a little weird since the film didn't focus on this otherwise, but I just saw this as them getting this out of the way to deal with other stories and I'm not keen on seeing another film about this infamous haunting

Wan's directing is flawless as usual and the trademark jump scares, accompanied by screeching violins, always feel painstakingly crafted rather than cheap. The setting of a miserable and rainy London is a refreshing change and gives the film a real gothic 70s feel. There were a couple of sequences that tiptoed into cliché, the cringeworthy "Crooked Man" is an ill advised Tim Burton-esque creation, but for the most part the scares are well built, well executed and unleashed on the audience in short bursts of terror. I found the "Demon Nun" character to be a fresh and original villain that resulted in some fantastic scares using light and dark and, unsurprisingly, it seems the character is going to get a spinoff movie (which hopefully turns out better than the tedious Annabelle).

With so many dismal attempts at horror remakes and reboots in recent memory (and probably plenty more to come) Wan remains a beacon of originality, even if his films often feel like mix tapes of various old school horror films, and The Conjuring is the flagship of this movement. A rare horror sequel that adds to the original instalment, whilst also supporting and improving the franchise, The Conjuring 2 is one of the best horror films of the year and I can't wait for number 3.

**** 4 Stars

What did you think of the movie? How does it compare to the original conjuring?

Monday, 18 July 2016

New Kong image, trailer coming this week

A new image has emerged for the upcoming Kong: Skull Island movie set for release early next year. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has also elaborated on some plot details, revealing that the film will be set in the 70s and will not follow the originals "beauty and the beast" theme. He also talks about the new and improved size of Kong and the reasons for this, when in reality we all know it's for future Godzilla purposes.

This gives me hope that the film will be a true reboot and not another lame remake attempt (as the 2 failed remakes that have come before). The film's first official trailer will also drop later this week at the San Diego Comic Con. Stay tuned to TMMDI when it does!

What do you think of the image? How do you feel about Kong's upscaling?

Saturday, 2 July 2016

9th Life of Louis Drax trailer lands

A trailer has been released for the upcoming Alexandre Aja film, The 9th Life of Louis Drax. Since last week, more casting has been revelaed in the form of Aaron Paul(Breaking Bad), Sarah Gadon(Dracula Untold)and newcomer Aiden Longworth (Hector and the Search for Happiness). Looks like plenty of red herrings being dropped and watery dream sequences. Check it out...

What do you think of the trailer? Are you looking forward to this?