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Now On Netflix Review- The Ninth Gate, 1999

Available Now on Netflix UK

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The Ninth Gate features Johnny Depp playing our protagonist, Dean Corso, the book dealer with a reputation. Dean sets out to verify and research a book called ‘The Nine Gates’ for a client who believes that out of the three copies that exists only one is real.

Roman Polanski’s film is drenched in mystery, and although it is a little bit goofy, it’s the kind of film that’s going to glue you to the screen. We’re just as confused as Dean Corso is through- out the whole film, who is this mysterious blonde (Emmanuelle Seigner) who keeps showing up? And why is there so much mystery, defensiveness and murder that follows these books around? The answer? Satan, of course.

This film is following in the footsteps of all satanic cult movies, when we meet the group responsible they’re dressed in long black robes and reading from this mysterious book in front of a  dramatically set- up bed where orgies take place, allegedly. Polanski ticks every box in the book to make sure we know this is a cult, and the most evil and corrupt one at that. It would be goofy, and it kind of is, but some how it still hits the mark.

This film seems to get crazier and crazier, but I kind of loved it. The Ninth Gate will drag you in with it’s mysteriousness and keep you watching because it’s kind of great.

4/5

Now On Netflix Review- Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, 1971,

Available Now on Netflix UK

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John D. Hancock’s low budget horror is a journey into paranoia and atmosphere of the creepiest kind. Okay, so it takes a while for this movie to really kick in but we’re treated to some wonderful psychological scares and spine- tingling visuals from the very beginning as we’re not sure if what we’re seeing is a result of Jessica’s recent stay in a mental ward or something far more terrifying.

The film will drip feed you daringly obvious signs as to where this movie is going but don’t be put off by that because as this film comes to an end there is some truly terrifying scenes. Jessica, played by Zohra Lampert is doing her best to over act everything but it kind of works with the knowledge of her characters unstable backstory.

You’ll be drowning in the mood of this film and absolutely suffocating on the ambiance, in the best possible way. In fact it’s probably Hancock’s brilliant building of these elements that makes this low- budget film so successful.

If you’re a fan of horror be sure to catch this!
4/5

New Release Review- The Curse of Downers Grove, 2015

Avaliable from 11th December on Netflix UK

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The Curse of Downers Grove begins with the vaguely interesting premise about a curse that kills one student a year before graduation day. We then quickly descend into a completely different film that has nothing to do with the curse until- I don’t know- the last minute maybe?

With the tag line; ‘HIGH SCHOOL CAN BE MURDER.’ you have to start wondering why add the curse in the movie at all. The Curse of Downers Grove is really about horrible jocks, who take drugs, vandalize and sexually assault women every chance they get. One in particular decides to take revenge on Chrissie Swanson (Bella Heathcote) who ripped his eye out in an act of self defense. The movie will use every trick it can think of to let you know just how terrible these boys are and it gets boring. We get it. They’re bad. Anything else going on?

Two of our protagonists Chrissie and her brother (Martin Spanjers) are fairly well rounded, unfortunately everyone else falls under a ‘we’re bad’/ ‘we’re good’ stereotype/ that one guy, who looks so much like young Heath Ledger that it was mildly distracting, who played ‘generic rom-com love interest’. That’s about it for this film. None of the acting was particularly great and neither was the story.

The Curse of Downers Grove is not one to watch. You’ll only end up sitting there wondering why everyone in this film is making unrealistic or stupid decisions.

1/5

Now On Netflix Review- Creep, 2014

Available now on Netflix UK

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Mark Duplass delivers an absolutely terrifying performance in Patrick Brice’s Creep.

Aaron (Patrick Brice) is a videographer looking for work and the answer immediately appears, because that’s how it works in horror films. Josef (Mark Duplass) is offering $1,000 for one day of filming. Aaron takes the job, but admits that the situation seems too good to be true. It is. Obviously.

The film, a found footage piece, lives up to it’s name with a ruthless atmosphere of unquestionable creepiness. Mark Duplass delivers the kind of performance you just can’t turn away from and his character, Josef, quickly becomes the star. While some parts are laugh- out- loud funny there’s always that creepy undertone that won’t go away, and that’s why this film succeeds in the way it does. It’s awkward and terrifying and sets itself apart from the sea of awful found footage films out there.

Creep shifts so seamlessly and quickly from funny to scary that it’s hard to know how to react, except for a deep disturbance you’re bound to feel. If you’re looking for a good found footage with lots of atmosphere then Creep is the one for you.

Extremely watchable, definitely one to catch.

4/5

Recommended Blogs- Films, books and reviews

Just a quick post on blogs I love to read- be sure to take a look as you might find some of these interesting yourself.

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Film

http://paragraphfilmreviews.com/ – Exactly what it says on the tin. Short and sweet, straight to the point movie news, this blog is always worth a read!

https://jordanandeddie.wordpress.com/ –  First of all this blog looks awesome, secondly I love the content here- lots of great film reviews and lists- check them out!

http://thefilmratings.com/ – Reviews, news, reports, a little bit of everything here. Definitely worth a follow if you’re looking to keep up to date with the latest stuff.

Books

https://byfordsbooks.wordpress.com/ – Looking for books to read? You’ll find lots of things to read on this blog with occasional suggestions on what edition to get so you get the best illustrations  or what ever it is you’re looking for.

Blogs

https://intrigueandadventure.wordpress.com/ – A personal blog with a wonderful emphasis on film, some nice reading here if you’re looking for something a bit more casual.


I’m thinking about doing these monthly or bi- monthly so like this if you would be interested in that/ comment or like if you think your blog might be something I’d enjoy and I’ll be sure to check you out and maybe give you a shout-out next time I do one of these!

Now On Netflix Review- Preservation, 2014

Available now on Netflix UK

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Utter trash.

Couple Wit and Mike (Wrenn Schmit/ Aaron Staton) decide to take a camping trip in an attempt to run from their problems, but things don’t go to plan when Mike’s brother Sean (Pablo Schreiber) ends up tagging along. Of course it’s probably a blessing in disguise as they’re soon being hunted by mysterious men and ex- military brother Sean is probably their best hope to get out of the woods alive.

Why? Why does everyone split up in horror films? It never, ever, works.

After seeing that Mike and Wit can make their way back to the car Sean decides to go back and save his dog.

It’s never a good sign when you kill of your best character half an hour in. Sean is quickly murdered, which is an endless disappointment because he was the only character with an interesting back story. Still, I watch on because I have a secret love for VOD trash.

There’s not an awful lot of mood or atmosphere in this film, it is what it is, which is a trashy survival- esque horror movie.

The ending ‘twist’ is an obvious cliche, you’ll work it out early on if you’re watching this movie with any kind of interest- but it is a cliche for a reason as it still works to add a disturbing layer as this film comes to an end.

2/5

Now On Netflix Review- The Babadook, 2014

Available now on Netflix UK

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Single mother, Amelia (Essie Davis), is struggling to look after her over- active son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), in the wake of her husbands death. When Samuel finds a rather disturbing book on the shelf in his bedroom the Babadook stops being a child’s nightmare and begins to become a terrifying reality for this small family.

The film is a chilling look at the tangibility of grief and addiction. Prescription drugs and the fathers death become central to the the film, but they only subtly let us know what The Babadook is really about. It’s sad, it’s disturbing, and it’s relentless. We’re treated to scene after scene of the difficulties in raising a child when both mother and son are struggling with their own terrors. Samuel with his childhood fear of monsters, and Amelia with visions of her dead husband- both protagonists of this film play their roles extremely well.

The film does not give us any relief as we soon dive into the unnerving world of the Babadook. As a horror film The Babadook fulfills what it’s supposed to do- the whole thing is absolutely terrifying. There’s a spine- chilling atmosphere to the whole movie as we’re often trapped in the blue/ grey house with Amelia and Samuel. Director Jennifer Kent plays on the films mood extremely well, it’s frightening at the best of times- and absolutely terrifying in others.

Undeniably gripping, emotionally painful, completely relentless- The Babadook is a must see horror.

4.5/5

New Release Review- Nebraska, 2013

Avaliable from 14th November on Netflix UK

Alexander Payne’s 2013 black and white drama Nebraska is a beautiful film- from cinematography to plot there isn’t a weak element. When a film looks like this it can be off putting in an era where bright feel- good films power through the box office, but don’t take Nebraska at face value- I mean everything looks good in black and white anyway, right? This film certainly does.

Bruce Dern and Will Forte play a father/ son duo and together they steer this movie forward, with great acting on both sides. Woody (Bruce Dern) is an aging, alcoholic, confused man who believes he has won a million dollars- but has to get to Nebraska to retrieve it. David (Will Forte) is his recently single, concerned son, looking to spend time with his father and ultimately decides to help Woody get to Nebraska. Of course things like these are never easy and this simple road trip turns into a roller-coaster ride of emotions.

After Woody convinces his home town, and many family members that this clear scam to win a million dollars is real it’s hard to see a happy ending in sight. Old friends and family members try to convince Woody that he owes them money- he was an alcoholic after all, drinking his money away.

At times this movie seems extremely bleak but as Nebraska wraps itself up it leaves you feeling good. The ending is simple but effective, of course he didn’t actually win the money, but that doesn’t mean the film has to end up in a bad place, and thankfully it didn’t.

4.5/5

Now On Netflix Review- The House of the Devil, 2009

Available now on Netflix UK

Ti West’s The House of the Devil is a homage to those old eighties horror films back when “satanic panic” was in it’s prime, and this movie really plays on the idea. It’s a slow burn but stylistically it’s great and when we take the real turn into horror this movie really pays off. I would recommend this film to anyone, but I’d call it a must watch if you’re a fan of older horror films.

The House of the Devil has one of the goofiest openings for a horror movie made in the 00’s but it’s just so great. In fact it’s probably worth watching for the first ten minutes or so, Ti West has some powerful font going through the opening credits and the whole thing screams 80’s teen comedy. The film starts with Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) who needs money to escape her terrible roommate. Luckily (or unluckily, as it turns out) there’s a babysitting job going.

It’s never a good sign when you might be baby sitting for possibly the shadiest/ vaguest person in existence (Tom Noonan, who is so creepy that it’s just awesome). His wife (Mary Woronov) is just as eerie, and together they help build such a sense of unease that you just can’t wait for it all to unravel. In fact this movie builds it’s mood so well that you just know it’s going to be good.

It all goes down when the eclipse starts and this is really when the movie comes into its own. It’s creepy and scary and just enjoyable to watch. The ending leaves you satisfied in the only way this film can, with a shock followed by some more great font.

5/5

New Release: Howl, 2015

Available from 26th October on Virgin Movies/ EE / TalkTalk/ Eircom/ Amazon Instant Video/ Google Play

It’s a little bit trashy, it’s a little bit fun- I love werewolf films!!

When the mundane life of this train guard meets more- man- than- wolf werewolves it certainly is amazing. Ed Speleers plays both parts of his characters (Joe, the train guard) story, from down- on- his- luck to rising hero, respectively, extremely well. The supporting cast aren’t half bad either.

Of course the most exciting part of any werewolf film is the costume/ CGI- did they do this mythical monster justice? Paul Hyett’s Howl did. There’s plenty of teaser, and it’s done right. Howl makes you really (and I mean really) want to see the creatures face, and then does’t disappoint when it delivers. Genuinely creepy, genuinely terrifying – I for one am going to be seeing these things in my nightmares for weeks.

Brilliant film to watch on Halloween, in my opinion.

Spoiler alert: You see the werewolves in the trailer so be like me and skip the trailer if you’re going to watch this film!

3.5/ 5