A new and awesome poster for The Den, a horror film about a girl who sees a murder happen in a chat-roulette style online forum and soon gets embroiled in a twisted game with dangerous consequences.
Review: The Quiet Ones
Now, I’ve been excited for this for some time. It’s made by Hammer, who gave us the fantastic The Woman In Black, it’s had some great trailers, and it has a few decent actors thrown in to the mix. So, how did it turn out?
Well the good news is that it’s scary. The story follows a scientist in 1974 who is experimenting on a girl who he believes is manifesting supernatural powers that he can cure, and he enlists two students and a cameraman to help him and to document everything. As they work to separate what on the surface seems to be an evil spirit from the girl, the danger escalates until of course there is a violent and dramatic conclusion.
The film has a few real strengths. It is unrelentingly creepy throughout, the scares are often unpredictable and include a few good fake outs, the atmosphere is great thanks to good sets and costumes, and the idea to have a lot of the film seen through the flickering poor quality of the 1970’s era camera filming the proceedings is genius. It escapes the well worn tropes of found footage while maintaining the strengths of that media.
So what’s wrong with it you say? Well, unfortunately its failures rest solely with the plot. It has a good premise, it plays with science versus evil well, keeps the audience guessing, and towards the end looks set to unveil a real kicker of a plot line that will explain what’s going on. The problem is it never does. Story threads are left unexplored, or even totally forgotten, and what seems like the build up to a fantastic ending is totally undermined by the fact that the film provides close to zero actual explanation. I know film goers don’t like endless exposition and of course it’s often better to leave doubt and mystery in the viewer’s mind, but The Quiet Ones leaves just about everything up to interpretation, and it will leave you scratching your head. To add to this, there seems to be no discernible reason for the film to be called The Quiet Ones. Right near the end a totally irrelevant character speaks the words but illuminates precisely nothing, cheapening the film in the process by forcing the name drop.
In the end The Quiet Ones suffers from being all style and no real substance. As a horror film, it succeeds with flying colours in many ways, but without a proper story to make it worthwhile it ends up feeling a little pointless. It’s fun, creepy and tense, but ultimately very unsatisfying. A missed opportunity.
Overall Rating: 5/10
Review: The Last Days On Mars
For me at least, this film came entirely out of nowhere, which, considering how much I follow horror news, shows up an appalling marketing campaign for what turns out to be a fun and thrilling film.
Last Days has a simple premise. A team of scientists have spent six months on Mars looking for signs of life, and have turned up nothing. They are set to return to Earth, with just one day of their expedition left, when an important sensor breaks and one of the scientists goes out last minute to fix it. Of course it turns out he was hiding a discovery - he found a living bacteria, and this being a horror thriller, that can only be a bad thing. Naturally he becomes infected and the film becomes a race against time, zombie survival film. It’s not massively original and the plot is pretty much the ‘get off the planet as fast as possible’ variety.
What sets this film apart is that not only does it have a few great actors thrown in (Liev Schreiber, Olivia Williams), it uses its setting extremely well. The planet these characters are on is just as dangerous as the infected scientists. The constant struggle for power, for oxygen, the fear of tearing their space suits, not to mention the powerful sand storms, all adds up to a film that constantly leaves you on edge. It’s thrilling and exciting despite its standard premise.
Ultimately, Last Days is not going to shake the world up much, and evidently its distributors had little faith in it given the almost non existent marketing it received, but this is a real shame. This is a fun, exciting film that most horror/thriller fans will lap up on a Friday night. It’s not really scary, which is a shame because it definitely could have been, but it will still keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. Give it a shot.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Review: Odd Apocalypse
There has long been a theory doing the rounds that Dean Koontz sold his writers name and someone else has been writing using it, hence the seemingly consistent lowering of quality in his publications.
The Odd Thomas series has escaped this pattern of diminishing returns. That is until now.
I have been a fan of Koontz for fifteen or so years, and I keep buying his books, and I have particularly enjoyed the Odd series, but Apocalypse is a big misstep.
In this, the fifth book in the series, Odd finds himself residing at the mansion of an strange, rich eccentric and his equally unusual staff. When Odd sees the ghost of a murdered woman it’s up to him to find out who she is and allow her spirit to pass over to the other side.
Given that readers familiar to the series will know about Odd’s gifts, this is all fine and dandy (though do not bother reading this if you haven’t read the first four) and sets up a vaguely intriguing plot. The problem is that interest wanes quickly. Every single character talks in riddles constantly, and it gets irritating fast. The only reason seems to be to keep the reader from knowing what’s going on, but it’s a cheap trick and is highly unrealistic.
Also the rules of Odd’s world change frequently, far more so than they ever have before. For the first time with an Odd Thomas book, I thought back to that rumour of Koontz not actually writing his books himself anymore. There is something off with Apocalypse that just doesn’t sit well with the rest of the series, and the story never really reaches anything that interesting. In fact at points it’s just downright silly.
I have yet to read book six, Deeply Odd, and of course I will, but I’m nervous that this series has finally lost its way, and maybe Deeply should end it once and for all. Otherwise this much loved character will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Overall Rating: 5/10
- 1 week ago
- 1 week ago
Here’s the new trailer for The Evil Within! It looks creepy, scary, perhaps downright terrifying. Bring it on!!
- 1 week ago
Today’s treat? An awesome poster for The Drownsman, about a girl dealing with chronic hydrophobia and the evil that is unleashed when her friends try to help her get over it.
Premiering at Cannes soon, I’d say this is one to keep an eye out for. A good one sheet is not always indicative of a good film, but this is truly a stellar poster, and the film has an interesting concept. Here’s hoping it turns out well!
Sure, it’s been out for quite a while, but it’s getting a PS4/Xbox One overhaul, so it’s timely that I review it now (also I just played it, so it just makes sense!).
Metro Last Light is the sequel to the under performing but popular Metro 2033, based on the book series by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. Unfortunately I’ve not played the first game, and that may have hampered my experience a little.
Last Light follows the character Artyom, played by you, as he attempts to traverse the post apocalyptic underground world of Moscow to find the last Dark One alive, an alien breed all but wiped out at the end of the first game. Some want to make peace with the creature, but many more want it dead, and it’s this hunt that drives the plot. Unfortunately, I personally found the story rather hard to follow. This could have been as much as result of me missing the first game as the story here, but I found it complicated and not that engaging. What drove me was how great the game looks and plays.
Graphically, Last Light is beautiful for most of the time, particularly the environments, and I was struck by just how much variety there was considering the game takes place mostly in dark underground tunnels. There’s a huge amount of detail on show, the lighting is brilliant and it makes it a (scary, creepy) joy to explore. This is also helped by very strong sound design. The heavy breathing of Artyom when he changes gas masks never stops being unnerving, with the sound of adding a fresh filter never ceasing to be a huge relief.
Gameplay wise, it is a standard FPS frame bolstered by some effective sneaking, allowing you to tamper with lighting to hide and cause multiple death. There are also some on rails shooting sections and a few ‘boss’ creatures to keep things varied. It’s fun, often tense, and sometimes quite scary, and the locales and gameplay will drive you through to the (quite abrupt) end.
So where does that leave Last Light? In my opinion, it’s definitely worth a play. If you like horror, action, sneaking and great environments to stalk through, all in the FPS viewpoint, you’ll like it. If you can follow the story, you’ll probably love it.
Overall Rating: 7/10
- 4 weeks ago