Thursday, 6 November 2014

Shocktober Days 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 & 31

#26- Event horizon (1997)

 I never even really saw this as a horror film when I saw it on Netflix, but the many recommendations from various forums showed me otherwise, with many claiming it to be truly terrifying. Whilst it may be more of a thriller than anything else it certainly has some creepy horror elements.

The film surrounds a group of astronauts who are sent to investigate the mysterious event horizon- a spaceship in which all of its passengers mysteriously disappear. Event Horizons problem is, being a thriller, it doesn’t really know where to start and finish with its horror elements. Grand, mysterious theories on how the passengers disappeared are deeply unsettling on their own- the mystery surrounding them only making it all the more freaky. But when the film should’ve stopped there, it instead continued to show us nearly exactly what happened to them- whereby little was left to the imagination. That said the films raw horror element in the form of a machine which creates black holes letting anything through from another dimension comes into its own in the films finale to truly terrifying effects.

The performances are pretty standard but some are just outright unenthusiastic- most notably that of the films mysterious passenger Mr Weir, played by Sam Neil. His performance is however good enough to see the film through. A film which ultimately proves to be a lot of fun, even if it isn’t all horror centred.

6.5/10- A fun fun space adventure, both bleak and unsettling.

#27- Zombie flesh eaters (1979)

So this is one of those video nasty movies of the *date* including some lovely gruesome scene of zombies being ripped apart etc. That is however pretty much all the movie has to offer.

The stories pretty generic following the daughter of a mysteriously murdered father and an intrigued scientist as they travel to a faraway island to investigate the recent discovery of zombies. The film takes a long while to get going, with horror elements included in this, not truly becoming anything scary until around the halfway mark. There are however some classic scenes in the film in which the video nasty genre is truly encapsulated. The most notable of which shows a woman’s eye being shoved through a wooden splint, shown through goofy practical effects of the time, despite looking quite unrealistic however this scene showed to encapsulate all which is fun and gruesome about the genre.

Zombie flesh eaters is unfortunately not as exciting as it sounds with bland performances and a plot which takes a while to truly begin.

6/10- Standard fun zombie affair once the film finally begins to start.

#28- The Bay (2012)

Made on a shoestring budget, the bay is a small film set in Maryland concerning the invasion of bug-like parasites hiding in the water

Unlike Zombie flesh eaters the bay is actually a lot more interesting than it sounds, and certainly a lot more unsettling. Filmed in a found footage/documentary type style the film chronicles the invasion from the outbreak to the conclusion, focusing in on no real constant protagonist. Instead the films main character is the town itself and humanity in general, giving a very realistic overview of what such an event would cause. The creatures themselves are truly unsettling, small round and generally revolting, especially when considering that they enter a person’s body through an open orifice. This, as one can imagine, creates for some utterly disgusting body horror moments as the parasites invade the human body.

The Bay is a neat little horror which works on primal fears of humanity, and thus has a similar effect to jaws, don’t think about the bay when you’re anywhere near the sea.

8/10- A creepy horror which slides under your skin

#29- Carrie (2013)

The original Carrie’s is a classic for multiple reasons, the characterisation of the terrifying daughter /mother relationship, the fantastic performances of both, the list goes on. The remake of Carrie is exactly the same in nearly every way and thus is utterly pointless.

Certain plot points in the film are arguably dated so a remake isn’t necessarily a terrible idea but it is when you don’t intend to change anything. Chloe Grace Moretz is a great actor in the right role, here as a result of the story she is horribly miscast, supposed to be playing a timid and lonely girl but her looks are just too strong to think in such a way. Julianne Moore is much the same, she’s better in the role but looks pitiful in comparison to the original performance of Piper Laurie.

I think some of the only things they changed from the original is the use of cell phones in the opening shower scene and the larger use of special effects, the former of which a pitiful attempt at making the story ‘contemporary’ the latter totally irrelevant when considering the larger story of the character of Carrie at the films heart.

4/10- Just watch the original

#30- Children of the corn (1984)

There are certain film titles that for whatever reason carry a certain amount of prestige, and for some reason I thought children of the corn was supposed to be good. It isn’t. It’s good awful.

So a city couple looking for a retreat fall upon a strange town where the kids have become possessed and rule the town. Here, an obvious arises, this plot subsequently means that a large majority of the cast must be children, and are children good actors…no…no there all shit. One standout performance comes from child antagonist Isaac played by John Franklin, providing perhaps the best worst performance of all time as the little shit who for some reason all these kids obey.

There are one or two moments which are pretty neat and eerie but the scene really isn’t worth the 90 minutes of hurt. But above all, apart from the fact that the film isn’t scary, is poorly acted and is paced unbelievably poorly, not once does it explain why the adults don’t just overpower the little shits and charge them down. One kick to issac’s fat head would flatten him.

3/10- Truly terrible, character of Isaac makes it watchable due to how laughably bad he is

#31- Annabelle (2014)

Alright, so I was supposed to finish this Shocktober thing with a grand cinema trip to see the latest (good) horror, all signs were pointing to me watching the Babadook and to put a long story short I didn’t. I watched Anabelle instead…sigh.

So Annabelle is a spin-off from last year’s successful horror the Conjuring, following the creepy doll which made people squirm in their seats. Now they’ve drawn out a huge unnecessary story for the porcelain character and her many victims, a story which is as boring as it is totally not scary. The story is pretty simple following a man and wife, who receive a gift of an old doll, and instead of stamping on it and burning it like many others would do, instead they keep it on display in their kids bedroom…wha?!
I feel as though Amnabelle is just a prime example of the state of modern horror films, less interested in the story but far more interested in giving the audience a momentary fright in the form of a plethora of jump scares, each one as ineffective as the last. These scares aren’t even well integrated any more, you can tell them from a mile off, any moment when the sound is turned right down and the camera lingers on a certain spot you can be certain a jump scare is on their way therefore it doesn’t make you jump, therefore the most simple of scares becomes useless.

Annabelle’s only good features come as references to its better older brother, ‘the Conjuring’ in which the creepy music box tune is cleverly placed in the film, as well as one or two appreciated nods. There are also some unique intelligent scares thrown in occasionally such as when the protagonist follows a trail of mysterious drawings falling in order from the top if the staircase, this wasn’t terrifying, but it was a refreshing break from the constant jump scares that bog the film down so much.

4/10- Defines modern horrors- just fecking stupid.

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