“People went stark raving mad & they just started eating each other”
First off I must apologise for the long gap between reviews but I have had very little free time lately & a broken finger which isn’t helping my typing. But this film I simply had to review straight away, after all this is the latest film in the [REC] franchise. The first [REC] movie was stunning a masterpiece in horror cinema. The sequel, while not matching the genius of [REC] was still an outstanding movie. So [REC] 3 Genesis is a movie I have been desperate to see for ages. Once I got my grubby little mits on a copy of the movie it was a case of make coffee, turn phone off & sit down & watch it. So… is it all I hoped it would be? Sadly no it isn’t. I did enjoy it & it really has some great moments but it is in reality a bit of a fuck up!
[REC] 3 Genesis starts at the wedding of Koldo & Clara. The wedding is being filmed by Atun a professional wedding videographer & Adrian, Koldo’s cousin. During the filming of the guests arriving for the wedding Adrian interviews his uncle who we discover has been bitten by a dog at his veterinarian workplace (an obvious link to the first movie & Max) After the wedding, the reception is in full swing when Adrian’s uncle starts to feel unwell. He falls from a balcony onto some tables & as the concerned wedding guest crowd around him to see if he is ok he sits up & bites a chunk out of a female guest’s neck. Suddenly more infected guests attack & in the ensuing chaos Koldo & Clara are separated. each taking refuge in different parts of the building with several other survivors. The movie then focuses on Koldo & Clara as the try to find each other amidst the carnage.
I sooo wanted to love this movie & in certain ways I did. There are moments of genuine brilliance in this movie, sadly there are also dozens of flaws & inconsistencies. Following the first two movies was never going to be easy & was probably made harder by the decision to split the writing/directorial partnership of Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza, with Plaza taking on part 3 a prequel & Balaguero taking on [REC] 4 Apocalypse set after the second movie. [REC] 3 Genesis does have its highpoints. The first twenty minutes of the movie is filmed in the now traditional found footage formula. Plaza skillfully uses the movie’s title card to switch the movie’s style from found footage to a regular movie style. Not only is this cleverly done but it allows the movie much more freedom as it no longer has to show the events from a single perspective. Plaza manges some wonderful subtleties in this movie. In one scene Koldo is seen with a TV behind him, the camera focuses on the screen to show a news report from the Barcelona apartment building from the first film. Sadly the movie is riddled with inconsistencies & flaws, none more than the infected. In the first two movies they were fast & deadly. In Genesis they are sometimes fast & at other times they turn into Romeroesque slow shufflers. This makes no sense & seriously undermines the threat posed by the infected. There is a moment when Koldo does something that actually made me shout “for fucks sake” at the TV. I won’t give away any spoilers but I will say St George & anyone watching it will know exactly what I mean. There has been a lot of criticism of the movie pre release about the images of the bride with the chainsaw. I’m sad to report that these scenes are poor. The ending is a serious let down too. The two principal cast members put in decent performances Deigo Martin is good as Koldo & Leticia Dolera is excellent as Clara. As good as Dolera is & she really is good this movie missed the presence of Manuela Velasco.
Sadly this movie isn’t great. I think I enjoyed this despite myself. I dare say if I watched it back to back with the first two movies I would feel seriously let down. As a stand alone movie it just about works, as part of the [REC] franchise it doesn’t measure up at all. For anyone who enjoyed the first two movies this is a film you have to see but I would suggest seriously lowering your expectations. I now hope that [REC]4 Apocalypse brings this franchise back up to the high standards of the first two movies. As for [REC] 3 Genesis I am sad to report it is in all honesty a huge letdown. Shame.
“It is you who’s fucked”
I want to start this review with three messages. The first to director Franck Richard, close but no cigar mate. You almost made my Hall Of Shame but you made the mistake of casting two good actors in your abysmal heap of crap. My second message is to The Pack’s lead actress Emilie Dequenne, don’t worry you are a young talented actress & we all make mistakes. I’m sure your career will recover & hopefully you will be a huge success. Thirdly & finally Phillipe Nahon. You are an obviously talented actor. You have proved that in movies like I Stand Alone, Carne & Haute Tension, so why do you keep making crap films like The Pack & The Ordeal? As for The Pack, well let’s not beat around the bush, it’s fucking appalling.
Charlotte is driving aimlessly through the French countryside when she picks up a hitchhiker named Max. The two stop at an isolated cafe run by a woman named La Spack. After a fight with a biker gang which is broken up by La Spack holding a shotgun, Max goes to the bathroom & disappears. Charlotte looks around for Max, even asking the local retired policeman Chinaski to help her find him. After dark Charlotte goes back to the cafe to look for Max but is attacked & knocked unconscious by La Spack & wakes to find herself tied up in a cage. Charlotte then finds out Max is actually La Spack’s son. The question then becomes what does La Spack want with Charlotte & why is she keeping her alive?
Ok that is enough of a plot synopsis, because if you think what I have already described sounds amateurish, the second half of the movie is way worse. I mean seriously if anyone out there has watched this & thought it was good I want whatever drugs you are taking because you must be on some serious class A shit! Even Troma & Asylum don’t make movies this bad. If you want to know where Steve Hewitt (ex Placebo drummer) went, he is making really crap French horror movies! (ok it’s not Steve Hewitt but the actor playing Max, Eric Godon is his spitting image) In that respect I hope Eric can play the drums because he really can’t act. Sadly he isn’t the worst actor in this mess. the three guys playing the biker gang re-define awful. Then again just about everything in this movie is awful. It doesn’t even know what type of movie it is. The beginning plays like a straightforward backwoods horror & turns 180 degrees halfway through to become just about the lamest zombie movie ever made. it makes Nights Of Terror look like Dawn Of the Dead. As I mentioned in my opening paragraph Emilie Dequenne & Philipe Nahon are good actors & they really try their hardest with their respective roles. Dequenne gives her all as the tough but likeable heroine & Nahon is his usual professional self as the ineptly comic Chinaski. Yolande Moreau puts in a decent performance as La Speck but that is as good as it gets. Awful plot, crap SFX, lousy zombies, no sense of tension, pacing & a muddled story with a truly awful clichéd ending. The Pack is a celluloid nightmare & an insult to anyone with two brain cells to rub together.
I can honestly say I have had more fun having kidney stones than watching The Pack. A steaming turd of a movie that fails on almost every level. How the hell do these movies get distributed? Avoid at all costs.
“He must have the smallest penis in the galaxy”
I will admit I was one of the many people around the world that got hooked by the Iron Sky hype juggernaut months ago & have been waiting impatiently to see the movie for ages. After all it has space nazis, I mean come on, space nazis! That’s just fucking cool! This situation was not helped by Iron Sky’s UK distributor who first put the movies release back two months then only released it for one day on the big screen! Finally this week I got the chance to see the movie & I will admit I was apprehensive that the movie could never live up to the months of waiting & massive internet hyperbole. I need not have worried, Iron Sky is pure entertainment & quite frankly as funny as fuck.
I’m sure you all know the plot by now but here goes. The film begins with a maned American moon landing. The mission has been devised by the president of the United States & her aide as a publicity stunt to help her get re-elected by putting the first black man on the moon. The other astronaut discovers a giant nazi moon base but is soon shot. The nazis capture James Washington (the black astronaut) & once inside the moon base he is interrogated by Klaus Adler who harbours ambitions to be the new Führer. Washington also meets Renate Richter, Adler’s idealistic but naive fiance. After the head nazi scientist examines Washington’s phone he reasons that he can use the technology to power the nazi’s ultimate war machine, the Gotterdammerung, a massive space battleship. The only problem is one phone isn’t enough to power the ship so Adler, Renate & an albino Washington (the nazi’s used a drug on Washington to aryanise him) head to earth to obtain more computing power before the invasion of earth begins.
I have to say this movie lived up to all of my expectations & several times had me crying with laughter. The president (an obvious Sarah Palin pastiche) & her fashion, sex & power obsessed aide Vivian Wagner are pure comedy gold. The pair almost steal the entire movie. Some of Wagner’s lines in the last half hour of the movie are just brilliant. Having said that every cast member is superb. Julia Dietze is wonderful as the idealistic nazi that doesn’t know anything about the dark side of fascism. Should I feel guilty for finding Ms Deitze incredibly sexy in a revealing nazi uniform complete with a rather fetching mini skirt? Gotz Otto is great as Klaus Adler, a really slimy, nasty piece of work & the perfect villain to Renate’s naivety. The SFX are CGI but on the whole handled well, as is the heavy use of green screen. The whole movie has an epic look to it which is in direct contrast to its low-budget. Along with the comedy there are plenty of action scenes to keep the audience entertained. There are also a host of nods, winks & pastiches of other movies in Iron Sky. If I was to level any criticism at Iron Sky it would be that the middle third of the film plods a little & maybe could have done with a bit more editing. But please trust me this is a minor quibble & doesn’t detract from the sheer enjoyment of the movie. The films final third is just insanely good. The scenes at the UN are hysterical, especially the North Korean ambassador. This movie has everything space nazis, mad scientists, meteor blitzkrieg, space battles, insane presidents etc. Iron Sky is frankly one cool as fuck movie. Director Timo Vuorensola & everyone involved in the making of this movie should pat themselves on the back for a job well done. There isn’t really much more I can say.
Maybe this movie shouldn’t be reviewed here, after all it isn’t a horror film & it’s only partially subtitled (the nazis speak German & the rest of the cast English) But you know what? Fuck it, my site, my rules! Iron Sky is quite simply pure entertainment & comes highly recommended by me.
Body is a wonderful piece of horror cinema. It is also going to be a real bitch of a movie to review as the movie hinges on a brilliant plot twist near the end which I want to avoid giving even the slightest hint to. So with that in mind I will attempt some sort of review. Please accept my comments may be even more vague than normal, but this film should be seen without any spoilers.
Chon is a student living with his sister, he is constantly plagued by bad dreams. These dreams involve a woman being dismembered, a strange cat & a fetus. He also suffers from daytime hallucinations & occasional memory loss. While Chon is preparing some prawns for dinner he suffers a hallucination as the prawns start to move & bleed heavily. Chon badly slices the tip of his finger & his sister takes him to hospital. The doctor treating Chon’s wound refers him, to Chon’s surprise to a psychiatrist Dr Usa, who herself is under increasing strain at home with her distant husband Dr Sethee. When Chon goes to see Dr Usa she acts very uncomfortably around him. Chon’s nightmares & hallucinations start to increase in intensity & he is drawn to a door in his house covered by a large piece of furniture. When Chon opens it he sees a vision of a woman being dismembered on the floor. Chon also sees visions of a ghostly woman who he eventually identifies a Dr Dararai. Dr Usa also starts to investigate Dr Dararai as there seems to be a connection between her & Dr Sethee. Dr Usa discovers Dr Dararai is an expert in hypnosis & has recently gone missing. The assistant who gives Dr Usa this information dies that evening in an accident with barbed wire. The Dr who refered Chon to Dr Usa also dies in an accident with acid. Chon rushes to see Dr Usa, convinced anyone he tells about Dr Dararai dies. But the real truth is much more horrifying.
Body is a stunning movie, one that really grips you from beginning to end. The first two-thirds of the movie play out like a typical (albeit well made) Asian ghost movie. It is as the film reaches its conclusion that the movie shifts dramatically with a plot twist that makes you completely re-evaluate what you have just seen. The twist itself is very reminiscent of two classic yet completely different movies that I obviously will not name here. Once you have seen Body you will know exactly which two movies I’m referring to. Again I will apologise for my hesitancy to give any details but I went into this movie knowing next to nothing about it & that is the way I believe it should be seen. The acting by the entire cast is first-rate & the film itself looks wonderful. Director Paween Purijitpanya was obviously given a decent budget & has taken great care in making a beautiful looking movie. Purijitpanya allows the plot to develop, slowly unravelling the mystery & keeping you (the audience) hooked. The ghost apparition of Dr Dararai is a wonderful creation, while sticking to the Yurei (thanks Andrew, anyone wishing to know more about the Yurei should check out Andrew’s blog Lucid Dreams. It can be found on my links) imagery, the ghost is more than just your usual long-haired spirit. the effects for Dr Dararai are excellent. Sadly the same cannot be said for the cat or fetus, which both stand out as poorly done CGI. These are pretty much the only downside to this movie. There are a few loose ends that don’t quite add up at the movies conclusion. There are things to do with Chon’s sister & don’t quite make sense but these are minor quibbles & don’t detract from the movies impact. The film I can safely liken this to without spoilers would be The Forbidden Door. Like that movie Body changes completely near the end & becomes something completely different. I really don’t want to say anymore for the reasons I have already stated.
Body is a wonderful film you simply must see. Intelligent, gripping & jaw dropping. It’s a real shame this movie isn’t well-known. Like Noroi it seems to have slipped under most people’s radar. Please take my word for it & see this movie. A Thai classic that can stand side by side with Shutter & from me that is high praise indeed.
“You’ve already become the hero of our story”
Every now & then a movie comes along which simply blows me away & restores my faith in genre movies. As every genre buff will know too well, for every great movie there are 20 utter stinkers. Hansel & Gretel is one of those movies that demonstrates just how good a movie can be. It is nothing short of genius & could sit proudly & justifiably in my Hall Of Fame.
Eun-su is a salesman & travelling by car to see his mother who is ill. Along the way Eun-su calls his pregnant girlfriend & they get into an argument. As they argue Eun-su’s car hits a rock & he loses control, flipping the car in the crash. Eun-su wakes a few hours later, dazed, in a dark forest. He wanders off to find help but soon collapses again. When he wakes, he sees a girl with a lantern. She tells him her name is Young-hee & guides him to her house in the middle of the wood. There is a sign by the fence which says “the home of happy children” They are met at the door by Young-hee’s parents & her two siblings Man-bok her older brother & Jeong-sun her little sister. Once inside Eun-su begins to notice the parents acting nervously & strangely. He is told he can rest at the house overnight & leave in the morning. Eun-su tries to leave the next day but he gets lost in the forest & as it gets dark is forced to return to the house. As he arrives back Eun-su passes the parents, who inform him they are leaving & ask if he can look after the kids for a short while. The longer he stays in the house the more disturbed Eun-su becomes. The TV plays the same violent cartoon endlessly, even though it isn’t plugged in & he hears noises in the attic. When Eun-su investigates the attic he finds the children’s mother. She tells him that she is not the children’s parent but like Eun-su was brought to the house after her car broke down. She warns Eun-su that the kids are dangerous & not to be trusted. Eun-su tries to leave again but meets Man-bok in the forest, he is accompanied by a lay preacher & his wife whose car has broken down. What is the children’s sinister secret & who is the preacher & what does he want with the children?
Hansel & Gretel is a wonderful movie, it brings to mind classic Tim Buton (circa Edward Scissorhands) & Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) yet in many ways this movie even eclipses those directors & their movies. It is yet another example of why, when it comes to the horror genre the Korean film industry seems to be head & shoulders above every one else. Visually the movie is stunning. The cinematography & set design are superb. The interior of the house looks incredible & the scenes in the forest are, at times breathtaking. The movie is quite long, clocking in at just under two hours. Director Yim-pil Sung takes his time weaving his plot, giving plenty of time for character development. The acting is first-rate, each & every cast member puts in a faultless performance. The acting by the three child actors is staggeringly good with a special mention to Shim-eun Kyung who plays Young-hee. Her performance at the movies’ climax is incredibly emotional & powerful. What Yim-pil Sung has created with Hansel & Gretel is a wonderfully dark adult fairytale. Visually stunning & carefully scripted, it’s a truly a minor masterpiece. It’s a complex movie & not just another “evil children” movie. While the children seem to be the villains of the piece, as the movie draws towards its climax all is not what it seems. If you fail to be moved by this movie then quite frankly you have no soul. I will admit this movie will not appeal to everyone. Anyone looking for endless gore & carnage will be incredibly disappointed. This is not a traditional horror movie. But for anyone looking for something different & intelligent should look no further than this movie.
Are you still sitting here reading this? Go see this movie, I promise you that you won’t be disappointed, instead you will be rewarded with something special. Not that I really need to say it but this film is highly recommended.
“Its like a drawing that has a second one hidden within it”
Don’t Look Back is the second film from writer/director Marina de Van. Her debut feature In My Skin really impressed me & I will admit I had a few doubts that Don’t Look Back would match In My Skin‘s high standards. I needn’t have worried, Don’t Look Back is a stunning movie & Miss de Van is rapidly becoming one of my favourite moviemakers.
Jeanne (Sophie Marceau) is a successful non fiction writer, happily married with two children. Despite her success she yearns to write fiction & is working on a semi autobiographical story of childhood, which is proving difficult since she has no memories of her childhood. Slowly at first she begins to notice small changes around her house. Layouts change, as does the decor. Jeanne becomes increasingly worried when she starts to see changes not only in the appearance of her husband & children but also in her own reflection in the mirror. These changes become stronger, her hair changes colour, one eye changes shape. She confides in her husband & later as they are having sex she looks up & her husband no longer looks like she perceives him to be. Frantic & scared Jeanne goes to see her mother, who after a brief conversation changes appearance too. By now Jeanne’s reflection in the mirror is no longer what Jeanne believes she looks like, instead she sees a completely different looking woman (Monica Bellucci). Jeanne looks at some old photos & sees a photo of her as a young girl with her mother & another woman taken in Italy. The photo triggers something in Jeanne & she travels to Italy in search of some answers.
Don’t Look Back is, to put it simply a wonderfully crafted, complex psychological horror movie. Marina de Van takes her time establishing characters & slowly draws you (the audience) in, keeping you gripped until the credits roll. If it wasn’t for some minor quibbles (more on those later) this movie would have made my Hall Of Fame. In Sophie Marceau & Monica Bellucci, de Van had two incredibly talented actresses who are both on top of their game in this movie. They both put in brilliant performances, effortlessly carrying their halves of the movie. The rest of the cast is good too. The film looks amazing, the cinematography is first-rate & the CGI used to morph Sophie Marceau into Monica Bellucci is subtle yet effectively done (even the hybrid Marceau/Bellucci), meaning for once you don’t get taken out of the movie by being impressed with obvious CGI. Don’t Look Back like its predecessor In my Skin does contain elements of body horror. It seems to be a recurring theme with de Van & while nowhere near as graphic & disturbing there are some strange elements of deformation in the movie. As i mentioned earlier I do have some minor quibbles (one majorish one if I am totally honest) The movies score is completely underwhelming, it just didn’t add anything to the atmosphere of the film. At the beginning of the movie Jeanne notices her family making strange hand gestures & movements. These scenes are incredibly creepy yet no explanation is ever given for them. Maybe de Van put them in just to unsettle the audience but that seems a cheap trick for such a talented writer. My last quibble & the most major one I cannot reveal here as it is a major plot spoiler to do with Jeanne’s husband.
If you’re looking for an intelligent slow burning horror movie, look no further than this. A wonderful movie from an obvioulsy talented director. I, for one am looking forward to seeing what Marina de Van does next. Until then Don’t Look Back comes highly recommended.
“You won’t die from getting your hand cut off, after all I only have one arm too”
I must start this review with an apology for the heavy Asian bias on the site at the moment. Rest assured there are some European reviews on the way soon. For today’s review its back to Japan for 2008’s The Machine Girl, an over the top splatterfest directed by Noboru Iguchi, the man responsible for RoboGeisha & Mutant Girl Squad, with special effects by Yoshihiro Nishimura who would go on to direct Tokyo Gore Police.
Ami is a high school student living with her younger brother Yu after their parents were framed for murder & committed suicide. Yu & his friend Takeshi are in trouble with the school bully Sho the son of a vicious Yakuza gang leader Ryugi. Sho & his gang throw both Takeshi & Yu off a building killing them both, distraught Ami swears to seek revenge. She goes to Sho’s house but is overpowered by the Ryugi & his bodyguards. Ami is beaten & tortured, losing an arm in the process. After managing to escape she makes her way to the garage run by Siguru & Miki (Takeshi’s parents) The couple agree to help her & while Siguru builds Ami a new machine gun arm, Miki starts to train Ami in combat. Ryugi tracks down Ami & sends a squad of ninja assassins to kill her. In the subsequent battle Siguru is killed, but not before he has finished the machine gun. The two women then arm themselves (Miki with a chainsaw) & head to Ryugi’s hideout for the showdown.
The Machine girl is another over the top splatter film in the style of Vampire Girl Versus Frankenstein Girl & Tokyo Gore Police. The plot is a secondary device used purely to link the scenes of action & carnage. The end result is just dammed enjoyable. The fight scenes are well choreographed & the splatter while not at all realistic is done with a real zeal & trust me there is a lot of splatter in this movie. Limbs are hacked off, faces sliced open, hands are deep-fried, faces pulped & the arterial blood sprays literally soak the screen. It’s a movie with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek. The drill bra has to be seen to be believed & The Super Mourners squad had me in tears of laughter. The acting ranges from passable to downright awful yet somehow that doesn’t really matter. Minase Yashiro as Ami & Asami as Miki put in decent performances as does Honoka as Ryugi’s vicious wife. The rest of the cast ham it up for all they are worth, with special mention going to Kentaro Shimazu as Ryugi whose performance is so over the top it makes Vincent Price look like a subtle & restrained actor. While the movie’s energy & sense of fun can compensate for most of the film’s flaws, the CGI is dreadful & should never have been used. While the practical effects are a mixed bag quality wise, the CGI looks awful & does detract from the movie as a whole. fortunately for all it’s flaws Machine Girl’s positives outweigh the negatives & the movie provides a hugely enjoyable 90 minutes of insane carnage & craziness.
In closing The Machine Girl is a great beer & pizza movie. If You liked Vampire Girl Versus Frankenstein Girl or Tokyo Gore Police you will love this. An outrageous over the top splatter fest with a huge sense of fun, highly recommended.