Underworld: Blood Wars (DVD Review)

15 – 88mins – 2017


 

SPECIES IMPURITY

“I have lived beyond my time…”

The most surprising thing about this belated fifth instalment in the lycans versus vampires action-horror series is the end credits, which revealed – much to my astonishment – that series co-creator Len Wiseman neither wrote or directed this fourth big screen sequel. My surprise was such because Blood Wars is otherwise Underworld by-numbers. Kate Beckinsale strutting and slashing in tight leather? Check. Gloomy midnight-blue colour grade? Check. Chaotic interspecies fight sequences? Check. Clunky, exposition-heavy dialogue? Check and mate.

… Keep Scuttling!

The Void (Blu-ray Review)

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18 – 90mins – 2016


 

SYMBOLS & TENTACLES

Predominantly set in a soon-to-be-abandoned hospital, this Canadian love letter to old-school, low-budget, 80s horror packs a bucket-load of (high) concepts, masterful physical effects and thematic homages into its ostensibly limited set-up, courtesy of some creatively unhinged plot developments.

… Keep Scuttling!

A Cure for Wellness (Cinema Review)

18 – 146mins – 2017


 

EELS ON FIRE

After transforming into the sickly Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Dane DeHaan once again plays a strong-minded and cock-sure twenty-something whose health deteriorates before our eyes in an overlong and overcomplicated genre piece. Wearing its multitude of influences brazenly on its sleeve, A Cure for Wellness marks Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski’s first foray into horror since 2002’s The Ring remake.

… Keep Scuttling!

The Neon Demon (DVD Review)

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18 – 113mins – 2016


 

CATWALK ON THE WILD SIDE

With youth and beauty on her side, innocent orphan Jesse (Elle Fanning) makes waves on the LA fashion scene, ruffling feathers amongst her old – and less natural – contemporaries. But underneath their flawless skin, stick-thin frames and bitchy attitudes the perfection-hungry models are hiding a more insidious secret which could spell danger for the waif-like “deer in headlights.”

… Keep Scuttling!

Lake Placid vs Anaconda (Netflix Review)

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15 – 88mins – 2015


 

CROC OF SHIT

“They’re monsters is what they are!”

In the late nineties they were two colossi of the creature feature sub-genre. With father/daughter heavyweights Jon Voight and Angelina Jolie hunting for the legendary giant Anaconda in the theatrical rainforest of 1997 and Bill Pullman and Bridget Fonda battling the original 30-foot reptile in 1999’s Lake Placid, these two initially legitimate monster movie franchises have, with each successive (and cheaper) DTV sequel, fallen ever fouler of the modern trend for Roger Corman-esque Z-movies. Thanks, Sharknado!

… Keep Scuttling!

Tuck Everlasting (DVD Review)

PG – 90mins – 2003


 

I WANT TO LOVE FOREVER

From Jay Russell, the director of My Dog Skip (2000), comes this sweet but conservative family-friendly fable about the romance which blossoms between an immortal son (Jesse Jackson) and the upper class socialite (Alexis Gilmore Girls Bledel) who discovers his family’s long-hidden secret.

Set in 1914 and largely based in a timeless woodland homestead, Tuck Everlasting’s unpretentious plot is undeniably charming and chock-full of rose-tinted awe, but ultimately this A-to-B adaptation of Natalie Babbitt’s beloved children’s book doesn’t play around with its magic-infused, era-spanning narrative enough.

Ben Kingsley is sufficiently stuffed with smarm as an enigmatic yellow-suited profiteer of the Tuck’s blessing/curse, but his menace – and the ramifications of his fate – are dulled down for a Disney demographic. So too is the fact that baby-faced Bledel’s protagonist Winnie is kidnapped by William Hurt’s age-defying brood in order to hold her tongue from babbling about their magical spring of youth.

CR@B Verdict: 3 stars