Enemy (DVD Review)

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15 – 86mins – 2013


 

MULTIPLICITY

Jake Gyllenhaal plays an average Joe college professor who catches a glimpse of a very familiar face in the background of a DVD he has rented, kickstarting an increasingly obsessive quest to track down his fame-seeking doppelganger (also Gyllenhaal). Well, I was sold by the synopsis! I didn’t even have to know that Oscar winner Denis Arrival Villeneuve was behind the lens – I needed to see this film and I was shocked that it had evaded my attention for five years.

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Unsane (Cinema Review)

Claire Foy in Unsane (2018)

15 – 98mins – 2018


 

THE GIFT OF FEAR

Magic Mike maestro Steven Soderbergh bounces back after what was, for me, an unengaging misfire (2017’s heist dramedy Logan Lucky) with a bold and unconventional low-key experiment: psychological thriller Unsane was filmed entirely on iPhones! While the film isn’t shot as though diegetically through a mobile phone (fear not, shaky cam haterz!), Soderbergh ratchets up the paranoia and tension with many tight angles and close ups. Combine this with murky, natural lighting and a lack of cinematic sheen and Unsane certainly succeeds in evoking a dark, unsettling tone.

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The Open House (Netflix Review)

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15 – 94mins – 2018


 

DEATH MOVES IN

13 Reasons Why must be the sole reason why Netflix bought up this lacklustre home invasion thriller. Their acquisition team must be hoping that the presence of lead actor Dylan Don’t Breathe Minnette will persuade fans of the headline-making, smash-hit teen mystery drama series to give something else with him in a watch. Any viewers that do will no doubt be as disappointed as I was by this poor excuse of a horror from unseasoned all-rounders Matt Angel (an actor by trade) and Suzanne Coote, who wrote, produced and directed.

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THE PAN BOOK OF HORROR STORIES (Book Review)

Selected by: Herbert van Thal

First published by Pan Books in 1959 / Reprinted: 2017

296 pages


THE GHOSTS OF SENSIBILITIES PAST

Pan Book of Horror StoriesHaving released their first mass-market paperback in 1947 (Ten Stories by Rudyard Kipling), publishing giants Pan are this year celebrating their 70th anniversary with a series of reissues of their most popular and iconic titles. Piquing my interest among the twenty classics receiving a new lease of life was a reprint of the first ever volume of collected horror stories; 22 macabre tales from authors renowned (Bram Stoker, Peter Fleming, C.S. Forester) and unheard of.

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Personal Shopper (Netflix Review)

Image result for personal shopper 2016 film

15 – 107mins – 2016


 

DESIRE FOR THE FORBIDDEN

Renowned by fans and detractors alike for her tight jaw and sullen gaze, former Twilight megastar and blossoming indie darling Kristen Equals Stewart is perfectly cast here as glum American spiritualist Maureen Cartwright. Moonlighting as a personal shopper for high-profile French fashionista Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten) while she stays in Paris, Maureen is mourning the recent death of her twin brother, who she shares a heart malformation with.

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The Ritual (Cinema Review)

15 – 94mins – 2017


 

FEAR THE FOREST

While big money genre tentpoles like Blade Runner 2049 and It will always garner the most fanfare, sometimes the real cinematic gems are the smaller features released with only minimum fuss and which, sadly, often leave theatres before word of mouth has had a chance to take full effect. Say hello to The Ritual, which at time of typing is clinging on at my local Cineworld with just one late screening in only its second week. However, if you read this in time I cannot recommend this creepy chiller enough, so please hot-foot it down to your local picture house and take a walk in these woods…

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It (TV Mini-Series Review)

15 – 192mins (combined duration) – 1990

Teleplay by: Tommy Lee Wallace (2 episodes) & Lawrence D. Cohen (1 episode)

Based on the novel by: Stephen King

Directed by: Tommy Lee Wallace


 

CLOWNIN’ AROUND

Every 30 years, the sleepy US town of Derry is befallen by an apparent natural disaster which sees many of the community’s children killed. Only 12 year-old Michael (Marlon Taylor) and his gang of young outcasts are willing to face the truth: these ‘natural disasters’ are, in fact, the handiwork of a malevolent entity which takes the form of sinister Pennywise the Clown (Tim Curry). When the killings start again, adult Michael (Tim Reid) rounds up the long-parted pals to conquer ‘It’ once and for all.

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Blair Witch (DVD Review)

15 – 86mins – 2016


 

THE ABSENCE OF CLOSURE

“Someone’s died everywhere at some point, doesn’t mean every square foot of this planet is haunted!”

Coming across a video on YouTube he believes contains footage of his sister, presumed dead twenty years earlier after going missing while investigating the legend of the Blair Witch, James Donahue (James Allen McCune) heads into Black Hills Forest near Burkittsville, hoping against hope that Heather is still alive. He his ‘assisted’ by a couple of wary locals he communicated with online, and trailed by a group of his closest friends, including one who conveniently wishes to document the missing person search.

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Rings (DVD Review)

15 – 102mins – 2017


 

COPY AND WASTE

Gore Verbinski’s 2002 remake of the Japanese supernatural horror classic Ringu (1998) kick-started a Western surge in popularity for “J-horror” and established lank-haired, TV-emerging Samara as an icon of the genre. That it has taken 12 years since 2005 follow-up The Ring Two to continue the Hollywood-ified franchise is surprising, particularly as interest seemed to remain at least temperate, but Rings’ disappointing box office gross is testament to the rule that no matter how long you take to “perfect” a sequel, sometimes they just aren’t required.

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Voice from the Stone (Film Review)

15 – 94mins – 2017


 

TUSCAN RAIDER

Mute since his sickly mother passed away, young Jakob’s (Edward Dring) despairing father, Klaus (Marton Csokas), hopes English nurse Verena (Emilia Me Before You Clarke) will succeed where a string of other live-in caregivers have failed and get his mourning heir talking again.

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