The Strangers (DVD Review)

15 – 85mins – 2008


 

DOLL-FACED KILLERS

With the belated and long-teased sequel Prey At Night just opening Stateside (it was originally announced for a 2009 release date before entering development hell for the best part of a decade), I thought it was high-time I got my act together and finally watched the first Strangers film. Now TEN years old, the DVD has been lingering on my to-watch pile for far too long.

… Keep Scuttling!

Advertisements

The Monster (Film Review)

15 – 91mins – 2016


 

BEASTLY BEHAVIOUR

“Mom tells me there is no such thing as monsters. She is wrong.”

Angling as often for heartache as it is for horror, it is not hard to see why writer/director Bryan Bertino’s supernatural indie genre flick is also categorized as a drama. There is an eponymous otherworldly beastie (which looks like a cross between an Alien Xenomorph and Gozer from Ghostbusters), but the title could just as easily be a metaphorical judgement of the diabolical parenting Zoe Kazan’s alcoholic single-mother Kathy provides for her mature-beyond-her-years daughter.

… Keep Scuttling!

xXx: The Next Level (DVD Review)

Image result for xxx the next level

12 – 97mins – 2005


 

COMEBACK TOUR

When their hi-tech underground Headquarters in Virginia is infiltrated and decimated by deadly assailants, escaping NSA Agent Augustus Gibbons (Cell‘s Samuel L. Jackson) sets about repopulating a new unit of deep-cover operatives armed with an arsenal of specialist skills.

… Keep Scuttling!

The Moth Diaries (DVD Review)

15 – 79mins – 2011


 

SEX, BLOOD, DEATH… & LESBIANISM

“Sickly sweet but rotten…”

Alabaster-skinned British model Lily Cole (St. Trinians, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) conjures a haunting otherworldly peculiarity which makes her sublimely cast as Ernessa Bloch, the enigmatic new girl with a dark secret at an exclusive all-girls’ boarding school.

Sarah Bolger (Emelie, TV’s The Tudors) plays bright-but-obsessive student Rebecca who grows increasingly concerned at the intense control Ernessa seems to hold over her increasingly-frail best friend, Lucy (Sarah 11.22.63 Gadon). Is the enigmatic flame-haired wraith a coffin-slumbering vampire, or does Rebecca’s jealous simply know no bounds?

Suicide, suspicion, strangely strong shisha, sex and the supernatural are all spun together in this diminutive but evocative conspiratorial horror, based on Rachel Klein’s Y.A. novel. There are some truly impactful standout scenes – including a Carrie-esque dream sequence and a troubling peek inside Ernessa’s dusty room – but the story is compromised by some atrociously heavy-handed editing which brings up numerous plot points (swimming lessons, period pain, inappropriate kiss, outdoor sex) only to mothball any consequences.

There is some poetic flair in paralleling the inexplicable goings on with some of literature’s bloodsucking icons in Mr Davies’ (Scott Underworld Speedman) gothic fiction class, but the abrupt, sketch-like approach to assembling the narrative means The Moth Diaries ultimately fails to take flight. What is scarier than any shocks in this jump-free teen adaptation is that it was directed by the same acute eye as acclaimed thriller American Psycho, Mary Haddon.

CR@B Verdict: 2 stars