Film, Horror

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The Returned (Les Revenants)

16 Jul 20134 stars

The eerie 2004 French feature film originally titled They Came Back inspired the chilling TV series

Not to be confused with the French TV show currently screening on Channel 4 this is the original 2004 horror film the series is based upon. They share a similar eerie, moody ambience, the plot hits many of the same notes (and Frédéric Pierrot stars in…

Frankenstein's Army

27 Jun 20134 stars

Gory, inventive horror with fantastic bio-mechanical special effects

You've seen found footage horror and Nazi zombies before, but Frankenstein's Army mashes them together proving that a fresh approach can breathe new life into tired genre conventions. It's based around the wonderfully absurd idea that Victor…

The Conjuring

26 Jun 20133 stars

'Fact'-based ghost story from James Wan, director of Insidious, Saw and Dead Silence

'Based on a true story' has become the most over used cliché in horror cinema. It's become such a regular within the genre that viewers have become cynical, dismissing it also most as soon as it flashes upon the screen. *3The Conjuring*2 has slightly…

Ben Wheatley, director of A Field in England - interview

24 Jun 2013

The Sightseers director talks about the horror, filming in B&W and working with comedians

Ben Wheatley has a background in TV, working with the likes of Steve Coogan, Johnny Vegas and Matt Berry on shows including Modern Toss and Ideal. 2010 saw the release of his directorial debut suburban crime thriller Down Terrace swiftly followed by the…

Outpost III: Rise of the Spetsnaz

20 Jun 20133 stars

Third instalment in the Nazi zombie series, starring Bryan Larkin and Michael McKell

Outpost was part of the first wave of the current mini-craze for Nazi zombie movies (sitting alongside Dead Snow, the genre has also spawned Nazis at the Center of the Earth and War of the Dead) and has become Scotland’s most successful horror franchise…

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The Complex (Kuroyuri danchi)

20 Jun 20132 stars

Mundane ghost story from Hideo Nakata, director of Ringu and Dark Water

Ringu (The Ring) pretty much kick started the mainstream appetite for Asian horror single-handedly. It tapped into a new mythology of spirits and curses that hadn’t been explored in western cinema and the startling images of Japanese ghosts as brought…

A Haunted House

18 Jun 20131 star

A derivative, mean-spirited, misogynist Paranormal Activity spoof from Marlon Wayans

The Paranormal Activity model, whereby cheap, lo-fi horror films gain surprisingly high grosses, seems to work for horror spoofs as well; after contributing to the first two entries in the lamentable Scary Movie franchise, Marlon Wayans goes solo with A…

The Seasoning House

18 Jun 20132 stars

Paul Hyett's horror-thriller is tense but cheaply exploits the issue of sex slavery

First time director Paul Hyett has described his horror-thriller The Seasoning House as a dark fairytale based in the real world, a troubling description given the the nature of the film. Set in the war-torn Balkans, it takes place in a house where…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013: the best horrors

13 Jun 2013

The Conjuring, Frankenstein's Army and Outpost 3 among our best bets for horror at EIFF 2013

The Conjuring Having reconfigured the modern horror template with Saw back in 2004, James Wan turned his attention to ghost stories, first with the less-than-perfect Dead Silence, then with the more successful (but still a bit iffy) Insidious. The…

The Last Exorcism Part II

10 Jun 20132 stars

Horror sequel is a by-the-numbers rehash of the original film’s weakest elements

The Last Exorcism was a curiosity of the found-footage genre in that it purported to be a documentary exposé of fake exorcist, the Rev Cotton Marcus. This created a believable background to the drama before the film reverted to genre expectations.

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The Film Formula: World War Z

3 Jun 2013

We discover the different elements behind Brad Pitt’s zombie apocalypse movie

One of the comparisons applied to one of World War Z’s initial scripts (by Ain’t It Cool, among others) was to dramatic thriller Children of Men. Like Pitt’s character Gerry Lane in WWZ, Theo (Clive Owen) is tasked with helping end a worldwide threat to…

The Purge

31 May 20133 stars

Dark sci-fi thriller set in a future where all crime is legal one night every year

New Labour might have led with their slogan 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime', but thankfully they didn't go as far as a state sanctioned night of murder, death, violence and rape. The Purge is set in America, 2022, where for one night a…

No One Lives

29 May 20133 stars

Ryûhei Kitamura's survival/revenge story is a visceral, sick and silly treat for gorehounds

Luke Evans plays the villain for the second time this month (following his turn in Fast & Furious 6)in Ryûhei Kitamura’s jaw-dropping genre thriller. The director, who has a penchant for such stories after making 2008’s The Midnight Meat Train, has…

The Moth Diaries

22 May 20132 stars

Suspense-less boarding school vampire thriller starring Sarah Bolger, Sarah Gadon and Lily Cole

Arriving a week before Neil Jordan’s vampire tale Byzantium, you have to wonder if those releasing The Moth Diaries were hoping to steal a march on Jordan’s film. They needn’t have bothered. A pale shadow of Byzantium, it doesn’t even hold a candle to…

Director Neil Jordan and actor Gemma Arterton talk vampire feminism in Byzantium

17 May 2013

The thriller is 'a continuation' of Jordan's earlier Interview with the Vampire

‘There have been too many vampire films lately,’ laughs Neil Jordan, perched on a chair in London’s Soho Hotel. You might say the director of Interview With the Vampire only has himself to blame. Without his 1994 take on Anne Rice’s novel, starring Tom…

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Directors Lee Hardcastle and Jake West on horror anthology The ABCs of Death

16 May 2013

The film also features short, sharp shocks from Ben Wheatley, Xavier Gens and Ti West

‘It’s a horror film anthology made up of 26 chapters, each directed by a separate director. Each segment is represented by a letter of the alphabet; the letter of the alphabet stands for a word which is relevant to that segment and that death.’ Lee…

Evil Dead II, Stitches, The Man With the Iron Fists - DVD & Blu-ray round-up April 2013

18 Apr 2013

A selection of the best (and worst) horror and action movies released this month

Time for another trip into the darker recesses of the DVD release schedule. With a remake about to hit the cinema it’s prime time to revisit Evil Dead II (Studio Canal) ●●●●●, and it’s still an absolute classic. It’s the archetypal ‘cabin in the woods…

Dead by Dawn 2013 director Adele Hartley gives us an insight into Scotland's Horror Festival

16 Apr 2013

Hartley talks us through the festival highlights, as well as trends and misogyny in the horror genre

What can you say about this year’s programme? Surprises, favourites, screenings about which you are particularly excited? Super-excited about showing Modus Anomali which is one of those gorgeous, mind-melt movies that demands an extra pint in the bar…

Dark Skies

28 Mar 20133 stars

A sci-fi horror with a few decent scares is let down by derivative plotting

Having previously bombarded us with (post-)apocalyptic scenarios in Doomsday, Legion and Priest, writer-director Scott Stewart now takes on the alien visitation genre with marginally more satisfying results. While Dark Skies exercises more restraint and…

Evil Dead

26 Mar 20133 stars

Fede Alvarez's horror remake doesn't better the original, but is still satisfyingly gory

Plumping for back-to-basics terror over quips and innovation, Evil Dead transcends its remake status with exuberant displays of blood lust, dousing a largely bland cast in buckets of the stuff. The feature debut of acclaimed shorts director Fede Alvarez…

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Misadventures in Wonderland: All Night Horror Madness

22 Mar 2013

Our columnist Alice, a self-confessed movie hater, attends a ten-hour horror film marathon

For God’s sake. There are two things I don’t do. One is eat cereal (because pouring milk on things that are crispy is disgusting) and the other is watch films. I’ve never got it. Owning a short attention span but never a DVD player hasn’t…

Maniac

13 Mar 20131 star

Gratuitous slasher remake with a lead performance by Elijah Wood

This slasher remake takes the concept of William Lustig’s controversial 1980 original, focusing on Frank, a loner sociopath who brutally murders beautiful women, and increases the repellent-factor by virtue of a much higher gore budget and a decision to…

The ABCs of Death

28 Feb 20134 stars

The 26 part horror anthology screened as part of FrightFest at Glasgow Film Festival 2013

26 shorts about death all rolled into just over two hours, as a horde of horror directors from around the world each pick a letter, assign an appropriate deathly demise to said letter, then make a (roughly) four minute film. As with all anthologies the…

The Bay

28 Feb 20133 stars

Barry Levinson's found footage parasite horror screened at FrightFest at Glasgow Film Festival 2013

The Bay is a strange film to come from Barry Levinson, you don’t expect a found footage horror from the director of Rain Man, Good Morning, Vietnam and Wag the Dog. The format is usually the first choice for first time directors trying to make an impact…

Aftershock

28 Feb 20133 stars

Eli Roth co-writes and stars in this grisly disaster movie

Aftershock was probably the biggest film of the FrightFest weekend, mainly because star/co-writer/horror icon Eli Roth was in the house for the screening (along with director Nicolás López and co-star Lorenza Izzo), a real coup for the festival. The…