Film, Horror

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Documentary Room 237 unravels the theories surrounding The Shining

16 Oct 2012

Kubrick's horror masterpiece has inspired multiple allegorical readings

You can tell a lot about a person by the classic horror movie that he or she is least inclined to watch alone on a stormy night. If religious trauma lurks in someone’s psyche, The Exorcist is going to be the one that most works their nerves. If their…

Edinburgh Zombie Club share their Hallowe'en film recommendations

16 Oct 2012

What’s your favourite film to watch at this time of year? The Beyond ticks all the boxes: it has a spooky old house, zombies and an unspeakable secret. It’s creepy but gory, a classic Italian horror movie. Watch it with the lights off and candles…

Room 237

5 Oct 20124 stars

Compelling documentary about the hidden meanings in Kubrick's The Shining

This frighteningly engrossing documentary presents a series of (supposedly) hidden meanings to be found imbedded in Stanley Kubrick’s modern horror classic The Shining. The various readings of the film, which range from quite plausible to utterly balmy…

Sinister

1 Oct 20124 stars

Skilful horror staring Ethan Hawke

The opening of Scott Derrickson’s horror certainly lives up to the title: Super 8 ‘snuff’ footage captures a family-of-four hanged until dead from a tree, its branch acting as a lever to pull at the nooses and raise them off the ground. It’s an…

Resident Evil: Retribution

28 Sep 20122 stars

Vacuous but delivers when it comes to action

Films based on videogames have a bad rep. That doesn’t stop some of them being hugely popular. Resident Evil, the most successful game-to-movie franchise, has so far grossed over $670 million worldwide. And it can put that success down to knowing its…

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Revisiting: Santa Sangre

25 Sep 20124 stars

Jodorowsky's 1989 cult circus slasher returns to cinemas

The circus has long provided rich cinematic pickings, from Freaks and The Greatest Show on Earth to La Strada and Lola Montès. In Alejandro Jodorowsky’s 1989 contribution to the canon, the circus is the stuff of wild nightmares and childhood trauma. Set…

House at the End of the Street

21 Sep 20122 stars

Jennifer Lawrence-starring teen horror/thriller blows it in final reel

Most film fans have heard of the horrors of development hell, how great movie scripts can kick about for years, often getting chopped and changed beyond recognition if and when they finally make it to production. Release schedules can be almost as…

When The Lights Went Out

11 Sep 20122 stars

Disappointing British ghost story set in 1970s Yorkshire, starring Martin Compston

The UK box office success of The Woman in Black is presumably the reason for the deluge of such penny dreadfuls as When The Lights Went Out, yet another ghost train ride with a succession of scary faces looming out of the dark, aiming to jolt…

Guinea Pigs

4 Sep 20122 stars

Tired and familiar low budget horror

In a remote research laboratory somewhere in the English countryside, eight unconnected volunteers – including students, ‘career trial patients’ and a curious journalist – gather to take part in a trial for a new drug called Pro9. The doctor in charge…

The Possession

3 Sep 20123 stars

A slightly moth-eaten Jewish version of The Exorcist from Sam Raimi's Ghost House imprint

A Jewish version of The Exorcist, The Possession is the latest entry in the minor sub-genre of horror films about the dybbuk, a malevolent spirit from Jewish folklore, familiar from David S Goyer’s The Unborn and the creepy prologue of the Coen…

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A Night In The Woods

3 Sep 20122 stars

By-the-numbers supernatural horror from director Richard Parry

Richard Parry's Dartmoor-set A Night In The Woods was inspired by a real-life incident experienced by the director. While out camping alone in Wistman's Woods Parry awoke to feel someone's hands pressing upon his throat and a figure standing over him…

[REC]³ Génesis

28 Aug 20123 stars

Dark laughs and outrageous violence feature in the third film in the [REC] series

Where the first two [REC] films relied on claustrophobic tension and shaky camera to impress, the third film goes for a more conventional format that's backed by dark laughs and in-your-face violence. Directed with over the top relish by Paco Plaza…

Interview: Kim Newman - film critic and novelist

23 Aug 2012

The noted writer talks Dracula, horror and vampires

Writer Kim Newman is probably most famous for his film criticism, a champion of horror and cult cinema, writing several books on the subject, while delving into the Video Dungeon at Empire magazine every issue and starting this interview with the fact…

Interview: Toby Jones on Peter Strickland's Berberian Sound Studio

15 Aug 2012

Hannah McGill speaks to the actor about the genre-defying anti-horror movie

Two stories drew Toby Jones to Berberian Sound Studio, the sophomore feature project by British-born director Peter Strickland. There was the tale to be spun onscreen: that of a mild-mannered British sound engineer coming unstuck whilst working on sound…

Berberian Sound Studio

28 Jun 20124 stars

Striking and unsettling film from Peter Strickland set in a 1970s Italian horror sound studio

Films that address the artifice, fakery and manipulation inherent in their own medium obviously offer geeky thrills for knowing buffs, but they also draw out the intriguing emotional complexity of the filmmaker/viewer relationship: the fact that we…

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V/H/S

27 Jun 20124 stars

A thoroughly nasty series of handheld horror vignettes

Using ‘found footage’ as its central theme, V/H/S delivers six different stories for the price of one. In the overarching narrative ‘Tape 56’, a group of thugs raid a seemingly empty house in search of a specific video cassette, filming their actions as…

Lovely Molly

25 Jun 20123 stars

New horror from the Blair Witch director has brilliant atmosphere but a slender plot

Having one game-changing mega-hit can of course trouble a director’s career as much as aiding it, and Eduardo Sánchez isn’t pretending that he’s not still haunted by 1999’s The Blair Witch Project. Lovely Molly commences with a shot of a young woman…

The Harsh Light of Day

13 Jun 20123 stars

Impressive low budget debut from Oliver S Milburn about a vigilante occult writer

Cross-pollinating existing genres is an effective way to gain attention, and 23-year-old auteur Oliver S Milburn pulls the trick off with The Harsh Light of Day, a vigilante/vampire thriller. Milburn’s debut is a slight, unpolished micro-budget, yet the…

Chernobyl Diaries

12 Jun 20122 stars

Hostel-style tourist trip horror that’s lacking in suspense

From Oren Peli, producer of the Paranormal Activity series, comes yet another entry in the tourist trap cycle spawned by Eli Roth’s considerably superior Hostel. In Chernobyl Diaries, a group of US tourists find themselves engaged in bloody conflict on…

Prometheus

6 Jun 20123 stars

Ridley Scott's return to the Alien universe is compelling but inconsistent

When contributing to a franchise with singular cultural standing and an obsessive fan base, how does one evade one’s film being largely obscured by a firestorm of nitpicking, over-interpretation and delusional theorising? If one is Ridley Scott making…

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The Innkeepers

11 May 20123 stars

A genuinely involving and disconcerting chiller that thankfully eschews any trendy post-modernism

Having established his credentials as a serious genre fan with a spot-on homage to 80s horror movies in The House of the Devil, writer-director Ti West reaches even further back into the past with this slow-burning thriller. Like all good haunted house…

Trailer for The Lucifer Effect marries found footage with hyper-viral marketing

10 May 2012

Cinema has had its fair share of found footage thrillers recently. While some have had some success on a semi-stale horror circuit (such as the almost genre-defining Blair Witch Project and the Paranormal Activity series), others have failed massively…

666: The Prophecy

18 Apr 20122 stars

By-the-numbers horror from Darren Lynn Bousman, inspired by calendar numerology

(15) 90mins The current public appetite for horror barely excuses the eventual, much delayed release of 666: The Prophecy, which was opportunistically released in the US in November last year on the date (and under the title) 11-11-11. The idea that…

The trailer for Lovely Molly, the new film from Blair Witch director Eduardo Sánchez

3 Apr 2012

More close-up crying from the found footage pioneer

Since pretty much inventing the found footage horror genre with The Blair Witch Project back in 1999, Eduardo Sánchez has been keeping kind of a low profile, with only a couple of (poorly-received) horrors to his name. The trailer for his newest…

The Divide

19 Mar 20123 stars

A nasty and nihilistic portrait of rapid decline of civilisation

(18) 108mins Rarely will you see a film as nasty and nihilistic as Xavier Gens’ The Divide. The Frenchman scored a cult hit with 2007’s Frontier(s) before making his first foray into the studio system with the by numbers video game adaptation Hitman.