Film, Horror

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Interview: producer Jason Blum talks The Purge: Anarchy, micro-budget filmmaking and franchises vs creativity

22 Jul 2014

'If all I’m ever making is sequels, I should look for work elsewhere - that would be bad'

In the future, crime, unemployment and homelessness in America are at an all time low, thanks to one night a year where all crime is made legal. That's the concept behind The Purge, a low-budget action-horror that came out of nowhere to become a…

The Purge: Anarchy

22 Jul 20143 stars

Sequel to the unexpected smash entertainingly expands on the original's premise

‘Profit-making is not the essence of democracy’ offers one of the more eloquent characters in James DeMonaco’s engagingly blunt sequel to 2013's The Purge, a low-budget sensation which turned a massive profit despite being little more than standard…

Haunter

15 Jul 20142 stars

Grey, dreary, reptitive ghost story starring Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin

There have been so many variations on the ghost story of late. Usually that the main character is already dead is the final twist a la The Sixth Sense but we learn early doors that Lisa (Abigail Breslin aka Little Miss Sunshine herself) and her family…

Let Us Prey

27 Jun 20143 stars

Liam Cunningham and Pollyanna McIntosh star in Brian O'Malley's intriguing horror debut

Game of Thrones seems to employ nearly every available actor in the UK so it’s hard to avoid cast members when it comes to British films. This Scottish production features Liam Cunningham as a mysterious stranger who insinuates himself into a local…

Doc of the Dead

26 Jun 20143 stars

Lightweight zombie doc featuring interviews with George A Romero, Simon Pegg and Bruce Campbell

Zombies are definitely in vogue – they are the monster of the moment, chomping their way through movies, books, comics and TV. The Walking Dead is currently the highest rated show on cable in the US while 2013’s World War Z was the biggest budget horror…

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Honeymoon

26 Jun 20143 stars

Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway deliver solid performances in this cabin-in-the-woods horror

If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise, etc. Director-slash-co-writer Leigh Janiak's nicely atmospheric horror is both creepy and disturbing, though it tips its hand slightly too early and has the usual genre-associated…

Life After Beth

25 Jun 20144 stars

Superlative zombie dramedy starring Dane DeHaan, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick and John C Reilly

‘Imagine The Graduate, but with zombies.’ That seems to have been Jeff Baena’s brief for Life After Beth, a ‘zomromcom’ that couldn’t be further from the Shaun of the Dead vibe that label suggests. Dane DeHaan is expertly cast as Zach, a gothier version…

The Green Inferno

19 Jun 20143 stars

Eli Roth delves into jungle cannibalism and gives gorehounds plenty of gristle to chew on

A plane full of student protesters head off half-cocked into the Amazon trying to protect the rainforest and the indigenous tribes. After confronting a team of loggers, their ordeal really begins. On their way back to civilisation their plane crashes in…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: The top 5 horror movies

17 Jun 2014

Featuring Honeymoon, Let Us Prey, Fish and Cat and Eli Roth's The Green Inferno

Fish and Cat (Mahi va Gorbeh) Inspired by rumours of a restaurant which served human flesh to its customers, this Iranian film uses a kite-flying competition to make urban visitors come into contact with creepy locals, testing slasher conventions to…

Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014: Eli Roth on his Amazon-shot cannibal horror The Green Inferno

10 Jun 2014

Director's affectionate tribute to the Italian cannibal movies of the 80s screens at EIFF 2014

Eli Roth revels in his reputation as the bad boy of horror cinema. He shocked movie fans with the flesh eating virus of Cabin Fever and for many epitomised the gory excesses of the mid-00s with the ultra-violent Hostel. ‘As a kid I loved sitting round…

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Interview: Stuart Gordon, director of Re-Animator, From Beyond and Castle Freak

20 May 2014

The filmmaker has also turned his hand to theatre, directing Re-Animator: The Musical and Taste

For aficionados of the undead, Re-Animator is counted as a true great alongside Dawn of the Dead and Zombie Flesh Eaters. The film is a smart, funny and gloriously gory slice of horror cinema starring Jeffrey Combs as an insanely driven medical student…

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

20 May 20142 stars

A vaguely spooky Latino twist on the found footage subgenre that just feels repetitive

Found footage has become the most over used device in horror. Paranormal Activity not only hold the dubious honour of ushering in this new age of shaky cam cinema but are also the masters of the over crowded sub-genre. We’ve already had a Japanese take…

Willow Creek

29 Apr 20144 stars

Well-honed horror from former stand-up Bobcat Goldthwait

They say there are no second acts in American lives – then there's Bobcat Goldthwait. A stand-up comic most famous for playing helium-voiced punk Zed in Police Academy 2 (1985), Goldthwait has since been busy making sly, often filthy, indie films such…

The Last Days on Mars

9 Apr 20143 stars

An intelligent and engaging sci-fi thriller with strong performances and, oh yes, space zombies

Based on a 1975 short story ('The Animators') by pulp sci-fi author Sydney J Bounds, The Last Days on Mars is directed by Ruairi Robinson and stars Liev Schreiber, Romola Garai, Johnny Harris and Olivia Williams as members of a team of astronaut…

The Quiet Ones

9 Apr 20142 stars

Hammer's latest horror gets too bogged down in cod-scientific mumbo jumbo

The return of Hammer films has so far been a mixed bag; The Resident was barely released, their Let The Right One In remake flopped, and only period ghost story The Woman in Black hit the mark. The Quiet Ones is another uncertain entry, with journeyman…

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Karen Gillan, Vincent Price and William Castle feature in Dead By Dawn 2014

31 Mar 2014

The horror festival will screen a mixture of new releases, short films and established classics

If you’re a fan of horror and all things dark, you’re probably pretty bummed around this time of the year, as April is not an especially spooky month: the clocks have gone forward, giving us sunlight until 8pm or so (at least in theory), and spring has…

Interview: Ted Kotcheff, director of uncompromising Aussie drama Wake in Fright

21 Mar 2014

The claustrophobic drama is experiencing a resurgence after almost 40 years in obscurity

Wake in Fright is a powerful film. Gary Bond plays John Grant, a teacher who gets trapped in 'The Yabba', a rough mining town in the middle of the Australian outback, where he gets dragged into a world of drinking, gambling and violence. 'It's an…

Interview: director Kieran Parker on Nazi zombie horror Outpost III: Rise of the Spetsnaz

21 Mar 2014

'What we liked about it was that it's obviously tongue in cheek with a little sprinkling of reality'

'It's not like we invented Nazi zombies but we were the first of the new batch,' explains Kieran Parker, director of Outpost III, with pride. 'It came from mixing things like Alien with Where Eagles Dare. What we liked about it was that it's obviously…

Video Nasties: Draconian Days

5 Mar 20144 stars

Jake West censorship doc highlights horror's frontline position in our battle for personal freedoms

The second part of director Jake West's history of film censorship in the UK looks at the furore surrounding the issue of 'Video Nasties', resulting in the establishment of the Video Recording Act in 1984. The government stamped down on the lack of…

Wolf Creek 2

5 Mar 20143 stars

John Jarrett stars as a menacing killer in this horror that suffers from odd shifts in tone

If you like brutal, bloody horror, 2005 was a particularly good year. Hostel, Saw II, The Devil's Rejects and a certain Wolf Creek were all released. The latter offered a pleasingly different take, directed by Australian Greg McLean and set in the…

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The Sacrament

4 Mar 20143 stars

Ti West's latest lo-fi horror is inspired by the Jonestown massacre

In recent years Ti West has become one of the directors to watch in horror. He's created a succession of low budget films that have been thoughtful, intelligent genre movies. The House of the Devil, The Innkeepers and his segment in V/H/S ('Second…

Almost Human

4 Mar 20143 stars

Solid low budget sci-fi / horror hybrid from first-timer Joe Begos

Horror is one of the few genres that can still have a massive impact even with a limited budget. Evil Dead and Bad Taste are now considered classics of the genre and both directors (Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson respectively) have gone on to become two of…

Killers

3 Mar 20144 stars

A confident and well-made Indonesian/Japanese horror from The Mo Brothers

Following the failure of a major investigation, Indonesian reporter Bayu (Oka Antara) is feeling deeply depressed - the only things that even arouse his attention any more are his estranged family and the online snuff videos created by Japanese serial…

Horror DVD round-up - February 2014

27 Feb 2014

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, Nothing Left to Fear, Skinwalkers, In Fear & Kiss of the Damned reviewed

We’ll start our quick run through some recent horror DVD releases with the first flesh eating virus to have its own franchise. Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (Signature) ●● (the third CF movie) is surprisingly entertaining even if the plot doesn’t quite hang…

We Are What We Are

27 Feb 20144 stars

Jim Mickle's horror remake is as much an atmospheric slow burn cannibal film as the original

When you talk about cannibal films people expect the gore and teeth gnashing fury of the exploitation films that shocked the 70s (most of which ended up on the Video Nasties list). And when you talk about horror remakes we’ve come to expect polished but…