Sunday, 13 October 2019

We Are The Missing (2019) by Andrew J.D Robinson - Horror Novella eBook Review


I know Andrew J.D Robinson for his thoughtful short horror films, such as the fantastic The Becky Carmichael Fan Club, and so when I received word that he had a self published novella coming out - We Are The Missing, I knew I had to check it out. I often skim read any requests I receive due to wanting to go into things with no expectations, so initially I was a little bit concerned this wasn't actually horror based at all. What starts off as a disappearance of a girl subtly transforms over 50ish pages into a kind of localised paranormal apocalypse.

The novella transpires as a series of accounts pieced together from notes and recordings found at the house of reporter Dylan Carter. Due to this format We Are The Missing is the second ever novel I would describe as falling into the 'found footage' genre of  written stories (the other being Michael Wehunt's chilling short story October Film Haunt: Under the House). So, as said rather than be told in a traditional story format this instead is mostly made up of interviews from the reporter and the various people he talks to, as well as his thoughts coming from his journal.

It all starts when school girl Riley Madison goes missing one day in the town of D'Arcadia. Despite a large search, no sign of her is ever seen. Carter interviews her parents Angie and John, as well as her best friend Mackenzie. Events gradually spiral with a spate of missing persons in the town, as well as a series of strange unexplainable traumas the townspeople suffer, from a huge increase in suicides, to an outbreak of mass hallucinations in which the sufferers claim to feel like they are being watched. With each new revelation of the horror unfolding the situation gets more and more out of control until the point that every single person in D'Arcadia is affected one way or another.

For a small novella like this I found the amount of ideas stuffed into this to be endlessly interesting. I most liked how elements from real life are used to help tell the story. There is everything from looking at the mass hysteria of the dancing plagues in the 1500's, to talking about the cordyceps 'zombie' fungus that infects ants, all the way to explain rational causes for why people might claim to have seen ghosts. All this added detail to the story, and grounded it due to the ties to real life that gave this a little bit more of a realistic feel to it, at least in the first half of the novella. By the last part of the book the story has gotten really out of control, yet the path to get here was so natural, a gradual progression rather than a series of stilted jumps.

This was all well written, though without having read anything of Robinson's before I assumed it would be. There are many horror elements here, some which work well, and others not so much. The most creepy parts were around the middle, when ghostly figures are seen more and more, there are plenty of different moments that felt a little unsettling. The more fantastical this gets the more the horror aspect subsides, but it still remained engaging. At times humour is put into some situations, and it didn't always work, but it was in limited enough supply that I didn't really mind. There was one section of the book that uses the analogy of the dead being compared to immigrants, while this is current with what is going on in the world it did feel a little bit heavy handed in the comparisons, and stood out from the rest of the style of the story a bit.

We Are The Missing was a well written, and interesting novella that impressed with just how much content was fitted into the story being told. I found the format of a series of interviews to be engaging, with conversations opening up more hooks to keep the reader wanting to know more. This manages to mix up moments of creepy ghost horror, with relatable real life horror, with even some cosmic horror ideas fitted in, all written in a way that made it so easily to visualise in my mind.

SCORE:

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire (2019) - Horror Film Review


One of my regrets in terms of this blog is only giving 2015's Hell House LLC a 7 out of 10. I really hate having to give ratings for anything, but that was a solid film deserving at least an 8 for style alone. It was a film whose premise really stuck with me, and so when Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel was released in 2018 I expected great things. The second movie in the trilogy took the ideas of the first and ran with it. Unfortunately it ran in completely the wrong direction, turning something special into just another found footage movie. It felt like a lazy cash grab based on the perhaps unexpected popularity of the first. I had heard that director and writer Stephen Cognetti wanted the third film; Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire to be more in line with the first, and I'm pleased to report this is a fantastic return to form.

Lake of Fire takes place in 2018, nine years after the events of Hell House, in which a tragic occurrence happened at the opening night of a haunted house tour set in an abandoned hotel, which resulted in the unexplained deaths of most the staff, as well as plenty of visitors. It also takes place a year after the crew of a TV show called 'Morning Mysteries' vanished while investigating the hotels sordid past. Now billionaire Russell Wynn (Gabriel Chytry) has brought the hotel in order to put on an interactive play by his 'Insomnia' play group. This movie is set out as a documentary that attempts to piece together what happened on the ill fated opening night of his play, and to do so pieces together multiple filmed footage in the lead up to opening night.


So this is a real return to the trilogies roots in that it copies to an extent the path the first film done. Firstly, being set out as a documentary the story felt more cohesive, and it gives plenty of hooks for the anticipation of what was to come. From talking heads, to time stamps detailing how close it is to the opening night, and interviews with characters who appear in the footage it builds up the excitement nicely. By leaning more into the documentary aspect this once again stands apart from the more typical found footage horrors out there. Straight away a decent explanation is giving for just why everyone is filming. This time around it is due to journalist Vanessa Shepherd being given exclusive access to behind the scenes, for a program she intends to make. What felt different for this third installment is that characters are aware of what happened before, at least a couple have actually seen Hell House LLC (though the second film's footage was never discovered) and so they have some trepidation setting foot in the place. This is shown mostly with Vanessa, as well as Russell, who ominously instructs his cast to never set foot in the hotel after dark, and enforces a strict 'buddy' system so that no one is ever alone in the place.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Ready or Not (2019) - Horror Film Review


I have a bizarre problem with new horror Ready or Not (co-directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett whose previous work includes segment '10/31/98' on V/H/S as well as Devil's Due) in that I find it near impossible to remember what the film is called! In my head it is called Hide and Seek as that is the title that comes to mind whenever I think of this. I can only imagine that title had been taken for them to call it Ready or Not. As an aside, when I was looking this up on IMDB just now the title I used to search for it was inadvertently Here I Come. Thankfully the title is near enough the only thing I have an issue with in this entertaining comedy horror.

It is Grace's (Samara Weaving - The Babysitter) wedding day, with her due to marry Alex Le Domas (Mark O'Brien - Bad Times at the El Royale) whose eccentric family are very wealthy due to the board game empire they have created. Alex had been away from his family for some time and so most of them are none too pleased that he has come back with a woman in tow. The couple are married at the Le Domas's family manor and all appears to be going well. That evening though Alex reveals to Grace that it is tradition that she play a game with the family at the stroke of midnight. All she has to do is pick a card from a family heirloom and play the game that the card reveals. She picks 'Hide and Seek' which unknown to her is the worst possible choice. The members of Le Domas believe a legend that an ancestor of theirs made a deal with the devil, the deal being wealth and success in exchange for a ritualistic sacrifice of any new family member who draws the 'Hide and Seek' card. While Grace sets off to hide in the mansion (thinking it is all a game) the family unknown to her tool up and set out to find and kill her before dawn comes.


I was expecting this to be far more of a horror than it was, instead this has a heavy dark line vein of black comedy running all the way through it. Thankfully this comedy nearly always hits, with many moments that were laugh out loud. The whole way this played out reminded me very heavily of 2011's You're Next. In both movies you have a rich eccentric family meeting for a special occasion. Both films feature a lot of dark comedy that stems from the various family members weird personalities, and both films feature accidental death, and one of the characters turning out to not be on the side you think they were originally on. The biggest difference is that You're Next is home invasion with the family the victims, while here with Ready or Not it is the family who are hunting down the stranger.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Cannibal Nuns from Outer Space! (2019) by Duncan P. Bradshaw - Comedy Horror Book Review


There was a time in my life when I read a lot of books, so many in fact that I felt it was even worth mentioning on my CV. Nowadays I rarely manage to finish three in a year, something which I blame squarely on video games, I am just an innocent pawn in the ever increasing length of those damn addictive time sinks. Still, that didn't stop me from picking up the special edition of Duncan P. Bradshaw's latest comedy horror novel, Cannibal Nuns from Outer Space! I really enjoyed his zombie novels Class Three, and Class Four: Those Who Survive, and with the title alone I knew this new one would be something I would also enjoy.

Father Flynn is a member of The Order of The Crimson Rosary, that deals with the more supernatural aspects of the Catholic faith, from exorcism, to judging the apparent appearance of miracles. After a series of embarrassing incidents stemming from an over reliance on alcohol, and an inflated opinion of his own judgement and abilities Flynn is given an ultimatum. He can either return to his old job of maintaining the last microfiche machine of the Catholic church, or he can go to St Judas's for rehabilitation. He decides on the later, which takes him to a sleepy Welsh town, which coincidentally is also where a group of cannibal nuns from outer space have chosen for this years harvest of humans. Flynn eventually becomes aware of the aliens plot and sets out to stop them, along with the help of his rival O'Malley, as well as a demonic creature living in his beard, and a few other odd sorts.

This all starts off extremely silly, with a most ridiculous introduction to Flynn that takes the form of a botched exorcism. Compared to previous books I have read of Bradshaw's this felt more stupid than usual, meant in a positive way of course. While the level of absurdity does simmer down a little bit as the story progresses there were plenty of moments throughout that make for entertaining reading. Reading this I was reminded of golden era Robert Rankin in the writing style, things such as small tangentially related stories being narrated by characters, and recurring oddballs with twisted aspects to their personalities (such as the 'Welcome Nun' and Ian the taxi driver who is endlessly accidentally running over anyone, or anything that happens to be remotely near his taxi's path). This is different though with the level of violence that is put into his stories. I first noticed this with Class Four during a gory few chapters set in a twisted carnival. Then again, with his short story Q&A (from the horror anthology Trapped Within) which was nothing but extreme violence. Cannibal Nuns again features a lot of extreme body horror with plenty of descriptions of the nuns chowing down on victims (the alien's real mouths being around the chest area of the humanoid looking suit they wear). On more than one occasion, in fact on at least four occasions people get their arms bitten off which was always fun to see, can never be too many arms getting bitten off!

Special mention has to go to the books design, for the special edition at least. The cover artwork is striking, enough so that a colleague at work saw it and assumed I was reading a small comic book. Then there is the layout with this feeling like what a DVD would be like if it was transformed into a book. This even starts off with a humorous anti-piracy warning before going on to give a series of trailers for fake books that all sound amazingly stupid, such as Killer Bass, about a disgruntled sound engineer who alters the speakers in a nightclub so that the sound they create can kill. Then after the story has ended there are not only ending credits, but also a series of DVD equivalent extras that include alternate endings, deleted scenes, and even a directors commentary which sees Bradshaw writing about his influences throughout the 40 chapters of his story.

Of these cultural influences there are many, and from the commentary more than I even spotted. They range in size with some more obvious than others. There is a character called Yowder who acts and talks like Star Wars Yoda, though it was nice to see that Bradshaw states in the notes that he is based on the Yoda from the hilarious Bad Lip Reading 'Seagulls! (Stop It Now)' video. Then there is nearly an entire chapter that is basically a simplified version of the plot to Predator, with the alien replaced with a cannibal nun, and the soldiers replaced with children. What I enjoyed most about that one was how slow I was to realise this, it was only towards the end when the nun self destructs that I thought to myself "hang on a minute!". There are also more subtle references as well, such as the odd sentence or scene that nods at such things as Blade Runner and Kill Bill.

Cannibal Nuns from Outer Space! was a really entertaining read, I loved the twisted characters here, and the absurdities that make the world in this book so frequently funny, and while the many references occasionally feel like they are on the cusp of suffocating the reader, they never actually do. All in all a well written book filled with low brow humour, lots of inventive swearing, plenty of the old ultra violence, and an exciting story to boot.

SCORE:

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Incredible Violence (2018) - Horror Film Review


Incredible Violence is a nasty film that does indeed include a lot of what the titular description suggests. Despite being very darkly comedic this wasn't something which I found to be an easy or comfortable experience at all. It is said to be semi-autobiographical, this will be more apparent later into this review.

G. Patrick Condon (Stephen Oates - Frontier) is a filmmaker who had been given $250,000 by a shady organisation to make a movie, the only problem is that he has already spent the money, and with the deadline looming he is running out of time. Needing to create something, but with little to no budget he decides to do something extreme - to become the slasher in his own horror movie, to hire some aspiring actors (that includes among them M.J Kehler as main protagonist Grace)  and then murder them for real on camera. He rents a remote house and hires a cast, with their only instructions being that they must stay in the house for a month while filming takes place, and that they must do anything he faxes over to them to do. However this drastic course of his doesn't go exactly to plan, and the boundaries between what is real and what is staged start to blur...


The general set-up for this, namely a remote house where people are being filmed 24/7, and secretly getting killed off reminded me heavily of the little remembered classic My Little Eye. This type of format lends itself well to meta narrative, and some breaking of the fourth wall. The semi-autobiographical nature of this can most keenly be seen in that the director within the film is actually named after the real director and writer of this. In both reality and in the film the actors have been told to stay in the house while filming was taking place, and also neither are told what scenes they are set to do, and what occurs in them until close to filming began. The first half of this is more typical than the later part. Comedy is here, but very dark, and soon disappears almost entirely. One example of this is Condon having secretly murdered his first victim to then discovers their blood is extremely difficult to clean off the floor. Eventually having done this he retreats to his bed in the attic and lays down only for his morning alarm to go off. Condon is the source of a lot of the dark humour in the mildly inept way the character carries on.

Monday, 7 October 2019

The Last Ones (2017) - Zombie Horror Film Review


When I started this blog over 11 years ago it was dedicated to all things zombie. Over the years that focus shifted to include horror in general. So every time I get an actual zombie film to review I always feel a bit of excitement. It has been quite a while since I last saw one and so went into Andrew Jara's The Last Ones hoping for great things. From a brief bit of research it seems this was originally released in 2010 under the title Last Days, then it was re-released in 2017 in an edited shortened form, and with a switch from colour to black and white.

A deadly virus sweeps the planet that kills the majority of people it infects, some of those infected return back to life as flesh hungry ghouls. During the early days of this apocalypse gruff survivor Michael (Algernon D'Ammassa - The Cellar Door) comes across naive John (Mark Ocegueda) at his family home and they decide to team up. Nine months later and the pair are living a simple, if repetitive life at John's house, convinced they are the last ones left alive. By night Michael patrols outside the property, always on the hunt for the walking dead, by day the pair keep up maintenance of the generator at a local store, and attempt to grow food in their garden. One day while at the store John stumbles across a new survivor, a woman called Karina (Marcelle Bowman - Dark New World) and decides to bring her home. This leads to the last days of the pairs relatively idyllic existence, as she brings with her world changing revelations...



For the simple fact that this is in black and white I couldn't but help think of Night of the Living Dead. There is an almost timeless feel to the location the duo are based at with nothing to suggest a more modern time than that classic, of course that was a good thing. This plays to its indie roots by working very much with what its strengths are. There is a very small cast, and the story is so insular that it is easy to get caught up in this little story. There are no huge scenes of action and mayhem, instead this takes a page out of the original idea for The Walking Dead comic series, by focusing on the survivors and their interactions, rather than the undead hordes. Zombies of course do make an appearance, though the lore within the film means they never show up in great numbers, and like Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend these creatures only seem to come out at night. The undead here are presented as acting as brain dead as they literally are, stumbling around, and almost oblivious to the living.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

The Mummy Rebirth (2019) - Horror Film Review


The Mummy Rebirth is a nonsensical horror that was co-directed by Khu (Snare) and Justin Price (The 13th Friday). Sometimes films can be so bad that they are good, and sometimes they are just so bad. This is a perfect storm of bad acting, bad special effects, and a bad story that was a confusing mess from start to finish.

From what I can gather; in ancient Egypt a priest named Sebek was murdered by guards of the Pharaoh due to having discovered access to a gateway between the world of the living and the underworld. Fast forward to present day and explorers Noah (Carter) and Daniella (Brittany Goodwin - Gears of War 3) are working for archaeologist Sager (David E. Cazares - The 13th Friday) who wants them to find Sebek's secret, which he believes is the location of a lost city. On their journey they end up betrayed by Sager and his men, and also accidentally resurrect Sebek, who is now in mummy form and is able to command the monsters of the underworld.


Try as I might I just could not follow the story going on here whatsoever. Partly that was my fault, I never got fully immersed in the film and so my mind kept wandering. Partly this was due to the terrible flow that led me to being permanently confused. There are a load of shoot-outs between the two heroes and soldiers of Sager, but these appeared to be happening long before they get betrayed, I'm not quite sure why they were fighting each other when there are also plenty of moments when they are just coexisting peacefully as well. Then there are the random scene changes that were quite disorientating. The locations in the film are as follows - cavern, museum, mansion, woodland, and then desert. All fine and good if there was any explanation for why characters are suddenly in different places, instead a scene ends and a new one begins with people in a different location with me clueless as to why they are there all of a sudden. This culminates in the ridiculous finale which picks up mid-battle. Noah and Daniella not two minutes ago were in a wood talking to each other, then suddenly they are caked in blood fighting a gigantic 60 foot tall CGI monstrosity for god knows what reason. It was all so confusing in a most off putting way.

Friday, 4 October 2019

She's Just a Shadow (2019) - Thriller Film Review


She's Just a Shadow is a Tokyo based crime thriller from director Adam Sherman. It really isn't horror based, but there were enough interesting elements here that I wanted to check it out. From blood drenched scenes to a sick serial killer, and almost art house style montages this sounded like something a little bit out there. But would it be too much style over substance (abuse)?

There are several storylines all revolving around a Tokyo gangster, Red Hot (Kentez Asaka), his partner Gaven (Kihiro), and his girlfriend Irene (Tao Okamoto) who is the head of a ring of prostitutes. As they struggle to defend their turf from a rival gang led by a man named Blue Sky, Gaven torn between two lovers fantasises about escaping from his life of crime, while Irene in a loveless relationship dreams of controlling the city. Meanwhile in the background a perverted serial killer sets his sights on Irene as his next victim.


There really wasn't much plot here despite how many different plates are spinning. The majority of the characters spend most the film snorting copious amounts of cocaine and drinking heavily. This decadent lifestyle was draining to watch, with no end of montages of naked females doing crazed coke binges. In fact, with the exception of Irene nearly every female character here spends most of their time completely naked. It makes sense in that they are prostitutes, but on the flip side, outside of some stylish scenes there isn't too much going on. The heavy and often serious dialogue would like you to believe this is deep, but the sometimes corny script turns the lines into a whole lot of nothing. As far as I could tell everyone was miserable due to the way they are living their lives, but no one is that concerned about really making an effort to change it.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Hangman (2019) and Hangman II (2019) - Short Horror Film/Music Video Review


It seems like it has been quite a prolific year for composer/producer John Whitaker (1i2c) whose previous videos include Bed of Nails, and Zombie, as he is back once again with a third video based on his new album Special X, which features tracks inspired by the titles of Michael Slade novels. I received news of Hangman at the start of last month, then before I was able to put up a review I was contacted again to say a sequel to this short was in the process of being created. A few weeks later and that sequel is also out there, so this shall be a double review of both his new shorts/music videos. First is Hangman that was co-written by Whitaker and Richard Markworth, and filmed by Graham Bedford and Whitaker.

This is Western themed and Whitaker describes it as his first black humour horror comedy. In this one three cowboys walk through hostile terrain. One by one they start to be picked off by an unseen assailant, who hooks a hangman's rope around their necks. Just who could be responsible for this?

As always this is set to an instrumental track of electronic music. The usual urgent sounding beats as always compliment the characters walking around on screen, and this urgency adds to the growing paranoia of the three men. There are often filters used to make these videos stand out, and this time there is a sepia style contrast, complete with artificial film grain.

Hangman II is a direct sequel and with the killer revealed the story here now becomes much more violent. A game of cards turns deadly when the hangman makes his intentions clear. I found this one to be more enjoyable due to an increase with action over people walking around. I particularly liked a scene where the killer somehow shoots out ropes from both of his hands to ensnare his prey, and the amount of times characters stumble off their rock stools was amusing. There were some more interesting camera shots here also, such as the opener of a revolving shot from a drone as it slowly comes down over the men playing cards.

These shorts always have a unique style to them, and with Hangman and Hangman II this is no different. A great location, and music that lends itself so well to these types of films means these are again enjoyable to watch. Both Hangman and Hangman II can be seen on YouTube.

SCORE:

Monday, 30 September 2019

The Rotting Zombie's Round-up of Horror News for September 2019


Getting towards the colder months now here in the UK, though the weather has yet to catch up aside from a bit of rain. Secretly I much prefer the cold weather to the sometimes heat of summer. First off is news concerning me. The fifth annual 15 Second Horror Film Challenge is due to take place later this year. People submit their 15 second horror films which then get judged in a series of categories. I'm happy to announce that this year I have been asked to be on the award panel, so I am looking forward to doing that. Film entries can be submitted for free until October 14th via here.

I'm starting off with something that only incidentally relates to horror, but I'm writing this post while slightly hungover and I found the music to be quite easy listening for my current mood. Pop-flavoured synthwave artist The Bad Dreamers (David Schuler) has released a new single, Georgetown that contains within it some subtle nods to horror in both the music and the lyrics. The Bad Dreamers creates a nostalgic feeling of the eighties so you should check out his stuff, as listening to it while writing this post I have become slightly addicted myself.



Drag queen horror flick Killer Unicorn has now come to VOD/DVD thanks to Indican Pictures. Described as 'American Psycho with a big ol' dash of Rocky Horror Picture Show' this is about a unicorn mask wearing killer in Brooklyn who targets drag queens.
The trailer for sci-fi/horror drama Three Mirrors Creature's Flashes of Flesh has debuted online. This experimental drama is the directorial debut for writer/cinematographer Giuliano Tomassacci. It stars Michela Bruni who 'in the aftermath of an emotional shock, becomes pervaded by a sensory spirit and undertakes a purifying - although grievous - voyage'. If the film is anything like the six and a half minute trailer then it certainly is going to be very experimental. As a warning the trailer features flashing imagery.



Next up is the trailer for Australian horror Turbines which is about two immigrants who get jobs working on a wind farm in rural Australia. They soon run into a whole host of problems from narrow-minded locals to immigration officers. It's not really made clear but the blurb seems to suggest this could be down to the wind turbines themselves? I hope it is as that would be funny. Turbines stars Igor Breakenback and Bianca Bradley and is due for release at the start of October.



Heavy metal frontman Ven Scott's short horror film Date from Hell is now available to watch for free on both Facebook and YouTube. This eleven minute horror is about a couple on date night who end up running into a roving serial killer.

 

A teaser trailer has dropped for anthology film Realm of Shadows, with all the shorts here said to be based on real events. It stars Tony Todd (West of Hell, Candyman) as a Catholic priest who has to go against the 'diabolic' alter ego of his close friend Robby. It also features Vida Ghaffari as the muse of Master Makin who has tension with her acolyte Corey.

 

Finally, in what has been a trailer filled month of little details comes the trailer for Joe Raffa's Dark Harbor. In this one a heavily pregnant woman returns to her childhood home island off the coast of Maine to face her mother, and attend her father's funeral. It is here she discovers a dark family secret. This had its world premiere at the Catalina Film Festival earlier this month.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Dead List (2018) - Anthology Horror Film Review


Dead List is a low budget horror film with an anthology like structure to it. It took me around half the movie to even realise it was an anthology, which is strange considering how much I love those type of films. What Dead List certainly isn't is a high quality production, yet this was fun in a totally dumb type of way, something I think was realised by the creators.

Deane Sullivan stars as Cal, a down on his luck actor whose latest audition has gone quite terribly. Due to the way his story is told it is not immediately obvious how he is linked to the various stories going on. Each of the other actors who turned up for Cal's audition in turn start to become cursed by a strange glowing symbol they find burned into their skin, which is a result of their names appearing in a strange magical book. I thought it was a nice idea not to have Dead List play out chronologically, by not following a logical time line there were a whole bunch of neat little twists that wouldn't have worked otherwise.


In Zander, after hearing reports of a dangerous black man on the loose Zander (Matt Fowler) is shocked to discover he seems to have become this man. This one was the shortest of the stories, with a simple scene which acts slightly like a commentary on racism within the police.
In Scott the main lead (Nick Bandera) discovers he has gone completely deaf. While the ending for this one was fun I did feel this was the weakest part of Dead List, it seemed slightly confusing as to what was going on.
With Jason, the titular character (played by Eric Pierce) and his house mate Karl (Holden Andrews who directed both Zander and Kush) pick up a crazy old lady they accidentally hit with their car. The standout actor here was Susan Stangl who looked suitably deranged in a role that mostly had her tapping on windows while grinning maniacally. It was at this point I began to cotton on that this was actually an anthology.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Wolf (2019) - Horror Film Review


If I hadn't been paying attention I might have missed British horror film Wolf entirely. There were no trailers for it and it only seems to be having a limited run. I soon discovered why, as this is an indie horror that is obvious to see doesn't have the biggest of budgets. It was a nostalgic feeling watching this, as it reminded me of seeing indie films on a big screen at the much missed UK Festival of Zombie Culture. This was actually quite appropriate as it turns out this was written and directed by Stuart Brennan, whose zombie film Plan Z was shown at the 2016 festival.

Wolf takes place in Britannia (what is now obviously Britain) in 150AD. After four messengers go missing north of Hadrian's wall a group of ten Roman soldiers are tasked with heading out to try and discover what has become of them. Four days journey into Caledonia the group get attacked by some sort of deadly creature. Up against a seemingly invincible enemy they have never encountered before, the soldiers have to try and make it back to the safety of the wall before they are all killed.


As the title would suggest this is a horror film about werewolves, and being set in what would become Scotland I couldn't help but entertain myself by imagining this was a prequel to Dog Soldiers. The video game Wulverblade had already clued me in on the myths of the werewolf type creature in that part of the country so it was interesting to see a different take on the myth. During the prologue it become evident just how low budget Wolf was actually going to be. I'm actually pretty impressed it managed to get a cinema release, more impressed than the man sat the other side of the aisle from me who walked out after barely ten minutes had gone by never to return! This goes the route of keeping the monster hidden from sight for the majority of the movie, mostly it appears on screen as a blur, or deep in the background of the woods the film occurs in. When you do eventually get to see the antagonists it wasn't that bad a look, different to the traditional hairy wolf creature you would expect.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

100 Acres of Hell (2019) - Horror Film Review


100 Acres of Hell is an unapologetic throwback to inbred redneck in the woods styled horror such as Wrong Turn. It was directed by Hank Leigh Hump, with Lisa Lakeman and Ernest O'Donnell as second unit directors, O'Donnell also playing one of the main characters here. It was written by Jason L. Koerner, Ed McKeever, and Gene Snitsky, with former WWE star Snitsky starring in the leading role, and Koerner acting in a bit part.

Buck Severs (Snitsky) is a former pro wrestler whose career ended after a tragic accident. Him and his friends used to have 'Bro's Weekends' together, and due to having not seen Buck for several years they decide to arrange a new one to reunite the friends. They decide to head to the remote Foggy Creek which is home to an abandoned wildlife preserve, and are undeterred by the locals warning them against heading there. There was a local legend of a deranged redneck named Jeb Tucker (Sam Anoai -  a former wrestling star himself) who once went on a rampage at Foggy Creek, but was assumed to be just a story. It soon turns out he is alive and well, and none too happy about intruders invading his home...


If you come to this film expecting something fresh and new then you may be disappointed as nearly everything about this horror is as generic as you could get. From the locals warning the 'city folk' away, to lots of random kills, a mostly predictable story, and an utterly forgettable film score there is nothing here that surprises, save for the ridiculous twist towards the films end, that was very dumb and made little sense, but have to say it was a fun finish. 100 Acres of Hell seems intent on providing some mindless entertainment and in that respect it mostly succeeds.