Thursday, 4 June 2020

Lake Bodom (2016) - Horror Film Review

Lake Bodom is a location that has appeared in many different horrors over the years. The place is infamous due to the brutal murder of three campers in the 1960's. There were many different theories as to who the killer was, but no one was ever charged. Confusingly, in Finland this was released under the title Bodom, which also happens to be the name of a Hungarian found footage horror from 2014 that has a very similar story (my review of that one can be found here). I have started watching horrors from Shudder on Sundays, this was my second pick after skipping the Sunday previously.

In 2016 four teenage friends head to Lake Bodom with various motivations for doing so. Nora (Mimosa Willamo) and Ida (Nelly Hirst-Gee) have been tricked into thinking there is going to be a cabin party there. In reality, Atte (Santeri Helinheimo Mantyla) has told them that so they would agree to go to the isolated lake with him and his best friend, Elias (Mikael Gabriel). Atte is obsessed with the 1960's murders that took place there and hopes he can get the girls to help him recreate the police crime scene photos, while Elias is hoping he can get lucky with one of them. However, nothing works out for any of the four teens, as their camping trip is rudely interrupted by a killer...

I had heard many good things about Lake Bodom over the years but had never gotten around to watching it. I did enjoy my time with it but it requires a huge suspension of disbelief. It isn't too long into the movie before the friends are camped out at the lake and so the horror begins relatively quickly. There are many curve balls thrown by this pretty generic beginning, and while I was surprised with where this went I didn't think it worked that well. Maybe one twist would have worked out well but we don't get that here, off the top of my head I think over the course of the movie there are six big twists. These twists all alter the perception of events and characters, but it almost (but not quite) becomes farcical with how much is changing constantly. If this had all fallen away to reveal a The Cabin in the Woods style resolution I don't think I would have been surprised.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Master Pieces (2020) - Comedy Horror Film Review

Master Pieces is a comedy horror film that was co-directed and co-written by Geoffrey Ciani and Christian Twiste. These two also feature in the film, with Twiste playing the main lead. The horror elements are the moments where I most enjoyed this, however the comedy is very surreal and also something I just didn't get. Add in plenty of false story beats, and the movie shown from the protagonists perspective and you have something that mostly just made me confused, and not in a fun way.

Twiste stars as himself (or as a character named Himself, I wasn't really sure). This man has recently gotten married to a woman (Lisa Goulian) who nags at him constantly, both for not having a job, and for not having yet put up the Christmas tree. The man is obsessed with radio psychologist, Dr. Brenda Dobbs (Tesia Nicoli) and soon he has, whether coincidentally or on purpose racked up a body count of people who share the same name as her, or who look like her. With an inexperienced detective hot on his trail, the man is determined to create his own 'master piece' whatever that may be. Of course none of this may actually be happening at all, it may all be in the man's mind.

The moments of horror in Master Pieces are the one part that I really can say I got on board with. Even with the humour bleeding into these moments they felt authentic enough. I did like the exaggerated facial expressions of the victims in the seconds before they get killed. The majority of the third act is one prolonged chase sequence, with Twiste's character wearing a Phantom of the Opera style half mask. These scenes were really quite good, they felt like a homage to slashers of the eighties in the dramatic ways they both play out, and are shot. The music for these horror sections was also on point, the orchestral sounding score created some good moments. The special effects are decent enough, some moments here that actually made me wince despite the bright red looking blood. A knife in a characters foot, and plenty of blunt trauma all looked satisfying enough, close-up camera angles helping to sell the image.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Sinister Symbiosis (2020) - Short Horror Film Review

Sinister Symbiosis is the latest short horror film from Australian writer/director David Black, someone I most know for the comedy web based horror anthology show, Horror House. His latest film is a bit different to what I would normally expect from him, initially appearing to have no comedy aspect to it. While that isn't quite the case this was still a decent bit of body horror.

David Black co-stars as a man who has been chained to a chair by a sadistic woman (Anastasia C. Kouloukas), who it appears is planning to torture him. As the fifteen minutes unravel it becomes clear that things are not as black and white as they first appear, for captor and captive are actually incestuous brother and sister, as well as masochist and sadist. As this drastic sex game plays out though it seems one of the two may start to get a bit carried away...

This short starts off in style with a great little intro credit sequence that is a perfect blend of music, visuals and style. This then moves into the opening shot of Kouloukas's character applying make-up. This neat style with the film-making continues and can most keenly be seen with footnotes of text that pops up on screen and freezes the story whenever a character says a word requiring deeper explanation, such as 'sadism' 'cannibalism' and 'incest'. This, along with the mostly black setting the two characters are in creates an abstract feel to the goings on. The aura of seriousness and bleakness to this is dispelled somewhat when Black's character begins to speak. It turns into almost a contest between the siblings on whose preferred way of getting pleasure is better, with Black's character associating the pleasure and pain combination he feels to something akin to spiritualism. 

As the quarter of an hour short plays out the body horror comes into play, and while this is still relatively bloodless there are some gruesome moments here. I wasn't exactly sure how this would get wrapped up, but it manages to do so in a way that was consistent with the style that had been gone for, and also darkly humorous. Sinister Symbiosis was a fun little horror that had some decent ideas going for it, I especially thought the editing and design choices were top notch. This short premieres on The Grim and Bloody Theater YouTube channel on June 6th.


Monday, 1 June 2020

The Afterglow (2014) - Horror Film Review

After having seen and enjoyed Yolanda Torres's horror film The Forsaken I was interested to see how other films of his compare. The Afterglow is a horror he co-directed with Joan Álvarez Durán (who also wrote the story for this one), and it features a few of the same actors from Torres's other film.

After his brother dies of an unknown illness, Oliver (Paul Coster - Cyborg Invasion) discovers he had been living with a young woman, Laura (Claudia Trujillo - The Forsaken). This woman had apparently tried to kill herself after finding his brother dead, and while she survived her attempt she has lost all memories of who she once was. Oliver decides to help Laura recover, hoping she will regain her memories and be able to give more details of his siblings final days. The more time they spend together the more they begin to fall in love, but it seems the closer Oliver gets to Laura, the more sick he also begins to get...

The Afterglow is certainly not a fast paced horror, the story moves at a glacial pace and its story remains wrapped up in a mystery. This was a mournful film that has at its core a love story, but one that is draped in melancholy and loss. It keeps with it an ever present sorrowful piano score that occasionally seemed a little heavy handed but sure helps this keep its bittersweet edge to it. The film centres squarely on the two main characters, the older Oliver, a successful author who finds himself drawn to the mysterious, younger Laura. Then there is Laura herself, someone who is a blank slate due to having lost her memories. Just who she was, was a question that kept me drawn to this, whether she was malevolent or innocent kept me guessing. Don't expect any moments of thrilling horror though, outside of some nightmare sequences that features a reoccurring man speaking in riddles, and a flashback sequence showing Oliver as a child seeing a ghost, it is all just suggested.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Shadow (2020) - Short Horror Film Review

Shadow is a short horror film that was designed as a proof of concept. It was directed/produced by Benjamin Howdeshell and premiered on Crypt TV's YouTube channel on 15th May. I did like the look of the film, but it falls into the very familiar pitfall of short horrors with a predictable jump scare ending.

The synopsis of the film gives far more detail than the actual film itself provides, so I will ignore the synopsis and just go by what I could tell. Late at night a mother (Valeska Miller) hears strange noises in her house. Assuming it is her child (Nathaniel Howdeshell) she goes to investigate. Her journey leads her into the basement where things really start to go wrong...

There was good use of light and shadow here, though it was questionable why the mother would use a torch to explore her house. Maybe it would have benefited by a brief shot of her finding out the house had had a power cut. The video alleges to be based on true events, but no idea what aspect of this was meant to have happened. This felt like the proof of concept it set out to be, rather than feel like a self contained film. Still, as a whole it really wasn't that bad, I would be interested to see how this would be handled in a longer medium. My only proper complaint here is the tired jump scare ending, by now it is more of a shock if short horrors don't end on that tired trope.

While Shadow didn't have much in the way of fear I did like how it was all put together, some decent directing here. It also introduced me to the Crypt TV YouTube channel, so I have subscribed to that now. The film is free to watch there, and at under 4 minutes long it is something everyone should spare some time for.


Saturday, 30 May 2020

The Rotting Zombie's Round-up of Horror News for May 2020

For a few months now I have been trying to get to a stage where I can get rid of my monthly news posts, instead releasing the news in a timely fashion on my Twitter and Facebook pages. This turned out not to be the best month to implement that, my mother sadly passed away last Wednesday after a year long battle with cancer. It really sucks, but she wont be forgotten, after all, to quote Norman Bates; "a boy's best friend is his mother". It was her who predicted my future passion for all things horror. I was kind of a cowardly kid, but I always remember her telling me she thought I would love horror films when I got older, and it turns out she was very right about that!
In happier news a couple of weeks back saw my blog get to its 12 year anniversary, it both doesn't seem that long since I started this up, but at the same time it is hard to remember a time when I wasn't blogging here.

Until this year I had never heard of BayView Entertainment, but this past half year I have been sent plenty of screeners from that company, many of which are pretty darn good. Well, its Widowmaker Films division have teamed up with to create a new horror video distribution label named 'HNN Presents'. This label promises to utilise 'the insider knowledge of the horror field from with the distribution experience of BayView Entertainment'. Titles will be available to streaming and physical media platforms, and is due to start Summer 2020.
BayView have also teamed up with Mongol Films to release a lot of their catalog in U.S markets.
Now available on DVD from BayView Entertainment are Odd Perspective and Resort Parasio. The former is about a synergist with the ability to see patterns in reality. He returns to his home town to find out the cause of his father's death. That one I have a screener of, with a review due in the first week of June. Resort Parasio is about two squaters at an isolated resort who find themselves pursued by a security guard, I assume he doesn't take kindly to intruders.

The official trailer for drug fueled horror Habitual has been released. This film stars Chris 'CT' Tamburello (MTV's The Challenge) and is directed and written by Johnny Hickey (Oxy Morons). In this, a group of drug taking friends find themselves stalked by a relentless evil at a rave held at an abandoned asylum, and their grasp of reality begins to unravel.

An Indiegogo campaign is currently running for horror comedy The True Tale of Ole Spitfoot VS. The Lesbian Warrior Nuns of the Great White North. An announcement video labelled NSFW has been released, this video features producers Ash Hamilton and Ben Harl. For more details about the campaign head on over to the Indiegogo page here.

May's Double Feature DVD's from Frolic Pictures have been announced, with a theme of the Post-Apocalypse. As always there are far too many to list, but I will include the titles of some of them at random. Having experienced one of these double features in the past I will add I was impressed with what I saw. Titles released this month include, Search and Destroy/The Final Comedown, Carnage/Funeral Home, Madhouse/Touch of Death, and Graveyard Disturbance/Blood Tide. As always these can be purchased from the Frolic Pictures website.

I have mentioned the upcoming horror anthology Realm of Shadows in previous news posts, and now it has been confirmed that horror legend Michael Berryman (Wes Craven's The Hills Have Eyes, Rob Zombie's The Devils Rejects) has joined the cast, that already includes Tony Todd (the Candyman franchise), Jimmy Drain (The Initiation) and Vida Ghaffari (The Mindy Project). This anthology was due to go into production before the pandemic, but is now waiting to resume once the US lockdown ends.

Social thriller anthology Tales from Da Ville is now available to watch for free on YouTube. This anthology has a count tell three stories that deal with 'horrific social issues'. The idea behind this was gained after watching Jordan Peele's Get Out and realising horror could be used to reflect real world racism. The anthology is in three parts, part one can be found here. I shall be putting a review up of this at some point in June.

Final film news this month is that The Evil Rises worldwide digital distribution rights have been acquired by Terror Films. This horror stars Bailey La Flam (ANiMUS), Joe Paulson (Pieces and Parts), as well as Michael Glauser, Julian De La Mora, Alec Lobato and Edward Hollingsworth. A group of friends discover an ancient statue that unleashes an evil spirit, they become enslaved by the spirit and forced to collect human blood for it. Currently available exclusively on TUBI TV, this film is due to be released across multiple digital platforms later this year.


Music news now, first up gothic metal/theatrical post-hardcore female fronted band Once Upon A Flatline have released a lyric video for their third single 'Hang Hymn High' from their EP The Theatre Lucy. The song is said to be 'the story of murder, right and wrong'.


Swedish melodic death metal band Curse of Eibon have released the lyric video to their single Seek To Destroy. Their songs are said to be 'very' inspired by H.P Lovecraft and the occult.


Russian metal band Tardigrade Inferno have premiered a new NSFW music video for their single Execution is Fun! This song is a gloomy story about a fictional advertisement of executions. It is out now on Spotify.

I will end this months news round-up with a trailer for upcoming turn based strategy game 1971 Project Helios. The game is due for release on all current platforms on June 9th.


This year hasn't been a good one for most involved, let's hope that as we get nearer to the second half that things begin to improve, and this downward spiral starts heading up.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Bill (2019) - Short Horror Film Review

One of the very few good things about a close family member passing away recently is that I was finally able to get some time off my day job, and so I have a few days in which I plan to go someway towards getting my blog not so backlogged. Bill is a three minute long horror, and is a reminder to me not to head towards the dark arts to help deal with my loss (not that I actually intended to do that!).

A grieving widow (Roxana Vilk) has turned towards the occult in order to see her deceased husband, Bill (Hugo Stanbury) one last time. However the potion she has concocted doesn't work quite as intended...

Bill was a DIY self funded short that was co-written and directed by Dan Gitsham and Sophie Mair. The background to this horror is perhaps more chilling than the short itself, as the idea for this was inspired by their two young sons who in real life would talk to a ghost they said they could see in the ceiling, a ghost they named Bill. This horror was partially created as part of a challenge to film a short film in their own home, using their own props, and filmed in just 1 day. I shouldn't generalise, but typically short horror films always end the same way, a sudden jump scare and cut to credits. Bill finishes on a note that is a little different, no jump scares to be found here thankfully.

The build-up for this had some great suspense, and I really loved what they did with the photo in the photo frame, it really was quite creepy, as well as a neat idea. Make-up effects for the final part of this were also good, but it was the photo frame part I enjoyed the most. The editing, directing and acting were all good for the story being told. I guess if I had any complaints it would be the ending, what happens felt a little bit removed from everything else that occured.

Bill is a competently made and atmospheric short that is a good indicator of the skills of these directors. Best of all, the short is available to watch for free online via Film Shortage.


Thursday, 28 May 2020

The Forsaken (2015) - Horror Film Review

There are few things better than when a film you have zero expectations for blows you away with its quality. Such was the case with Yolanda Torres's The Forsaken (the director of The Odd Perspective, and co-director of The Afterglow). I was hooked from the very first shot of the movie, all the way to the end credits, I just could not look away.

A band of criminals that include among them, Mr. Bodie (Ian Breed - The Afterglow), Mr. Quartermass (Paco Perez), Mr. Blake (Pol Ferraris), Mrs. Peel (Sarah Tyler Shaw - The Afterglow), and Number Two (Alberto Esparza - Anunnaki The Fallen of the Sky) arrive at an abandoned house deep in the the Spanish countryside. They have very recently kidnapped the daughter of a wealthy businessman (Sara, played by Claudio Trujillo) and the house has been chosen by their boss as a place to lay low until the ransom is paid. It is not too long into their stay when they begin to notice strange things occurring, names written in blood mysteriously appear, strange noises can be heard coming from the locked basement, and not one of them is able to make a conscious effort to exit the house. The door to the property is unlocked, but each person is strangely unwilling to leave. It soon becomes apparent there is something evil lurking in the house, something that can see into the soul of a person and see the true ugliness lurking there.

I loved this movie, I'm so glad it remained consistently atmospheric and thrilling throughout. As it got towards the end I was praying that it wouldn't drop the ball, and indeed it doesn't. The singular location, along with the survivors of a botched crime, and their hostage of course, was a similar concept to that used in Reservoir Dogs. Add in a stunning soundtrack that felt like a lost John Carpenter classic (most resembling the theme tune to The Thing with added sinister whistling) and a cast of characters who just about managed to stay the right side of cliche and you have a slow boiling horror show that constantly had me wondering what was going to happen next. The opening of a camera zooming in on the house, and then slowly sweeping around the rooms added atmosphere before things even started, this brought to mind the beginning of The Evil Dead. Then for the films finale there is a sequence that reminded me a lot of the ending of Return of the Blind Dead, no bad thing.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Beyond the Shadows (2020) - Comedy Horror Film Review

Beyond the Shadows is a found footage style faux documentary that follows a bunch of ghost hunters filming a live show. It was written and directed by David James Gustafson (High Note). The coolest thing about it is that it is free to watch on YouTube. There are moments of greatness to be found here, and some fantastic casting choices, but the slow pace of this meant I was ready for the credits long before they rolled around.

Drexler Faust (Tyler Roy Roberts - Z Nation) and his friends, that include among them Sam Olive (High Note) as Jonathon Coxman, are the stars of a hit online ghost hunting show. A lot of their popularity is down to their slickly produced and edited videos, and they are not without their detractors, their main one being Dr. Calvin Harding (Cameron Lee Price - Vengeance), who sees them as fraudsters. It is soon established the team do indeed fake their videos, but they jump at the chance to do a live video of their latest haunt, in which Calvin and his team, as well as some super fans are going to be in attendance. Drexler feels that it will be great publicity for them if they can manage to convince the Dr. that what they do is legitimate, while also relishing the challenge of faking things live, rather than by editing afterwards. The location chosen is an old lodge, said to contain the spirits of Native Americans slaughtered in the area in the 1800's. Unluckily for all involved though it turns out there may be no need to fake the footage, as the place seems to be actually haunted...

I felt like I was waiting the majority of Beyond the Shadows for things to get moving. The horror part of this horror comedy began around fifty minutes into the hour and a half run time, but even from this point events are slow to occur. Finally, with ten minutes left the film finally got to a point where I was really enjoying it. There was a fantastically edited sequence of events that was set to this great and haunting piano music. Everything about that segment was wonderful. Prior to this a lot of set up. Initially we follow Drexler and his friends at a previous ghost haunt. This part was good at establishing the characters, I found both Roberts and Olive to be strong and easy on the eye protagonists. After this we are slowly introduced to the rest of the cast that featured some real gems among them.

Ty Boice (High Note) plays Monty, the manager of the lodge the characters are staying at. He had a real screen presence to him, and at certain times was the best character. However many of the comedic moments feature him in bizarre compromising situations, such as him dry humping a mattress, or shaving his privates, these scenes really added nothing at all to the film as well as not being funny. It is the more serious moments in which this obviously good actor got to shine, sometimes the weird persona he brought to the camera really did work in an involving way. Another highlight in terms of the actors was Gabrielle Malate as the spirit medium Phantasma. Her character worked as she wasn't given anything silly to do, and she carried an air of mystery about her. Sadly she was sparsely used, but the couple of scenes she appeared in were some of the most captivating ones to be found here. There is a late scene in which her and Monty have a conversation by a bathtub that I found so special that I had to skip back to watch again immediately afterwards.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Blood Quantum (2019) - Zombie Horror Film Review

I was shocked to discover the other day that the horror streaming app Shudder was charging me £50 annually to renew my membership. I say shocked because I came to the realisation that over the past two years I had only seen two films on that, so each film was £50 a pop! I love Shudder despite never using it, and so decided that as I had cancelled my Cineworld card (who knows when cinemas are going to return in a form that I am comfortable with!) I would instead watch a Shudder film each Sunday evening, using a term I called 'Shudder Sunday'. It recently came to my attention that phrase was already one in general use! Anyway, I started off with Blood Quantum, a newly released zombie film, written and directed by Jeff Barnaby, which was a no brainer due to zombies being my favourite genre of horror. The idea behind this one sounded like it was going to do something a little bit different, sadly though it was just a little bit different, and was a lot that was very similar.

It is 1981 and a fisherman (Stonehorse Lone Goeman) from the Mi'gmaq community in Canada is shocked to discover the fish he has just gutted are still seemingly alive and kicking. It soon becomes clear something apocalyptic is happening, with infected animals and people turning up everywhere. These zombies (for that is what they are) exist to feast on human flesh. In a twist it is discovered this plague only affects white humans, the native people are somehow immune to the virus. Fast forward six months and a group of survivors live in a fortified compound on Mi'gmaq land. The place is run by former sheriff, Traylor (Michael Greyeyes) and contains within its cargo container walls a mix of native people and white skinned people. Taylor's two sons have very different views on how the world should be run now. Joseph (Forrest Goodluck) spends his days outside the walls searching for survivors to bring back into the camp, his brother, Lysol (Kiowa Gordon) however, harbours an intense hatred for the white folk and sees them as nothing but a potentially dangerous drain on resources.

What drew me to this film was the notion of only white people being able to be changed into zombies from a bite. In a way this stands as a contrast to the bloody origins of the country as it is now, the native people trying to do their best to survive, but being under assault from the overwhelming invaders. Where this began to fall down for me was with the character of Lysol, I just did not understand this character at all. He is so full of hatred that he would rather everyone dies than co-exist with other people. He was the driving force in the films story unfolding but I never once could see things from his point of view. I get that he mistrusted white people due to them being able to become the undead, but I never got his desire to try and kill everyone, as if to make some kind of point. Everything around the native people and their history and customs was interesting, but Blood Quantum devolved into a typical zombie film that did not have many surprises.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Doggo and the Shotguns Choir (2018) - Film Review

Doggo and the Shotguns Choir is a surreal Italian film that was an abrasive mix-up between two different styles of film. Directed and co-written by Paolo Treviso (Crappy Toilet) this was a hard film to follow, though admittedly mainly due to the fact the screener I watched for review featured no English subtitles. I had to try and piece together the intent from the acting, and what was shown on screen. I have seen non subtitled Turkish horrors before (Baskin), and non subtitled Spanish horrors before (Omnivores), but this was my first Italian one. The plot summary is pieced together from what I gathered was going on.

There are two different stories playing out over Doggo and the Shotguns Choir, initially these seem very unrelated but as both the plots play out they begin to show certain similarities in the themes present. In modern day, and shot in black and white, a freak show attraction known as 'Doggo' escapes his cruel captors and heads to the nearby city where he becomes befriended by a blind woman seeking companionship. Elsewhere, and in colour, seemingly in Wild West times, a lone cowboy goes on a bloody path of vengeance to get revenge for the woman he loved.

This was a movie of two halves, with the two very distinct stories playing out over the top of each other. If this had purely been the Western story I would have loved this I feel. This part of the movie gave me real nostalgia for the classics, and most keenly a yearning to go back and watch El Mariachi. That may not be set in olden times like this part of the film seemed to be, yet both shared a similar feel in how the story basically plays out. Much of this story features the lone gunman walking through a gully, encountering various people who I imagine were hallucinations. There was a light art house feel that could be seen through characters whose clothing changes between shots. My favourite parts of this were the gun duels, all the classic Western tropes like close ups of characters eyes, and their twitching hands as they go for their guns. In particular the finale here was excellent, taking place by a sunflower field, and featuring an element that was very unexpected (and which I loved). The camera work here was lovely to see.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Creepy Tales of Pizza and Gore (2014) - Horror Anthology Film Review

Creepy Tales of Pizza and Gore is an Italian horror anthology from director Lorenzo Fassina. All good anthologies, whether they be written or on film, require a decent concept to tie the stories together, and with this one you have a couple. The biggest one is that there is not a single line of dialogue to be found here. Each of the five short films play out with no speech, the only noises characters make being screams, groans or growls. Due to this it can be enjoyed universally as the shorts are shown in a way that are very easy to understand. Also joining these together is the punk like attitude, the shorts all share a visual style and sound that brought that whole ethic to life.

There is vaguely a wraparound story for these five films, before each one starts a demonic creature growls a couple of lines of dialogue. I'm assuming what it is saying was a made up language, I guess it could have been Italian, but the screener didn't have the option of subtitles, and going by the fact none of the shorts have any speaking I'm assuming it wasn't saying anything intelligible. 

The first proper short is Screaming Ghost. In this one a man browsing his laptop receives a message telling him to listen to an audio file. He does so and hears just screaming, but alarmed by the static image for the file seeming to move he quickly turns it off. Later that night a ghostly figure leaves the file and starts to haunt the man. I liked the effects used for the ghost in this one, it looked effective and cool. I also liked the facial expressions of the ghost, he really seemed to be in to his performance. With the cartoon like text titling this, and the over the top gore effects used this set a precedent for what to was to come.

Devil of the Night was the second film, and this one was my least favourite. Here a skateboarder finds himself kidnapped by a serial killer, the killer appears to want to sacrifice the man as part of some sort of Satanic ritual. The gore was in full effect again here, and were some nice moments. My problem with this one is that there wasn't much of a story at all, so it felt a bit aimless, fizzling out rather than doing much else.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Cry Havoc (2020) - Horror Film Review


Cry Havoc is the latest horror from writer/director Rene Perez and appears to be a follow up from his Playing with Dolls slasher trilogy, which included, Playing with Dolls, Playing with Dolls: Bloodlust, and Playing with Dolls: Havoc. I'm not sure if it is a continuation of the story told there, or if it is a quasi-sequel, but at the very least it follows the continuing escapades of the hulking brute known as Havoc.

Emily Sweet (The Final Level: Escaping Rancala) stars as a reporter who has managed to secure an exclusive interview with a wanted fugitive. The man, known only by his moniker 'The Voyeur' (Richard Tyson - Black Hawk Down), is on the F.B.I's most wanted list. This is due to his passion being to make snuff films, films that star a cold blooded killer he has dubbed 'Havoc'. In order to conduct the interview the reporter is taken to a secure location, her thirst for the fame her story will bring dulls her to the danger she may be in. Meanwhile, a mysterious man (Robert Bronzi - Once Upon a Time in Deadwood) has followed the woman to the compound, and soon he opens an all out assault on the place...

I get the strongest impression watching this that it was part of a much larger collection of films, didn't exactly take a lot to realise this. This felt very much like the middle part of a much larger story. There are plenty of deaths here, but a lot of them are shown in such a way as to suggest they have taken place in the past, I'm not sure for certain but I assume a lot of these death scenes used footage from previous films. Cry Havoc also ends abruptly, there is no conclusion, instead the credits roll when key characters are still in motion. Sure this worked in making me want to find out what happens next, but there isn't really much of an ending. There is a suitably dramatic 'end of movie' fight sequence but it doesn't involve much to it. The story, as it was I did enjoy. I liked how this felt like a cross between Saw and Friday the 13th. It was interesting to have characters trapped in a hellish sort of game, but at the same time being hunted by an eighties style silent slayer.