Good morning. Many thanks to those of you who weighed in last week on the benefits of these posts and the desire for more articles and reviews. Attempting to keep the weekly updates in a new condensed form seems to be the way to go, so here’s an experiment. I’m offering trailers, links and commentary on a few highlights, but the rest of the films are simply listed with summaries and poster art. I like to think I’ll be expanding on the films worth talking about and not much will change, but I’d love your feedback.
Theater Releases, February 4th
Single White Female: The College Years? OK, so this obvious rehash is only notable for being the sole genre release in theaters this week. In addition to the stalker and stalkee mentioned above, the cast also includes Cam Gigandet (Twilight, Pandorum, the upcoming Priest), Nina Dobrev and Katerina Graham from The Vampire Diaries and Billy Zane. Unfortunately, all signs indicate a story-line nearly identical to SWF. The Roommate might as well be a remake and I doubt it’s well-crafted enough to justify the similarities. There are no reviews yet, but the only thing that scares me about this one is the ongoing trend of recycled material coming from Hollywood. Well… and the fate of that adorable wittle kitten. Sorry, whiskers, the odds aren’t good for you in flicks like this. http://www.theroommate-movie.com/
“The 3D action-thriller Sanctum, from executive producer James Cameron, follows a team of underwater cave divers on a treacherous expedition to the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. When a tropical storm forces them deep into the caverns, they must fight raging water, deadly terrain and creeping panic as they search for an unknown escape route to the sea.” http://www.sanctummovie.com/
The only reason this big-budget Cameron film isn’t getting more of my attention is that I can’t quite decide if it’s a horror film? An action thriller for sure and likely to be of interest to most horror fans.
OnDemand Releases, February 4th
Plague-ridden medieval England: Bodies lie scattered in their hundreds, the country is in turmoil. One hope remains, rumours of a village that is unaffected by the deadly disease. As God’s ambassador, young monk Osmund (Eddie Redmayne) is tasked in leading the fearsome knight Ulrich (Sean Bean) and his group of mercenaries to the remote village. Their quest is to hunt down a necromancer – someone able to bring the dead back to life.
Their journey is treacherous and filled with danger; encountering deadly bandits and vicious witch-burnings that will put their faith to the ultimate test. Though it’s upon entering the village that their true horror begins…
From Christopher Smith, director of cult hits Creep, Severance and Triangle, comes a brutal and terrifying epic that guarantees to chill the blood and stir the soul. http://www.blackdeathmovie.com/
In a genre filled with supernatural creatures, campy killing machines and other unlikely scenarios, Christopher Smith’s historical horror film, Black Death, takes a more realistic approach to the brutality and pain of the Medieval era. For most of us, it’s hard to imagine the unspeakable suffering of countless real people throughout the time of the Great Plague. Even worse, the fact that many of these horrendous acts, witch-burnings and religion-ordained torture, are still happening today in many third-world countries. The best of fiction can’t compete with the horrors of reality.
Black Death won’t flinch from pushing our comfort zones with the gruesome sickness, hideous torture and cruel executions. If you were interested in the general premise and setting of Season of the Witch, but wanted a well-crafted and disturbing experience, this is the film you’ve been waiting for. Although I haven’t seen it myself, this grim film has received a good deal of praise and I’d recommend checking it out. If you don’t have On Demand, you can expect to see this film hit theaters in June.
DVD Releases, February 1st
“Six high school friends are bound together again by a sinister chain letter passing into their lives through e-mails and text messages. If the deadly letter isn’t passed on, the recipient faces a grisly, unexpected death – and nothing can stop it. As time runs out and the deadly letter’s rules become more challenging, the survivors must untangle the chilling secret – or die trying. Featuring Nikki Reed (The Twilight Saga), Betsy Russell (the Saw series), and Michael J. Pagan (CSI: Miami), this terrifying thriller in the tradition of The Grudge and Final Destination proves death is always watching and waiting – and anyone could be next!” http://www.chainletterthemovie.com/
“HATCHET II picks up right where the 2007 original film ends, as Marybeth (Danielle Harris fromHALLOWEEN) escapes from the clutches of the deformed, swamp-dwelling killer Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder from FRIDAY THE 13th). Marybeth returns to the Louisiana swamps along with an army of hunters to recover the bodies of her family and exact her revenge against Victor Crowley.” http://www.hatchet2.com/
I’m not covering this one in more detail because Hatchet didn’t do much for me. I know lots of horror fans loved the first film, though, so they’ll be happy to see Victor Crowley’s return on DVD today.
Let Me In
“From Matt Reeves – the writer/director of Cloverfield – comes the new vampire classic that critics are calling “chillingly real” (Scott Bowles, USA Today) and “one of the best horror films of the year” (Cinematical). In bleak New Mexico, a lonely, bullied boy, Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee of The Road), forms a unique bond with his mysterious new neighbor, Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz of Kick-Ass). Trapped in the mind and body of a child, however, Abby is forced to hide a horrific secret of bloodthirsty survival. But in a world of both tenderness and terror, how can you invite in the one friend who may unleash the ultimate nightmare?
Based on the Swedish novel, Let the Right One In, “Let Me In is a dark and violent love story, a beautiful piece of cinema and a respectful rendering of my novel for which I am grateful.” (John Ajvide Lindqvist, author).” http://www.letmein-movie.com/
Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon reentry over Central America. Soon after, new life forms began to appear and half of Mexico was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain the creatures … Our story begins when a U.S. journalist agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through the infected zone to the safety of the U.S. border. http://www.monstersfilm.com/
Although we haven’t specifically reviewed this one, we expressed our admiration for the film by including it in our Lucky 13: Best of 2010 list. Not a “monster movie” as much as a drama that explores love, our relationship with nature and the aftermath of war. It just happens to have giant alien creatures in it too! Avoid going in with expectations if you can. Recommended.
Pleasures of the Damned: The European Cut
“In July of 1979, Italian director, Antonello Giallo, completed work on his debut feature. Shortly after the film’s premiere, he was brought up by the Italian government on 17 charges of indecency, and all copies of the film were presumed destroyed……until now!
The film was entitled Pleasures of the Damned. Dire Wit Films is proud to present Antonello Giallo’s vision, digitally remastered and uncut.” http://direwitfilms.com/potd.html
“A rogue space anomaly is discovered approaching Earth, and it is up to the world’s top scientists to stop it from destroying the planet. As cities across the world are annihilated, the leaders of a small Louisiana town struggle to maintain order and fight the chaos ensuing in this global catastrophe. When the mayor and his wife discover the key to saving the world may lie within their own embattled family, they desperately attempt to unite the scientists with the unlikeliest of heroes: their ingenious, autistic son, Terry (Rhett Giles).”
“A group of medical scientists are quarantined inside their lab after being infected with a deadly hyper-mutant form of the H1N1 virus. With only three days left to live, they have no way to escape and no way out. While the deceitful head doctor monitors them from a hidden surveillance room, the scientists must uncover the harrowing truth behind their detainment and force their own way to freedom.” http://www.H1N1VirusX.com/
My Recommendations this Week?
It’s a difficult decision because there are an unusually high number of quality films this week. If you are looking for true horror and have the stomach for it, I’d say Black Death. It’s new and the buzz is very positive. If you’re not up for that level of brutality, give the underrated (at the box-office anyway) Let Me In a try.