Showing posts from January, 2018

Get Out While You Can [Review: Escape Room]

Four friends sign up for an escape room challenge - an hour to find the clues and unlock the door. The scenario of this particular escape room is creepy - dim lighting, cracked walls covered in mysterious documents and clues, and a mysterious hooded figure at one end of the room, attached to a very short chain. However, as if all of the existing d├ęcor wasn't creepy enough, the curator has recently added a skull-shaped chest, ignoring warnings that it might contain something deeply evil, and failing to warn the players of this. What if one of them turned out to be allergic to evil forces? There'd be grounds for a refund at least. And maybe, just maybe, if you have locked four strangers into a room with an evil entity in a box, this might be a bad time to leave your escape room building altogether and go for a sulk.

Hard-core escapologists may enjoy films such as Cube, Exam or the Saw series - you may find this film a little lightweight, it's definitely on the easy setting. O…

Bustin' Makes Me Feel Good [Review: Witches Brew]

A ghostbusting team consisting of a TV presenter (director Eileen Daly), a medium and a defrocked priest investigate a demon-infested castle - and their innermost desires. The mysteriously aged proprietor and his two succubus nieces give the ghostbusters the runaround while they search for a way to lift the curse. I say they... the duty falls mainly on Eileen as her two male co-ghosthunters are smitten with the nieces and unable to concentrate on the job. However when all seems lost the team benefit from the help of a passing demon-hunter and her remarkable iPhone app.

Witches Brew, screened at Horror-on-Sea 2018, is a movie that will infect you with its joy even as it challenges you with its rough edges.

Some directors and producers are so obsessed with perfection that they edit, re-edit and re-release their movies again and again in search of that ultimate, overproduced director's cut. Not Daly. Mistakes and mis-takes are seen throughout the movie - light and sound change from sce…

The Director's Cut [Review: Egomaniac]

Struggling horror-movie obsessed filmmaker Catherine Sweeney has a dream - to bring to life her Warm Bodies-style zombie romcom. She has the idea, now all she needs is a script, a cast, a producer, funding, a crew and a camera. Her first taste of reality comes when she draws the attention of a big player willing to come on board as executive producer and provide seven-figure funding - as long as she can write a talking dog into the script.

Egomaniac, screened at Horror-On-Sea 2018, is a bittersweet black comedy about the experience of compromising to get the movie made - with a particular emphasis on the treatment of women in the industry. It was made in 2016 but with the Hollywood scandals breaking in the past few months it's deeply relevant right now, and perhaps can serve as a reminder that far from being the clean, happy alternative to Hollywood, the indie world is the Wild West of moviemaking.

Catherine Sweeney, played by the real-life director Kate Shenton, carries the film wi…

Horrid Henry [Festival Report: Horror-On-Sea]

I spent Saturday at the Horror-On-Sea Film Festival in Southend-On-Sea*, Essex. I will review the features I saw (Egomaniac, Witches Brew, The Snarling) in separate posts but wanted to share some lessons about the horror movie zeitgeist gleaned from this festival.
1. It's not about horror any more. It's all about comedy horror now. Shaun Of The Dead changed everything.
2. It's not about zombie movies any more. It's all about films about filmmakers making zombie movies now.
3. It's as good a time as any to stick two fingers up to production values and just make movies that entertain.
4. The future of indie filmmaking is in good hands, proven by the premiere of a short horror film directed by a ten year old with a (literally) killer twist.
5. Finally! Someone else understands the nightmarish, Lovecraftian plastic tentacled horror that is Henry Hoover.
Horror-On-Sea is a fun, friendly festival for those of the horror persuasion. Movies are clearly selected simply for being …