Saturday, 19 February 2011

Apollo 18 [trailer]

Some films tick all the boxes – or at least they promise to.

Apollo 18 2011 fills its trailer with such promise. If anything it over delivers. The premise is in the tagline. The story is culled from historical events. The trailer builds the setup. It even reveals the monster.

Does it reveal the monster in its entirety?

Some have likened this trailer (film unseen) to Alien 1979. To have that impact the actors will have to carry more than the weight of their words. If so then I will compare Apollo 18 to the forthcoming The Thing 2011. That’s the movie I want to see this year.

Judging from the trailer Apollo 18 is the must-see movie of the year.

Mark out.
Ignore the date on the poster. Apollo 18 opens in the US on 22nd April.

Read more Thrill Fiction: Trick ‘r Treat
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We Are What We Are [international & domestic trailers]

The Horrorfolk crave originality. Due to its infinite possibilities the horror genre is best placed to deliver the original. Regardless of the inspiration Freddy Krueger is an original. As is Pinhead and the Candyman. The Horrorfolk also crave original takes on familiar material; Let the Right One In 2009 is beloved amongst fanboys as well as the critical mainstream.

Cannibalism has got to be one of the most horrific things human beings can do to each other. Horror films have never seriously told the story of the cannibal. To wit zombies are not human. Yet the mere mention of the word can create an icon – The Silence of the Lambs 1991. This is a well waiting to be tapped.

Perhaps that well has now been tapped: Perhaps We Are What We Are 2011 will delve into the psychosis of perversion that can make a human being turn on another and devour at pleasure. This act of inhumanity that takes place outside of a war zone, a disaster zone or a famine; this is pure evil.

The Horrorfolk know that the best expectation for horror comes from abroad. Apart from the usual Hollywood reasons there is also an exoticism re foreign languages and cultures. They have folklore to share, mythos to explore. Even the mundane can be marvelled at.

There is a reason cannibalism has not been examined in horror. It is repugnant. It is anti-human. It is not something commercial cinema would dare take seriously. It is the subject of We Are What We Are.
It helps there’s a hot chick in the cast.
We Are What We Are is available in the US from 23rd February via Video On Demand. Thrill Fiction would like to thank Bloody Disgusting and Spike TV for use of their exclusive content.

Read more Thrill Fiction: Re/Made The Last House on the Left
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Friday, 18 February 2011

The Tapes [trailer]

In the UK we like to say Britain is 10 years behind America. It’s self-deprecating. It means we copy the US for good for bad. The Blair Witch Project 1999 birthed a new sub genre. Though that film was sneered at over here Britain is belatedly jumping on its bandwagon.

Brand UK likes to present itself as hoity-toity exemplified as Hugh Grant with a plum in his mouth. There is another Britain. It’s a more accurate one. It is the working classes and the underclass. It is Scotland, Wales and the north of England. It is racism, poverty and crime.

The Tapes 2011 is what happens when a camera is pointed at this other Britain; a land where feral kids rage against the machine. It’s a machine that cannot be penetrated so the kids spend their rage against soft targets. The soft targets being other citizens more affluent than they are: the middle classes. So HG Wells’ prophecy comes true. The Morlocks feed on the Eloi – because they can.

The Tapes 2011 could go either way. It could be a terrifying indictment of crime and horror or a derivative clone of the worst type of found footage. Whichever one will be apropos for the other Brand UK.
Release dates to be announced.

Read more Thrill Fiction: Let Me In
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Thursday, 17 February 2011

The Resident

The Resident 2011 is not so much horror as it is so much more thriller. However as a thriller the film’s premise is thinner than the paper it’s typed on. The horror genre is able to embolden a paper thin premise and cut up the audience with it. If a (supposedly) young beautiful girl solo rents an apartment in a horror film she will experience a haunting. When a young beautiful girl rents an apartment in a thriller she experiences stalking.

The premise is paper thin.

The horror-thriller subgenre is told in straight narrative sans the metaphysical (though this is not exclusive to the subgenre eg The Wicker Man 1973). The horror-thriller antagonist may be adorned in a mask to imbue menace and/or a hint of the demonic (The Strangers 2008). The plots mirror horror films in build up and reveal and include horror tropes (the apartment as battleground – Ils 2006).

The Supernatural is embedded in the horror film. Thus a lone female in an oversized apartment (haunted house) can be terrorised by a galaxy of demons (The Others 2001). The possibilities are infinite. If that same female is being stalked in a horror-thriller she is then at the mercy of one man/woman. That is a limitation. The human stalker confined to an apartment has nowhere to go but inward. Ergo the fallible stalker is best placed in the psychological thriller.

The psychological thriller works by dissecting the character’s fault lines. Horror works by overwhelming the protagonist. A fallible and limited antagonist in horror is underwhelming.

There is an argument that the reveal in Vertigo 1958 comes too early. It is an argument of opinion; the (early) reveal does not hurt the film. The reveal in The Resident comes too early. It extinguishes all intrigue. The audience is placed in front of the main character’s knowledge and she doesn’t catch up until the third act. The filmmakers have destroyed their own story and the viewer is left to watch the rest of the film in tedium.

The main character is played by two time Academy Award® winning actress Hillary Swank. In the 21st century Horror is mainstream which explains why she accepted this role however she does have form in the genre; The Reaping 2007 scores 8% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Hillary Swank is a talented actor but not a gifted one. Her status in the industry is evidence of the lack of depth in her peer group. If a producer wants to hire a white female over the age of 30 who doesn’t rely on sex appeal to retain audience interest then he has no other choice. Swank is competent. She can rise to the occasion above her station (Boys Don’t Cry 1999). What she can’t do is add to and enhance the roles she plays. She does not have that gift. It is the gift of the greats when they were her age – Meryl Streep (Out of Africa 1985), Susan Sarandon (Atlantic City 1980), Alfre Woodard (Passion Fish 1992), Marcia Gay Harden (Millers Crossing 1990).

A word on Swank’s sex appeal; in this film her body is fetishized much like Bridget Fonda in Single White Female 1992. Fonda is the type of actor-lite who fit the part. Swank is miscast in this role: it’s beneath her. The clue to her inclusion is the production company.

Hammer Films evokes memories of past British glory. Once upon a time the UK had a film industry. There were the Ealing comedies. There were the Hammer horror films. ‘Not in production since the 1980s’1 the Hammer will rise again as it is being ‘aggressively reinvigorated through new investment in the development and production of film…’ 1.

I laughed. I cried.

Hammer went out to get the best actress they could. Shame about the script. They also brought back an old stalwart. Christopher Lee was the poster boy for Hammer Horror at its height in the 70s.

An 88 year old man is supposed to look like Nelson Mandela; full of gravitas and age. Christopher Lee looks like a Tijuana surgical experiment gone wrong. Cosmetic surgery does not make man or woman look younger – it reveasl them as vain and pathetic. It is the prophecy and tragedy of Brazil 1985. Lee doesn’t have much to do in this film. His character does not advance the plot. He serves more as a declaration that Hammer Films lives again.

The jury’s out. At its height Hammer was the world leader of horror film production and recuperation2. They’ve missed the post millennium wave by a few years. If The Resident is their coming out party then their golden age will remain behind them. This type of film shouldn’t be seen at the cinema or on Blu Ray. It should be watched on Syfy riddled with commercials during a bout of insomnia.

The Hammer will fall again.

Read more Thrill Fiction: 100 Best Horror Films #1
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Sunday, 13 February 2011

11-11-11 [teaser trailer]

Numerology is pseudo-science or as I like to call it voodoo science. Human beings have a tendency towards numbers as a means of adherence to an order; most of the world uses the metric system. Commerce uses ‘the top 10’ list. So do bloggers.

The more simple minded amongst us are easily deceived into belief there is divinity in numbers. The reality is the most important numbers are seemingly random: the days in a year, the days in a month. Human beings have a tendency towards numbers – so when an order appears people take notice.

11-11-11 means the same thing to the English and American calendar – just like 10-10-10 did. And look what happened then. However this year sees the release of the eponymous film. It’s directed by one of the Saw franchise alumni. Perhaps the sequel will be 12-12-12.

Hollywood can always create a new prophecy. The more simple minded amongst us will believe.

Thrill Fiction would like to thank Bloody Disgusting for use of their exclusive content.

Read more Thrill Fiction: [REC]2
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Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Wicker Tree (trailer)

The last shot of Planet of the Apes 1968 is the most shocking in cinema. The last sequence of The Wicker Man 1973 is the most shocking in horror. Neither instances has ever been replicated – Cloverfield 2008 and The Wicker Man 2006 notwithstanding.

The Wicker Man 1973 is one of the best horror films ever made. It is a grateful victim of the internet. Many a horror film found its feet on home video in the 80s (eg Zombie Flesh Eaters aka Zombi 2 1979); The Wicker Man found its new fan base in the 21st century on Youtube. The doom of the end sequence is worthy of its uploadings.

Unfortunately this renewed interest attracted a Hollywood remake. Fortunately director Robin Hardy has made a sequel. What’s remarkable is that The Wicker Man is Hardy’s debut. The Wicker Tree 2011 is the 81 year old Hardy’s fourth film (yet Dominic Sena continues to make movies).

The Wicker Man is based on the novel The Ritual 1967 by David Pinner. The Wicker Tree is based on Cowboys for Christ 2006 by Robin Hardy himself. Clearly his first film means a lot to him. It will be revealed what his fourth film means to the rest of us.
The Wicker Tree release date is to be announced.

Read more Thrill Fiction: A Nightmare on Elm Street 1984
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