‘Open Water 3: Cage Dive’ review

Open water 3: Cage Dive, sounds as good as it is. It’s authenticity makes it special as it is quite unique in it’s narrative, yet there is nothing special about it once you turn it on.

Open Water 3 is a film about a man who finds a underwater video camera wedged into a reef, and on it is a completely sound SD card. Upon playing the card we see three ‘beachy’ Americans audition tape for an extreme reality show. Cage diving with sharks is what there audition involves but what comes next is everyone’s nightmare and worst possible outcome when cage diving. That’s right, they become isolated, cageless in the ocean, surrounded by the very sharks they tormented.

Now firstly i am going to stay neutral and take away my personal and ethical reactions to sharks being portrayed this way, but this ‘monster’ horror movie doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but none of them do. The animal/creature is vicious and unrelenting and whilst it makes for great cinematic viewing it is almost unrealistic or surreal. Unfortunately just like this film, rarely do these movies have great reception, and only Jaws, Rogue and maybe a handful of other animal horror films break the critical seal around them. Yet what this movie does do well is incorporate the hand held, found footage angle which will forever educe scares or at least ramp up dull moments through its awkward originality.

Open Water 3: Cage Dive due to it’s lower budget, mediocre plot and average acting will never really find itself a home on many shelves, but encompassing the found-footage approach is a tick that may keep itself relevant in between other animal horror movies, and potentially making it the better then the Open Water 2.

5/10

‘The Gracefield Incident’ review

I hate doing negative reviews, especially when someone has worked so hard to usher their baby into this world, but writer, director, producer and star of this film, Matthieu Ratthe……..your film was a viewing conundrum.

A group of friends and family are searching for a fun time away in a secluded cabin in the woods of Quebec, Canada. Of course, something goes wrong. But this is where for one time only, i will take my hat off to Ratthe for being original. A meteorite slams into the woods nearby and following this an extraterrestrial being begins to haunt their every move. To survive and create something new there has been a cool additive, incorporating the unknown from outer space being his X factor, and i say that this idea is quite diverting when adding his own flavour, so for that cudos Ratthe.

Now, why this movie is both bizarre, puzzling and laughable is based solely around it’s production, because so far, the basic plot sounds pretty sound and standard right? It’s a hand held film, which usually gives us as fans a great POV scare factor, but unfortunately the acting is a bit broken and a lax of emotion, meansthe actual prompted scares are far from confronting. What’s cool and different is the main character, played by brainchild, Ratthe. His character Matthew Donovan has a prosthetic eye with a camera inserted inside of it, which makes for a cool little difference. Yet, the found footage adage relies heavily on scares and it’s realism, but with the acting, poor dialogue and really average voice overs/acting in this film, even in the stressing scenes it just seems droll.  On top of this, which does kill majority of the point, especially due to the last 40-50 minutes relying on scaring their audiences through chase scenes and deranged behaviour.

Although the outline sounds reasonable, the films natural path takes a sharp u-turn with an odd ending where we see an alien nestling an egg, everyone escaping safely, and a similar design in a crop field, reminiscent of Signs. With the final scene being Matthe and his partner, nursing their newborn child which has to do with the sub-text that is also very apparent one second, and not the next.

The movie jumps in and out of scare tactics and humorous dialogue, moves from a sci-fi to a haunting/paranormal sort of found footage film and is all over the shop. Why this movie is so in-explainable is due to it’s theme and sub-text overload. I wish this movie was better, i really do, but it just had me shaking my head one too many times to believe it really was worth watching.

5.5/10

‘Killing Ground’ review

Set in the secluded Australian wilderness, ‘Killing Ground’ is yet again another Australian horror that is sure to go unnoticed, but this evil game of cat and mouse is a must watch.

The plot of this slasher/action horror film surrounds a couple from metropolitan Australia in search of a secluded getaway in the outback to celebrate new years eve together. Unfortunately their stay goes sour when trouble hits their neighbouring party goers. The antagonists of the film, Chook (Aaron Glenane) and German (Aaron Pedersen), are devilish in their dialogue and actions. Both are played perfectly by the two actors and are much the reason the film carries so much authenticity. Rarely have i seen two killers been played with such validity and fear-inducing personas. This film doesn’t rely on the high budget effects of jump scares, CGI and the supernatural, the raw emotion and power of horror drawn from the eerie and flat out frightening context makes for one scary movie.

Directed and written by Damien Power (Peekaboo), the film showcases that horror can be both inviting and scary purely due to human behaviour. The duo’s lack of morality and disturbing congition are just as powerful and intimidating as any overpowered-super killer depicted in a lot of slasher and action horror films. It’s quick, thrilling and downright terryfing. Unfortunately you don’t fall in love with the main couple, but the emotional torture created by Chook and German helps you connect with them as much as possible. It makes you wonder, are their such people out there in the wilderness?

8/10

‘The Belko Experiment’ review

Another Blumhouse production packed full of entertainment has thrilled the casual horror fan with it’s 2017 instalment, The Belko Experiment. Although the idea is intriguing and atypical, the movie itself doesn’t overly pack a punch of scares and suspense, but is more a gory action thriller that will keep you glued to the screen for the whole 89 minutes instead of being groundbreaking and diverse.

Here, Greg Mclean (Wolf Creek) and James Gunn (Dawn of the Dead) have combined to create a horror movie that encompasses the light cliches and characters found in movies such as The Cabin in the Woods. The difference between this experiment and the aforementioned is that these helpless individuals are trapped in a Colombian company building instead of a daring forest. With a some good hooks about workplace relationships and a novel narrative surrounding social experiments and human morality, the movie covers a lot of  themes that make for a great movie. The only knock being that the movie didn’t stand out enough in any of the themes presented and more so kept the same level of intrigue from start to finish. The shots, music and overall cinematography did not add any diversity but this should not be taken away from the Gunn’s storytelling as it is up to scratch with contemporary big production horror movies.

An authentic story line that opens up thought and commentary on the human conscience, this movie is worth watching BUT don’t expect it to blow you away or be a film to re-watch.

6.5/10

‘The Blackcoat’s Daughter’ review

Anthony Hopkins son, Osgood’s debut film lives up to the izzat his family name suggests. The Blackcoat’s Daughter, a supernatural horror film which was first shown at the Toronto Film Festival  in 2015, was re released in March this year, gaining the title of being one of the better horror films at the midway point of 2017. Since then, Hopkins has followed up with the Netflix film I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016).

Demonic possession has become an easy go-to mythos for horror directors since the naughties. Some have completed films tastefully, some have rushed through with quick scares and heart pumping action scenes to increase the fear and appear well directed. Hopkins on the other hand has taken his approach to the supernatural realm from a different niche. Purposeful, minimalistic and reliant on actions and imagery to carry the story line, his cinematography is second to none. This interesting post modern arty horror film is intriguingly illustrated through storytelling that is often lost amongst the frenzy of demonic possession in most supernatural films. Dark and eerie throughout it’s menacing burn, the three main characters, Joan (Emma Roberts), Kat (Kiernan Shipka) and Rose (Lucy Boynton),  all hold their own, adding different elements to the diverse film. Yet, what is most enthralling is the twist at the end which showcases his unconventionality.

Heart-stopping and nightmarish. If his follow up film is as half as good as this indie horror, then we should all be logging onto Netflix ASAP!

8/10

 

‘Dig Two Graves’ review

Hunter Adams and his story Dig Two Graves is a 2014 paranormal horror film that didn’t make its official release until March this year. Despite a relatively original story and a gloomy background, this story about a wayward teen who makes a deal with gypsies to bring her brother back from the grave is’t as exciting as it first sounds.

Jake Mather (Samantha Isler) is a 14 year old girl who happens to be the granddaughter of the town sheriff (Ted Levine), whose concerning past connects to the disappearance of his grandson, Sean. The link between the scene in the 40’s that the film opens up with and the conclusion of the film isn’t clean or overly significant, making for an an uneven story line that seems jumbled and confusing. Especially condescending the opening visuals comes across as pivotal part of the story. The film lacks scares and the only spooky aspect to this film is the trio of bum look alike gypsies who are potentially the most significant characters. Unfortunately once their mouths open, an inch of comedy appears to be attached to their dialogue, ruining what could have been a genuine hook in this film. The relative feeling of melancholy sits with you, which takes away a real sadness that should emit from the dramatic loss at the start of the film. The protagonist, Jake, puts in a solid acting performance, but with no character development and very little dialogue to follow, her character doesn’t draw on any of your emotions as you watch her fall victim to the cult..

All in all, Hunter Adams original debut has left us scratching our heads, with it’s broken story line and hollow characters. The gypsy cult angle has potential, and it gave me more excitement than any other aspect of the film’s themes but unfortunately, this anticipated horror film is worth skipping past on Netflix. For me it will also go down as one of the more disappointing films of the year.

5/10

‘XX’ Review

Roxanne Benjamin (Southbound), Annie Clark (Gossip Girl), Karyn Kusama (The Invitation), Jovanka Vuckovic (Riot Girls) , remember their names.

This four part horror anthology has broken down barriers and become what could be a pioneer in a new turn for the industry. Although horror film history is not bleak with anthologies, they have only become apparent due to the scintillating V/H/S series. Now on the back of what is a growing trend, four women have directed and collaborated to create a ground breaking performance.

This film is impressive, but why it is so trail blazing is due to the gender shift it has influenced within a field that has often seen women be helpless victims in movies if anything. Not only does this have four women behind the lens, the main protagonists in the four films are women themselves, generating some feminine power that is as masculine as their counterparts.

Exciting in it’s pretence, the anthology film doesn’t quite stack up to the changes that it stands for, but as far as anthologies go it is one of the best. Four 20 minute clips make it hard to create character development, or plots with much depth, but within the crammed 20 minutes these four directors have created engaging films. All four which are set within different contexts, one with a family, one set at a birthday party, one camping in the desert and the last following the story of the spawn of Satan, their unique stories all keep us actively watching.

As far as the quality of the film goes, it is’t overwhelming or one that will be watched on repeat, but what it stands for has kept this anthology relevant and impressive too a degree. Dubbed by many that this is the turn of the industry,  for that we will just have to wait and see.

7.5/10