The Kindergarten Teacher: A masterclass in uncomfortability

Maggie Gyllenhaal gives us a powerhouse performance in Sarah Colangelo’s drama about a kindergarten teacher who becomes a little too close and far too involved in a student’s life. The film at its heart follows a woman on a quest seeking creative greatness believing herself to be a muse but realising just how ordinary she really is with dire consequences. We are introduced to Gyllenhaal’s Lisa, a New York kindergarten teacher, responsible for molding the minds of tomorrow introducing these young kids to the alphabet, art and basic biology with classroom seedlings. God I miss primary school. Lisa is a hardworking teacher by day and an amateur poet by night attending continuing education classes supervised by attractive teacher Simon (Gael García Bernal).With two grown children, a nice husband and a cosy home on the surface Lisa’s life seems pretty fulfilling but beneath the surface there is a restlessness deep within Lisa, a kin to a midlife crisis, she repeatedly stares longingly out onto the city during her ferry commutes and it seems that she is afflicted with a chronic case of sighing as if permanently disappointed in how she ended up.Upon closer inspection it is clear to see that Lisa is underwhelmed with her life, subtly disgusted by the world and her own family’s over reliance on phones, the internet and the lack of overall artistic curiosity in her household. Her kids are disappointing, her marriage appears to be on the back burner, the school curriculum she must teach is mediocre. Even within her own work, her poetry is marred with ordinariness as her teacher recommends she should put more of herself into her work. She is by all definitions completely average in every way until one day she overhears one of her students, five year old pupil Jimmy (Parker Sevak), who seems to go into a trance like state reciting beautiful but jumbled lines of poetry. Lisa is quick to latch onto the young boy insisting that these trances are poems and takes it upon herself to curate them. She begins passing her five year old student’s work as her own in her poetry class quickly catching the teacher’s eye due to her sudden and impressive change in style. Her interest in Jimmy and his talent turns into a grossly inappropriate obsession crossing the boundary between teacher and student. In order to catch every poem Lisa starts planting herself into Jimmy’s life from getting his babysitter fired, waking Jimmy during his afternoon naps in order to bring him into the bathroom for chats about perspective, calling him during the night on his mobile, hounding family members that they should nurture his artistic mind and eventually taking it too far bringing him along to a poetry night in a bar without his father’s permission. Throughout this time I cannot help but question why is nobody on screen noticing this intrusive behaviour, after all there is a teaching assistant present during this encounters at school eyeing this behaviour. Surely the former babysitter or one of Jimmy’s family members would have noticed that she is perhaps too invested in Jimmy especially outside of class hours. I guess you can chalk it up to her being a woman, more importantly a white educated woman in a position of power which acts like a cloaking device allowing her to carry on this alarming behaviour under the radar. What makes The Kindergarten Teacher such an uncomfortable watch is Lisa’s calm rationality when dealing with these inappropriate instances, she thinks herself as a guardian of creative talent, someone who is responsible in nurturing this boy’s gift as she is sure that no one at home or society will care enough to do so. In a way that is her actual job but she willfully chooses to ignore the societal boundary line determining how we are supposed to appropriately interact around kids that are not our own. As the film reaches it sinister third act there is a mix of both horror and sadness which is amplified in the heartbreaking final line. Colangelo has created an impressive psychological thriller with a complex and confusing female protagonist which is certainly refreshing to see. Anchored by its great performances and incredible storytelling this is definitely worth a watch, albeit an uncomfortable one which will leave you with a queasy feeling that will sit with you for a good while afterwards. Rating: 4/4

 

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The Hole In The Ground: A satisfying Irish horror, that does a good job with an all too familiar story.

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Lee Cronin’s The Hole in the Ground was one of my highly anticipated horrors of  2019 coupled with the fact that it was an Irish horror and that American distributor A24 got on board for its American release  it’s safe to say I was hyped going in, that was my downfall. Marketing wise it was being pegged as the first great horror of the year and this for me is a slight oversell. Now do not get me wrong I thoroughly enjoyed the film and it definitely checked some necessary horror boxes for me but perhaps that was the problem it often felt that both the characters and the audience were merely checking off a list as we went along instead of being delivered a fully formed concept.

We are introduced to young mother  Sarah O’Neill played by Seána Kerslake and her son Chris (James Quinn Markey) who have relocated to a rural town in the Irish countryside. It is alluded to that Sarah has fled from an abusive partner who has left her with quite the scar on her forehead. The two move into a creepy run down house (check), that happens to be isolated from the community right beside the forest (check) and the only neighbour to speak of is an elderly couple where the woman wanders along the road a la Donnie Darko style muttering about her dead son, while incessantly staring at Chris to the point of eventually banging her head against the car window screaming ( check) and finally there is a massive sinkhole in the middle of the forest, the titular hole in the ground,that sucks trees and debris into an abyss just a stone’s throw away from their new house ( check, check, check). It is pretty safe to say that we are all teed up for a pretty interesting film by the looks of it.

Young Chris has this annoying habit of wandering into the woods, in an almost trance like state ignoring his mother’s calls, one night he goes missing naturally Sarah fears his father is behind this and before she can alert the police like magic he appears, perfectly fine with not a scratch on him.  However it slowly dawns on Sarah that this may not be her little boy at all. For one he is making new friends at school, with a better can do attitude than before and secondly he’s a less picky eater, happy to chow down on his spaghetti with extra parmesan cheese, a shadow of his annoying former self. Now Chris eats anything but in front of him, literally anything.  Soon Sarah starts grappling with  fears and hallucinations hinting that this is either  not her real son or is she losing touch with reality due to the pressure of the move and her abuse which may have led her to project her own anxieties onto her son. Either way it’s a lose lose, after all Chris is a picture perfect angel always staying close to his mother never letting her out of his sight, always making sure he acts the part of a doting son but this act is a little too good, soon the mask starts to slip as Sarah begins to notice more and more things that suggest he is an imposter, the things only a mother could know. 

It is safe to say that The Hole in the Ground is not the most original premise in horror ever created let alone an Irish horror, there are definitely a lot influences present here perhaps a little too much which prevents it from ever  truly of selling its own story. But hey that doesn’t really matter it succeeds in creating a truly unnerving child centered where Chris’s every smile, laugh or hug  could be taken either as genuine displays of emotion natural to boy or  methodical counter measures of another being, the ambiguity of these tiny movements are a credit to the young actor James Quinn Markey. The single mother and child versus child imposter has never been a stranger in horror and Cronin is certainly inspired by The Babadook, The Ring 2, The Omen and even Irish horror The Hallow. That by no means makes this a bad film, there is a brilliant eerie atmosphere from start to finish magnified by the musical score which never eases up. Kerslake’s performance  grounds the film, as we all go on this journey deducing if Sarah is becoming unhinged due to her new antidepressants or if her son actually is an imposter. The Hole in the Ground never over explains anything, there are lots of unanswered questions one being the pull of the mysterious sinkhole and for some that can be frustrating. With its 90 minute runtime things feel a tad rushed and I would have liked a bit more build up to Sarah’s realisation, once the jig is up we are racing to the end credits a bit too quickly for my liking, but I wonder what this film would have looked like with just a bit more of a budget perhaps there would be more of a coherent backstory.  There is a subtle use of Celtic mythology but nothing too on the nose even the word changeling never comes up but it is certainly a presence that is alluded to in fewer words. Overall it is a satisfying Irish horror with strong performances but never transforms into a great film due to being almost too influenced and bogged down  by other works  or due to a limited budget, rendering it unable to take a familiar tale to a place in which we the viewer have not seen before.

The Hole in the Ground is currently screening across Irish cinemas.

Rating: 2.5/4

Mad March: The luck of the Irish?A look back at some great Irish Horrors

Following the  release of Lee Cronin’s terrifying  The Hole in The Ground, I decided to take a look back at some of the greatest Irish horrors to come out of the Emerald Isle. While Ireland has not been known for horror classics in the past,  this past  decade our Irish filmmakers have been taking the genre by storm, from tapping into our sinister mythological past with a number of Celtic creatures to projecting our modern fears and cultural taboos in a new, changed Ireland with a harsh urban landscape.

*Sorry to break some hearts there will be no leprechauns featured in this post.

1.Isolation a.k.a The Calf ( dir.Billy O’Brien, 2005)

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Isolation is one of my all time favourite Irish horrors, set in rural Ireland Isolation deals with  farmer Dan  (John Lynch )  who is involved in an unethical  scientific experiment for cash when he allows one of his cows to become genetically enhanced in order to increase the number of calves. The results, one cavernous mama cow and some deadly fanged fetuses  which do not take long becoming a serious threat to humanity.

Starring Ruth Negga as Mary and Sean Harris as her traveller boyfriend Jamie, the couple who are on the run from Mary’s family , are living in a trailer on Dan’s farm when they  get caught up in the cavernous cow mess whilst trying  to help Dan birth a difficult calf. Things start to go wrong as Dan gets bitten from inside the cow and the rest they say is history  or going against everything we have ever known about biology. The genetic experiment has gone awry and has produced a calf that is already pregnant from birth, however her fetuses appear to have fangs and an exoskeleton which is rather alarming. Isolation blurs genre lines as it is a gripping creature feature  yet the remaining living fetus has the ability to infect other cows and  humans with a  bloodthirsty virus entering into zombie virus territory. The film evokes a number of real fears in Ireland during the 1990’s and 2000’s, one being the threat of actual mad cow disease still remaining wide-spread in Britain and posing a threat world-wide due to contamination. While another  being the presence of cross species infection due to the mixing of blood. In 2004 Ireland had a referendum, the Citizens Referendum, which voted in favour to limit the constitutional right of Irish citizenship to individuals born on the island of Ireland to the children of Irish citizens. This was pushed  by the government in  fear of the increase in ‘baby tourism’ which was supposedly rampant (shockingly figures vary drastically). The point of all this boring jargon is that this fear of the Other was a real fear in Ireland at the time and one rooted in racism. Billy O’Brien manages to create a wholly satisfying gory creature feature with some queasy visuals set around the confines of a small farm whilst dealing with some pretty big topics of the time. Isolation does an excellent job highlighting that Irish fear of the abject Other, maternal border crossers, in this case this is most obvious in the character of Mary, (Ruth Negga being an Irish/Ethiopian actress) who is probably seen as a greater threat to Irish normalcy and stability with what she can produce herself than the bloodthirsty cows. I for one will always be afraid of killer cows. It’s an age-old tale with the potential to turn into farce (a la 2006’s Black Sheep)  but the excellent cast and O’Brien’s direction root it firmly in reality making this film all the more believable.

Rating: 4/4

The Hallow a.k.a The Woods (dir. Colin Hardy, 2015)

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The Hallow is a cabin in the woods style horror, we have a young family who have recently occupied an old house in the Irish countryside, Adam ( Joseph Mawle) and his wife Claire (Bojana Novakovic) have moved over from England with their young son Finn. Adam, a British conservationist  has been sent by a logging company to access the forest to deem it worthy for demolition. This naturally evokes a rather frosty reception from the townsfolk. While out examining the forest Adam finds  a mysterious black fungus spreading through the forest at a rapid enough pace for your average fungus. Enter creepy local man warning the couple that they are encroaching upon ‘the hallow’, a section of the woods inhabited by fairy folk from Irish mythology.

Obviously the couple ignore the warning and so ensues a siege like, home invasion horror as Adam and  Claire defend themselves from the creatures of the hallow who are intent on kidnapping Finn and replacing him with a changeling. While the start is a tad slow the film’s use of practical and CGI effects to create the creatures are certainly impressive. Hardy succeeds in creating a dark and atmospheric story from Irish mythology which has been rarely touched upon in previous films. The originality story wise makes it an interesting and entertaining watch, one scene in particular involving an eye injury will  satisfy gore enthusiasts although the pacing in some parts mean it kinda drags a bit. Overall it’s a great little horror, with eco-horror undertones and the concept of a British ‘invader’ encroaching on native Irish traditions and culture who must pay the price is  interesting one indeed.

Rating : 2.5/4

The Cured (dir. David Freyne, 2018)

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Do you ever hear the premise of a film and you just facepalm yourself, internally seething WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? That’s what it was like when I first watched The Cured. The Cured is set around a post zombie outbreak , a plague called the Maze Virus which has spread across Europe has ravaged Ireland in particular. The infected have turned into impulsive zombie like killers unable to control their actions. During the chaos  a cure was formed treating 75% of the infected, returning them to their ‘normal’ states however the infected remember everything they did in their zombie state. The other 25% of the infected population prove to be resistant to the cure and remain locked up away from society. The population of infected are labeled into two groups, the cured and the infected and while the cured are all allowed back into society, deemed physically non treating they are treated with discrimination, mistreatment and violence. The majority of society refuses to allow them to forget what they have done, and some still treat them like the monsters they once were.

Recently released cured survivor Senan (Sam Keeley) is placed back at home in the care of his widowed sister-in-law Abbie  (Ellen Page) and her son. The film follows Senan and deals with his inner conflict of self as he grapples with what he has done while infected. Senan plagued by nightmares and racked with guilt over his actions is in stark contrast to his villainous cured friend Conor (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor). Where Senan expresses remorse and is sickened by his actions, Conor is remorseless, cold and blames society for his actions. Angered by the systematic mistreatment of the cured population Conor and a rejection from Daddy,  Conor  rallies other disgruntled cured patients, forms an underground cured party demanding more rights for the infected population and has no problem using violence to obtain that goal.

The strongest element of the film is the infected’s ability to retain their memories while under the influence of the virus, this gives a greater emotional weight to the film more than any other zombie film. While some zombie films deal with the aftermath of a zombie virus almost wiping out mankind such as 28 Months Later, none have dealt with the aftereffects and how society copes with its brief lapse of humanity and how a population cannot just forget. The effect that  trauma has on their memories and psyche along with  the trauma their actions have had on individual families and society as a whole makes each scene all the more poignant. Every single character has lost someone or has been responsible for the loss of someone dear to them, a result that renders everyone onscreen emotional  zombies  even if they have never been infected. The Cured is a film about social commentary first and a  zombie film second, as the mistreatment and discrimination of the infected mirrors that of many minority groups down the years in Ireland. It’s a unique premise and a haunting fresh take on the zombie genre and an examination of how Ireland in the past has handled and mishandled situations.

The Cured is available on Netflix

Rating 4/4

Wake Wood (dir. David Keating, 2009)

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Wake Wood presents us with the question if you could see someone you have lost would one day be enough? Is one day ever enough to ever heal the permanence of death? What about three days? Three days is the total number of a days the villagers of Wake Wood can bring the dead back to life so their family can get some closure and have a proper goodbye. This  pagan ritual is the premise of the film, Patrick a vet (Aidan Gillen) and pharmacist Louise ( Eva Birthistle) are a young couple struggling with the grief of their daughter Alice (Ella Connolly), who was brutally killed by a dog on her birthday a scene  tragically shown early on in flashbacks. The couple have moved to the village of Wake Wood in order to escape the past but are unable to move forward in their lives after the tragedy of losing a child.

A village elder played by Timothy Spall reveals that the residents  partake in an ancient pagan ritual  which can bring back the dead for three days, only if they have been in the ground for less than a year and the returned person must not cross the boundary leaving the town. Like everything this contract comes with a catch, Patrick and Louise must stay in Wake Wood for the rest of their lives. Overcome with joy at the possibility of being reunited with Alice they agree and soon the ritual begins. The ritual itself is a grotesque birth which is reminiscent  to an earlier scene where Patrick performs a caesarean on a calf showcasing how brutal birth really is.  Alice sure enough comes back from the dead as good as new but over the next two days things are not going to plan. Something’s wrong with the recently returned child, she quickly begins to turn all dark and twisty as Alice embarks on a killer kiddie rampage refusing to be returned to the ground. There is nothing more chilling than a smiling child in a raincoat giggling gets me every time.

Wake Wood  influenced by British folk horrors such as The Wicker Man and Don’t Look Now, does  a great job in creating its sense of eerie community where the ritual is both a blessing and curse by reuniting loved ones for a few days, the living are chained to the boundary line,  unable to escape the reminders of who they’ve lost along the way. Here nothing is quite like it seems. Similar to all great horrors Wake Wood is rooted in a family drama with a genuine emotional foundation that lays the groundwork for the terror to come. Patrick and Louise’s actions are out of desperation and grief not malice so what happens to these characters and how they end up evokes a much more sympathetic and heartbreaking response, one particular poignant scene is when the family are finally reunited and playing together unaware of the horror to come due to their meddling with the natural order of things. The film is definitely  an examination of the grieving process wrapped up in an unnerving folk horror anchored in reality thanks to a really strong cast, especially Eva Birthistle who gives a powerful performance as a heartbroken mother who realises her one wish has created a monster not of this world and who in the end must be returned to the ground, going against her maternal instincts.

Wake Wood is available on Netflix

Rating  4/4

Citadel (dir. Ciaran Foy, 2012)

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Well oh my days Citadel is by far the most terrifying Irish horror yet and also the scariest thing I have seen in a while. Set around a grim urban cityscape , in a run down block of flats a pack of hooded youths run rampant causing terror in the isolated community. This feral hooded gang is responsible for leaving protagonist Tommy ( Aneurin Barnard) widowed, to raise his infant daughter Elsa alone and severely traumatized from the incident suffering from  agoraphobia.

While this film suffers from projecting a few mixed messages regarding gang violence and how young people get caught up in it, Citadel saves itself by shifting into a genuine supernatural horror where these hooded figures  really are demons and not just a representation of fear personified like if continued  down the psychological horror path which it began on.  The opening scene shows us Joanne’s brutal murder as Tommy watches on helpless trapped inside a lift, we cut to 9 months later and Tommy is left crippled with fear standing in his hall with his child unable to venture outside. The film follows Tommy as he tries to overcome his fear and protect his daughter from sinister outside forces. Citadel’s use of the city scape is a great example of hoodie horror, where the threat to Tommy and Elsa lives deep within the tower block. There is a notable absence of  necessary societal  forces like police and law enforcers who never come out here rendering the victims of the estate helpless and alone . The community is cut off and left to rot allowing these demons to feed on the fear. What makes Citadel so terrifying is the graphic use of violence and the presence of baby Elsa in that violence, one particular scene the gang attack Tommy on a bus while holding Elsa, they brutally pull her from her father to the point where you think she may snap in half it really is a tough watch.

Overall dodgy social commentary aside Citadel is a truly terrifying Irish horror, with some genuine scares which had me clutching my pearls for baby Elsa. While the first half of the film sets us for an intense psychological horror questioning Tommy’s sanity and if he’s suited to be the sole caregiver for Elsa, the second half does a complete three sixty shift transforming the film into a very real supernatural horror with some good action shots making for a very nice pay off and a satisfying conclusion.

Rating 3/4

Galentines? Don’t make me sick. Taking a look at female friendship in horror.

Celebrating Women in Horror month and hot off the heels of Valentine’s Day, a new phrase has been creeping up in the last few years something that highlights how single women are something to be singled out and looked upon but thank heavens they all have a motley crew of gals to keep them company instead of a romantic partner. So for the day of love itself I have selected a few films that would be picture perfect to spend watching with your best gals. 

1.Death Becomes Her (dir. Robert Zemeckis, 1992)

Well now this little gem of a black comedy is just what we needed today. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn play Madeline and Helen respectively, it’s 1978, Madeline is an upcoming actress and Helen a writer with an unrecognizable Bruce Willis as her boyfriend Ernst. Madeline has a knack for stealing Helen’s boyfriends and sure enough she steals Ernst which kick starts Helen’s slow descent into madness yearning for revenge against Madeline. Seven years later Helen just cannot seem to the shake thinking about her former frenemy as she spends her days watching Madeline’s old films, obese, broke and surrounded by her cats. Which surely isn’t the worst thing in the world being surrounding cats.

The story jumps another seven years and the harsh results of time has shifted between the two ladies. Madeline’s acting career has faded along with her looks, her marriage to Ernst is miserable and her younger lover has jilted her for a younger model. However Helen has only gotten better with age, she has regained her looks and then some and it’s supposedly all down to healthy diet and exercise? Of course not, sure it’s Hollywood after all. Like all good diva’s she had some help and a dose of a magical potion provided by the very helpful and very the beautiful Isabella Rossellini. Once Madeline catches a glimpse of Helen she heads out to take the same potion herself and regain her lost looks, Madeline’s de-aging transformation is STUNNING. Hilarious but stunning. We all recoil laughing in horror as her ass and breasts move upwards to their perkier position, her skin tightens, her hair is glowing again everything is looking wonderful and all nice smooth but everything comes with conditions. The potion is only available for ten years and must be respected with continuous upkeep and respect. Beauty ain’t easy ladies.


“That’s what it does. It stops the aging process dead in its tracks and forces it into retreat. Drink that potion and you’ll never grow even one day older. Don’t drink it, then continue to watch yourself rot.

And so begins the madness as both women’s vanity takes over their new and improved bodies, their already inflated egos have gone into overdrive and they have transformed into two psycho broads battling it out over Ernst or just to say they own him, it’s clear nobody cares for Ernst. Helen desperate to enact revenge against Madeline plots to kill her and reclaim Ernst, fed up with his wife Ernst jumps ship, switching his allegiance to Helen and after a row with Madeline pushes her down the stairs killing her for a moment, but just a moment. Like a twisted, broken necked phoenix Madeline rises from the ashes and unleashes her verbal wrath on Ernst while Helen feels her physical wrath taking a bullet through the stomach leaving her with a gaping hole through her midsection. The visual effects here are terrific even for the 90’s it’s clear to see why this won the oscar for visuals that year.

While Goldie Hawn’s performance is incredible and she keeps up with Streep, the star of the show is still Streep – I know shocking. Meryl just steals every scene with every subtle grimace and mirror check. To say she’s vain is a gross understatement. She cannot seem to say one nice thing about anyone she shares a scene with even when she on the cusp of death she and in need of help. Madeline can never just suck it up and pretend and I am here for it 100%. I love a confident and catty women on-screen. Throughout the film Madeline and Helen are engaged in a never ending series of verbal and physical sparrings and poor Ernst has always been caught in the crossfire between the two. As the film concludes both ladies are left with just each other for company where not even death can part these frenemies and boy is it good and slightly horrifying. Death Becomes Her is just such campy perfection and a perfect parody to the absurdity of Hollywood and the beauty industry.

Rating 4/4

2. Single White Female (dir. Barbet Schroeder, 1992)

First off I am very aware that Single White Female is a thriller but there’s some horrifying elements in it like puppy murdering and the murdering of the bob haircut. So since there’s actually few horror films centered around female friendship I’ve decided to take a look at a classic 1990’s psycho bitch flick. Let’s delve in.

Well well if I was freaked about getting an unknown roommate one day I am certainly freaked now. Allison ( Bridget Fonda), said title’s single white female seeks another female, to move into her giant New York rent subsidised apartment . And holy cow is her apartment huge. It’s basically an entire floor but for some reason unfurnished bar one small ass sofa . That woman can swing many cats in that apartment, in fact this whole film I kept marvelling at the size of the apartment it was quite the distraction from all the unhinged behaviour . 


“Did you know that identical twins are never really identical. There’s always one who’s prettier. And the one who’s not does all the work. She used me, and… Then she left me. Just like you. “

Allison seeks a new roommate as she has recently broken up with her cheating ex Sam. After many interviews with a fair share of nut jobs she finally lands on the kind hearted, mousy Hedra ‘Hedy’ (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Hedy quickly moves in and the two quickly become firm friends but Hedy would say best best friends. They buy clothes, furniture and hey look a puppy together. Basically Ally has replaced Sam with a new friend, perhaps she should have tried learning to live alone and stand on her own two feet rather than imprint on someone else and that someone a complete stranger? While there’s a sense of foreboding and slight tension when it’s clear the pup favors Ally more, the two strangers are the best of gal pals – that is until Sam and Ally get back together and it quickly dawns on all three characters that Hedy needs to vacate the newly reformed love nest A.S.AP. Little by little it is revealed that Hedy ain’t as sweet as she initially appeared, she slowly begins copying Ally’s sense of style, her haircut and even her taste in men with a creepy blowjob scene – which makes me think that Sam is just stupid or an icky cheating letch, my mind is settling on the later.

Single White Female is one of those films that has been pretty much been spoiled for you due to pop culture but yet it’s one that remains very entertaining after all these years. While technically Ally is our final girl, I for one am 100% rooting for Hedy. Ally is kinda drab, bit rude and a more than little naive as everyone she encounters in her life betrays her on some level and there is more than one red flag alluding to the dangers. The fact that she’s slow connecting the dots throughout the film, however the final showdown between her and Hedy in the lift more than makes up for it as she finally unleashes all that pent up anger. Took her long enough but hey hopefully she do better next roomate. Or maybe get a one bed instead?

Rating: 2.5/4

3.Queen of Earth (dir.Alex Ross Perry, 2015) 

Female friendships are hard, they ebb and flow over time, stronger in certain stages than others. They’re hard enough without the added strain of mental illness and this is what Queen of Earth explores, the complex nature of female friendship mixed together with the ever increasing presence of depression and the traumatic effects it leaves behind in a relationship. 

We begin with an extreme close up of Elizabeth Moss uncontrollably crying, makeup running down her face. Moss plays Catherine, Catherine is experiencing a very hard break up and we soon learn that her father has just passed away from suicide, all this occurs in the one scene establishing her fragile mental state. Perry cuts to a shot of the lake, water rippling a purely scenic picture but the music underscores that something more sinister is afloat. This is reflected in the continuous use of music to create an omniness source of tension reminiscent of a Hitchcockian thriller of the 60’s. It’s an uncomfortable opening shot that really sets up the film as an increasingly uncomfortable watch but one that you cannot tear your eyes from. 

In the wake of this shit time, Catherine and her best friend Virginia (Katherine Waterston), Ginny to her friends, but only her friends head up to Virginia’s family lake home for a holiday for some much needed R & R but this holiday is anything but relaxing. During their stay we continuously cut back to the previous summer, same place, same time, same people but Catherine has brought her boyfriend James ( soon to be ex boyfriend in a years time). Similarly to the present day, the flashback hints that Virginia is experiencing a difficult time which is never revealed, her and Catherine were meant to have one on one time for her to heal or relax but Catherine has brought her partner unbeknownst to Virginia which is bound to be awkward.  

“I’m trying to have a nice time with my best friend and you’re here all the fucking time.


Sure enough it is awkward, while it’s bad enough bringing her boyfriend on their holiday Catherine and James are completely codependent down to they’re incessant use of the pronoun ’we’ makes Virginia’s and the viewer’s skin crawl. The flashback provides vital insight into their friendship highlighting how Catherine’s absence due to her relationship has damaged the already vulnerable Virginia. In the present the tables have turned, Virginia seems better or seems to be out of the woods, on the mend with a new man Rich, while Catherine is alone, grieving and in need of her friend but now her friend has a bitter streak in her as a result of last summer.

Queen of Earth is remiesident of Bergman’s Persona,Perry succeeds in crafting a hauntingly accurate portrayal of friendship and how two friends, especially female friends have the ability to cut to the bone in a way no one else can. The film is a character study about two women who have suffered from depression in their lives but in different stages of their lives. Both parties haven’t been there for the other during each parties battle with depression and in a certain ways, particularly with Virginia that absence and silence may have been used as an intentional punishment for past grievances. Queen of Earth is a psychological horror where there is no real horror other than one’s inner thoughts and how one’s best friend knows them all and uses them as a weapon. It is a perfectly assembled psychodrama in with two power house performances and a never ending sense of unspoken tension without an ounce of relief.

Rating 4/4

When Love Just Isn’t Enough. Exploring Killer Couples this February

This February, the month  of love  I take a look at some cute but killer couples. Couples who have in their respective films just have not been able to make it to the end and ride off into the sunset.  The following selection of couples prove that sometimes love just ain’t enough and oftentimes you may not really know the person you’re cosying up to and calling honey…

1. What Keeps You Alive (dir. Colin Minihan, 2018)

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What Keeps You Alive deals with the age-old question how much do you really know about your partner? And my God it seems that these two ladies hadn’t  a notion who they married. The film begins with married couple Jules (Brittany Allen) and Jackie (Hannah Anderson) making their way to Jackie’s  family  lakeside home in middle of the  woods. We immediately are set up for a horror here, old house, deep  in the Canadian forests and hey this place is littered with guns and dead animals on the walls. Oh my the foreshadowing is real here. The couple is celebrating their one year wedding anniversary and are all ready for a relaxing romantic getaway with lots of fishing on the lake and hiking. Gotta love nature right?

But very quickly all is not as it seems. If you happened to go in blind to this film and ignore reading the premise  one would be getting ready for a typical home invasion horror. The first cosy night in Jackie is on the guitar serenading Jules with a creepy song implying that she may not be all that sweet going into a trance like state while singing.  Post musical number Jackie reveals how her father taught her how to hunt in these woods and how on her first kill she took down a fully grown black bear. Her father apparently disappointed in her wasteful kill informs Jackie that “we must only kill what keeps you alive” alluding to the film’s title. This rather skewed way of thinking  returns later in the film. Jules is rightly freaked and changes the subject to being all cute and coupley again until a car pulls up out of nowhere and a hooded figure emerges. This is where I would have thought  the home invasion begins, but alas it is an old neighbour, Sarah, who was just checking on the newly lit house.  As she greets the couple Sarah calls out to Megan, addressing Jackie. This is where things begin to turn as both the audience and Jules suddenly realise that Jackie has been lying, at the very least about her name this entire time – and for their entire relationship.

“We must only kill what keeps you alive”

Over the next few days Jackie becomes increasingly distant often leaving Jules alone and without transport taking the car for hours. Jules starts to question the woman she married and what else she may hiding. A catch up with her old friend Sarah and her husband Daniel  does not help ease Jules’s anxiety as it is revealed Jackie/Megan may have been involved in another old friend’s drowning back when they were kids. In the midst of processing this new information and discussing it with Jackie on a cliff walk,  Jackie denies the part she played in the drowning and proceeds to push Jules from the cliff to her death. Just like that  Jackie tries to kill her spouse and luckily for Jules she was unsuccessful. Jules manages to survive the fall severely injured and this  is where the film truly begins, a cat and mouse game of survival between the newly married couple.

Throughout the film we have been subtly made aware of Jackie’s hunting prowess. The odds are not in Jules’s favour, but she has wits on her side and at least some basic medical knowledge which allow her to patch herself up D.I.Y style. The cat and mouse chase eventually comes to and end and Jules essentially becomes a prisoner to her wife. Jackie and Jules also must entertain Sarah and Daniel but this awkward dinner party gets a little more awkward as Jules tries to not so subtly spill the beans to Sarah on the sly. Now a nice little dinner party  has been turned into a full-blown blood feast as Jackie unleashes her bubbling inner psychopath killing her dinner guests in front of the weakened Jules to her horror. Hope dashed once more.  Jackie reveals that she planned to kill her for her life insurance policy ( as the money gained in the kill eventually will keep Jackie alive, perhaps taking her Dad’s advise a little too literally.)

What Keeps You Alive subverts classical heteronormative horror expectations in regards to genre and the typical gendered villain. We are led to believe that both women might face a threat from the outside but this home invasion is one that occurs from within the walls of the home and within the walls of marriage, which is in itself is a separate betrayal. Jackie being female and  stereotypically more feminine compared to her partner Jules deceives the audience and their expectations as to what a killer looks like. Similarly Jules as our Final Girl again strays from type she appears far more feeble, forever in a state of disbelief and trying to make Jackie see sense rather than giving it a  proper go at escaping. The film creates a great sense of tension and suspense, especially during the forest and lake sequences of the great chase. However there are some slightly irritating plot holes, many times where Jules seemed to have been able to escape easily.  But then again that could have been an intentional subversion as Jules is also the Final Girl but also a bit of a cat herself in this game. After managing to escape she seems home and free but cannot shake Jackie getting away with it all. Her previous medical knowledge comes into play and a plan begins to form, luring Jackie back into a trap the two do battle off-screen which results in an unconscious Jules being dragged back to the same cliff edge as before and being tossed again by her wife, a seemingly victorious Jackie. But as the film comes to its conclusion it is revealed that Jules was playing the long game herself and in the end both ladies, both partners met their maker by the others hand. I cannot help but think all this could have been avoided if they held off on getting married so soon? Good gore scenes, interesting concept, characters sometimes a bit plain but overall a pretty good watch.

What Keeps You Alive is available on Netflix. Rating : 2.5/4

2. Honeymoon (dir. Leigh Janiak, 2014)

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Honeymoon as the title suggests follows two newlyweds embarking on their honeymoon. Starring Rose Leslie  and Harry Treadaway as Bea and Paul respectively. It is a similar setting to What Keeps You Alive, again a childhood lakeside home. These newlyweds are beyond cringe, going full tilt for the gold at perhaps being the most annoying couple I have seen on-screen in a long time. The film begins with a found footage style camcorder type  introduction to our two protagonists, we get an insight into their first date, the carefree nature of their wedding plans and their incessant P.D.A. Everything seems to be going  splendidly for our cute couple, they make French toast, go on long walks, head out on a boat and my god are they raunchy constantly at it like rabbits. So yes the honeymoon is going well.

“Before I was alone, but now I’m  not.”

But there is a mysterious outside light that filters in through the windows scanning the house each night, eventually it lands on Bea waking her up and luring her into the forest in a trance like state. Paul wakes up to find Bea missing and begins to search for her, he finds her outside bruised, naked and with no recollection as to why she ventured out in the first place. Paul is clearly distressed but they both just chalk it up to sleepwalking. The next morning Bea seems to be having trouble remembering how to make French toast and coffee, her speech is sometimes in broken English and she cannot remember the little details about herself and even Paul. Something is just off with her after her trip to the woods and Paul bounces between freaked out and frustrated. Most importantly sex has just gone out the window, every time Paul tries to initiate it he is rebuffed and boy does his ego take it badly. Bea just never seems to be in the mood anymore and provides vague reasons as to why she does not want to (I mean maybe a gal just wants some peace and quiet Paul after days of doing it?).

Out on a walk the couple met Bea’s old childhood crush and his wife who seems to be suffering from some sort of personality disorder. Paul’s already bruised ego, is now coupled with an unhealthy dose of jealousy. From then on by  restricting  the two characters to the cabin creates a claustrophobic setting where the once lustful relationship is now plagued with suspicion at every tiny move. Paul’s paranoia grows as he spies Bea talking to herself in the mirror, reminding herself to act like herself. As the film reaches its climax Bea’s body begins to change her skin is shedding and she realises that there’s something inside that must come out. Cue gross and gory scene of Paul ripping a foreign worm like object from inside Bea’s nether regions, I bet nobody told that them marriage would be like  this. There are forces at work here that have changed the pair of them not for the better. Bea is in ways performing herself whoever or whatever has taken over her body is desperately trying to remain in faux marital bliss, while Paul realising that there has been a shift in the relationship repeatedly tries to leave this honeymoon nest and breaking the illusion. In the end Bea fearing an unknown being who wants to  separate Paul from Bea and continue to use her as vessel. Bea decides to ‘hide’ Paul from their gaze, by throwing him over the side of the boat tied to a large rock to keep him safe under the water. Wonderful.

Overall it was an enjoyable watch while the ending is a tad disappointing the rest of the film manages to do quite well using  elements of both supernatural and psychological horror that successfully manages to build tension scene by scene. The premise is definitely inspired by the Invaders of the Body Snatchers but the subtleness of the dissolution of a sexual relationship into at least a different stage of the relationship is extremely well done. The film delves deep into the idea of  what happens when the honeymoon period is disrupted on the honeymoon. It highlights the horror of the breaking of the glass ceiling i.e first fight as a married couple or the first time you  start living together and how the little things that you used to love so much now start to dare I say irritate you?

Honeymoon is available on Shudder. Rating: 3/4

Get Out (dir. Jordan Peele, 2017)

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In response to the highly anticipated Shudder documentary History Noire which examines  the long and complex history of black people in horror, I decided to revisit Peele’s brilliant Get Out which is centered around how black people and more precisely black bodies are viewed as objects to be obtained in a white world. The  film starts by introducing protagonist  Chris ( Daniel Kaluuya) packing for a weekend away to met  girlfriend’s parents. See Chris is black and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) is white, Rose in regards to how others view their relationship is colour blind. She doesn’t care about what colour they are and knows without question her parents will act the same. While on the road she appears to prove herself as worthy girlfriend and ally to Chris as she questions a cop’s motives asking to see Chris’s drivers licence. This is the kinda ridicule and suspicion Chris is used to being met with in relation to white people.

“All I know is sometimes, if there’s too many white folks, I get nervous, you know.”

At the start of the film, the couple joke about the dreaded phase of meeting the parents and how her parents may seem nervous as not to say anything offensive but they will of course love Chris as she does. Once they arrive at the rich ass suburbs, introductions go off without a hitch everything is very nice and very polite. Almost too polite. Enter lots of painfully long smiles and hugs, everything seems moderately normal except for the strange presence of the two live in employees, who at best are a bit off and oh yes also black. This dynamic is starting to feel  very familiar.  As the weekend kicks off you best believe there is a lot of nervous energy floating in the air, a lot of watching what you say kinda vibes and lots of “hey I would have voted for Obama for a third term if I could”.  The film is set up as a Look Who’s Coming To Dinner scenario but slowly  turns out that the dinner party hosts have  more in common with  Texas Chainsaw clan than the classic Tracey and Hepburn duo. Rose’s parents are pretty odd straight off the bat, oozing with nervous tension and go out of their way to say they definitely do not have a problem with Chris’s blackness but throughout the day the it seems to be the only thing that keeps cropping up. ‘Black approved’ conversations swirl around Chris  with subjects such as  Obama and Jesse Owens the fact these conversations are being had at all are beyond uncomfortable. Would these people be brought up as small talk with a white boyfriend? Most likely a whopping no. Following on from this uncomfortable introduction  we get Rose’s Dad, Dean an excellently cast Bradley Whitford, explaining away the background story and presence of the other two black characters. He is aware of how it looks bad, the only black people around for miles in a serving role but rest assured Dean says it’s really not like that and hey you know what it is much much worse.

“Fair skin has been in favour for, what, the past hundreds of years. But, now the pendulum has swung back. Black is in fashion!”

The first night of Chris’s stay hints that all is not right in the rich suburbs, Chris finds himself hypnotised by Rose’s mother and boy it is disturbing. Peele introduces us to ‘the sunken place’ a concept  which he says acts as a symbol for the marginalised,  presented as a dark  space that renders the marginalised figure disembodied, unable to scream or use their voice. Thereby silenced by the system in place. This is basically the entire film Chris must get out of the sunken place in order to maintain his autonomy in this elite white world. Later it is revealed that Rose is no ally,  see her and her family are involved in a secret order that not only covets black bodies but harvests them too , auditioning them off to the highest bidder to undergo surgery  merging the two minds in one body leaving the black victim a passenger within their own body.  Turns out Rose has been very good at luring both men and women to their sunken place. Final girl my ass. While Chris wises up to her shenanigans in the nick of time, Get Out proves once again you should always listen to your best friend, and perhaps invest in a portable charger?

One of the best parts of Get Out is how aware of itself it is, it is aware that the very presence of black characters in horror usually means things are not looking good for them, it’s aware of the final girl and turns us against the one person who is meant to be  ‘safe’ the one we are programmed to assume will survive all of this is subverted  as Chris is our Final boy. Characters are always hyper alert to  how they themselves are perceived, and hey if you’re a paranoid person like Chris who from the start was a little apprehensive about meeting the folks and who admits he gets nervous around lots of white people proves that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they’re not after you. Peele has created a sublime film, a horror comedy that not only acts a social commentary on race but one that breaks the mould  in the  horror genre with its use of  representation and breaking generic expectations. The story is one of the most original horrors I’ve seen in a good while and this is one that gets better with repeated viewings. Similiarly to the other films in the list it highlights that maybe meeting the parents after five months is a little soon, give it say seven to  wait and see if anything alarming crops up.

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror is available on Shudder.

Get Out: Rating 4/4

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, New You? Beating the January blues with some Transformation Horror

As part of the monthly horror strand I shall delve into and discuss three films sharing a  theme surrounding the month. As we are reaching the end of January I decided to check out some transformation horror to make myself feel better about flaking on all the New Year’s resolutions and failed dry Jan attempts. These films prove that sometimes a new you is not always for the best….

 

1. Ginger Snaps ( dir. John Fawcett,2000)

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Well there is nothing like the classic girl to woman to werewolf saga that all young women must go through. Ah good old puberty. Plus January brought with it the fab Super Blood Wolf Moon with it so this was truly well-timed.  Ginger Snaps is a blacker than black deadpan comedy dealing with two sisters, the title’s Ginger and little sister Brigitte, who share an unusual fascination of all things dark and twisty. The Fitzgerald sisters have also made a death pact where  one cannot go on without the other, a by-product of their crippling adolescence anxiety  and swirling hormones. The two are outcasts, cut off from society and cling to each other for comfort and meaningful conversation nothing can come between them except a crazed werewolf attack and the world shattering first period at the same time no less. Poor Ginger, man this was just not your day kid.

“I get this ache… And I, I thought it was for sex, but it’s to tear everything to fucking pieces.”

Post werewolf attack/ entering the menstruation club, Ginger’s wounds practically heal overnight. Class! However she is now growing hair in new places, her nails are elongating, a tail is a sproutin’ and she likes her meat more on the rare side. Not so class! Ginger’s transformation brings a new confidence, she is now seen differently to her male peers. She has grown  into her sexuality as well as her tail. She has crossed over embracing her new form of femininity, leaving Brigitte to the wayside. But this bodily  change also brings an influx of rage and insecurity with it. Ginger’s animalistic  aggression consumes her and (if I’m honest turns into a bit of a bitch), until she finally completes her transformation into a full female werewolf.

While the overall theme connecting a woman’s period to the werewolf and the combined horror of the two  is well a little on the nose. The story never strays from the most important thing: the breakdown of the two sisters relationship. Both actors Katharine Isabelle (Ginger) and Emily Perkins (Brigitte) carry the film on their respective hairy backs, their chemistry as sisters is wonderful, reflected in every bitchy comeback to their peers and also each other.  While tension continues to  heighten,  the relationship begins to disintegrate as Ginger quickly  loses her control of her monstrous side taking her rage out on her sister ( what’s new there ay).  Ginger Snaps is a rather accurate portrayal  of the complex nature between sisters and just how   fine the line is  balancing between teenage bickering and biting one’s head off. The film highlights the unique nature of sisters, the forever back and forth between unconditional love and thinking that your sister is this blood sucking hairy beast. Now a considered cult classic this teenage coming of age tale blurs the line between the classic  monster movie and the horror of female bodily functions creating one angsty as heck little gem.

Rating: 3.5/4

2. Starry Eyes (dirs. Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer, 2014)

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In a world as fickle as Hollywood and the film industry as a whole the question remains can you ever truly stay true to yourself? Can you safely say you’re the exact same person as before? Looking at it from the perspective of our monthly theme I ask myself a similar question am I  the same person as the one last year or the year before that? What makes a person change, is it exterior surroundings, outside people , forces unknown or is it deep down just you? The essence of that is explored in the American horror  Starry Eyes, centering around a young actress, Sarah, who is trying to make it in Hollywood one unsuccessful audition at a time.

The moment we are introduced to Sarah we get the impression she is quiet, lacking in a little self-confidence and has dealt with her fair share of rejection. An unfortunate  occurrence of being a young inexperienced actress in Hollywood. She works in a potato  themed diner that takes its inspiration from Hooters but kid friendly, has a  good(ish) friend group around her bar Erin,  the one bitchy girl who’s ‘jokes’ always cuts to the bone and well she is just plain rude. Sarah goes up for audition after audition but never seems to land a role. Thing is Sarah is just getting by and life is ok but not great. Sarah has dreams of making it in Hollywood and right now this will not do.

Out of the blue Sarah lands an audition for a lead role for a big  horror production company. Woo. But her performance does not blow away the casting directors, however they do like her bathroom fit post audition  which involves Sarah  screaming and  pulling her own hair out. Bit odd no? Watching her unaware, the directors enjoy this seeing that Sarah desperately wants this, they ask her to repeat her fit, hair pulling and all. Which she eventually complies to albeit uncomfortably.  What follows is Sarah’s descent into a sinister underworld where to make it in Hollywood one must be prepared to exchange sexual favours. Although Starry Eyes was released in 2014 ,  watching it in with 2019 eyes post Weinstein and #METOO makes Sarah’s hardship all the more real and jarring. After a series of gross abuses of power , auditions and interviews that render Sarah a naked performing monkey. She succumbs to the final casting couch selling her soul  to the Devil who happens to double as the producer in return that he and his cult will transform her into a star. Fab. But as Starry Eyes proves nothing in this world comes easy, in order for her to become a star she must leave no trace of her former self -starting  with her friends. Sarah’s transformation is a slow and painful process her nails are cracking, skin flaking and yes more hair pulling, lots and lots of hair pulling. Her physical and mental break down reaches a boiling point as Sarah begins hunting down and killing each of her friends. Boy is it brutal you even feel bad for the mean bitchy one. The price of fame really is messy.

“Ambition – the blackest of human desires. Everyone has it, but how many act on it?”

Starry Eyes highlights the toxicity of ambition. The results of Sarah’s quest for stardom has taken a physical form feeding on regret and anger ending in a horrific change  from the inside out. Viewing this film  for the first time post Weinstein and #METOO in regards to the concept of choice makes it a murkier film than expected. Whether Sarah choose to make a deal with the Devil/ producer herself or was pressured into it due to outside forces, mainly the film industry, makes it diffcult to draw a neat conclusion . This type of transformation, although on the outside she technically has ‘improved’ aesthetically and success seems much closer, the consequences of her actions has prehaps made her more vunberable than she was before. As her ties to the Devil’s cult seems to have bound them together for at the very least her career and who knows what else.

Rating: 3/4

 

3. Tusk (dir. Kevin Smith, 2014)

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Making friends is hard the older you get . You put yourself out there and you are met with criticism, rejection and often some rude podcaster laughing his ass off at you. Oh are these podcasters  rude. Meet Wallace ( Justin Long) said mean podcaster of the ‘Not See Party’ podcast and yes he says it in a German accent because he is what ? Extremely immature and thinks he’s funny. Everybody here is a comedian.

Wallace is off out alone to the great Canadian north on assignment for his podcast . He is due to interview a Canadian weirdo  called the Kill Bill kid, an internet viral sensation who accidentally chopped off one his legs. Unfortunately the Kill Bill kid has killed himself by the time Wallace arrives leaving him with no story and no vulnerable person to mock. Unsatisfied he heads to the loos for some divine inspiration and hey look a note above a urinal promising everything he needs for a juicy story. What luck right? An elderly gentleman  has written a lovely letter in a random bar bathroom promising to tell his interesting life stories at sea, and  all for or free in return for some light housework.

* Naturally terms and conditions apply.

Wallace think he’s struck gold with harmless wheelchair bound Howard (Michael Parks). Soon it will be the other way round. After a good campfire sit down coupled with some tea swapping marine stories, Wallace falls to the ground drugged and wakes up in a living nightmare that’s about to get freaky… freaky marine style. Turns out Howard is rather insane and also able to walk just fine.  Howard reveals while  shipwrecked on an island a friendly walrus came to his rescue, his christened his savior Mr.Tusk and now feeling the pang of loneliness and I’m guessing clinical insanity Howard wants to recreate Mr.Tusk with new pal Wallace. What follows is a slow, gruesome transformation scene, through a series of experimental operations  as Wallace is being physically broken down, tortured and moulded into walrus on the outside one limb at a time.

“Your life as you knew it is over, Mr. Bryton. So if you wish to continue living, you will be a walrus, or you’ll be nothing at all.”

Now I am not saying that Tusk is the greatest body horror of all time but it is rather enjoyable, that is   if you like  watching a man being stitched into a man-made walrus suit and slowly losing his grip on his humanity with a psychopath for company. Turns out I did.  Tusk is short and sweet everything pacing wise is tight and gets to the point. The early scenes of Wallace being an asshole are short but effective, this guy is not a good guy, not someone we immediately feel pity for when he winds up in a rather sticky situation. However there are some very effective uses of flashback with his partner Ally, that  provides insight into the dichotomy between the old Wallace and the new Wallace. Which is quite tragic when you see what is left of Wallace neither old or new but a new being entirely in the form of Mr Tusk.  As the film goes on I can safely say you will definitely feel bad for Wallace and what becomes of him. Howard too has a back story that earns him the smallest amount of sympathy until we cut back to the present and remember yup he is still a serial killer and a deranged one at that.

Up until now Tusk is doing quite well as an unnerving horror thriller centered around entrapment and transforming our protagonist into another Mr.Tusk. It has elements of Misery but far more aquatic and no sign of a hammer. There is a level of competency as  Wallace wakes missing a leg he does his best to call his friends for help by finding his phone leaving a detailed voice message including Howard’s name, rough address, Wallace’s current condition, Howard’s star sign etc. To be honest I am amazed he got in so much before being whacked over the head and awaking in a skin patch work walrus suit, the kind that would make Leatherface jealous.  So far this horror flick is on track. The newly transformed Wallace is horrifying and almost unrecognisable, albeit I will admit the walrus body horror reveal did make me giggle.

Now enter: Johnny Depp. Depp plays an alcoholic Frencher than French Canadian police officer. Coupled with a  beret  and a dodgy French accent Depp’s addition into the narrative takes the film from an interesting  horror thriller to a farcical horror comedy . And frankly I did not hate it, now while the initially shift in genre and the introduction of Depp’s character  it is a bit jarring. The transition feels apt when we cut back to the now transformed Wallace and Howard and see just how crazy Howard is. Teaching him how to embrace being be a walrus, coupled with naked swimming lessons and a raw fish lunch  is well pretty damn disturbing but also I hate to say disturbingly funny. Just switch off the ole brain and  embrace the absurdity.

Rating: 2.5/4

 

Welcome Fiends! IT’S ALIVE… but oh so barely

Just a medium sized gal with medium sized ambition. Yes I have decided to pull up my little socks and make a film blog. That’s right she’s responsible for another blog entering the Earth. Right now I am  mainly planning on chatting some horror film shit but hey in the wise words of Justin Bieber never say never. So who knows some other films and genres might pop up too. Anyways happy reading and remember horror is best enjoyed with a pal so get a buddy to watch your horror flicks with and then show your buddy  Film Fiend blog because you’re sound. Now go on be sound.

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