X - Rotten Tomatoes

I’ve been a fan of Ti West for a while now. Every time it looked like he was getting traction or had made something that would be a hit, it never seemed to come to anything. His films were always well received, but unlike the Get Outs and Hereditarys of the world, his films seemed to fly under the radar. Perhaps with X, and the prequel Pearl, that tide has turned and the dude will get his mainstream dues.

Take the above paragraph, and replace Ti West’s name with Mia Goth’s. Mia Goth has appeared in a number of high and low profiles horror movies in the last decade, but in 2022 her name skyrocketed both within the horror world and beyond, with one of the prime reasons being her dual role here in X. She plays an aspiring adult performer who is travelling with a small cast and crew to the middle of nowhere to make a new movie, hopefully beyond the prying eyes of the law and anyone else. Given that the opening scene of the movie, reminiscent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which is one of a number of clear influences), sees police encountering a scene of death and carnage, we can guess that this group of people are heading into something nasty. In typical Ti West fashion, the film unravels at its own pace with tension and intrigue and the threat of violence growing step by step.

Mia Goth’s Maxine is joined by her McConaghy-esque Producer boyfriend, two other performers, and a director/assistant couple. They arrive at a nicer looking cabin in the woods in the Texas countryside owned by a wizened old farmer Howard and his equally decrepit wife Pearl, also played by Goth. Neither Pearl nor Howard seem like the most approachable people, but given their age it seems obvious that they aren’t much of a threat. Being a horror movie with Chainsaw vibes, we know that there’s more to the elderly couple than meets the eye. What’s cool is that we get this dual story in which we learn about both parties – the couple, and the porn team. We see the intentions of each side and wait for them to clash, and we are drip-feed little character moments which both heightens the immediate tension but makes each person fully formed.

This being a horror movie ostensibly set in the amateur porn world – yes, you can expect plenty of sex and violence. Once the gore comes, it comes thick and fast, and it is often of the sudden brutal sort which West is known for. Together with the pumping soundtrack and the near ludicrous nature of the antagonist, becomes a highly entertaining old-school popcorn movie, the sort of thing you almost need to see in a drive through with your partner, surrounded by cars filled with screaming, fondling couples. And yet it’s more – the performances are better than what you would have seen in those old-school movies, the characters more nuanced, the screenplay smarter. Out of the recent horror movies I’ve subjected my wife too, this is the one she has enjoyed most. With both Goth and West, and now a Wednesday famous Ortega on the rise, I hope to see more more these guys.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

Mortal Kombat

Jax Briggs Delivers a Gory Fatality in This New Clip from 'Mortal Kombat'!  - Bloody Disgusting

Every gamer has that one game, that one series, which truly sucked you into the hobby. Most of us end up having quite a few of these – those games which took over your life for a time and which felt like more than just another thing to play. For me, as someone who has been gaming since the Spectrum days, I have a tonne of formative favourites but Mortal Kombat is one of those which went beyond purely gaming. I was obsessed with games 1-3, learning the moves and fatalities for each character, reading the lore and imagining each character’s lives beyond the games. I loved the first movie and bought the VHS, I was excited for and disappointed by its sequel, and I even enjoyed the short lived TV show. Somewhere along the way I moved on to other things, the games rarely came to my console of choice, but I still hoped for more movies and shows based on the franchise.

Mortal Kombat is the latest in the long line of franchise reboots. Given the enduring popularity of the videogames, and a recent resurgence in its popularity, a reboot seemed inevitable. What’s interesting and commendable about the reboot, is the lack of a big name cast. Outside of Hiroyuki Sanada and Tadanobu Asano, the cast are lesser known stalwarts of TV and Cinema and convincing in their martial arts abilities. Several of the guys have a history in martial arts which helps the film feel less Hollywood and more authentic. The level of gore isn’t quite on terms with the ridiculous nature of the games, but there are plenty of visceral kills and moments which are apt given the game’s history, and not the sort of thing you tend to see much in a mainstream release these days. In terms of being authentic to the games, we have a roster of familiar characters to prop up the new character of Cole Young – essentially your Build A Character guy. It’s expectedly cheesy when people say things like ‘flawless victory’ and ‘get over here’, but that’s the nature of the beast.

With a world so messy and involved as this, it’s difficult to pick a single strand and run with it, while avoiding too much exposition. The writers know that most of the people watching this will have a background in the lore, but just in case, they have to do a little back story and world building. Opening with a fairly brutal scene set in rural Japan a number of centuries ago, a famous fighter’s home is attacked by a group of warriors. His family is slain and he has a final showdown with the group’s leader. It’s a bloody battle, but the fighter is killed. One infant was stashed away in an attempt to secure his bloodline. Flash forward to present day and we learn that one of the fighter’s descendants is an American, down on his luck MMA type. He also happens to have a birthmark which, we later learn, is mystical in nature and highlights him as one of Earth’s warrior champions. Every generation there is an intergalactic martial arts tournament known as Mortal Kombat, in which the best fighters from every realm, fight to the death, for glory, and for the protection of their worlds. Earth is on a 9 tournament losing streak, and if they lose a tenth, then all of the evil of the worlds beyond will have free reign on Earth and likely turn humanity into slaves.

This is one of the points at which the film fragments a little. The entire film, unlike the original, is set pre-tournament. Shang Tsung, the leader of the bad guys, decides to take out Earth Realms champions before they get a chance to compete, thereby giving the bad guys a drastic advantage. It’s a little like The Terminator, and is an idea which would have been cool to truly delve into. If they had focused on Cole and a smaller group of fighters, with no knowledge of why they are being hunting down by these supernatural warriors, I could have got behind that idea. Instead, Sonja and Jax already suspect Mortal Kombat and have been researching for years, Liu Kang and Kung Lao are veterans, and some of the good guys even know the bad guys. It feels like the writers wanted to tell a story, but knew they had to keep the fandom happy by throwing as many game characters on the screen. Kano is fully fleshed out and is a lot of fun, but the likes of Kabal, Mileena, Reiko, Nitara, are mostly there for fighting and killing purposes. Cole is a family man too, which I understand and lends him an emotional connection to the audience and to Scorpion, but if we were following the Terminator idea, it would have suited the plot better to simply have Cole as a seemingly random guy thrown into this world of stretchy mouthed woman and stalactite botherers.

The more crucial point, for me, is why Shang Tsung even goes through with any of this. If I was on a nine tournament streak, I’d be pretty confident that I was going to win the next one. The best of Earth’s warriors have clearly been beaten for many generations, so why would I assume they would be so tough this time? I get that there’s this prophecy about Scorpion’s offspring preventing the bad guys from winning, but if you’re aware of this prophecy, why not simply go full T2 and kill them when they’re kids? It feels a little clunky, and I think they could have introduced the world and characters without having to go down this route. I’d maybe have preferred the story to simply follow Scorpion’s journey without having the character of Cole whatsoever. In addition, the film almost ends feeling unfinished with Shang Tsung promising he’ll be back with armies. The final fights are good, but feel somewhat anti-climactic, and clearly prepped for a host of sequels.

It’s likely fair to say that most people are not coming to Mortal Kombat for the story. Most people will want the peripherals, a few familiar names, and then let them behead, punch, kick, stab, and uppercut each other into spike pits. As mentioned, there is plenty of gore which evokes some of the series fatalities and the fights feel swift and visceral, and are more akin to the Eastern action movies such as The Raid rather than a Marvel movie. Even with the fantastical elements, it still feels grounded in using your body and your physical ability to overcome your enemy. In that respect, it’s a very traditional martial arts film which just happens to include four-armed monsters, thunder gods, and resurrected fire ninjas.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Mortal Kombat!

Scream 3

*Originally written in 2003

Scream 3 » Promotional Gallery, Posters and Art | HelloSidney.com

Scream 3 was not the most well-received film in the trilogy, either by the fandom or the critics, and yet it’s a film I had a lot of fun with at release and which I have a lot of nostalgic fondness for. By the time Scream 3 came out, the meta-approach era of film-making was coming to an end and charms and tricks and novelty of the prior releases admittedly don’t feel as fresh in this one, but the film-makers know this and instead push the film in a more humourous direction filled with guest stars, as they attempt to coherently wrap up the trilogy’s story.

Opening in typically shocking fashion with the killing of an established star – this time a longstanding character of the series – we then meet up with the rest of the gang. Sydney, traumatised by the events of the last few years, is living in isolation for her own safety and sanity, and working as a crisis counsellor, Gale is still doing her reporter thing, while Dewey is working in Hollywood as a consultant for the new Stab movie. When one of the cast of Stab is murdered, this triggers a local Detective to bring the gang back together to work out who is doing the killing this time, what their motive is, and what it all has to do with Sydney.

While Scream 3 is probably the least satisfying of the series, it’s the fastest paced, and leans into the inherent silliness which has been a hallmark of the trilogy. It is meant to be over the top, it tries to make convoluted tie-ins to the existing lore, and both Craven and the cast seem to be having a whale of a time. As always, Neve gives a fine performance and is committed to the character even if she may seem to be tiring of the role. Cox and Arquette are always fun, especially when together, and we have surprise cameos from previous stars and from Hollywood big hitters which brings a lot of laughs, head-nodding, and even a tear to the eye in one particular instance. The new cast members range from cannon-fodder to potential new favourites, but the focus is on our central trio.

While the audience interactive guesswork is still part of the package, it’s not a primary concern and instead we increase the amusing and gory kills. It lacks the genuine scares of Parts 1 and 2, but has its moments, such as Sydney’s creepy dreams of her mother. It’s very much a film about family, and while its attempts at emotion in this respect don’t always pay off, they are worth highlighting considering it’s a film which is at least 30% spoof. This is what has always set the series apart from the other countless slashers of the era – we feel for the characters, especially Sydney, and we want to see them live (and hopefully not have to fight) for another day.

Let us know what you think of Scream 3 in the comments!

Bill & Ted Face The Music

Bill & Ted Face the Music': Third Time's a Most Excellent Charm, Dude – Rolling Stone

Growing up, there were a handful of movies that I repeatedly came back to not only on my own, but with friends; Predator, T2, Wayne’s World, and the Bill And Ted series. Even in this age of any and all commodities, however barely remembered, being remade or franchised to further dilution, I never imagined I’d see a Bill & Ted sequel. Sure, we’d had the short lived animated series, and every few years we’d hear a rumour of a new script being proposed, but it seemed like the ship had sailed. No-one was interested in rock music any more, never mind movies about rock music, so why would anyone take a chance on releasing a movie which was barely marketable?

Yet here we are, decades later, with an older and somewhat wiser Bill and Ted tasked with saving the world, again. What’s more, the prophecies outlined in the previous movies didn’t really come to pass. Bill & Ted’s band had some success, but like most guitar bands of the era, they split up and are now seen has has-beens barely able to play in a bar to 20 people. They’re still married to their respective babes and they even have daughters, daughters who also aspire to being kick-ass musicians, but all is not rosy; there’s a chance their wives may leave and there’s a chance the world may end. Enter the daughter of Bill and Ted’s old pal Rufus, who takes the lads to the future where they learn that, if they don’t write the perfect song by that evening, all time and reality will collapse. Bad news. There is also a time-travelling Terminator robot sent to destroy them. Luckily, they have their own time machine to try to travel to potential futures to hear the song they haven’t written yet, while their daughters use another time machine to go back and recruit some of the greatest musicians of all time. It’s incredibly convoluted and seems ready to fall apart at any moment.

And yet, it works. It knows it’s silly and it leans into the ridiculousness of it all. It’s funny, it’s nostalgic, and most of the cast members from the originals return. It’s a bit of a shame that the music isn’t great and that they didn’t lean into how metal has changed in the years since the early 90s, but my overriding thought is that I was happy it even existed at all and that it isn’t crap. We still have plenty of modern bands and artists making an appearance, but the script is less interested in the name-dropping and culture surrounding the music. Reeves and Winter initially seem a little awkward in their roles, but this seems to shed over the course of the film and they eventually revel in it. The returning performers equally enjoy themselves, and most of the newcomers are fun too.

The film will likely be completely bewildering for any number of factors to anyone who has not seen the previous movies, but it was made for the fans and those fans should get plenty of enjoyment out of this belated sequel. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Christmas At Castle Hart

Christmas at Castle Hart (TV Movie 2021) - IMDb

Top of the morning to ya, and other things us Irish folk don’t actually say. Who knows, maybe those weirdos down South of the border do, but up here you’re more likely to get a side-eyed glance followed by a rapid fire WHATABOUTYEBIGLAWDWHATAREYAAFTER? Yes, you are correct; Lacey Chabert has finally brought her Hallmark movies to Ireland!

Lacey and her sister work together as (I want to say…) waitresses, but are fired for making fun of their boss while their boss is standing behind them. Christmas is coming, the girls have nothing better to do, so they decide to fly off to a small village in Ireland to look into their family routes. It’s all very charming and quaint and the locals take the girls Americanisms with good spirits, and before long they’re snooping around the local Castle. Screwball misunderstandings occur, and Lacey and her sister finds themselves pretending to be high class event planners so that they can help the local Earl (Stuart Townsend) run a Christmas party at the Castle. As the girls plan for Christmas, they become more entangled in the myth they’ve created, become closer to the men and women of the town, start developing romantic feelings for some of them, and grown guilty about living this lie.

It’s standard Hallmark fair – festive, light romance, pretty people, a harmless plot and cast, gentle humour, and it is all wrapped up neatly with a bow for a heart-warming ending. The positives are Lacey and the rest of the cast, the novelty of having the film somewhat close to me, and having the film set outside one of the major US cities. It’s something which these kinds of movies have been doing ore of recently – taking familiar stories and giving them a very slight cultural twist by situating them in another Country and showing off some of the scenery. This being Ireland… we don’t get a lot of snow, so it was amusing seeing the fake frosting and snow covering the streets and houses on screen, and most of the Irishisms which are made are done are responded to in a withering fashion by others in the cast. These films never feel super-Christmasy, but they have become a festive tradition in themselves and gives me and the missus a break from the usual Die Hards and Rare Exports.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Christmas At Castle Hart!


Tusk (2014) - IMDb

Say what you will about Kevin Smith, but you can’t deny what an interesting career he’s had, a true American Dream for the modern world. Ignoring his work as a writer, comedian, podcaster etc, and purely focusing on him as a director, he came from nowhere with Clerks which cemented him as an up and coming Indie darling. His first phase saw him releasing cult hit after cult hit, ending with Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back. His next phase saw a big budget failure, a sequel, a return to his cult type comedies, and a buddy cop movie. Then he turned his eye towards horror, something few could have anticipated, with Red State being an interesting exercise in satire, and Tusk which is… something else entirely.

Born out of an idea from one of Smith’s own Podcasts, Tusk stars the ever game Justin Long as an obnoxious clout follower, a Tom Greene for the new Internet Age. He courts controversy (the Not See Party) and seemingly makes his money by exploiting and making fun of online and real-life idiots. A step above your average Insta-Influencer then. He’s an all round jerk, treating people like NPCs and even his beautiful, devoted girlfriend played by Genesis Rodriguez. For his next episode, he is travelling to Canada to interview a kid who became a fleeting online sensation when he filmed himself accidentally cutting off a limb in the midst of some samurai sword swinging. When his trip is derailed, he instead finds himself lodging with the mysterious and storied Howard Howe who wishes to share some of his sea-faring tales. Unfortunately, Mr Howe is more than what he seems.

Tusk is an odd movie – the whole turning a man into a Walrus is the least unusual thing. For strange for me was the critical divide and reaction. I fully expected critics to not enjoy it, but I didn’t expect that so many would be so bewilderingly upset or sickened by it. It’s not particularly shocking, it’s clearly a comedy with a bit of a horror twist, and it’s so ridiculous that to be so morally offended by it you must similarly be dumbfounded by a toddler farting in your lap. I can only assume the critics are so closeted and precious that they’ve never experienced the real world, never mind the various lewd fantasies which creatives can dream up.

More odd are the characters themselves, and the associated performances. Michael Parks is extraordinary in his dual roles, playing different versions of Howe at different times, while Johnny Depp shows off and seems to be in a different movie from everyone else, hamming things up more than what is required. Elsewhere, Smith’s writing is as characteristically sharp as ever with the dialogue being snappy, the speeches being affecting, and the whole exploitation angles growing more prescient as each new person decides to turn to an empty online world for fame and acceptance. There just happens to also be a bit about legs being amputated and skin being stretched so that an old wrong can be rectified.

It’s not Smith’s best work, but it’s another example of him trying something which few others would, and being better at it than he has any right to be. Let us know in the comments what you think of Tusk!


Darlin' (Crítica de cine) - Terrorbit

It was a tragic loss to the Horror world when Jack Ketchum passed away, back in 2018, doubly sad because he remains fairly lesser-known outside of the most obsessive fans. Over the course of his career, he penned many a gruesome tale of violence, rarely dipping his toes into the supernatural and instead focusing his witty and unflinching eye over the extreme fringes of the North American family unit. In the 90s, filmmakers saw the untapped potential in his works and began adapting for screen. Viewers and critics were suitably disgusted and delighted and equal measure. Perhaps his biggest hit came in 2011, when long-time fan and friend Lucky McKee directed The Woman, having co-conspired on the book of the same name. The Woman was the Pollyanna McIntosh led sequel to Offspring and continued the story of a cannibal living in the Northeast of the USA. Darlin, concludes (maybe) the story and picks up a number of years after the events of The Woman.

You can probably get away with watching any entry in the trilogy without knowing anything about the other films, or the books. They stand alone fairly well, but knowing the history of the characters and world definitely helps in your potential enjoyment. Pollyanna McIntosh returns as The Woman once again, this time riding shotgun in front of the camera so that she can direct. The first thing that is obvious about the direction and the script is that this is, and I hesitate to use the word ‘lighter’ given the material, but it is a funnier film. There wasn’t much to laugh about in The Woman, but Darlin works well as a comedy in places. When McIntosh is on screen, she is treated, perhaps uncomfortably, as a bit of a Freddy Krueger icon in the Elm Street sequels. She’s still terrifying, she’s still mostly mute, but her interactions with certain characters and the situations she finds herself in, from sitting in a car to leading a ragtag group of homeless people, are all amusing. I was expecting another grim tale with little redemption or light, but I found myself enjoying the character play as much as the gore gags.

We open with some vague nods to events which have transpired since the end of the last movie, before a teenage girl (one of the daughters from The Woman, now grown up) appears at a hospital and is hit by an ambulance. She is messy, dirty, and feral. The hospital cleans her, tries to communicate with her, and eventually sends her to a nearby Catholic Boarding school. At the School, the staff try to turn her into a regular member of society, help her reclaim her speech, and teach her in the ways of the Catholic God (read – sexually abuse her). While she meets some sympathetic staff and kids, there is a history and system of abuse which members have been quiet about. The top dog is horrified when he learns that the girl, now called Darlin, is pregnant.

If you’re familiar with the lore of the world, you’ll know that the cannibal family needs babies to keep their line alive, and they’re not picky with how they get them. We learn in flashbacks that previous attempts to grow the family met with tragedy, leading to The Woman sending Darlin to hospital, so they could ensure her baby was born, and so The Woman could take it. While Darlin has been learning how to become a human again, The Woman has been watching, following, and killing anyone who gets in her way. She strikes up a loose partnership with some other women who think they want to be part of a revolution, and it all comes to a head at Darlin’s (insert weird religious ceremony).

The film is not as grim as the last two, and as mentioned, has an amount of humour that I wasn’t expecting. Also unexpected was the performance of Lauryn Canny as Darlin – an exceptional, and hopefully breakthrough showing where she is perfectly believable as the confused, traumatised girl coming to grips with her past, present, and potential future. She’s the star of the movie, and more than deserves praise, attention, and future hit roles. Elsewhere, fellow Walking Dead alumni Cooper Andrews plays a pivotal part, Nora Jane Noone is as good as always, and Bryan Batt ably fills in as the slimy, hands-on Bishop.

While you can take or leave the social commentary aspects of the movie, it’s worthwhile calling out that Darlin isn’t just a story about a bunch of cannibals clashing with society. Like much of Ketchum’s work, even though this isn’t a Ketchum original, it has something to say about Othering, about civilized society, and about who the bad guys really are or whether or not there’s much difference between civilization and barbarity or good and evil. The blood still flows freely, though it isn’t as bleak or cynical an outlook as what you would typically find coming from Ketchum’s brain, and in McIntosh we have an accomplished actor showing she can be equally interesting as a writer/director, and a breakout star in Canny.

Let us know what you think of Darlin in the comments!

Christmas In Rome!

Christmas in Rome (TV Movie 2019) - IMDb

Welcome back to our annual Lacey-thon. As another year winds down to oblivion, I skim my channels and streaming services in search of an unseen, Christmas, Lacey Chabert vehicle. Recently, she seems to have been doing quite a few on location films, set in Italy, or Africa, or Ireland, though you can be fairly certain they’ll still have a Christmas or romantic theme. No prizes for guessing that Christmas In Rome is set in Italy.

Which is why this one feels a little less festive than others. Most of these Christmas movies are clearly filmed in the Summer, with obviously fake snow and cinema magic to trick you. In this one, we don’t even get the fake snow (because it’s Rome) and the overall Christmas vibe isn’t really there. It’s still set in the run up to Christmas, there are presents, there’s a Christmas tree… but really it could be set at any other time of the year.

Lacey stars as a tour guide for a Company in Rome who is fired in December for refusing to follow the plan/going off grid/being incompetent. In the opening scenes we think she’s going to be one of those stock rom-com incompetent yet loveable disasters, but it turns out she’s actually very good at her job and that the Company has been holding her back. She’d love to start her own Company for bespoke, non-Tourist trap movies but doesn’t have any money or experience. Meanwhile, in the US a hot-shot pretty boy who seems too smug and smarmy and possibly Patrick Bateman-esque to love, has been tasked with travelling to Rome to seal a big deal for his firm. It is revealed that he is pretty bumbling and unaware that other cultures exist (which is strange given it is later related that her did some art courses at university, so you’d expect he’d know something), and before long he bumps into Lacey. Antics ensue, he offers her a week job as her personal tour guide so that he can quickly learn enough to charm the pants off Franco Nero and buy his Company. Love blossoms etc.

Beyond the lack of festive spirit and outside of the inconsistent character writing… it’s fine. It’s cool to see the locations, there are some interesting cast surprises, Lacey is her usual self, and you know you’ll get a happy ending. There’s quite a bit of ‘well actually, in Italy people do this’ preaching which is a little silly, but it’s not a film you come to for sparkling dialogue or shocking revelations. It’s a Christmas romance, set in Rome, where it doesn’t feel very Christmasy, where everyone gets to live happily ever after.

Let us know in the comments what you think of Christmas In Rome!

I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House

31 Days of Horror #18 – I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016) – The Main Damie

Oz Perkins has four features to his name so far, this his second effort after the generally well received The Blackcoat’s Daughter. While I appreciated the atmosphere and look and idea of that film, I felt that it lacks scares, direction, and it failed to have the impact on me that it did on others. In I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House, I can essentially copy and paste those exact comments and be done with the review. I write more than is necessary though, so here we go.

The film has something of a dual narrative, but mostly follows the experiences of a live-in nurse who stays in a grand old house to attend to the palliative care of an elderly horror writer suffering from dementia. The nurse, Lily, is an odd one; prone to flights of fancy, talking to herself, and with an aversion to anything spooky. In haunted house fashion, strange things start happening. In horror movie fashion, the protagonist does nothing about it.

Meanwhile we learn that Iris, the writer, wrote a story about a man who murders his wife and buries her in the walls of the house. So far, so Poe. Iris refers to Lily by the name of the murdered wife, Lily begins to notice mould on one of the walls of the house, and… well, you see where this is going.

I’ve no idea if the movie was supposed to be so telegraphed or if the ending was intended to be a surprise. In any case, none of what happens is a surprise, even as details are drip-fed and we crawl backwards at the inevitable conclusion. I didn’t have issues with the glacial pace, but the lack of scares, of tension, and the abundance of emptiness suggests that the film would have been much more suited to being part of an anthology or a TV episode rather than a feature. It’s a story which will be familiar to every horror fan, and if it’s horror fans that the movie is targeted at then the lack of scares and pacing will likely frustrate.

As interesting as it was to see Paula Prentiss back on screen, Ruth Wilson is horribly miscast, the incessant mumbling and whispering becomes irritating very quickly, and by the time the 30 minute mark ticks around and you’ve worked out both the tricks and the conclusion of the story, you’ll spend the remaining time clock-watching. The initial gloss and beauty of the film is rotted by the director’s pretensions, the atmosphere set up for a tension between threat and loss acquiesces into monotony, and the early promise of an interesting setting and hope for a modern take on an old-fashioned ghost story fades as quickly as my interest in whatever Perkins does next.

Let us know in the comments what you think of I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House.

After Midnight

After Midnight On Shudder- The Perfect Valentine's Horror Movie - Signal  Horizon

I’m such a man; a beer-swilling, football-watching, chair-sitting man with an unnecessary amount of body hair for the most enlightened primate species. It’s my natural inclination to run aghast from any romance-oriented media. Romantic Comedies are all but banned in my house and as a child whenever Blind Date came on the TV, I would go outside and murder tramps instead.

Every so often though, I’ll be in the mood for something a little kissy, huggy, or heartbreaky, but which doesn’t involve sticking your fist down your trousers. You won’t find me reaching for a Diane Keaton flick, or whatever the modern counterpart is (presumably an older Diane Keaton), but if the film has some sort of supernatural or sci-fi slant I’ll begrudgingly give it a go. After Midnight is one such instance.

I picked After Midnight primarily because of the talent involved, my general positive experiences of their previous work, and the fact that the cast and crew always try something different. Plus, it has the same name as one of my favourite Horror Anthologies. Jeremy Gardner directed the delightful The Battery, and writes, stars, and directs here. Brea Grant has been in a tonne of cult shows and movies over the years, and Producers Benson and Moorehead have been involved in the V/H/S series, The Endless, and one of my favourite movies of 2014 – Spring – which is even more of a love story than this!

The story unfolds in a scattered fashion, from present day to various points in the past, as we follow Jeremy Gardner’s Hank who seems to be battling both booze and something creepy in the dark. In between beers, he reminisces about his past love Abby, who has apparently left him for reasons unknown. By day, he sits in his giant yet barren and unkempt house or travels in to town to barely reconnect with friends, all the while drinking, all the time remembering Abby. By night, he is seemingly stalked by a creature which is either trying to get into his house, or to get him. Is it a figment of his imagination or his booze-fuelled haze? Are the locals messing with him? What happened to Abby? Why do I enjoy it when the description presented above makes it sound a bit shit?

Well, it’s all very intriguing. It also has one of the best written and acted scenes I’ve seen in recent years, as Jeremy Gardner and Brea Grant sit and drink and ponder their past, their future, and what lurks beyond. The story unfolds without a care in the world and rather than being a study in romance or an outright horror movie, it feels much more like a paranoid character study using a monster as a metaphor for the outside forces and feelings which surround the maelstrom of any relationship and what can happen if you fail to address them. Slamming the door shut won’t make them go away, yet confronting them may cut you to shreds. Grant and Gardner have a wonderful, realistic chemistry and will dialogue and performances sometimes touch on the mumblecore side of things, everything feels as close to the bone as the jaws of a beast on your arm. It’s not going to be for everyone; if you’re a hairy horror boy like me, you might be dismayed by the lack of scares or the pace. If you’re looking for a happy romance, you’ve come to the wrong house. If you want an honest and forthright glimpse into messy relationship woes with a touch of Jaws thrown in, then perhaps After Midnight is something you’ll love.

Let us know in the comments what you think of After Midnight!