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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

New Release - We Are What We Are

We are what we are is the rarest of beasts, a macabre tale that has the power to delight and disturb in equal measures with its unique take on a family under turmoil. Unlike the majority of horror films that focus on the victims and their struggles against evil, this unflinching portrayal of cannibalism follows a family of killers and their struggle to survive in the harsh and unforgiving environment of the Mexican suburbs.

After the head of the family meets a gruesome end, it falls upon his eldest son, Alfredo, to take responsibility for the surviving members; his younger siblings and his grieving mother. Each of them have their own agendas and it is not long before these conflicting issues result in horrifying consequences for both the family and the people they prey on for food. The less known about the storyline the better, which is why my description of the plot is suitably vague, as the majority of the films more unsettling moments come as a complete surprise for the unsuspecting viewer.

Apart from Antichrist, this is the only film I have viewed where audience members have left the cinema during the more graphic scenes, and this certainly confirms that We are what we are is a very powerful film, not for the faint hearted but very rewarding for those that persevere. With cinematography on par to that of the hauntingly beautiful shots seen throughout Let the Right One In and a subject matter as realistically brutal as the gruesome deaths of the unsuspecting victims in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this is a perfect example of an atmospheric horror that chills you to the core by combining a stark yet realistic situation with unflinching scenes of violence.

The majority of modern horror films rely on cheap scares and shock tactics to batter the viewers senses and it is encouraging to see that there are still directors out there who clearly have a great respect for the genre and shift their focus towards creating a brooding atmosphere and a compelling storyline. This brave and accomplished attempt at reinvigorating a stale genre certainly marks Jorge Michel Grau as a promising director for the future and whilst We are what we are may not be the masterpiece that horror fans are hoping for, it certainly comes pretty damn close.


If you liked this you will enjoy these:

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1973)
Don't Look Now
Let The Right One In
The Devil's Backbone

Upcoming Films


If the film comes anywhere close to matching the intensity of the trailer we are in for one hell of a ride with Sanctum. Based on the true story of extreme sports enthusiasts whose potholing expedition goes awry, Sanctum has James Cameron on board as producer and with the claustrophobic environments involved, this has the potential to look incredible in 3D.

Like Dandelion Dust

Like Dandelion dust is a an emotional drama centered around two families and the conflict that arises when reuniting a child with his parents. On paper it doesn't sound that great but from the trailer and the positive critical response this is definitely one to watch out for come awards season. Ever since his fantastic supporting performance as Jackson in Saving Private Ryan, it was clear that Barry Pepper was destined for stardom, it has been a long journey, with a knock-out performance in The Three Burials starring alongside Tommy Lee Jones, but his time may finally have arrived with his portrayal of a father in turmoil.

The Way Back

After finally getting round to watching Peter Weir's incredibly haunting 'Picnic At Hanging Rock' I stumbled across the trailer for his latest film while reading up about the acclaimed director. Featuring a stellar cast in what appears to be a more traditional adventure story as opposed to the hugely popular comic book movies that dominate the multiplexes, The Way Back could turn out to be a very welcome breath of fresh air upon its release.

London Boulevard

Any gangster film starring Colin Farrell and Ray Winstone is almost guaranteed to be a sure-fire success, with Farrell's brilliant performance in In Bruges fresh in everyone's minds, this has the potential to be an absolute belter! Add Kiera Knightley to the mix and a fresh take on the ex-con routine drawn back in to his old ways, and then convince me that you don't want to see this film. Somehow, I don't think I believe you.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

New Release - The Social Network

At the end of the millennium David Fincher's visceral take on Chuck Palahniuk's novel 'Fight Club' defined a generation and, while it seems like only yesterday that it was released, eleven years have passed since Brad Pitt and Edward Norton contributed towards what is now regarded as a cult classic. Over a decade later the revered director has once more attempted to capture a moment in time, bravely deciding to focus his efforts on real events from very recent history, by filming a compelling drama based entirely on the creation of a single website that quickly became a worldwide phenomenon.

Jesse Eisenberg plays Marc Zuckerberg, the brains behind Facebook, and The Social Network opens with a snappy dialogue between Zuckerberg and a female companion that ends disastrously, allowing the audience to fully comprehend the social awkwardness surrounding the film's lead, and his motivation for the creation of his website. Assisted by a number of friends, most notably Andrew Garfield in a stunning performance that is reassuring to fans of Spiderman (Garfield is scheduled to play Peter Parker in the upcoming reboot), Zuckerberg utilises his computer skills to create an exclusive club for Harvard students that remains accessible to the less sporty members of the prestigious University. In doing so he unwittingly unleashes a social medium that begins to spread across America and  eventually over to Europe, as more and more students become obsessed with their online presence and the ability to check up on their friends, and more importantly their relationship statuses, wherever they are in the world.

There is no denying that The Social Network tells an incredible story, with Fincher's visual flair perfectly matched with the powerful soundtrack by Trent Reznor, especially in a standout rowing scene that is guaranteed to get your heartbeat racing, but the only downside is a lackluster ending which cannot really be levelled as a criticism, after all this is real life and the story will continue long after the credits are rolling. People familiar with Facebook will find a lot to love in this movie, the inspirational story is a great backbone to the character development as well as providing a very personal account of Zuckerberg's rise to fame. The humorous references to situations that most of the sites user's will have found themselves in are very effective and provide a perfect balance to the tension in some of the more dramatic scenes, as well as enabling the audience to connect with the film on a more personal level.

The Social Network is an engaging and provocative drama that may just make you think twice before you update your Facebook status in the future. I would recommend it to anyone who uses Facebook on a regular basis; you are guaranteed to give it the thumbs up.


If you like this film you will enjoy these:

Roger Dodger
The People Vs. Larry Flynt
12 Angry Men

Saturday, 18 September 2010

New Release - The Hole 3D

My first encounter with the world of Joe Dante was almost twenty years ago when i caught a glimpse of Gremlins at the tender age of fourAt the time I was horrified, but as I grew up it soon became one of my favourite films, instantly capable of transporting me back to a time when horror films used to scare me. I was hoping that Dante would be able to recapture this magic, and The Hole left me wishing that I was a pre-teen with a wild imagination once again, heading into a horror film for the very first time. This made me very jealous of the younger crowd in the audience as they were clearly stuck fast in their seats, horrified by the visions that unfolded before them - their silence spoke louder than any screams - and desperate for the frightening film to end. 

The nightmare begins when a single sprightly mother, her angst-ridden adolescent son Dane and nervous pre-teen Lucas move into a new house in a strange neighbourhood, only to discover a seemingly bottomless pit locked away under a trapdoor in the basement. Curiosity gets the better of the boys and it is not long before they lower a camera into the mysterious hole in an attempt to film the unknown, but, as video footage shows in one of the films eeriest moments, some things are better left undisturbed. 

After exploring the darkness underneath the trapdoor, the boys begin to be haunted by strange events, with the hole seemingly preying on their individual fears. This provides the basis for a number of scary moments which are quite effective considering The hole is aimed at a younger audience, but it is unlikely to have any impact on those familiar with recent scary films such as [REC] and Paranormal Activity. The story still remains intriguing enough to keep older viewers entertained for the most part, and could well bring back long forgotten memories of their first encounters with the world of the supernatural films. 

Horror fans hoping for a repeat of Gremlins will be disappointed, but that's not to say that The Hole should be dismissed; its constant references to classic horror films cannot replace the darkwarped humour that made Gremlins so watchable, but certainly adds to the experience for fans of the genre. Numerous scenes invoke connections to Poltergeist and The Gate, with the icing on the cake being a homage to the Hands of Orlac - a very under-rated thriller from 1935 - that I imagine will pass by unnoticed by the majority of viewers due to unfamiliarity with the source material, and they all serve to remind us that Dante is  an ardent horror fan and is not afraid  to wear his influences on his sleeve.

As a children's horror film The Hole is excellent but unfortunately it fails to surpass the genre classics such as A nightmare before Christmas and Gremlins due to the lack of appeal to an older audience. The story is fairly entertaining and the references to cult classics are a great addition to the film but they are simply not enough to keep older viewers fully engrossed for the ninety minutes running time. I would definitely recommend this film to families with young teenagers and children eager to be scared, as The Hole is a perfect introduction to horror films for those easily scared, and one of Joe Dante's more accomplished directorial efforts.


If you like this you will enjoy these:

The Gate