Monday, July 31, 2017

IT: Chapter One (2017)








DIRECTOR: Andy Muschietti

WRITERS:

Chase Palmer
Cary Fukunaga
Gary Dauberman

CAST:

Jaeden Lieberher
Finn Wolfhard
Jeremy Ray Taylor
Sophia Lillis
Jack Dylan Grazer
Chosen Jacobs
Wyatt Oleff
Bill Skarsgård
Nicholas Hamilton
Owen Teague
Jackson Robert Scott

PLOT:

In the Town of Derry, Maine. Local children from the area have been disappearing one by one. When a group of seven misfit and bullied locals band together, they form The Losers Club. They must try and put a stop to a horrifying monster that takes the form of a clown. The creature is known as Pennywise The Clown, and he feeds on the fears of children. They must try and stop him before they too go missing and put an end to his horrific reign for another twenty-seven years.







I remember being roughly six years of age and seeing the iconic image of Tim Curry as Pennywise on TV one night. Holding balloons and standing in the middle of a lake. With an evil laugh and the point of a finger, I was immediately terrified. It wouldn't be until ten or so years later that I sat down to watch the miniseries of IT. As a teenager, it had sort of lost all that scariness that I had built up in my mind from seeing him as a kid. While I enjoyed the miniseries, it sort of fell short at that time due to the hype that I built in my head from when I was a kid.

When it was first announced that they'd be rebooting a big screen adaptation of the much beloved and terrifying Stephen King novel. I was pretty damn excited. I loved the idea that they were planning on two chapters. The first would handle The Losers Club and then the second chapter would follow the group as adults. Just like it was in the TV miniseries but with a break in between. The announcement of Cary Fukunaga as director was the icing on the cake. When he dropped out, and Andy Muschietti took over the helm, I was a little concerned. Not because I disliked him as a filmmaker, but I was worried about trouble behind the scenes.

With Cary Fukunaga now replaced as the director. I was still excited to see how Andy Muschietti would tackle the source material. I remember reading a few articles stating that Cary wanted his vision for IT to be darker and more disturbing. While I would like to one day see just how dark his screenplay would have been. After seeing the new IT film adaptation. The movie is an almost perfect film for me. I couldn't think how much more Cary Fukunaga would improve on this film. After a year and a half of waiting, all that hype had paid off.

As someone who hasn't read the original source material. I can't compare this movie to Stephen King's novel. I don't know how closely this movie follows the novel. Going off of the movie alone, this is one of the most enjoyable experiences that I've had in a cinema in years. Not since Mad Max: Fury Road and Jurassic World have I felt so alive during a screening. Weird to say as all three movies are so wildly different and it feels odd to mention IT as an enjoyable experience due to everything being so dark within the film, but that's how I felt during this story. At two hours, it never felt long for me.

IT not only works as a scary horror movie but also an excellent coming of age story. As a huge fan of another of Stephen King's movie adaptations Stand By Me. Not since that film have I been so moved by a group of kids onscreen. The entire experience of being a kid trying to make it through school, being bullied, finding your voice and also finding that group of friends that you feel like you could pass the days and weekends with, is all over this film. The movie while being set in the eighties, Andy Muschietti really does capture the innocence of that time. This is filled with nostalgia.

When it comes to being a scary horror movie. For the most part, IT worked very well. Bill 
Skarsgård as Pennywise had big shoes to fill by following in Tim Curry's footsteps, but here he has successfully done the character of Pennywise justice. I think that he's even better and surpasses Tim Curry. I know that's a blasphemous thing to admit. He has created a horror icon for an entirely new generation of horror fans. It feels like he was completely consumed by Pennywise. It has excellent moments where the tension and suspense are built up to the breaking point. I thought the building of tension here was a lot more successful than the scenes that feature quick and loud jump scares.

The only problems that I had with IT revolved around some of the Pennywise scenes. For the most part, he is terrifying. There are a couple of scenes in the movie that are played straight that fall into an almost unintentionally hilarious territory. This being a scene where Pennywise bursts out of a projector screen and is five times his regular size and a moment where he is seen dancing drew laughs from the audience. I think a couple of the issues that I found fall back on some less than stellar CGI. But I have been wrong before, and it may have all been done practically. I just felt on my first viewing, these moments took me out of those scenes.

When it comes to the violence. IT will not disappoint. Gorehounds will be happy with the violence and gore on display here. Not only is this movie extremely gruesome but most of the violence that takes place is against children. I'm still shocked that a large studio didn't shy away from a lot of the carnage on display here. Children are shot in the head, dismembered, slashed, and beaten. There is one scene involving a sink and a geyser of blood that was the highlight here. Not since the original, A Nightmare On Elm Street has there been a blood fountain like the one in IT. Bloody goodness.

Another element of IT that I'm shocked to see tackled in a big-budgeted studio horror film are the scenes of Beverly Marsh and her father. While never shown, the hints that her father is molesting her had me so uncomfortable. I was actually squirming in my seat during a few of those encounters. The packed audience that I saw this with was also incredibly uncomfortable as you could hear people being grossed out all through the rows. I loved that this film seemed to show the entire adult population of Derry to be really unsavoury characters. This felt like it only strengthened the bond between The Losers Club.

Lastly, the acting in IT is standout. I'm not going to list all of the actors, but all seven of The Losers Club are fantastic. I haven't seen performances from a group of young actors this tremendous since I watched Let The Right One In and its remake Let Me In. The actors playing Bowers and his group of bullies are represented perfectly. You hated them as they tortured and abused The Losers Club. I've already said how much Bill 
owns his role as Pennywise. The entire cast of this movie will have long careers if they choose to stay on this path. They are all fantastic.







DEATH TOLL: 6

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Pennywise is seen holding a severed child's arm.
- A headless and charred child chases a kid through a basement.
- Someone is stabbed in the throat with a pocket knife.
- A child's arm is bitten off.
- A child is shot in the head with a captive bolt pistol.
- Pennywise is stabbed in the face with a metal pole.
- A young girl is drenched in blood when it bursts out of her sink.
- A teenager carves the letter H into a child's stomach.
- Lot's of rotting and dead children are seen.
- A father attacks and attempts to molest his own daughter.
- A kid is repeatedly punched in the face.
- A teenager is hit in the face and head with rocks.
- A teenager is pushed down a well to his death.
- Pennywise attacks and mauls a teenager.
- A child's arm is broken when he falls through the floor.
- Pennywise bites down on a child's face, drawing lots of blood.
- A man is smacked in the head with toilet tank lid.
- A door opens to reveal a child chained up and split in half.
- A child is chased by a leper.
- A child is slashed across the stomach with a piece of metal.








You can all rest easy knowing that the new IT has lived up to all the hype. Not just a beautifully made horror film but an extremely emotional coming of age story. Filled with a fantastic young cast and a career-catapulting performance from Bill Skarsg
ård who owns his role as Pennywise the Clown. You won't be disappointed. Minus the few unintentionally silly moments of CGI that took me out of the moment. This is pretty much close to perfect. This will go down as one of the best Stephen King adaptations to date. Can't wait for Chapter 2.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Raw (2017)








DIRECTOR: Julia Ducournau

WRITER: Julia Ducournau

CAST:

Garance Marillier
Ella Rumpf
Rabah Nait Oufella
Laurent Lucas
Joana Preiss
Bouli Lanners
Marion Vernoux
Thomas Mustin

PLOT:

Justine is a young woman who is going to veterinarian school. When she gets to the school, she has to undergo several hazing rituals that require her to be put through her paces to see if she is able to handle the hardships of veterinarian school. When she is made to eat meat after being vegetarian her entire life, it awakens her blood lust for human flesh. She must control this new hunger but does this run deeper in her lineage than just a sudden urge?







I remember hearing about Raw in May of 2016 when it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. The buzz for the movie was overwhelmingly positive. The movie was said to be a disturbing look at a young woman who discovers that she is, in fact, a cannibal. From the early previews, the movie looked very weird but visually stunning and well acted. I was really excited to see the film. Now a year later, I finally got to see Raw and what an experience.

From the opening scene of Raw, I was immediately hooked. We see a young woman walking down an empty, tree-lined country road. As a car approaches, she jumps out in front of it, causing this car to crash into a tree to avoid her. The scene is incredibly jarring as well as intense and sets the tone for the rest of this incredibly dark movie. This was utterly unnerving from that very first moment, and it stayed that way for the duration of the running time of Raw.


Once Justine arrives at veterinarian school, things go from bad to worse. Raw is like this slow descent into madness. We watch as this somewhat shy and reserved woman who is also a vegetarian goes from not eating meat to craving human flesh. The film handles Justine being conflicted with her sudden interest in cannibalism very well. At times, I was uncomfortable and uneasy whenever we saw Justine start to give into her bloodlust. We never knew where things would go when she started to fall victim to her craving.

Having the film set in veterinarian school also lends this movie a morbid but vibrant beauty. At times, this feels like a high-school movie with all the hazings, the endless parties, the pranks, the drinking, the premarital sex, the experimentation. I thought these scenes were also a lot of fun and gave this somewhat disturbingly dark tale of cannibalism a bit of levity. This movie does go to some extremely dark places, and I thought these scenes counterbalanced a lot of the darker subject matter.

Where Raw had me really invested was the relationships between Justine, her sister, and her gay dorm mate. I thought the relationships in this movie were all fantastic. I cared for every single one of the main three characters even if I didn't agree with all the subject matter on a moral level. I really enjoyed the fact that the film dealt with these two sisters who both suffer from this hunger for human flesh. At times, there clashing had me on the edge of my seat. A scene towards the end in front of their fellow students is brutal.

The one moment in Raw that really got to me and actually had me frustrated is when the gay character ends up sleeping with Justine. He does freak out later on and puts her on blast in front of everyone when she tries to make sense of the night that they spent together, but I really found this scene to take away instead of add to the story. I know they did this to set up the friendship between Adrian and Justine who has a tight relationship with her sister, and it will come back to haunt both of them in the third act, but it seemed so comfortable for this guy to just sleep with her even if he spends most of the movie with men.

Visually, I found Raw to be gorgeous. The cinematography is stunning in this movie. I found every scene in this film to have this unusual beauty to it. The film is vibrant all the way through. I think due to the heavy themes, you'd expect this to be extremely dark in tone and while a lot of the themes really do disturb, I think this film's use of colour is excellent. Julia Ducournau is up there visually with fellow French filmmaker Gaspar Noe when mixing visuals and colours into their dark storytelling. That's what I got from this film on a visual level.

When it comes to the horror elements, Raw really got under my skin. Hearing early reports of people fainting and throwing up during early screenings is a pretty solid marketing tactic. While it may be true, I find it hard to believe when most of these reports come out of screenings. Raw never really got to that place for me personally, but this still had some genuinely gruesome moments. A moment involving scissors, wax strips and a woman's anatomy had me almost wincing. A few scenes involving dead animals being cut open also looked incredibly realistic. The makeup and gore effects are standout in this one.

Lastly, the acting in this film is deserving of award nominations. This is the first time I've witnessed actress Garance Marillier, and she is phenomenal as Justine. Some of the things that she does in this movie I would consider brave. Ella Rumpf as Justine's sister Alexia is fantastic. I loved that her character was merely cool and as she slowly reveals herself, she becomes the almost-villain of the film. I didn't know if I should love or hate her and Rabah Nait Oufella as Adrian was my favourite. I guess I could relate to him on a level more so than the two sisters. I thought his performance was conflicted and I really felt for him the most.







DEATH TOLL: 4

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A woman drinks blood from a car crash victim's head wound.
- A dissected horse is shown.
- A dead dog is cut open.
- A woman bites into a raw chicken breast.
- A woman vomits up hair.
- A woman pulls her entire arm out of a cows arse.
- Two men are killed in a car crash.
- A man's thigh is shown to be half eaten.
- A chunk of a woman's cheek is bitten off.
- An entire class of students is drenched in horses blood.
- A girl is forced to eat a rabbit's kidney.
- A woman is shown dead on a stretcher after a car crash.
- A woman's finger is cut off with a pair of scissors.
- Close up of a woman licking a guys eyeball.
- A girl is covered in bloody rashes.
- A woman eats her sister's severed finger.
- A woman bites a man's lip and eats the chunk of flesh.
- A woman chews on her own arm during sex.
- Two sisters bite each other's arms.







I'm still thinking about Raw a week after watching it, and I think that is a clear sign of how much I enjoyed it. Raw delivers award-winning performances and is so morbidly beautiful to watch. I was completely invested in the characters. The movie managed to get under my skin. It's gruesome and violent. To say that this film is an enjoyable experience is the wrong thing to say but to say I was completely taken by it and put under its disturbing spell is the best thing I can say about Raw. A stunning debut from Julia Ducournau.

Friday, July 28, 2017

The Devil's Candy (2017)








DIRECTOR:
 Sean Byrne

WRITER: Sean Byrne

CAST:

Ethan Embry
Shiri Appleby
Pruitt Taylor Vince
Kiara Glasco
Leland Orser
Tony Amendola
Jamie Tisdale

PLOT:

When a struggling painter, his wife, and their pre-teen daughter purchase a rural old farmhouse. The family are informed that the previous owners had died in the house. Due to the home selling for such a low price, they decide to buy it. One night, the son of the previously deceased owners shows up and claims that it's his home and that he wants to return. After this short meeting, things start to turn sinister, and there may be darker forces at work.







I still remember sitting down in a theatre here in Australia back in 2009 and watching director, Sean Byrne's first feature film The Loved Ones. After the movie had finished, I remember turning to my friend at that moment and telling them that we may have just witnessed a masterpiece of Australian horror filmmaking from a director that we will need to keep a close eye on. The Loved Ones was violent, deranged and at times darkly hilarious. I fell in love with that film.

The Loved Ones came along at a time when Australian horror was having this sort of resurgence of excellent and quality genre movies. We had the terrifying Wolf Creek a few years prior that sort of blew up on the festival circuit and was a home-grown hit. We also had the bleak and brutal crime horror film Snowtown which put the 'bodies in a barrel' murders on full display. All three were low budget, gritty and extremely dark. All have grown to become masterpieces of Australian cinema in my eyes.

Cut to six years later. The year is 2015, and I hear early rumblings that director Sean Byrne has made a new film. The Devil's Candy plays at a few festivals but completely disappears. Listening to an interview with Ethan Embry and Sean Byrne, we discover that Sean Byrne is quite the perfectionist and we finally get his sophomore film eight years later. Once the movie is finally released, I hear a lot of positive word of mouth around the film from critics and horror fanatics. This made me incredibly excited to watch his new movie.

After I sat down to watch The Devil's Candy, I was left a little underwhelmed with the finished film. I think the overly positive word of mouth and the extremely long wait to finally see it. It just didn't live up to all of the hype that I had for this film. That's not to say that this is a bad movie by any means, it's actually a very dark and well-made slice of rural satanic horror. I just expected to be giving this one a nine or ten, and it falls just short of that. Still, it's a film that deserves to be seen. I think this will make lots of top ten lists come years end.

My favourite element of The Devil's Candy is the family dynamic and the relationship between the three of them. I really enjoyed the father and daughter's bond. I'm not exactly a metal fan, but I loved watching this father and daughter share their love of metal music and connect by way of it. I thought that was a neat little touch. If Sean Bryne does something right, he makes us really care for this family. We spend all this time with this family that once the shit hits the fan, we want to see the three of them escape. This all falls back on how well the characters are written.

When it comes to the satanic panic side of things. I think this film is really well done. Religious-themed movies have become so saturated in the realm of the horror genre that it all looks and feels very much the same. It's now rare that we see a religiously themed horror movie that feels original. For most of The Devil's Candy, the plot felt like I hadn't seen this sort of story to date. It felt unique to me. Using metal music to drown out the devil's voice that was slowly taking over our lead character and villain was a nice touch. I also enjoyed that they were connected by two different art forms. I thought the painting and metal music elevated the story.

Where The Devil's Candy let me down was those final ten minutes. While not exactly predictable, the movie descends into familiar territory. The movie closes in a bloody showdown between villain and family, and it felt like the sort of ending that I'd seen in other horror films. For most of the running time, I was left on edge by where the story was going, but once the two come colliding together, I felt a little let down by the ending. It starts off promising with a few gut-punches where I thought certain characters were shockingly killed off but they sort of do a cop out in the end.

Another big issue in the third act was the poorly done CGI. We have a scene where our villain decides to burn down the families house with everyone inside. He sets a staircase and a bedroom on fire to kill the parents, their daughter, and himself. The scenes are created with the help of computers, and the entire scene looks incredibly fake. We also have our villain burning to death, and instead of going practical, they burn him alive with CGI, and it really took me out of that moment. While it's not a significant issue, it still felt lacklustre.

The acting is excellent. Ethan Embry has become quite the fantastic actor lately. I remember being a teenager and enjoying him in comedies like Empire Records and Can't Hardly Wait. I'm glad to see him tackling much darker roles. Ethan Embry feels like he is at a career best here. Shiri Appleby feels underused. She is excellent in the scenes that she's in, but I felt like her character wasn't used enough. Kiara Glasco as the daughter is fantastic. She gets put in some horrific situations for a young actress, and she smashes it out of the park here. Lastly, Pruitt Taylor Vince as the villain plays evil brilliantly. He's played his fair share of villains, and this may be one of his very best and creepiest to date.

Lastly, when it comes to suspense and scares, The Devil's Candy was well done. From the very first moments, we begin to hear the voices that are talking to our villain, and this happens all through the movie. The evil voices alone put you on the edge of your seat. I thought they were genuinely creepy. The Devil's Candy never tries to dish out jump scares and is more occupied in building dread and suspense. I think it does this somewhat successfully. I believe this is also helped in the way that Sean Byrne sets up these sequences. A lot of gorgeous cinematography is used effectively during all these moments.








DEATH TOLL:
 5

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A guitar is smacked into someone's head.
- A woman falls down the stairs and dies.
- A child is smacked in the head with a rock.
- Two people are shot.
- Two police officers are smacked in the head with a rock.
- Someone is repeatedly punched in the face.
- Someone's head is bashed in with a guitar.
- A police officer is crushed in between two cars.
- Someone is kicked in the face.
- Shots of someone mopping up blood.
- A finger is shoved into bloody bullet wound.








The Devil's Candy is a movie I waited eight years to watch. While the film is a worthy follow up to the brilliant The Loved Ones, it sadly falls short of Sean Byrne's excellent debut. What it does successfully is breath some originality in the religious horror sub-genre. The film is heavy on the character development which makes us care for all of the characters, and the performances are excellent. The movie loses points for Shiri Appleby being underused and the final ten minutes which felt very formulaic.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hounds Of Love (2017)








DIRECTOR: Ben Young

WRITER: Ben Young

CAST:

Emma Booth
Ashleigh Cummings
Susie Porter
Stephen Curry
Damian De Montemas
Harrison Gilbertson
Steve Turner
Liam Graham
Lisa Bennett

PLOT:

Vicki Maloney is a seventeen-year-old high school student who decides to sneak out of her house to attend a friends party. Little does Vicki realise that this predatory and sadistic couple are out driving around looking for their next victim. Offering to supply her weed and a lift to the highway, they drug and hold her captive. Vicki soon realises that she'll have to drive a wedge between this cruel and evil couple if she ever plans on surviving her ordeal.

 





Here in Australia, we have our fair share of monstrous serial killers. One such couple David and Catherine Birnie are well known for being two of the worst in our short and dark history. While Australia is filled with hot weather and gorgeous beaches, we still have a seedy underbelly. While the two never racked up a significant death toll, they still had murdered four women aged between fifteen and thirty-one. The crimes were known as the Moorhouse Murders.

Hounds Of Love is loosely based on these crimes. The film details the events of the last murder and their final victim who managed to escape the evil couple. While the movie indeed takes liberties with the case and story, this is to add some emotional weight to the movie. We also have the parallel story of the victim's parents that are trying to find their missing daughter. The two stories come crashing together in the end. Don't be fooled though, this is one incredibly dark story.

Back in 2011, there was an Australian movie released called Snowtown. It was based on the 'Bodies in the Barrel' murders which happened in South Australia. It had this realism to it. Using mostly unknown actors in the lead roles was a stroke of genius. Sean Byrne's 'The Loved Ones' was a brutal yet colourful little horror film that was about obsession and revenge. Hounds Of Love feels like a mix of those two brilliant films and can now sit amongst them as a new classic in the Australian horror genre.

The movie takes no time at all in getting into these horrible events. We see a young teenage girl jump into a car in the mid-eighties, and we suddenly cut to a shot where we see a dark room that looks like the windows have been blacked out, and a woman is cleaning up bloody tissues. This is only the beginning. Over the next hour and forty minutes, we witness some pretty heinous stuff. To call Hounds Of Love, an enjoyable experience would be a lie. This wants to show the worst of humanity, and it succeeds. This gets under your skin and will stay there for a lot of viewers.

Once Hounds Of Love had finished, I actually felt emotionally drained. Just like I did with Snowtown. The movies aren't grotesque in their display of gore or violence. It's just being repeatedly put in a situation where things just keep escalating, and we get no real relief. Both situations were based on actual events and being so close to home make the situation even more horrific and heartbreaking. Both movies also have this realism to them. This isn't violence that is glamorised, this is ugly and terrifying.

One element that I loved about Hounds Of Love was the production design. Being set in 1986, I was watching closely to see how this little Australian horror movie handled all of the production design closely and they did that incredibly well. Witnessing those old eighties/nineties Telstra phone boxes, the classic model cars and even the design inside the houses brought back so many nice memories of when I was growing up. I knew and remembered all those things. I was in love with how this film looked. Even the soundtrack catered to the time.

Now we come to these performances. Come AACTA time, I can see all four principal actors getting award nominations or win. Emma Booth and Ashleigh Cummings are standouts. Emma Booth as the evil and vulnerable Evelyn who goes along with her husband's sadistic plans all because she feels threatened and is jealous and wanting attention should secure her the best actress. Ashleigh Cummings is Vicki. She is the tortured young high school student, and her acting is brave. The things she has to go through are tough to watch, and she makes us feel for her character every step of the way. A stunning performance.

Stephen Curry will probably get the most award recognition here in Australia due to him being known mainly for comedic roles, and here he is doing a John Jarrett and delivering a dark and twisted turn as John. By the end of this film, I hated him, and he succeeded in giving us a cold and calculating killer. Susie Porter who is one of the most underrated Australian actresses is great in a smaller role as Vicki's mother. She has a few devastating scenes, and I felt for her. The scene where she is on the street screaming for her daughter devastated me. Another excellent turn. How hasn't this woman been scooped up by Hollywood?

Lastly, when it comes to the movie being scary, this isn't about jump scares or loud noises. Hounds Of Love is incredibly intense. This movie has a few extremely nerve-wracking sequences where we think our young high schooler might escape and these scenes had me on the edge of my seat. The film will surely have a lot of people biting their fingernails. I think more often than not, I was made to feel really uncomfortable during most of this movie. A very taut piece of debut filmmaking.
 







DEATH TOLL: 2

BLOOD AND GORE:

- The aftermath of a school girl's murder. Blood tissues.
- A teenage girl is drugged and chained up.
- A teenage girl defecates to prevent herself from being raped.
- A woman is beaten.
- A dog is kicked and stomped to death.
- Someone is repeatedly stabbed in the stomach.







Ben Young can now join Justin Kurzel, Sean Byrne, and Greg McLean because he has crafted a horrific yet stunning piece of Australian horror cinema. With a debut movie like this, I can't wait to see what he does after the brilliant Hounds Of Love. The film is gorgeously filmed, has a great soundtrack, is excellently acted, incredibly intense and extremely disturbing at times. Hounds Of Love now joins a long list of fantastic pieces of genre cinema that are making their way out of Australia. Just another film that proves we are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to horror.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Kong: Skull Island (2017)








DIRECTOR: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

WRITERS:

Dan Gilroy
Max Borenstein
Derek Connolly

CAST:

Tom Hiddleston
Brie Larson
John Goodman
Samuel L. Jackson
John C. Reilly
John Ortiz
Toby Kebbell
Shia Whigham
Corey Hawkins
Tian Jing
Richard Jenkins
Thomas Mann

PLOT:

A team of scientists, soldiers, a tracker and a photographer, are sent to the uncharted Skull Island. When they arrive, they quickly discover that they have ventured into the domain of the Mighty King Kong. A giant ape who doesn't take too kindly to the group invading his island. When the group is left to fight for survival in this uncharted land, they will soon realise that Kong is the least of their problems. The island is inhabited by a range of creatures that pose a much larger threat to the group than just Kong.







I will be the first to admit. I have never been a massive fan of the whole King Kong film series. I saw the original as a kid and much-preferred things like Jurassic Park growing up. I think the original King Kong was a little too slow for me at the time. It didn't hold my attention. When I went to see Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, I wasn't impressed. A great cast couldn't save what was a pretty messy experience for me. It was a far cry from his earlier genre films and his Lord Of The Rings series. So when Kong: Skull Island was announced, I was weary about the latest incarnation of the mighty creature.

When the first trailer debuted for Kong: Skull Island, my anticipation grew. I wanted to see this film on the big screen. I was excited. It wasn't until the full-length trailer was released where they began to expose more of the comedic side of the film and that's where alarm bells started ringing for me. My anticipation for the film dimmed. I think I wanted something more serious that was more in line with the latest Godzilla. I was scared this was going to play things for laughs, and I didn't want to see that in a Kong film. I wanted a serious Kong movie.

After walking out of Kong: Skull Island, I can safely say that this is a very fun movie. While Skull Island isn't perfect and has its faults. This is a seriously enjoyable action adventure. It's also now my favourite take on the story of Kong. I know the original is seen as something of a somewhat masterpiece and a groundbreaking piece of film, I won't dispute that at all but different strokes for different folks. I think this comes out on top for me. It's just such a fun slice of cinema that it nudges out the other couple of versions of Kong that I've seen.

First and foremost, Kong: Skull Island is gorgeous to look at. The entire film is just such a feast for the senses. This has to be one of the most beautiful looking mega-budget blockbusters I've seen in recent memory. Lots of slow-motion action, these stunning sweeping landscape shots and some genuinely amazing cinematography. I haven't seen anything that director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has done previously so I am unable to speak for his other films but as a director here, he is made for this type of film as this is one fantastic piece of filmmaking on a technical level.

The visual effects in Kong: Skull Island, are also fantastic. You can tell there was a lot of CGI used with certain creatures, but I still think all the visual effects work was very well crafted here. Kong himself looks wonderful. I will even say that the effects work is the best I've seen in a Kong film. I know Peter Jackson and Weta spent a long time on their effects work but here, I think it was a monumental improvement. The mega Skull Crusher and Kong fight, the giant octopus fight were both real highlights. I also really enjoyed the helicopter ambush sequence, the most impressive action scene in the film for me.

When it comes to being a monster movie, Kong: Skull Island is exactly that. This is filled with some extremely creepy and dangerous creatures. I think this film will be one that scares a lot of smaller kids. Parents going into this thinking they will see a light-hearted adventure film will be sorely mistaken. The threat of danger is around every single corner in this movie. I don't think there was ever really any moment of peace in this film. The only time when we are given a moment to breathe is when we are introduced to John C. Reilly's character.

For a PG-13 or M rated movie, Kong: Skull Island seriously pushes its rating as far as it can go. While this is no Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom in terms of having a rating need to be created to cater to its violence, Kong: Skull Island takes it to the very limit of PG-13. We even have a Cannibal Holocaust homage in this film. People are crushed, blown up, smacked against rocks, thrown into a helicopter propeller, a character is even impaled. There is also a lot of creatures that are killed in the film. There is a moment with a giant stick insect that felt particularly mean-spirited.

The acting in this film is fantastic. Tom Hiddleston is a great leading actor and action star. I liked his role in this film a lot. Brie Larson is the Fay Wray, Naomi Watts and Jessica Lange in this film. However, we don't get one of those high-pitch screaming scenes. She has a very Ripley or Sarah Conner vibe in the movie. Samuel L. Jackson is the villain, and his final scene was a cheer-worthy moment, John Goodman is just so good in his role as the man who sets up the exploration to Skull Island, and John C. Reilly is the comic relief in this film. I thought, for the most part, he wasn't overkill.

Lastly, where Kong: Skull Island does go wrong is that there are quite a few cheesy moments here. There is the slow-motion scene with nasty birds and Tom Hiddleston where he is slicing and dicing them that was just this huge eye-roll moment. John C. Reilly's character is the one that drops the silliest one-liners and at times, I was just cringing during these scenes. We also see Samuel L. Jackson's character continuously putting people in danger because he wants to kill Kong. These scenes are tiring when he slowly descends into this maniacal madman. I was really waiting for the stroking of a moustache and him holding a cat.







DEATH TOLL: 52 (Estimated)

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Someone grabs a samurai sword with their bare hands.
- Soldiers are killed in helicopter crashes.
- A soldier is eaten by Kong.
- A soldier is hit with a helicopter.
- A giant octopus is ripped apart by Kong.
- Someone is squished in Kong's hand.
- A soldier is smacked against a wall and blown up.
- A ship's propeller is used to slash a Skull Crusher's neck.
- A scientist is pulled apart by a group of Pterodactyl birds.
- Soldier's are stomped on.
- Soldier's are crushed to death.
- A soldier is thrown into a helicopter propeller.
- Many people are eaten by Skull Crushers.
- A giant spider is shot to pieces.
- A soldier gets covered in a spider's guts.
- A giant stick insect is shot.
- A giant water buffalo creature is eaten.
- A Skull Crusher has its guts pulled out by Kong.
- A skull Crusher regurgitates a dissolved human skull.
- A man is impaled through the mouth by a spider's leg.

All violence is PG-13 rated.







I was pretty nervous going into Kong: Skull Island, I won't lie. The last few trailers were worrying me. I thought the comedy was going to kill this film for me. Luckily, I came out of Skull Island and really enjoyed the movie. This is action-packed, violent, well acted and the visual effects are excellent. This is my favourite incarnation of the mighty Kong to date. I can't wait to see what Jordan Vogt-Roberts delivers next as I could see him tackling something really dark or horror orientated.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Life (2017)








DIRECTOR: Daniel Espinosa

WRITERS:

Rhett Reese
Paul Wernick

CAST:

Jake Gyllenhaal
Ryan Reynolds
Rebecca Ferguson
Hiroyuki Sanada
Ariyon Bakare
Olga Dihovichnaya
Naoko Mori

PLOT:

A team of scientists aboard a space station orbiting Earth end up collecting a sample from Mars and bring it aboard. They hope that the life form will prove once and for all that extraterrestrial life exists on the Red Planet. It's when they start studying the life form which has been given the name of Calvin. They soon discover that the alien is a lot more hostile as it begins to kill the scientists one by one. The more this consumes, the larger it gets. They will have to try and contain the threat before it's too late.







I remember when I first saw the marketing campaign for Life, I was left somewhat disappointed by it. The first piece of poster art was just the three main actors heads on a blue background. It was a very cheap looking poster but didn't give much away. I assumed as an audience we were getting a Gravity like sort of science-fiction space adventure. It wasn't until watching the trailers where my anticipation started to spike for this movie. The trailers pointed out that this wasn't Gravity but more in line with Alien. This looked pretty intense. I was suddenly excited to see it.

Being someone that has created a blog and social media account that is dedicated to horror. I try and not get discouraged or overly hyped for movies because I spend a lot of my days reading a lot of opinions from fellow horror fanatics. Sometimes, I cannot help but get swept up in the all of that hype or even the negativity. I will still try and go into any movie with an open mind, though. Reviews, opinions and marketing can always seem to play a part in how I anticipate it and in Life's case, I can't deny once the reviews started coming in, I was left on the fence.

When I decided to finally sit down and watch Life, I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the finished film. While Life does have several problems, it's still a highly entertaining science fiction horror film. The movie isn't all that original and I can see why people have compared elements of this movie to that of the classic Ridley Scott film Alien. This feels very inspired at times by that film, and while it may never reach the heights of the original two Alien movies for me, it is still a wildly entertaining alien pursuing humans while trapped in space horror film.

What the story gets right for me is that this is intense from about the twenty-minute mark. The movie doesn't take all that long in delivering the shocks and surprises, and there are a few nasty ones in store for the audience. Once Life gets off of the ground and starts running, it never stops. The movie delivers on what it promises, and that's an extraordinarily suspenseful and tension-filled little space horror flick. What I think sets it apart from a lot of other movies in this sub-genre is that this one has a lot of bite. This takes it to some grisly places.

Life is solid on the violence and bloodshed side of things. While nowhere near on the same level as say, Alien: Resurrection or Event Horizon when it comes to gore. I was not expecting this rather large-scale space movie to have the balls to do a few of the things that it did in this film. The first kill scene is the highlight of this movie for me. It's brutal, it's unsuspected, and when it happens, it will likely knock the audience for a six. It's a very mean-spirited scene and sets the tone for the rest of the film. I think this will subvert a lot of people's expectations.

Before witnessing Life, I remember reading a lot of negative feedback on the alien life form or creature design. I didn't know what to expect at all. After seeing the movie. I was completely onboard with it. What starts off as microscopic turns into this hulking mass of tentacles that moves extremely quick and can crush a human. I thought the creature design was great and found it incredibly menacing. Not once did I ever feel at ease once Calvin escapes in one of the coolest uses of a life form suddenly growing intelligence and using it as a way of escape, I think it's one of the best that I've ever seen put on screen.

Another element that I really enjoyed were the visual effects. The movie is gorgeous to watch. All the scenes in zero gravity or the characters floating around the ship all looked great. While this doesn't have the same sound design or visual heavy scenes of Gravity, I still felt the film looked fantastic for a movie that is said to have a slightly smaller budget compared to a lot of these other space-set films. Coming back to the creature design, the visuals of that also looked really solid. It looked fantastic among all the actors.

The issues that I have with Life are some of the character decisions and a predictable ending. We have continuous moments where our scientists try to set traps for Calvin which keeps growing in intelligence and no matter the number of times they try, they still end up repeating their mistakes. This I felt had become very tiring and annoying. I found that I had guessed the ending as the plans started being set in motion. What I like about the end of the movie, though is that it's a dark one. I give the filmmaker and writers credit for ending the movie on an ominous note and not trying to deliver a happy ending in a big Hollywood produced film.

Lastly, the acting is solid for the most part. Jake Gyllenhaal is a great actor. I need to say the same about Ryan Reynolds. Both actors are great in their respective roles. I think the one performance that I didn't like in the film is Rebecca Fergurson. I can't seem to grow on her as an actress. I find her incredibly cold, bland, and emotionless. It's the same thought I had while I watched her in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. She didn't give much in the way of a performance in Life. I think this is entirely Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds movie.







DEATH TOLL: 4

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A man's fingers are completely crushed and broken.
- A man is sucked out of an airlock.
- An alien life form takes over a rat and consumes it.
- Blood pours out of a man's mouth.
- A woman drowns as her space suit feels with coolant.
- An alien life form enters a man's throat and chokes him to death.
- An alien tentacle is shoved down a man's throat.
- The alien life form tears off a man's leg, and blood pours out.
- A man is shown being consumed by a large alien life form.
 







Going into Life, it was hard not to have reservations. I went in after missing it at the cinemas, so I had seen the months of talk about the film online. Nothing was ruined for me, but I think what I witnessed online about the movie was more negative than positive. For me, Life is a hell of a lot of fun. It's fast-paced, the creature design is of top-notch quality, the visual effects are standout, the acting is excellent, and when it needs to get nasty and grisly, it does. Minus a few terrible character decisions and an ending I saw coming, I have to hand it to the filmmaker and writers for going out and ending this film the way they did. Life is definitely exploring.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Personal Shopper (2017)








DIRECTOR: Olivier Assayas

WRITER: Olivier Assayas

CAST:

Kristen Stewart
Nora Von Waldstatten
Lars Eidinger
Sigrid Bouaziz
Ty Olwin
Benjamin Biolay
Anders Danielson Lie

PLOT:

Maureen Cartwright is working in Paris for a high profile celebrity. Maureen works as her Personal Shopper. Maureen also works as a medium in her spare time when she isn't being ordered around to collect expensive dresses from large fashion boutiques by a lady she can't stand working for. Maureen also wants to make contact with her twin brother who passed away in Paris. When she begins to receive strange SMS on her phone, she believes she may be speaking to him from beyond the grave.







Firstly, I wanted to get this out the way before I started my review for the film. When Kristen Stewart signed on for the Twilight franchise, I feel a lot of people had already made their minds up about her acting. They made the assumption that she wasn't a very talented actress based off of a couple of movies. She signed on to do this series about glittering vampires, and the phenomenon that followed her may have put her on the map to the point where she even looked like she was hating every second of starring in those films.

During her stint over the four years that the films were released one after the other and her interviews in the media. You would have to be blind to not see that she was really uncomfortable with the attention that these films had brought her. I think a lot of people who had watched her in those films didn't really get that there was actually a talented actress in there who had proved herself with roles in larger budget movies and a handful of excellent indie films. The point I'm trying to make is that I wanted to start by showing some love to Kristen Stewart as I think she gets a lot of hate which I feel is unwarranted.

I usually wait until the end of my review to talk about the acting, but I think I'll start with it this time around. In Personal Shopper, we spend the entire running time with Kristen Stewart. I think there are maybe five shots where she isn't in the frame. This performance relies on her and her only. As I sat and watched this film, I felt like she delivered a pretty brave performance. I think the tone and her character displaying a hefty amount of grief throughout, I got that same feeling with this performance as I did with Scarlett Johansson in Under The Skin and Kirsten Dunst in Melancholia. It felt like a performance where the actress bared their souls.

I remember hearing word of mouth on the movie festival circuit that Kristen Stewart was doing a Supernatural film. Early trailers of the movie didn't inspire all that much anticipation from me. I decided to finally sit down and watch it in the right frame of mind. I had a glass of wine, I was comfortable and not at all tired. I knew this was going to be a slow burn sort of film and wanted to watch it while I wasn't tired as I would've probably watched it over the course of two or three nights if that interest was lost in it. I tend to do that if a movie doesn't grab my attention.

For the most part, I thought Personal Shopper was a good movie. Is this movie going to change the supernatural ghost story? No. With the amount of badly produced and directed supernatural films, this is a cut above at least ninety per cent of them. This film feels very personal. Instead of going for jump scares and loud noises, this is all about mood. The heavy doses of grief also add a bit more depth to this story. I end up watching a lot of crap, and I thought early on that Kristen Stewart as a medium sounded pretty silly but by the end of the film, I was sold.

I also really enjoyed the way that Olivier Assayas filmed this flick. Leave it to French directors to do long, lingering takes with no clear cuts. Just sit on an actress or one character and watch them as if they were being filmed in their real environment. We have entire sequences where we watch as Maureen rides around on a scooter through the beautiful streets of Paris. Or entire scenes of her just messaging someone on her phone. These long takes, and the location really added something to this film. This is not going to be a filming style for everyone, but I really liked this over quick cuts.

Where Personal Shopper lost points with me were just little things that I picked up on and the pacing. While I enjoyed the movie, for the most part, I'm never going to deny that there are scenes that dragged on. This is very slow burn, and you feel it at times. We also have a lot of scenes that feature Kristen Stewart's character messaging back and forth with an unknown person. What really annoyed me is that you are unable to message from an unknown number. You can call from one, but an SMS always comes through with the number. This felt like a bit of a stretch.

Lastly, is Personal Shopper scary? No. This movie is eighty-five per cent a drama and fifteen per cent supernatural. There are a few scenes in the film with a pretty poorly done CGI ghost, but I enjoyed watching Kristen Stewart acting in something darker like this movie. We have a few scenes that manage to be pretty eerie. We witness a scene that showed the aftermath of a bloody murder that played just as scary as any slasher or horror movie. I think the tone and mood served these scenes well. But will you be shielding your eyes from fear, no?
 







DEATH TOLL: 1

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A blood-soaked bed.
- A woman is found dead in a puddle of blood.
- Someone is shot outside a hotel.







I went in not knowing what to expect with Personal Shopper, and I came out enjoying this film. This is a movie that spends the entire time with Kristen Stewart's character Maureen, so if you aren't a fan of her, you will probably hate this film. The movie is held together by a fantastic leading performance by Kristen Stewart, the film looks gorgeous, and the mood is eerie. Where the movie does falter is that the pace is at times really slow, we have a few dodgy uses of CGI and scenes that felt more like goofs. Still, this is a film that continues to show me how talented Kristen Stewart is an actress and that she can carry an entire movie.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Berlin Syndrome (2017)








DIRECTOR: Cate Shortland

WRITER: Shaun Grant

CAST:

Teresa Palmer
Max Riemelt
Matthias Habich
Emma Bading
Lucie Aron
Christoph Frankin
Elmira Bahrami

PLOT:

Clare is an Australian photojournalist who is holidaying in Berlin, Germany. One day while out exploring the city, Clare meets Andi. He's a good-looking guy and quite a charismatic local. After a night of partying, they end up going back to his place and sleeping together. When Andi goes to work in the morning, Clare tries to leave his apartment and realises he may have accidentally dead-locked her in. She will soon discover that she was locked in the apartment on purpose and has no intention of letting her leave ever again. 








As someone who has an insatiable appetite for travelling the world. The plot for Berlin Syndrome is a scary one for me. It hits me on an emotional and personal level. While I never went through what Clare does in the film. I've felt the isolation and fear. While travelling through Greece. I was drugged while out on a night of clubbing, then driven to a deserted location, attacked and left with nothing but my shirt, undies, and high-tops. My passport with my new UK Visa in it, mobile phone and wallet were stolen. To come to it in the dark, while in a foreign country. It was terrifying.

I went into Berlin Syndrome completely blind. I hadn't seen any promotional material for this one at all before going into it. But just going off the title alone. I had gathered that this movie would be about someone who falls in love with their kidnapper. Berlin was going to be the location, and this title was clearly a play on the whole Stockholm Syndrome condition. I wasn't sure what route this movie would take, but I had a good idea of what this would be like on a tonal level. But boy was I very wrong.

I'm a fan of the film's director, Cate Shortland. I'm pretty familiar with her work being that she's an Australian filmmaker. I was a massive fan of her first movie Somersault. It was a very dark drama that showed a sixteen-year-old girl who runs away from her home and starts up a relationship with an older guy. It dealt heavily with themes such as her sexual awakening. It was also the first time I had witnessed the brilliant Abbie Cornish outside of a comedic role and where I first took notice of Sam Worthington. So I had faith Cate Shortland could give us something special again.

Berlin Syndrome is a movie that was a bit of a mixed bag for me. While I quite liked this movie, it's hard to say that this is a story that a lot of people will walk out of and love or even enjoy. Berlin Syndrome is one dark and unpleasant little movie. This is not a very lovely experience. While the first fifteen minutes of the film provides the audience with a sense of wanderlust and hope. That is quickly dashed when we start to get a sense that our lead character may have gotten herself into something that she can't get out of. The next hour and a half, while not exactly a harrowing film, it's still uncomfortable to watch.

For most of this movie. We witness a woman who is confined to an apartment, which appears to be in an abandoned building and she is emotionally and physically abused. Her identification and her passport are taken off of her, and she is simply left to fend for herself and suffer with a man she trusted. What I think the film gets right are the tone and atmosphere. Being that we are stuck with her as the outside world happily moves on, I felt that they captured this isolation well. I sat there wondering will her parents back in Australia ever try and find her? Will they call the authorities? But we never see that happen.

Another element of the film that I really enjoyed was the cinematography and visual aesthetic. For a movie that is so dark in tone and with its themes. I thought that Cate Shortland and her crew brought a very dream-like quality to it. Just like Somersault, there was still beauty to be found in such darkness and brutality. There is a moment towards the end of the film where Andi and Clare are in walking in the forest, and it was gorgeous. The seasons of Berlin are captured so beautifully. The visual works as a way to tell how long she has been left in this apartment.

The acting is also top-notch in Berlin Syndrome. Teresa Palmer is an actress that I've been watching for years. I think this may be her most daring role yet. Not only is she completely open when it comes to the sexuality side of the film, but she is also brave as some of the things she goes through are pretty horrific. Max Riemelt is also great in the movie. Probably the darkest character that I've seen him tackle. I really grew to hate his character. They both do their respected roles justice. It was great to see both delve into such dark characters.

Where I think Berlin Syndrome goes wrong for me is that the movie suffers from so many stupid character decisions. I can totally believe that after spending a night with a guy, he locks you in his apartment and you think nothing of it. There's this sense of trust there. Even on the second day, I would start to panic and realise something isn't right. After that, I'd spend the entire day trying to escape while he's at work teaching. She had and wasted so many opportunities to flee while he was gone for days on end and she just didn't try hard enough. This becomes seriously frustrating to watch as an audience member. It happens over and over again.

The movie also has a ton of things that made me really annoyed. There is one scene where she has her mobile early on, and there is no SIM. I'm under the understanding that most if not all mobile phones now have the ability to call all emergency numbers even without a SIM or no signal. The entire apartment looks made up to not allow a woman to escape like bulletproof glass or doors that are locked and reinforced. With eight hours to spare, she could have escaped over and over. I keep coming back to the point because I really felt they didn't show her trying enough. After three days she just gave up and subjected herself to his abuse.

Lastly, we have several subplots that end up going nowhere like one that involves a previous victim that doesn't get resolved or have much light shed on it. I thought the ending of the film while a happy one, felt like it just ended. After sitting through close to two hours of such darkness, I'd have liked a more well-written ending and another one involving Andi and his father. I know it's meant to lead Andi and tip him over the edge on making a decision that he was not sure about but it felt like a lot of that stuff could've been left out, and it wouldn't have hurt the film.
 







DEATH TOLL: 2

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A woman is held captive.
- A woman is dragged along the floor by her hair.
- A man's head is bashed in with a crowbar.
- A little boy is shown with a bloody leg.
- An old man dies of natural causes.
- A woman is hit in the face.
- A woman's fingers are broken when slammed in a door.
- A woman stabs a man in the hand with a screwdriver.
- A woman is seen covered in bruises.







Berlin Syndrome started out giving me this sense of wanderlust. It actually made me miss travelling. This film quickly becomes a dark and at times unpleasant experience. It's not an easy movie to watch, but I think it has enough positive elements to get it over the line. Excellent performances, some beautiful cinematography and a couple of really nasty moments should keep genre fans happy. Where the movie loses points is unresolved subplots, silly character decisions, and an unsatisfying ending which loses the film points. I think this movie will alienate and leave a lot of viewers feeling cold, but I think it's still worth a watch.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

We Are The Flesh (2017)








DIRECTOR:
 Emiliano Rocha Minter


WRITER: Emiliano Rocha Minter

CAST:

Noe Hernandez
Maria Evoli
Diego Gamaliel
Maria Cid
Gabino Rodriguez

PLOT:

A brother and sister who are trying to find food, shelter and simply survive in a ruined city come across a deserted warehouse. Inside the warehouse, they soon meet a man who has been living inside. He advises the siblings that he will provide them both with food and shelter, but it comes at a dangerous price. The siblings must obey his every rule and request if they hope to survive the outside world.







Where do we begin with a movie like We Are The Flesh? I remember hearing the word of mouth when the film played at a few horror-themed film festivals at the end of last year. The movie had received a pretty mixed response from all the reviews that I had read for the film. I was lucky enough that with all the word of mouth that I had heard regarding We Are The Flesh that nothing was ever spoiled for me. I remember a lot of people comparing it to the movies of Gaspar Noe and those were the comments that sold me on wanting to see this film.

After watching We Are The Flesh, I'm incredibly divided on this movie. This will be one of those films that separate the audience as well. There are elements of this flick that are worth marvelling over. On a technical level, this is just a gorgeous looking film. It is the colours, the cinematography and the use of several different filming styles and techniques that make this a film one that deserves to be witnessed for all that's going on when it comes to the visual side of the production. 

The other half of me is completely torn about what I've just witnessed. This feels like a movie that may need one or two more viewings to take everything in. There is so much going on in this movie that I won't even pretend to understand or comprehend certain things that are thrown at the audience. When I see something as original and surreal as this film, I tend to want to watch the movie again to see if I pick up more on the second viewing. This is where I'm torn on We Are The Flesh, I think once was enough. I don't feel the need to invest more time.

Coming back to Gaspar Noe, I am a huge fan of his movies. I own Irreversible, Enter The Void, and I Stand Alone. Even his sexually explicit film Love was one that I found to be a technical achievement. This first-time director seems very inspired by Gaspar Noe. I see it in the visuals, subject matter, dialogue and just how far Emiliano Rocha Minter is willing to go concerning pushing the envelope. This actually feels somewhat restrained and less harsh than Gaspar Noe, but I have a feeling We Are The Flesh is a movie that would make Gaspar Noe proud.

This movie deals with a lot of pretty unpleasant subject matter, and this is another element where I'm pretty divided on the film. I own both A Serbian Film and Salo: 120 Days Of Sodom and have seen both films several times. I found this movie to be as repugnant as those two when dealing with such subject matter as cannibalism, incest, unsimulated sex, rape, necrophilia and a lot of the imagery featured in the film. At times I was thoroughly grossed out and uncomfortable by what was being displayed on the screen.

The real sex scenes that happen in the movie are so in your face and frequent that it feels like they are beating you over the head trying to drive the point home. Early on we see our sister actually give the brother character oral on camera while the crazed man masturbates and ejaculates. We also have the scene where our sister character menstruates in her brother's mouth. This felt like it was all used for shock value more than anything else. I think these scenes were added to push buttons more than trying to actually propel the story forward.

When it comes to the acting in We Are The Flesh. The performances are all excellent from our three leading actors. To call the performances brave is an understatement. With some of the situations that the actors find themselves in, they really do deserve praise. Diego Gamaliel and Maria Evoli both give performances that are fearless. Noe Hernandez is given the most to work with, and he shines. He plays someone that has gone off the rails due to isolation and loneliness very well. He is also very sinister at times. He swings between so many different emotions that he is unhinged.

In terms of the violence, gore, and scares. This movie is actually pretty tame. While it does contain a bloody, cannibalistic orgy and one of the most gruesomely and realistic throat cutting scenes that I think I've ever seen in a horror movie, the movie isn't all that violent. This is really just more nauseating due to all of the gross sex that is here on display. The themes are taboo, and they really do overshadow the blood and gore. On a scary level, I feel this film isn't played for scares. We have a few scenes of mild tension, but that's it.

Lastly, I want to just mention a few things that didn't sit right with me. The ending of We Are The Flesh didn't make all that much sense to me. I've listened to a lot of other people's interpretations of the story, and even the ones that I read up on didn't even get the movie. We have scenes that take place that really don't ever get explained. I feel like they will play the surrealist and bizarre card but I think for a movie like this to work, it needs to have some semblance of a plot.







DEATH TOLL: 2

BLOOD AND GORE: 

- Someone is poisoned.
- A woman menstruates into a man's mouth.
- A man is shown with a bloody hole in his temple.
- A man's throat is slashed.
- Someone drinks blood.
- Scenes of cannibalism.







We Are The Flesh is a movie that divided me. On a technical level, this movie is quite gorgeous to witness, the acting is extremely solid, and just for sheer originality, I feel that it needs to be seen as movies like We Are The Flesh rarely ever come along. On the other hand, things don't always make sense here, and a lot of the scenes are just repugnant and gross. I was thoroughly uncomfortable at times which I assume is the intention. If you like Gaspar Noe, you may find some similarities in their work.