April 23, 2011

Filthy Review - I Spit On Your Grave (2010)

I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

Review by Jude Felton

I'll start of this review by clarifying a couple of things, then we'll move on. Yes, I Spit On Your Grave is a remake of the 1978 movie of the same name, which was also known as Day of the Woman. Do we need a remake of it? Purely irrelevant as this film has been made and released, if you don't want to watch because it's a remake then don't watch it, no one is forcing you to. If it's okay with everyone I will now just move on to the 2010 I Spit On Your Grave and review the movie on its own merits, and not dwell on what has gone before. I am not writing a comparison piece.

Jennifer Hills is a novelist from the big city who heads out to the peace and quiet of a cabin in the woods in order to write her next novel. Unluckily for her some of the locals have a little too much free time on their hands. Their idea of a good time is to put Jennifer through a truly shocking ordeal of sex and violence, one that will create a violent retribution that has to be seen to be believed. Aside from a relatively gentle opening first act I Spit On Your Grave is a brutal and nasty film throughout much of its running time.

Although I do think that this is a good movie I found myself asking a few questions as I was watching it. The movie is packaged and advertised primarily featuring Jennifer, whether she is holding a knife, a pair of gardening shears or just staring menacingly at the camera. However, for a large chunk of the middle section of the movie she is almost forgotten as a character, let alone the main charcter. Instead the action focuses on the perpetrators of the heinous crimes and how they react to the events that have played out up until that point. Was Director Steven R. Monroe trying to illicit some sort of sympathy for the local yokel rapists? I for one did not care one iota about their worries and fears or how they were dealing with what they had done. I wanted to see vengeance struck down with furious anger. That being said, on the other hand, it was an interesting plot device that kept me interested in how events were going to play out, even if I did find it a little frustrating.

As you might expect from a movie with this subject matter it is an exceptionally dark film, one that is very much a horror movie rather than a revenge thriller or even the more lurid style of an exploitation flick, and a well made horror flick at that. It's cold and merciless throughout and doesn't imply any violence, rather it forces itself upon you in all its gruesome glory. The film itself also gets darker in the visual sense as it progresses as well, you just know bad things are coming and its as if the film is warning you of this.

I should also give credit to all the cast involved as they all give very convincing performances and portray the horror on screen very convincingly. Sarah Butler who plays Jennifer and Andrew Howard as the local sheriff being the pick of the pack for me, both their performances were raw and very real. Where the filmed failed slightly for me in the acting department was the portrayal of the three friends/attackers. Although they played their parts well they occasionally came across as a little cartoonish in places. This isn't a movie that needs any levity and they came dangerously close to giving us that at times.

All in all though if you want to watch a uncompromising, and at times almost unwatchable, excursion into violence and retribution you could do a lot worse than watch this. Yes it is a remake, but it is one that stands proudly as a very good movie in its own right.

Review by Jude Felton

Filthy Review - F

There was a time where kids were always the victims, often relentlessly pursued by a lone (for the most part) killer, they were purely fodder to help fuel our bloodlust. Even in movies that tried to put a twist on events they still had the staple diet of teenage death. Now the tide is turning and, although there have been films throughout the years that have featured murderous young scoundrels, it seems that the kids are out for revenge.

The latest to turn the tables on the adults is F from director Johannes Roberts, and is a movie that has seemingly been ripped from the pages of a lurid tabloid newspaper. If 2008's Eden Lake, which features a vacationing couple tormented by a group of vicious teens, took the horror to the countryside then F drags a very similar premise kicking and screaming into the inner city school setting.

Robert Anderson (a quite excellent David Scofield) is a teacher who is assaulted by a student forcing him into a short leave of absence from his job. During that time he hits the bottle hard whilst scouring the papers for news of other such assaults in schools around the country. Estranged from his wife and daughter, who is also a pupil at the school he works at, he eventually returns to work. Scared and bitter, and under the influence of his drinking habit, he takes out his frustrations on his daughter putting her in detention after school. It's here where events start to take a turn for the sinister, as the school comes under siege from a gang of hoodie wearing psychopaths.

Although slightly reminiscent of movies such as Eden Lake, Them (Ils) and even Assault on Precint 13, F manages to be a quite effective little thriller. The internal quarrels between father and daughter are offset perfectly against the all too real horrors that could quite possibly be the end of them. The cast is fleshed out well with plenty of potential victims, other students, janitors, security guards and the school Principle amongst others are all present and accounted for and ready for action.

F is an impressively taut movie which does keep your attention and there are plenty are gruesome, in some cases quite heartbreaking, scenes during its short (76mins) running time. That being said though F is not without its flaws. The attackers here all seem to be professional gymnasts that manage to leap and glide all over the place, rather than the thuggish offspring they really are. Who knows, maybe they are gymnasts? Also, a lot of the violence does occur off screen with the movie cutting from the initial assault to scenes of the aftermath of the attack. That being said it really does not take away from the ferocity of proceedings.

All in all though F is a decidely superior addition to the so-called hoodie horror subgenre and also comes complete with a climax that rivals Eden Lake and Cherry Tree Lane in its power.

Review by Jude Felton

April 22, 2011

There Be Trolls Coming!

TROLLHUNTER is the story of a group of Norwegian film students that set out to capture real-life trolls on camera after learning their existence has been covered up for years by a government conspiracy. A thrilling and wildly entertaining film, TROLLHUNTER delivers truly fantastic images of giant trolls wreaking havoc on the countryside, with darkly funny adherence to the original Norwegian folklore.

TROLLHUNTER will be available on Magnolia On-Demand May 6th (http://www.magpictures.com/ondemand) and in theaters starting June 10th

Starring: Otto Jespersen, Hans Morten Hansen, Tomas Alf Larsen 
Writen and Directed by Andre Ovredal 

IFC Snap Up Evil Santa Flick

Another score for IFC films? Let's hope so

New York, NY (April 21, 2011) - IFC Midnight announced today that the company has acquired U.S. distribution rights from sales and production outfit XYZ Films for director Dick Maas’ evil Santa film SAINT. The deal includes a theatrical component and was made prior to the movie’s North American premiere in the Cinemania section at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. Maas wrote the screenplay for the picture and produced with Tom de Mol. Starring Huub Stapel, Egbert-Jan Weeber, Caro Lenssen, Bert Luppes and Escha Tanihatu, the Dutch film will premiere tonight at 9:00pm at the AMC Loews Village 7.
An original and delightfully gruesome slasher film, SAINT re-imagines jolly old Saint Nick as a murderous bishop fulfilling a grisly prophecy under the December full moon. Packed withcreative yuletide horror, SAINT is a fun chiller that follows local teen Frank (Weeber) as he sets out on a bloody, high-energy battle to save Amsterdam from the wrathful “Sinterklaas” and his minions.
Jonathan Sehring, President of Sundance Selects/IFC Films, said: “Dick Maas has created a high-octane, extraordinarily chilling film that is truly unlike anything we’ve seen before. It’s sure to make a huge splash with audiences at the Tribeca Film Festival.”
The deal for SAINT was negotiated by Arianna Bocco, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films with Nate Bolotin of XYZ Films on behalf of the filmmakers.

April 20, 2011

The American Nightmare

The title to this piece should probably have been called The Canadian Nightmare as American Mary is coming from Twisted Twins Productions.  This is the very came team that brought us the wonderfully titled Dead Hooker in a Trunk which apparently upset one narrow-minded Canadian into defacing advertising for a screening, this in turn caused a theater to shelve a planned screening of the movie. Sad don't you think that a company would cave-in in such a manner?

Twisted Twins, who are the Soska Sisters Jen and Sylvia, next picture is American Mary, as you can see from the quite gorgeous teaser poster above. You can check out the teaser trailer below, as well as one for Dead Hooker in a Trunk. No news on a release date yet, but I will be sure to update once I find out.

As for Dead Hooker, you can pick that up on Region 2 import here.

Amercian Mary Synopsis
From the creative team that brought you the indie-smash film Dead Hooker In A Trunk - American Mary is the story of a medical student named Mary who is growing increasingly broke and disenchanted with medical school and the established doctors she once idolized. The allure of easy money sends a desperate Mary through the messy world of underground surgeries which leaves more marks on her than the so-called freakish clientele

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April 18, 2011

Feeling The Hatred - Them Or Us Closes The Hater Trilogy

David Moody, author  of the Autumn series, has revealed the cover art for his novel Them or Us. Them or Us closes the trilogy that started with Hater and Dog Blood. The book itself will be available November 8th.
You can read my review of the first book, Hater, here.
The war which has torn the human race apart is finally nearing its end. The population has been devastated and the world reduced to a poisoned, rubble-strewn ruin. With most towns and cities now uninhabitable, and with the country in the grip of a savage nuclear winter, both Hater Unchanged alike struggle to survive through each day.

Hundreds of Hater fighters have settled on the east coast in the abandoned remains of a relatively undamaged town under the command of Hinchcliffe – a ruthless bastard who’ll stop at nothing to eradicate the last few Unchanged and consolidate his position at the top of this new world order. This fledgling society is harsh and unforgiving – your place in the ranks decided by how long and how hard you’re prepared to fight.
Danny McCoyne is the exception to the rule. His ability to hold the Hate and to use it to hunt out the remaining Unchanged has given him a unique position in Hinchcliffe’s army of fighters. But as the enemy’s numbers reduce, so the pressure on McCoyne increases until he finds himself at the very centre of a pivotal confrontation, the outcome of which will have repercussions on the future of everyone who is left alive.
A year ago, Danny McCoyne was an overlooked nobody living a miserable, empty life. Today it’s down to him alone to make a crucial series of decisions and decide who prevails. Will it be them, or us?