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New Reviews - PART II

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Posted 5th September 2009 at 01:12 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs

From french zombies to Argento's latest film.

Hi there again! Itís me, back once more to do the next 4 reviews of my Frightfest Ďjourney. Right, first off we have......

(LA HORDE, 2009; Yannick Dahan & Benjamin Rocher)

Now, for anyone whoís been keeping up to date with the recent wave of French horrors youíll know that France is now one of the leaders of the genre. It all kick started with Alexandre Ajaís Switchblade Romance (Haute Tension, 2003), a very slick clever little slasher with a twist that divided audiences. Now, ever since then, weíve had a whole load of extremely violent films that have pushed the boundaries of whatís acceptable. From the extremely disturbing and honestly frightening film, Inside (2007; Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury) to the gangster film meets gorno, Frontiers (2007; Xavier Gens) and, of course, the VERY VERY disturbing torture film known around the world as Martyrs (2008; Pascal Laugier). So, naturally I was expecting something along the same vein (although personally I believe Frontiers to be HIGHLY overrated). And Iím not completely sure if I got what I wanted.

But before I get into the review bit, letís me tell you what itís about. BASICALLY, it starts of with a couple of cops undercover I think, bursting into these derelict flats to kill some bloody criminals. Only, things donít go according to plan. Yep, thatís right. Zombies burst in unexpected Ė just like the Spanish Inquisition! And this is where lots of zombie goodness takes place...apparently.
Now anyone that knows me, knows I am absolutely craze about my zombies! I simply CANNOT GET ENOUGH! In my absolute honest opinion zombies are the best things in horror, even the supposedly bad films, I love! And what with the recent boom of zombie mania, from Land/Diary Of The Dead (2005,2007; George A. Romero), Fido (2006; Andrew Currie) and the upcoming Zombieland (2009; Ruben Fleischer) and Survival Of The Dead (2009; George A. Romero) as well as zombies invading TV Ė Dead Set (2008; Charlie Brooker) and the kiddies show Zombie Hotel (2006; Jan Van Rijisselberg)Ė literature as in Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (Seth Grahamme-Smith) and even zombie sweets, itís clear that the zombie has definitely come back from the dead in itís masses! Unfortionatly, I feel, that thereís something missing in this film that I cannot quite put my finger on.

Sure, the actions all there. Thereís plenty of action in this film! And itís not just zombies that the characters seem to be fighting, but each other (a rather nice and very enjoyable relationship is created when two opposing gangs are forced to work together). And thereís two scenes in particular that really are up there as being some of the best zombie sequences. However, with all these things FOR the film, whatís the problem? Well, itís weird Iím not quite sure. I think it may have something to do with [SPOILER] the film taking place almost completely with one setting [Spoiler Over]. Now this doesnít bother me most times, especially as I am in luv with films such as [REC] (2007; Jaume Balaguero & Paco Plaza) and Romeroís first 3 zombie films, Night/Dawn/Day Of The (Living) Dead (1968, 1978, 1985), itís just that, perhaps, it focuses TOO much on the characterís conflicts rather than blowing away some zombie brains as they groan and grumble which is a shame really. Itís just not as gory as I was hoping for, nor is it as fun, which I really like about zombie films.

Overall, Iíd recommend going to see it in the cinema, definitely. Donít get me wrong, it IS a good film. It just isnít as gory or as fun as I may have liked. It seems a little too polished for my liking and focuses to much on the characters rather than the main attraction of the film, The Horde of zombies! Oh and watch out for the scene where the main character forces his ethnic background into a guys head, so heíll NEVER forget it! Oh, and itís also excellently acted too, with the old guy stealing the show!

Iíll give it a 4/5. I think it will be better the 2nd viewing, when I know exactly what it will be like.

2009; Gregory Morin)

Since I know there are quite a few short film fans here (by which I mean people who enjoy short films, not nesceraily short people who enjoy films...yeah), I thought Iíd right a short review of the short film screened before. This was something special. It was basically a balls-to-the-wall, utterly crazy action film, centering around a newly married couple blowing away zombies, whilst destroying Paris as they go about their mission a la Team America: World Police (2004; Trey Parker). It just gets more and more and more and more ridiculous. Starting off with a miniature hand-gun, soon theyíre jumping off motorbikes blasting the zombies (and the city) with frickin rocket-launchers! This is just crazy! Check it out if you can find it.


(2009; The Mo Brothers)

Unlike the france, Asian horror, in my eyes, has declined over the past few years. Sure thereís been some absolutely excellent films including The Grudge (Ju-on, 2002; Takashi Shimizu), Ringu (1998; Hideo Nakata) and The Eye trilogy (Gin Gwai, 2002; The Pang Brothers), but after this cycle of the supernatural died out and gore became the main focus, I kind of lost interest. With films such as Meatball Machine (2005; Yudai Yamaguchi & Juníichi Yamamoto) and Tokyo Gore Police (2008; Yoshihiro Nishimura) which, I at least , feels that they focused TOO much on gore and trying to push Braindead (1990; Peter Jackson) of the top spot, and ultimately failing and turning into a so-bad-itís-good film. Although I do realise that Iím in the minority with these as they are hugely popular (Iím not saying their bad). And sadly, this film did not escape this problem. It tried so hard to be really bloody, so much so that the latter third of the film has blood EVERYWHERE on the floor. Whilst some people may find this to be cool, it seem's thereís only so much gore you can see until it becomes boring and repetitive (and Iím a gorehound!). The problem with these types of films is that you become completely desensitised to the blood, itís almost cartoonish and over-the-top. Itís neither disturbing nor shocking or gross, it just is.

However, unlike the other 2 Asian films previously mentioned, this does have quite a sane story line (as sane as a horror film can be that is!). It takes on the typical route of a ĎOur carís broken down, can we borrow a phone?í ĎOh come in. Stay for dinner. Then die one by one. Enjoy your stay.í Kind of thing. As clichťd as this is now, itís still an enjoyable and highly watchable narrative thatís been done so much, that audiences know exactly what will happen. This is not a bad thing at all.

The acting in this film was actually pretty good, obviously not Oscar-worthy, but címon who cares?! The main baddy was really excellent. She played up to the evil cow role VERY well, never changing her fixed facial expressions and moving slowly with purpose, almost like a female Jason Voorhees!

Overall, Iíd recommend this to fans of the recent Asian horror trend of Ďas-much-blood-as-possibleí (aka Grotesque (2009; Koji Shiraishi)) to watch this. Itís a lot of fun, itís never dull (the only bad film is a boring film) and thereís blood everywhere, just donít expect to be repulsed.



Damn I hate that title! The word Millennium has to be one of the worst words ever made. Luckily, the film is much better than the title! This was a rather interesting little film that is very different to anything else I saw those 5 or so days. Itís a much slower film (running at approximately 150 minutes) and is not what I would call a horror, but rather a thriller. Which is by no means a bad thing. In fact, I would even go as far as saying that this film is the Swedish equivalent of the beloved gialli.

The trouble with a lot of these films is that the plot can often be a bit hard to follow and keep track off. Whilst this film is not an exception to this problem it does still remain a very enjoyable and entertaining film. The basic plot of the film centres around a man, Mikael (Michael Nygvist) trying to track down a woman previously thought to be dead, with the aid of emo-lady Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace), or something like that! Itís a very clever film that may need more than one viewing in order to understand COMPLETLY the plot. Either that or Iím just stupid. (Most likely the latter).
But donít be put of my its slow pace, there are some really nice scenes in here, including [SPOILER] Lisbeth taking revenge on her foster-parent/ sexual abuser [End Of Spoiler] which is a lot of (sadistic) fun, there is also a nice little [SPOILER] car chase towards the end Ė but nothing special [End Of Spoilers]. However, this is a film that doesnít focus on amazing and spectacular set pieces, but rather on character development, the acting of the cast, the plot and the direction. And I have to say, in these respects, this film certainly delivers.

Overall, check this one out if you want something VERY different to your usual horror. Itís a much more slower film that will either bore you to death or keep you glued to, depending on your mood/attention span, I guess. Personally though, itís not something that Iíll go out of my way to own.

I give it a 2.5/5

GIALLO (2009; Dario Argento)

Argento. Dario Argento. Also known as the king of Italian horror by some. With his impressive filmography including such horror classics as Suspiria (1977), Tenebrae (1982), Inferno (1980) and of course his re-edit of Romeroís Dawn Of The Dead (1978) to name but a VERY few. Iím sure there are many, many fans of his on this forum as well. But, lately, his work has been losing its way a bit, some may even argue his demise started way back in the Ď80ís after the critics began to take an interest. Nevertheless, I had high hopes for this film. Titled Giallo, I was expecting a sort of back-to-form-Argento, after all he helped make the giallo what it became.

I could not have been more WRONG!

This film was an absolute disaster! Seriously. It is terrible! If anything it ended up being an unintentional parody of this Ďgenreí rather than an homage to it. I really am not sure where to start with this film. Itís just so stupid! As the film went along, the laughs from the audience (AT the film) came faster and faster and louder and louder. This is unintentional humour at its finest, for sure. One of my favourite and funniest part of this film, was so stupid in fact, that it seems as though a bloody seven-year-old wrote the script! [Spoiler] It takes place towards the end of the film, in which the killer has managed to get inside the lead female protagonistís house, only for the visiting inspector (the STUPIDEST inspector known to man Ė he puts Inspector Cloussou to shame!) played by Adrien Brody, to come up with a plan to fool him and break into the house to save her. His plan however is the stuff of playgrounds! He shouts out, ĎIíM GOING NOW!í, then pretends to leave by stumping loudly down the stairs. Waiting. Then slowly sneaking back to the house on his tippy-toes. Stupid as it is, it manages to fool the killer, who seemingly has an IQ of a turd. [End Of Slight Spoiler]

This is a film of endless one liners that get more and more ridiculous each time. All the main characters seem to be mentally challenged somehow. Take the lead Inspector, apparently the cleverest man in the film. Mmm, yeah right. He relies ENTIERLY on ideas given to him by incidental characters! What the hell?!
And then thereís the acting! Now, I donít mind bad acting, honestly I donít. But this just takes the biscuit. We have an inspector who is as stiff as wood, or worse...Daniel Radcliff (!), who doesnít stop smoking! EVERY shot, nearly, heís either smoking, or lighting up a new ciggie! I was surprised he never died because of that before the end of the film (which wouldíve made a much better ending, than the disapointing one in the film). Then we have, the main female assistant, whoís name Iíve forgot and donít care about. She looks as if she was taken straight out of Scary Movie 3 (2003; David Zucker ), with a fixed expression slapped on her face of bewilderment and confusion. Sheís probably still in shock due to being in a film this bad. Itís almost as if the make-up person, drew her face on! The audience and I couldnít keep quite with all the laughing!

And Argento is not immune from this stupidity either. The direction is nothing special at all, in fact there are many moments which are just down-right amateurish and clumsy. The whole film plays on the idea of Ďgialloí meaning yellow, so, we see the Inspector drinking from a YELLOW cup, thereís YELLOW flowers everywhere, YELLOW this, YELLOW that. And this is about as far as the intelligence stretches!

This is without doubt the (second) worse film I saw at Frightfest (Shadow being the worse), and itís such a shame, especially knowing that someone with such talent, that is Argento, made it! This is without doubt 2009ís Troll 2 (1990; Claudio Fragasso ) and for that reason alone Iíd actually recommend this! No, I havenít lost it (that much)! This is a highly entertaining (unintentional) comedy Ė that will have you howling at its stupidity and crap-ness.

Iíll give it a 2/5 for pure entertainment! It was a hell of a lot of fun.

Ok, time for a break. The next (and final part) will include reviews for....

- Trick ĎRí Treat (the new horror anthology film that may possibly knock Carpenterís Halloween of the seasonal top-spot)
-Dead Snow (Nazi Zombies. Need I say more?)
-The Human Centipede (A truly disturbing and VERY twisted film)
-Colin (The £45 award winning zombie film. But is it actually any good?)
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  1. Old Comment
    Kyle's Avatar
    again awesome reviews kyle ,shame about the argento film
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 5th September 2009 at 06:24 PM by Kyle Kyle is offline
  2. Old Comment
    iluvdvds@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Cheers mate! Yeah, Giallo sucked lol!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 5th September 2009 at 06:45 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs iluvdvds@Cult Labs is offline
  3. Old Comment
    bizarre_eye@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Great reviews again iluv.

    Macabre looks good, and I was looking forward to Giallo...
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 6th September 2009 at 11:24 AM by bizarre_eye@Cult Labs bizarre_eye@Cult Labs is offline
  4. Old Comment
    iluvdvds@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Thanks BE!

    Oh sorry about the bad news then mate. Check it out if you want, you may think it's good. It's certainly VERY entertaining.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 6th September 2009 at 06:39 PM by iluvdvds@Cult Labs iluvdvds@Cult Labs is offline
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