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KNIFE EDGE is a psychological horror thriller produced and set in
In its heyday of 1957-1983, Britain produced some of the greatest horror movies ever. It all took off with THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN in 1957 (however the excellent DEAD OF NIGHT from 1945 was the first great production IMO). Hammer, Amicus and Tigon competed against each other in the 1960s and early 1970s. All three have superb productions to their name. After their decline in the second half of the 1970s, two excellent independent directors - Pete Walker and Norman J. Warren - took over the mantle for a few years.
Other classics such as THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE, THE ABOMINABLE DR. PHIBES and THEATRE OF BLOOD were made here in Britain by other companies.
The last true British horror movie was HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS, the final and highly underrated masterpiece from Pete Walker in 1983.
British horror in its prime was truly fantastic. Americans and Europeans had no time for any of it back in the day but have since realised just how good it was. Some half-decent attempts such as HAUNTED came along to try re-igniting the old magic.
We now have the travesty known as KNIFE EDGE. Those who claim this is somehow a return to form need to watch some British horror classics again.
The plot here is compelling on paper. A married couple, along with their son, move into a country house. In the following days and weeks they begin having disturbing dreams and becoming paranoid.
It saddens me to see the comparisons made to classic movies here on IMDb.
KNIFE EDGE is nothing like THE CHANGELING.
It is nothing like THE OMEN.
It is nothing like WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?.
It is nothing like THE BIRDS.
And it is certainly nothing like Hitchcock's finest - PSYCHO.
The one thing this movie is unable to escape from is its drama-like feeling, reminiscent of TV shows like MIDSOMER MURDERS, but which are so out of place on the big screen.
The main problem here is the characterisation and the acting.
Emma and Henri do not make a convincing couple at all. There is no chemistry between the actors and the characters themselves seem to have incompatible personalities. One is a somewhat quiet but talented financial trader. The other is a smooth-talking Frenchman up to his eyeballs in debt and who gets irritated very easily. The tensions between the characters should have been great but the emotion just seemed absent.
Henri is played by Matthieu Boujenah, a French actor. The accent was clearly genuine and fit the character well but the emotions did not. After boring me to tears with his ramblings throughout, he then overacted very badly in one scene that made me laugh out loud.
Emma is played by an incredibly bland, charisma-free, dour actress known as Natalie Press. She was just boring to watch, full stop.
The one actor who does deliver a good performance here is Hugh Bonneville. He would have been equally great in the leading role. He has the right level of charisma and energy to pull it off. He was interesting to watch even though those he interacted with were so dull.
I have always thought that Joan Plowright would make an excellent villainess - someone very cold-hearted with malevolent intent. Sadly she is wasted here in a thankless role as a nanny.
The script is fatally flawed, with very boring dialogue. It tries to redeem itself by keeping scenes short and constantly changing setting. The tactic seemed good and would in theory help to keep things moving. But it doesn't.
Anthony Hickox brings very different direction from his father, Douglas Hickox (director of the masterpiece THEATRE OF BLOOD). His direction brings some superb disturbing imagery. But the effect of these was undermined by poor editing. Editing needed to be much sharper, character reactions needed to be much stronger and some better sound effects were needed.
Without giving anything away, I can say that the twists in the second half of the movie try to emulate those seen in movies such as HUSH, HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE. But the revelations are done in a very low-key manner that makes it easy to miss something.
The final 10 minutes of the movie pick up some steam. But by this point it is too late. The finale is worth seeing on its own but not worth enduring the rest for.
Overall, KNIFE EDGE is an incredibly boring movie that tries but fails miserably to re-ignite British horror. With so many better thrillers such as DISTURBIA out there, it is difficult to recommend this to anyone. Instead, I would recommend seeing something from Britain's horror heyday and find out what true British horror is all about.
Yee gads, this is a good one. This is a true gem, a hokey haunted house movie in the lines of House On Haunted Hill that will scare the living daylights out of you. In the tradition of The Changeling (the one with George C. Scott not the one about the missing kid) and The Sentinel (the scary one not the one about government agents), this is an excellent fright fest that isn't camp and doesn't play it for laughs. The only scary horror movies are the ones that are serious, and this one is, with a lot of twists. If you liked The Shining or Amityville Horror, you will love this movie. This is what horror movies were like before Jason and Freddy and Saw, when frights came in the form of The Omen or Beyond The Door and the characters actually had mysterious motives. This movie has the patience to allow the atmosphere to startle you rather than resorting to cheep gore. I don't think I've seen a horror movie this engaging since What Ever Happened To Baby Jane; cross that with Stir of Echoes and you have Knife Edge. In Race With The Devil they had to go to a library that somehow had the exact book on satanic rituals that they were looking for, but in this modern movie they have Google, which is about the only thing that distinguishes this fine thriller from those great flicks that were made in the 70s and 80s, and even some of the movies made in the 60s such as Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte. The ending is a mixture of Sixth Sense and Psycho. Knife Edge is a modern masterpiece. It is creepy in a Rosemary's Baby type of way.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I paused this movie several times because I became bored and went to do some household chores in-between. The boy and his newfound, creepy doll were not an original idea. Very stale story line(s!). Same-old, same-old "horrifying" elements of personified trees, the pretend childhood friend, flash vision of a bloody corpse in the tub -- startling, but not scary. Almost as if most of it were cut and pasted from other horror movies. Redeeming factors for me were that I admired the beautiful English countryside as well as the charming European buildings -- especially the spacious country mansion. The husband seemed a little too extreme in his behavior. For being a presumably refined character, he became rather over-exaggeratedly upset and used profanity more than I would expect from a well-bred Frenchman. He seemed poorly socialized, all considered. As for the wife, if she were "psychic," I would have expected her to be more perceptive of the situation and with stronger discernment. I wouldn't expect her to plunge her whole arm into a "horrifying" tree hole without a little thought. After she left her work in New York and moved into the house in England, her psychic abilities were more or less forgotten. I regressed the movie several times to listen again to a whispered word or two that were unclear. In contrast, I could have done without the annoying, loud, startling outbursts of volume. I almost didn't watch the entire film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I don't know what I'm going to put here since IMDb requires me to write at least 10 lines of review just to submit it when I could seriously sum up this dumba55 movie in two sentences. BUT I GUESS I WILL GIVE IT A TRY ANYWAY. The movie starts off with this "psychic" stock trader that gives up her career to move back to England with her French husband and child into a mansion that he bought about 3 years before they met. Intrigued yet not totally convinced about the house, she agrees to live there. Shortly after she starts having visions of a murder that makes her question their abode even more and her son starts playing with an imaginary friend he calls Tobias. Yet as tantalizing as it may sound, the storyline shifts so many times that it makes it impossible to enjoy. With the visions she has of the murders and a tree that seems to want to eat her alive, her sons imaginary friend, the accusation that her husband once lived there as a child who witnessed the murders, to her million dollar trust fund that she risks losing due to her "delusions" and her brother who's trying to get her to give him more money because he spent his inheritance, all of that nonsense completely ruined what could have been a very enjoyable flick. Even if the writer would have kept it simple and kept the story going in one solid direction entirely, it would have been more interesting to watch. It seems as though the writer couldn't decide what type of movie he wanted to create, therefore the end result was a hodgepodge of a thriller, mind bender, drama and a love story all in one. To sum it up entirely, crappy acting, weird storyline and definitely not as creepy as one would expect it to be. Do yourself a favor and MISS IT. I certainly wish I had my $5 back.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is very much like something out of the Hammer House of Horror, or an extended version of Tales of the Unexpected. All similarities end there. Hammer and Tales were both very enjoyable genre additions, but this is pretty turgid stuff. The positive reviewers are entitled to their opinion of course..as am I, and my sincere opinion as a genre buff is watch something else. I cannot believe they actually used the "open cupboard above bathroom sink with mirror on it, everything normal. Close cupboard and ....aaaahhhhh". Some reviewers have correctly identified elements of "The Guardian" and "The Shining", to which you could also add "Rosemary's Baby", "The Birds" and "The Amityville Horror"...this doesn't make it any better however. Hugh Bonneville is very dependable here and emerges unscathed, I can't say the same for the rest of the cast. Acting by numbers. I suppose the script and direction can't have helped. The best I can say is that the cinematography, art direction and sound were all uniformly excellent.
Emma (Natalie Press) is a successful trader who has some kind of
clairvoyant powers. She and her family move to her husband's old family
home in the English countryside. She finds it haunted in some way and
has visions of what could be a murder. There's a weird creepy giant
tree in the woods. Her husband doesn't care.
This British horror essentially threw a whole lot of stuff into this movie. Natalie Press is that likable. She seemed cold and distant. I was watching this more for Hugh Bonneville and he has a minor role. There is nobody to care about. It's obvious that this was a pretty bad fail. I'm not sure if I can pinpoint its failure on just one thing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not really a horror movie but a murder/suspense flick with some psychic insight by the femme fatale. The acting is really good...excellent as a matter of fact. There are some effective - if conventional - scare tactics. I cannot say that KNIFE EDGE is predictable as the expected "ghost influence" devise is not what you ultimately get. Despite the surprise twist the ending is still somewhat lacking, otherwise this would qualify as a fine movie. Also our lead male character's background and screen time should have been enhanced to the extent his female counterpart's was; i.e., as his past so vitally impacts on the plot. Overall, enjoyable but could've used more forethought.
It's already June 2013, so if you haven't already decided by now,,, I
can help here,,,,,,don't waste any more of your precious time debating
whether or not to watch this garbage.
Badly directed, badly edited and worst of all is the script. My goodness,,the script. No idea how this ever made it to production stage with this drivel that spewed from pen onto paper.
And they shout in unison "RUN AWAY" (Monty Python). NB - apply this to the viewing of this film also.
The positive reviews for the writing of this nonsense are clearly by relatives/ friends, as this is (by a long way) the worst film I have ever had the misfortune of watching. I bet Hugh Bonneville will want this one expunged from his record! Poor chap.
Never really felt compelled to comment about these sorts of things previously, but this has made me start!!! especially so others can avoid my mistake!
Would have made an episode Midsomer Murder or Miss Marple or something like that. Otherwise it was kind of bland and obvious. The horror aspects were weak, it's more of a murder mystery. The editing seemed all over the place. The sound editing relied too much on sudden painfully loud crashing noises. The acting's fairly weak and TV-ish. Her husband, Henri seems to have a severe personality disorder than no one notices, the Joan Plowright character is wasted or slammed in the story as an afterthought. And what's with the kid, does he live there? He's always somewhere else. The plot sort of doesn't hold together vis a vis why are they in this house in the first place and why does a fabulously wealthy trust fund girl have to go all the way to America to use her psychic skills in the stock market when London, I've been told, has a perfectly serviceable stock exchange.
I cant recognise the work of a competent editor, nor can I see an
editor credited. Just who edited this mash up?
The storyline is all over the place, The characters just aren't believable - one just doesn't care what happens. Back to the story, it has a "readers age" of sub 13, indeed intelligent 10, 11 and 12 year olds would find it vacuous.
Yet they save the worst aspect till last - it has absolutely no cinematic justification.
This film trashes whatever vestiges of a reputation Anthony Hickox may have had.
He should stick to vacuous action movies.
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