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Classic slice of '80s cheese
I probably viewed "Scarecrows" twenty years late but it's an interesting example of '80s low budget horror cheese. Whilst this film is by no means in the same league as "A Nightmare on Elm Street" or "Hellraiser", this isn't a truly awful movie, either.
William Wesley's "Scarecrows" is ambitious given its shoestring budget and has a relatively original plot. A group of bank robbers fall victim to a supernaturally possessed field of scarecrows...cue bloodshed and some creepy moments.
The cast are typical '80s actors with big hair and muscles so it's a dated movie but fun nonetheless.
6 out of 10. I've seen far, far worse!
A solid entry to this hit and miss series
"To Let" is a satisfyingly chilling tale about a psychotic estate agent and the unfortunate visitors to a decaying apartment block.
This is a splendid made for television movie that just goes to show that Euro horror is alive and well. The production doesn't mess about - the pace is fast and the shocks are constant. A genuinely tense atmosphere is maintained throughout the film. The performances from the small cast are also excellent.
A highly recommended installment from talented director Jaume Balagueró, best known for his (REC) movies. Balagueró really seems to love his creepy apartment blocks as there are small touches of (REC) in this earlier work.
8 out of 10.
Shades of "Quatermass" in this modern classic
Having grown up with Nigel Kneale's truly haunting "Quatermass" with Sir John Mills, this latest "Torchwood" series brought back many childhood memories as there are shades of the final '70s series in this production. With a most mysterious alien force at work and the earth in true peril, season three of the series has a true emotional resonance with the viewer.
This is a new, revised "Torchwood", aimed at a more mainstream audience but now equipped with a bigger budget and a prime time slot on BBC1. As a result, the series pulls no punches and delivers a more satisfactory experience than many of the recent "Doctor Who" tales.
The pace of this season is perfect and the production team acknowledge the age old adage that what you don't see is far more frightening than what is revealed. With excellent production values, "Children of Earth" is a true treat for dedicated "Torchwood" fans and the more casual viewer who is new to the adventures of Captain Jack and company.
Masters of Horror: Pick Me Up (2006)
Above average installment from this great series
"Pick Me Up" is a riveting slice of horror from horror master Larry Cohen. Directed with flair, this cautionary tale about trusting strangers offering a lift is compulsive viewing.
Cohen regular Michael Moriarty plays the disturbing Jim Wheeler (named, perhaps because he likes to drive) while Warren Kole's vehicle-less character is called, appropriately, Walker. To say anymore about the plot would ruin the surprises in store for the viewer.
Darkly humorous and unsettling, David J. Schow's short story is a memorable hour of television.
8 out of 10.
The Mist (2007)
A solid addition to the genre
"The Mist" is a dark tale of horror from director Frank Darabont that captures the imagination and takes the viewer to a truly nightmare reality. When a strange mist rolls in to town, the occupants of the area use the local supermarket for sanctuary as events go from bad to worse.
With genuinely nightmare imagery and a black as night view of the human condition, this is a disturbing story and one that doesn't take prisoners.
Thomas ("Hung") Jane stars as the main character of the movie, a father who is determined to escape the perilous situation with his young son. He delivers a great performance here and one that stays in the mind long after the titles have rolled.
Highly recommended viewing. 8 out of 10.
An unforgettable viewing experience
French cinema is proving an unstoppable force when it comes to groundbreaking horror. After the graphic and gripping grisly delights of "Haute tension" and "À l'intérieur", this latest film takes the viewer on a totally unpredictable path to new and shocking horrors.
With realistic and gripping performances, "Martyrs" is uncompromising viewing that pushes the envelope for what is, at the end of the day, a theatrical release. Seeing the film uncut on blu-ray in the UK, it really makes you realise how times have changed from the scapegoat days of the "video nasties" back in the early '80s.
Highly recommended but uncomfortable viewing - this is one of the best genre movies I've had the experience of watching. Unforgettable.
10 out of 10.
An original take on the traditional zombie movie
"Colin" is an amazing achievement, given its shoestring budget. Marc Price's ambitious independent and original zombie film shows us proceedings through the undead's perspective (the role of Colin played by Alastair Kirton).
This is a genuinely moving film which contains a number of unforgettable scenes. Taking the genre beyond mere blood and guts (but there are plenty of juicy entrails and examples of body dismemberment on display to keep the gorehound's interest fixed on the proceedings), "Colin" is a thought provoking, rather tragic, movie.
7 out of 10. Recommended viewing. Price shows genuine talent and it will be interesting to see where he takes the viewer next.
The Walking Dead (2010)
Excellent cinematic new genre series
"The Walking Dead" has a lot of expectations to live up to. With thousands of loyal followers, the comic series on which the series is based has a cult following. Added to this, Frank ("The Shawshank Redemption") Darabont's involvement added to the level of anticipation for this new show.
Firstly, "The Walking Dead" does not disappoint. It has a sweeping, cinematic feel and the initial pilot has a mature pace. There's no rush to reach a finale, instead the episode ("Days Gone Bye") concentrates on setting the scene for the events to follow. It is rich with atmosphere and the possibility of a terrifying menace.
The casting of Andrew Lincoln was sheer genius. He is an inspired choice for the central role of Rick Grimes and delivers a thoroughly believable performance.
Unmissable television, this is an early Christmas present for horror genre fans everywhere and I expect it to convert non-zombie fans along the way.
10 out of 10.
Donkey Punch (2008)
Superior and stylish British horror movie
Perhaps I'm a bit biased but it's always refreshing to see a stylish and gripping horror movie to emerge from Britain. "Donkey Punch" is an original psychological thriller that makes "Dead Calm" look very dull indeed.
Excellent visuals, great performances, a genuinely suspenseful plot and a top-notch soundtrack all add up to make an entertaining slice of modern day horror.
Jaime Winstone is always a pleasure to watch but it's Leeds born Nichola Burley who steals the show as Tammi.
8 out of 10. May make you think twice about boarding a stranger's yacht!
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
A solid prequel with pace and flair
The long-awaited and much hyped "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" is a solid addition to the "X-Men" franchise, taking on the challenging role of looking at the early days of one James Logan, aka Wolverine.
Hugh Jackman has always been a convincing Wolverine, despite his towering presence. His cigar chewing, wise-cracking mutant is a joy to watch and he is joined by a true ensemble cast.
The movie manages to cover a lot of ground in its 107 minutes and contains one or two surprises that should please the faithful viewer of the series. Even before the opening credits have ended, director Gavin Hood has managed to give us an overview of a significant time period and an insight into the tense relationship of Logan and Victor Creed.
Don't forget to stay until the end credits have finished running, Fox have a pleasant tradition of treating the patient viewer! 9 out of 10. One of the great summer popcorn movies.