This past weekend, myself and Katie went to Spike Island After Dark. That’s the name of the tour. We didn’t sneak onto Spike Island after dark. We paid money to go and hear a Q & A from horror actors, talent managers and casting directors. Get off my back, GAWD! Liam Cunningham was the main reason I wanted to go. He was magnificent in Game of Thrones, and I had completely forgotten that he was in War of the Buttons, one of the films of my childhood. The Q&A was fantastic. We really got an insight into the changing landscape of Hollywood and how the onus of power has switched from casting directors to producers and agents. After our tour, the talk with the guests and a small break we sat down to watch a horror film. Due to Cunningham being one of the guests, the film of choice was the 2002 cult hit, Dog Soldiers.
Set somewhere in the Scottish highlands, a routine military exercise turns into a nightmare as a unit is hunted by more than just their comrades…and the damage is deadly real. Cunningham stars as Capt. Ryan, a delightfully morally corrupt soldier who knows more about their attackers than he lets on. Kevin McKidd is Cooper, the fearless, calm and collected Private who refuses to believe until its almost too late. The two leads are fantastic in this movie. McKidd embodies the spirit of what we would associate with a soldier; willing to die for his brothers in arms and not afraid to stand up to the nefarious Ryan. After hearing Cunningham speak in his Dublin drawl,it was almost disconcerting to hear him speak in a prim and proper upper class British accent. He delights in antagonising the other characters and his smug sounding voice is perfect.
The film itself is not necessarily scary. There are a few jump-scares that are telegraphed from a mile away. The werewolves themselves look hilarious by today’s CGI standards. However, I can see exactly why this is a cult hit. It is just the right mix of scary, funny, dark and ridiculous to make you not look at your watch for an hour and forty five minutes. I like McKidd and Cunningham from different roles so I was delighted to see them together in this, even as foes. The supporting cast are great, providing a lot of laughs and gruesome deaths.
Rating: 3/5. The werewolves look absolutely ridiculous. Like, you know when you see girls wearing heels that are far too big for them and they’re falling all around Daunt Square at 3 in the morning? Yep.
Jordan Peele’s latest horror offering is as mindbending and thrilling as Get Out. However, Us is its own film with its own ideas and impeccable twists and turns. After viewing this earlier tonight and searching twitter for user responses and funny gifs, I’ve decided that it is hard to pick a favourite between the two. There is a lot more going on in this instalment, sometimes to its detriment, but it is clear that it requires at least two viewings.
The film opens in 1986 with a young Adelaide (Madison Currey) walking the boardwalk of Santa Cruz with her father and mother. The parents bicker throughout and when her mother goes to the bathroom and her father ignores her, Adelaide walks down to the beach. She sees a mirror funhouse and enters. Inside, the lights shut off and after trying to find her way out she bumps into a doppelganger of herself. Adleaide begins to scream and the movie cuts to the present day.
Adelaide is now en route back to Santa Cruz with her husband and two children. The adult Adelaide (Lupita Nyong’o) does not want to revisit the boardwalk where she encountered that terrible horror all those years ago. Her husband Gabe (Winston Duke), obviously doesn’t share her fears. Gabe and the two kids, Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex), are all wrapped up in their own material worlds, choosing image, technology and a mask instead of realising that their mother would rather be anywhere else. Adelaide’s fears come true when a strange family appear at the top of their drive. The doppelgangers have come and are out for blood. What follows is an hour and a bit of intense scares and breathless thrills.
It is another offering from Peele that blurs the lines between horror, psychological thriller and action. The film touches heavily on class divide and the segregation of people. The wealthy and lucky only need worry about their appearance and possessions in life while the doppelgangers, or tethered, only know that they are not worthy of such things and must suffer life down below. Themes such as faith, materialism and ethics are rife throughout. I would implore any viewer to take most of the dialogue very seriously. You don’t know what throwaway line, action or scene might rear its head later on.
Nyong’o steals the show as Adelaide and Red. While Wright Joseph is extremely impressive in her dual performance also, it is the Oscar winner known for her portrayal of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave that blows the audience away. She plays the terrified Adelaide so well while also portraying the deranged and vengeful Red with frightening reality.
As I said earlier, this movie is similar to Get Out in that the twists and turns are impeccable. Us is a proper headscratcher. I won’t give away any spoilers but I guarantee that by the end of the movie you’ll be walking around in your day to day life wondering whether your doppelganger will pop out at any second and take your place. You’ll also be thinking of every line that has been said in the film and linking it all together. The only problem is that just like Det. Kujan, you’ll be too late and Keyser Soze will have been off on his escape already.
As I sit here with the brim of my hat as far down as it can possibly go, The Conjuring 2 playing on the TV in front of me, I have come to the conclusion that if a demon were to appear in front of me unannounced I would simply die of shock and probably defecate in my pants. I am no hero. If I saw a ghost or a banshee out late at night I’d run as fast as I could and I would never look back. There’s a real possibility that I would collapse dead from fright.
I saw Conjuring 2 with a friend and I covered my eyes while he covered his ears. We were one monkey short covering his mouth and we would’ve been on a poster. I just don’t like horrors and never have. I won’t lie and say that the adrenaline rush isn’t fun and there is a thrill from yelling and screaming every few minutes. What I don’t like is walking around a dark house late at night after having the bejaysus scared out of me. I don’t like walking by mirrors and thinking I am going to be snatched by a nun or an old lady out for my soul. I especially don’t like sprinting up the stairs in the dark as a demon tries to snatch my delicious booty.
Of course, then, I’ve seen countless horrors. Here are some of my favourite/hated horror movies I’ve seen.
I know there’s like 4 of these movies now but I’ve only watched the first one. The simple reason being that the kid who gets taken into the shadowland or whatever realm he is in is named Dalton. Feck right off with that! Are ye trying to give a man nightmares for the rest of his life??
There are some supremely scary scenes in this film but the one that got me was the very end when all is revealed and the demon trying to catch Patrick Wilson’s soul or whatever it was after almost has him. Give it a watch if ye get a chance.
The Woman in Black
Horrors are great movies to bring girls to, in my humble opinion. I rented this from Xtra Vision back in the days when I had stable relationships with females and this film is creepy as f word. I haven’t rewatched it because I am a giant man child and as I said before, I hate horrors but this one is worth at least one look.
Another date, another horror movie. Jaysus, I’m such a lothario. Set in a Victorian England, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston and Charlie Hunnam lead an all star cast. Gore, jumps and a house that hunts you down are all you need. Not as scary as the others on this list but torrent it online or something. Don’t @ me.
Paranormal Activity 3 The Paranormal Activity movies brought the found footage genre back into the limelight. The first two were remarkable, although a bit funny at times. The scene in the second movie when the mother runs away from the demon only to be pulled back downstairs by her legs is downright hilaruous. However, there is nothing funny about the scene with the coven of grandmothers advancing towards the man with the camera towards the end of the movie. Anyone who has seen it will know what scene I’m on about and anyone who hasn’t seen it will also know because I’ve just described it perfectly. Journalism.
In Irish horror film news, the film TheHole in the Ground will be released in a few weeks. Seana Kerslake stars as a single mother in a new rural town who encounters a mysterious neighbour. She becomes paranoid and mistrustful and must also contend with her son who is becoming increasingly ominous and disturbed. There ya go, straight from IMDb.
Kerslake is well known on Irish television through her starring roles in A Date for Mad Mary and Can’t Cope, Won’t Cope. The latter is written by the fantastic Stefanie Preissner.
I don’t know anything about the director, Lee Cronin but if the hype and the trailer are anything to go by he has done an amazing job and will be a major figure in mainstream Irish cinema for years to come.
Check out the trailer and an interview with both Kerslake and Cronin below.