Durante la tormenta / Mirage (dir. Oriol Paulo, 2019) – Two storms connect a woman’s murder and a child’s vanishing, 25 years apart.
Director Oriol Paulo has produced yet another compelling genre film that delivers in suspense and heart, despite predictable turns.
25 years ago, during a 72-hour storm, young Nico (Julio Bohigas-Couto) was killed in a car accident after witnessing a murder. Present day sees another storm occur, during which Vera (Adriana Ugarte) find a way to reach Nico before his death. She prevents his death with a warning, only to be swept up in the butterfly effect of the altered events.
Something a small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a typhoon halfway around the world, so claims the Chaos Theory that rings true for Vera. Her perfect life falls apart when she learns that her child Gloria was never born, and that she is no longer who she believed herself to be.
Continue reading Review: Mirage / Durante la tormenta (2019)
Aterrados (dir. Demián Rugna, 2017) – Strange events occur in a neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, leading to suspicions of the paranormal.
Light on answers but heavy on tension, Aterrados presents some tautly strung scenes of terror that successfully conjure the fear of the dark.
Not many can leave a screening of Aterrados without realising their fear of the dark, and of things that go bump in the night. The paranormal takes on a thickened sheen of terror through the lens of director Demián Rugna, whose survey of the genre has paid off in full.
The tense opening makes clear that the title is its intent. A terrified Clara (Natalia Señoriales) tells her husband Juan (Agustín Rittano) about the threatening voices she hears, coming from the kitchen pipes.
He dismisses her, but soon hears knocking against the walls himself that very night. The sceptic in him would have blamed it on the neighbour. Only that the latter is away, and the noise seems to be coming from inside the house.
Continue reading Review: Aterrados / Terrified (2017)
Velvet Buzzsaw (dir. Dan Gilroy, 2019) – Art is dangerous, more so for those who sell it for greed.
Effective satire elevates the potentially campy slasher Velvet Buzzsaw to an incisive, layered work of art.
For a horror film, Velvet Buzzsaw comes off much more introspective than its company. Its effectively satirical screenplay introduces the obnoxious rulers of its galleries in broad strokes, sharply critiquing the many artists and proprietors who value art solely for money.
There is Morf Vandewalt (Jake Gyllenhaal) in the sneakers of the art critic, who believes that a bad review is better than sinking into the great glut of anonymity. Not only does he compromise in ethics by accepting favours. His reviews spit pure vitriol, as one soon hears in voices that manifest from his own guilt.
Continue reading Review: Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Revenge (dir. Coralie Fargeat, 2018) – Left for dead in the desert, a young woman survives her assault and goes on a bloody manhunt for the wealthy businessmen responsible.
Revenge wears a bright warning against strait-laced individuals, who takes offence at jet-black humour and a generous amount of violence.
A good horror movie does not necessitate blood, but a gallon of the deep red sure is a hell lot of fun. In its retread of vile rape-revenge fantasy I Spit On Your Grave, Revenge puts forward a final girl who shares both an insatiable thirst for retribution and a name with the notorious anti-heroine.
Things are set in motion when Richard (Kevin Janssens) attempts to silence his mistress, whom his hunting partners had sexually assaulted. Jen (Matilda Lutz) tries to escape, but ends up brutally impaled through her gut at the bottom of a cliff.
Unlike its inspiration, the transgressive genre entry takes itself less seriously thereafter. What follows takes on a sheath of dark humour, and unleashes an early test of whether one is to enjoy the rest of the vengeful minutes.
Continue reading Review: Revenge (2018)
Many cases of disappearances around the world go unresolved every day. Clues often point to crime, yet answers remain indefinite when there is no body found. People are curious creatures, and interest surround these cases even over years, as evident in the proliferation of armchair detectives and their public speculations especially online.
Nervous Breakdown finds inspiration in these disappearing acts, and the more sinister speculations behind them. Set in 1983, the story’s missing person is a young woman June, whose only trace left behind was her abandoned car. Five years later, the investigators are nowhere near an explanation for her mysterious vanishing. But her twin sister Jane (Melissa Blackwell) is resolute that something supernatural had been at work that night.
Continue reading Short Film Review: Nervous Breakdown
Apostle (dir. Gareth Evans, 2018) – Thomas Richardson travels to a remote island to rescue his sister from a religious cult, demanding a ransom for her safe return.
Ostensibly to do with the supernatural in its grim mythology, Apostle concerns itself more with the devious nature of Man in their acts.
Writer-director Gareth Evans may be best known for his choreography-driven craft in The Raid and Merantau. But his latest venture is an altogether different beast. Abandoning the high-octane action that defined Evans’ early career, Apostle contrastingly keeps its pace steady with patience, and prowls with quiet intensity.
Following a brief exploration in anthology V/H/S 2 (‘Safe Haven’), Evans’ first true step into horror cinema marks a deeper foray into the subject of pagan cults. The suspenseful genre feature comes in at a little over two hours. Not a second feels extraneous, continually building a palpable sense of dread.
Continue reading Review: Apostle (2018)