Lights Out (2016)

Director: David F. Sandberg (Lights Out short film)

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Alexander DiPersia, Maria Russel, Andi Osho, Alicia Vela-Bailey. 

Plot: Rebecca (Palmer) must unravel the mystery behind her younger brother’s terrifying experiences that once tested her sanity, ultimately bringing her face to face with a chilling entity that has latched onto their mother.

So David F. Sandberg is the director behind the short film that took the internet by storm, Lights Out was a 2013 short movie (available to view on YouTube), what made it so popular was its simple setting, it made our own paranoia a nightmarish reality. We’ve all been in the situation, it’s late, we’re tired, we flick the light switch off and we have that thought “Did I just see something?” burrowing into our mind, we get in bed and try to shrug it off “It was my imagination” we reassure ourselves. But what if we did actually see something? 

So fast forward three years and we were blessed with a feature length movie! This time we see the entity terrorising a mother and her children. It’s fascinating to see the backstory of Diana (Vela-Bailey), she was merely a child with some medical complications, we see her brought to life and she really is the stuff nightmares are made of, she looks like she stands about 7 foot tall, with elongated fingers and crooked limbs.

So this is Sanbergs first major project, aside from a number of short films, and I really believe he took a few pointers from producer James Wan (Saw, Insidious, The Conjuring). With a well thought out storyline sprinkled with jump scares and some excellent shots, Lights Out is certainly a horror movie for the ages. Maria Bello who plays the mother, Sophie, really is a character to watch, she acts as an enabler for Diana, because she can’t let her go, she allows Diana to exist and wreak havoc.

Overall I think Sandberg did an impressive job to extend the storyline and really turn up the creep factor, it had me scared in every sense of the word, the last 35 minutes of the film are just a constant grip of nightmares like tension. Let’s just hope Sandberg can keep this performance up with the upcoming Annabelle: Creation, which is set to release on August 11th (2017). From me Lights Out receives a whopping 7 broken lightbulbs out of 10. That’s all from me guys, stay scary, and remember to stay in the light. 

Rob Zombies 31

Written and directed by Rob Zombie. 

Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips,  Richard Brake, Malcolm Mcdowell,  E.G Daily, Meg Foster.

You Jesus freaks are so fucking sensitive, you should be thanking me man, I’m sending you straight to the fucking pearly gates with a first class ticket. 

After the Lords of Salem was released it seemed that RZ had some making up to do, after all he’s the man behind the Devils Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses and the Halloween reboots, so the Lords just seemed a bit toned down in comparison. So here we are with the highly anticipated 31.

Five carnival workers are kidnapped the night before Halloween,  held in a compound they are forced to fight for their lives in a sick game called 31. Over the course of 12 hours they must survive against a barrage of homicidal maniacs while their captors place bets.

As a huge fan of Zombies movies I was extremely excited when he announced he was working on a new project,  armed with a decent cast featured in his older movies I was really expecting the acting to be on point, however that was far from the case. Our

Only two characters really stood out to me, Malcolm Mcdowell and Richard Brake, they delivered stellar performances, no idea what the other guys were doing which is sad really, as I love all the main cast dearly. The premise of the film is one big game of cat and mouse, until the victims begin knocking off all the killers, which is odd really, a group of people with no real training take on a group of professional killers as if they’re mere pedestrians like you and I.  The actual killers are all, well a bit weird, all posing as clown like characters with a few cross dressing tendencies, one of which is a nazi dwarf. Like I said, weird. Not really sure what Zombies angle was, was he trying to a bit offensive, or just plain weird? Death-head is a giant of a man who wears what seems to be a ballerina tutu, Sex-head (E.G Daily) parades around like a lovestruck teenager, then there’s psycho-head and skitzo-head, the most clown like characters who just talk a lot of shit but don’t have the flare. Then there’s Doom-head, the one we see the most of, the only character we actually see grow from a normal man, into his alter ego killer, which impacted his role massively. 

I thoroughly enjoy RZ imagery in his films, the flashes of gore and weirdness, the photos of dead bodies plastered on the walls, it shows that he still has the grit and passion that he had in his earlier projects, the dark gritty surroundings of the compound all build up and make this film what it says,  a murderous joyride into the mind of a madman. Putting the flat performances from certain  characters aside, 31 just worked for me, the simple plot, Richard Brakes presence,  and some memorable moments have allowed me to award 3.5 bashed heads out of 5. 

I’m not crazy I’m in control – DoomHead. 

Split 

Starring: James Mcavoy,  Anya Taylor-Joy,  Betty Buckler, Haley Lu Richardson,  Jessica Sula.  

Director/Writer: M. Knight Shyamalan. 

Plot: Three girls are kidnapped by a man with 23 diagnosed personalities, but they must escape before he unleashes his most dangerous personality yet. 

Okay so I’m gonna go ahead and say it. Best film I’ve seen in years! Mcavoy was so convincing and into his roles, it made the film a magnificent piece to watch. The different roles he had to play were complete opposite ends of the character spectrum but he managed to execute it perfectly, everything from his body language, to his facial expressions, the smallest details made this his best performance yet, it really gave me an insight to his talent as an actor.  

Above: Mcavoy as Hedwig, and Patricia.
Not only was his performance spot on,  but the use of camera angles was genius, we see the camera moulding to him in different ways depending on what personality is in “the light” at the moment in time, so it was an all round well made and we’ll thought out film. Taylor-Joy also put on a stellar performance as the more head strong one out of the three captures, as the film unfolds and they all start to wonder if they’ll survive, we see her character reminiscing on old childhood memories, which brings her purity into question, which is what “The Beast” wants. 

I really can’t praise this film enough, well done to Shyamalan for this masterpiece of a film, and a huge well done to Mcavoy for pulling off this phenomenal piece of acting, if you hear anything bad about this film, I urge you to ignore it, please give it a watch and you will understand the hype.

Easily giving Split 4.5 personalities out of 5.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Starting: Emile Hirsch, Brian Cox, Ophelia Lovibond, Olwen Catherine Kelly.

Director: André Øvredal (Troll Hunter)

Plot: A father and son, both coroner’s, receive a body late one night, they are unknowingly pulled into a dark mystery while attempting to unravel what happened to the young lady that lay before them.

First things first, one main location, and a couple of main characters is what really brings this film together. Our opening scene sees the body of Jane Doe (Kelly) being discovered half buried, looking like a pretty normal corpse, it is then up to our dynamic coroner duo (Cox and Hirsch) to figure out what tragedy bestruck this young lady. So Cox and Hirsch are about to lock up for the night after doing 3 cases already, when a nervous looking sheriff turns up at their door. He has a right to be nervous because this Jane Doe in particular has had some pretty nasty shit done to her in her time. 

With their detective like skills, they set about slicing her open and seeing what the COD was. The pair unravel detail after grisly detail, with some pretty terrifying occurrences along the way,  bodies moving around by themselves, a freak storm, could it get worse? You bet your ass it could.  

With a stunning mix of greys and blues from the morgue walls and the pale skin of the corpse, the film leaves you feeling colder than the slab she is laying upon. Jane Doe herself is pretty normal looking, however, her wide captivating, grey eyes leave you with the feeling that she is always watching, like she knows all of your secrets and deepest fears, unleashing them through her mysterious powers. The whole aura of the film makes you so curious that you begin to question what happened to her right from the start, burying you in intrigue throughout.  

A massive 4 out of 5 toe tags for The Autopsy of Jane Doe!