Sunday, 22 September 2013

MOVIES: In Brief... (22/9/13)

I don't always get the time to write a full review of everything I see. Here's a handy round up of "the rest"...

Mine Games (USA 2012, 92 mins, Kaleidoscope)

A group of friends think they have glimpsed their own grisly fate when investigating an abandoned mine shaft. Can they change the future, or will their efforts just confound matters?

Occasionally interesting, Mine Games has promising elements (sort of Triangle meets slasher-flick), but somehow fails to make it all gel, and it feels like it's just one rewrite short of being really good. Not a waste of time by any means, but not one to put at the top of your rental list either. 5.5/10

The Initiation (USA 1984, 97 mins, Arrowdrome/ArrowFilms)

A college student has no memories before the age of 9, but has a recurring nightmare involving a burning man. While a professor attempts to interpret the dream, she has a sorority initiation to take part in: to break into her family's shopping mall, and steal the night watchman's uniform. Meanwhile, someone from her past is on a killing spree...

Mainly notable now for an early appearance from Daphne Zuniga, fans of lowbrow 80's slashers will find enough to enjoy, but this is average fare. There's some good dice-and-slice moments, but The Initiation drags badly in places, and could do with a good 10 minutes cutting at least. And... If this girl's family owns the mall, why not just collude with the security guard to give her a uniform? A dodgy prop arrow which seems to enter and exit a victim's body in different places is priceless, though. 4.5/10

Terror At Lost Lake, aka Lost Lake (USA 2012, 80 mins, High Fliers)

When a bride to be fails to get an RSVP from her Uncle Vern's invite, she and her fiance track him down, ostensibly ghost hunting in a deserted town called Lost Lake. However, there's more to his ghost hunt than he's letting on...

Slow to get going, and then when it eventually does it makes little sense. There's traces of some good ideas but nowhere near enough to salvage this mess of a film. The deserted town location looks effective, and leading players Katie Keene and John Shartzer try their best with what they have, but didn't anybody take a look at the script, and tell writer/director Marcus Nash it simply wasn't up to muster? 2/10

A Field In England (UK 2013, 84 mins, Channel 4)

In the English Civil War, a small party escapes through an overgrown field. Following a meal of wild mushrooms, they are ambushed and forced to search the field for treasure - or are they?

I decided to let the hype die down a bit before watching this one. Before anything else, let me say: I really want to like Ben Wheatley's films. I truly admire the fact that he is actively out there, getting films made, and isn't tied down to expected notions of what a genre film should be. The Kill List started promisingly, but sadly lost its way in the second half. Sightseers was a wasted opportunity, genuinely laugh out loud in places (the best bits are in the trailer), whilst dull and missing the target by a mile in others. With A Field In England, however, he really tops himself. Like an experimental film school short stretched out way beyond breaking point, it's his most frustrating effort to date. Watching a bunch of people tripping on mushrooms is neither interesting nor entertaining, regardless of how clever the editing is. I know Wheatley is currently considered to be a minor deity or something, but this is just self indulgent. 1/10 (And yes, I expect hate mail)


  1. Not hate mail, but I'm gonna have to disagree! I actually found it genuinely terrifying in places, and some scenes are gonna stay with me forever. I also liked the jarring effect of the archaic setting, lavatorial humour, superstition, rampant greed and all. But yeah, it was a bit too long. Loved the editing, soundtrack and cinematography though.

  2. Hello! Thanks for the comment! It does seem to be a love-it-or-hate-it thing. And, I do genuinely want to like his work because he's clearly a talented feller.