Saturday, 26 October 2013

MOVIES: In Brief (October 26th 2013)

A round up of recently viewed movies, including some older titles you may have missed...

Frankenstein's Army

(2013 Netherlands/USA/Czech Rep., 81m, Entertainment One - Cert 18)

As World War II reaches its end, a group of Russian soldiers and an army cameraman come upon a Nazi lab, where the notebooks of Dr. Frankenstein have been used for the creation of a secret army of super soldiers...

An interesting attempt to put the Frankenstein story in another context, if not entirely successful. Presented as the cameraman's record of events, it's entertaining enough in its own way, with some enjoyably yucky moments and some interesting ideas scattered about, but it sadly ends up as yet another first-person/found footage effort. The juddering camera work becomes migraine inducing after a few minutes and makes the film a real ordeal to sit through, never mind follow, as the creatures begin to attack. A great shame, as the monster creations are rather brilliant and deserve a better showcase. 5.2/10

Chernobyl Diaries

(2012 USA/Russia, 86m, StudioCanal - Cert 15)

A group of holidaymakers, looking for something different, visit the deserted town of Pripyat, the former home of the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear facility. When their van is sabotaged and they find themselves stranded, they realise they are not alone.

Whilst I do believe that the horror cinema has every right to explore nightmares both imaginary and real life, Chernobyl Diaries leaves a very bitter aftertaste. The nightmare of Chernobyl remains very real to those who are still living with its effects, and this film is too soon after the fact. Didn't the makers even once consider that setting it in a fictional place would get the point across sufficiently, and avoid further upset for those affected?

Putting all of that aside, this has nothing to offer which hasn't been done before, it's terribly dull, lacking in suspense and the blatant cashing in on this great tragedy simply makes matters worse. 1/10

Sand Sharks

(2011 USA, 87m, Chelsea Films - Cert 15)

A group of sharks terrorises people on a beach. The thing is, these are prehistoric creatures, released from their resting place by an earthquake, and this kind of shark can swim through sand...
It's an amusing enough novelty, whilst sticking to the usual conventions of Jaws, Piranha and the like. If teens being terrorised by aquatic life forms is your thing, it's a pleasant enough time passer which doesn't take itself seriously. The cast seem to be enjoying themselves, the digital effects are delightfully over the top, there's some real belly laughs to be had and it moves along at a brisk enough pace. Good, unpretentious entertainment, which does exactly what it says on the packet.

Rather amusingly, this is credited as an Eden Vale production. In the UK, Eden Vale used to be a brand of dairy products, notably cottage cheese... 5.6/10

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