Wednesday, 9 July 2014

MOVIES: In Brief (7th July 2014)

Barricade (2012, SES, 15) finds a widowed father and his two children stranded at a remote lodge in a severe blizzard, under attack from what may or may not be a malevolent force. It's not entirely clear, even at the end of the movie, whether the supernatural has had a hand in things, and you're not sure if it's been a shaggy dog story of sorts. However, it's very well acted and beautifully shot, with some effective moments. It wisely doesn't overstay its welcome either, at a slender 75 minutes. Flawed, but worth your time. 5.8/10

In Camp Dread (2014, Image Entertainment, 18), film producer Eric Roberts has a hidden agenda when he holds a reality show/contest where he shot a series of slasher flicks in the 80's, assisted by Sleepaway Camp's Felissa Rose. It's an interesting central idea, but the actual execution sadly leaves a lot to be desired - the script has holes big enough to drive a tank through, the continuity jumps haphazardly, and call me picky but I do like my slasher flicks to have a bit more actual slashing. When it does start kicking off, it all just falls a bit flat, as does the potentially effective twist near the end. A disappointment all round which squanders its leads - Roberts in particular looks like he would rather be somewhere, indeed anywhere else. Don't be fooled by Danielle Harris's billing, either - she's hardly in it. Camp Dreadful would be more apt, unfortunately. 2/10

Definitely with a feel of the 80's (in a good way, don't worry) is No One Lives (2012, Anchor Bay, 18), but it's also a refreshing blend of elements with the novel twist of a psychopath being a hero of sorts. This is the sort of oddball indie movie that Medusa Home Video would have picked up in a flash back in the day, albeit considerably slicker than most of their fare. Aided by some marvellously executed prosthetics, it sticks two fingers up at the usual generic CGI in favour of some gruesome effects you can get a more tangible grip on. It perhaps over eggs the pudding somewhat towards its climax, but overall this is a solid shocker with plenty of high octane action which aims for something different and, on the whole succeeds. Don't over analyse the logic and you're in for a fun time. 6.7/10

Mr Jones (2013, Anchor Bay, 15) has a couple seeking a year of solitude at a secluded cabin, only to stumble upon a mysterious maker of scarecrows who seems to be a malevoent Banksy, sending his works out into the art world seemingly randomly. Whilst not a great movie (far from it), I can't entirely dislike a film which tries something a little different with the camcorder-in-the-woods template, blending documentary/talking heads elements into the mix. It is at least bold in its intent and an occasionally engaging curio, but that shaky-cam is feeling seriously old hat these days. Still, in his first feature, director Karl Mueller shows plenty of technical talent and might be worth watching. 4.5/10

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