Category Archives: Horror

TRAIN TO BUSAN PRESENTS – PENINSULA (2020): The Things I Liked…

Train to Busan Presents - Peninsula (2020), Lee Jung-hyun, Dong-won Gang,
Train to Busan Presents – Peninsula (2020), Lee Jung-hyun, Dong-won Gang

Train to Busan Presents – Peninsula, the sequel to my second favourite Korean film, Train to Busan (2016) has unfortunately not managed to escape the dreaded ‘sequel curse.’ The curse being that movie sequels are rarely, if ever, better than, let alone as good as the original.

Set four years after South Korea was devastated by a zombie attack, the story of Peninsula follows a former soldier who managed to escape overseas. The same soldier takes on a mission to go back. And to his surprise, there are survivors.

Had Peninsula been absolutely terrible, I’d have stopped watching and I probably wouldn’t commit any words to type about the experience. ‘Great’ is not a fitting word to describe Peninsula. Yet, there are a few moments in director Sang-ho Yeon’s movie that I’ll remember fondly. The first being the ‘daughter’s driving’ and the second involves a scene or two where the action is so intense that I had to pause to catch my breath.

As for specific elements that didn’t work well, part of what made Train to Busan great was the humorous moments. There’s sadly none of that in Peninsula. Furthermore, the zombie makeup looked as good as the first time. But the first movie had much better zombie action sequences.

Performance-wise, generally, everyone did well. Yet, they were let down by the film’s reliance on many very familiar tropes. The most frustrating moment of all frustrating moments in Peninsula concerns the use of an overly familiar trope to the most EXCESSIVE degree; to the point where it was r.i.d.i.c.u.l.o.u.s. Ridiculous!

If you haven’t already watched the original movie, please do so because it’s great. Now, try your best to forget that this new one exists. That is, of course, unless disappointing sequels happen to be your thing.

Happy Film Loving

G

POSSESSOR (2020): The Thing I Liked…

Possessor (2020), Christopher Abbott, Neon
Possessor (2020), Christopher Abbott, Neon

I’m not surprised that director Brandon Cronenberg’s new sci-fi/thriller Possessor has a moment or two that took me back to the work of his well-established director father, David Cronenberg. A.k.a the man behind one of my favourite crime/dramas, A History of Violence (2005)

The signature both Cronenbergs share is, of course, the visceral violence; something that’s present in Possessor, the story of a secret organisation that drives its agents to inhabit other people’s bodies so they can assassinate targets for money. 

One might say that I was never going to love this movie considering its premise of picking unsuspecting strangers to kill. And that’s partly true because I don’t love this movie for reasons including the way the dark premise is executed. However, there’s also the fact that throughout I felt as though something was missing in the narrative structure. 

Possessor tried hard to be something; whether it’s clever, engaging or memorable. Unfortunately it just never succeeds at it for me. There’s also the seemingly rushed/confusing last quarter which presented more questions than answers. Furthermore, there’s a moment in the movie where some dialogue about a parasite/worm that suggests Possessor was likely inspired, in part, not just by young Cronenberg’s father, but also by Christopher Nolan’s Inception (2010).

I enjoyed Christopher Abbott and Tuppence Middleton’s performances most. Still, overall, I say only watch Possessor if you absolutely must.

Happy Film Loving

G

TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016): The Things I Liked…

Train to Busan (2016), Well Go USA Entertainment
Train to Busan (2016), Well Go USA Entertainment

Train to Busan is as good as everyone said it is. It delivers a thrilling ride with one nail-biting event after another to keep things interesting.

Starring Yoo Gong, Jung Yu-mi and Dong-seok Ma; its guaranteed that Train to Busan is going to break your heart. Because, well, it is a zombie apocalypse movie. A subgenre of film I don’t often watch, but this one is special.

Directed by Sang-ho Yeon; there’s a good mix of interesting characters in this story. Exactly the kind you’d expect on your ordinary commute. That is until the inevitable zombie infestation happens. Then you get a good look at the variety of human beings out there. From the incredibly selfish to the less so and everything in between. You’ll likely find yourself wondering about the kind of human you might be in a situation where everyone is desperately struggling to survive. Do you know and will you like yourself, or care if you don’t? I know what I want to believe about me. Yet, I feel it would be quite foolish to proclaim to know for sure.

I enjoyed the visual effects, action scenes and much of the acting. I say ‘much’ and not ‘all’ because I did catch a moment where one character’s expression seemed far calmer than it should have been during a grave situation. And by ‘calm’, I don’t mean the kind that comes over you when you’re ‘shocked into inaction’.

In addition to the expressionless face, the only other downside to Train to Busan for me is the use of one or two movie-making tropes. An example being, keeping a seemingly underdeveloped character around, just so they can perform one or two key tasks to advance the story.

Even with the few elements I didn’t love about the film, Train to Busan remains worth watching. Especially since I wouldn’t call it ‘nightmare-inducing scary‘. What it is is a fun, affecting ride with good zombie action sequences, special effects and notable performances; particularly by young Su-an Kim.

Happy Film Loving

G

SWEET HOME (2020): New Trailer Starring Dane DiLiegro, Darren Keilan, Chase Yi…

Sweet Home (2020), Netflix
Sweet Home (2020), Netflix

Starring Dane DiLiegro, Darren Keilan and Chase Yi, Sweet Home is a new Korean drama/horror/thriller that’s set in a world where humans turn into savage monsters and wreak terror.

Hyunsoo, a troubled teen and his neighbours fight to survive. Not at all easy if, when you open your eyes, all you see are monsters.

Ever since Parasite (2019) gave me an appetite for Korean productions, I find myself more and more intrigued by what comes out of Seoul and beyond. Even though scary movies give me nightmares, Maybe I’ll get brave, just in time to see this one.

Full disclosure, my initial thoughts as this trailer revealed the scary nature of this story was: ‘Er… Isn’t Halloween over? What’s going on here? Then I remembered that Halloween is forever. Particularly if you love horror movies.

Song Kang, Jin-wook Lee, Lee Si-young, Park Gyuyoung, Kim Nam Hee, Kim Kap-su and Yoon-Jung Ko also star.

Sweet Home Release Dates: December 18th 2020 (US), Netflix…

Happy Film Loving

G

BLACK BOX (2020): The Things I Liked…

Black Box (2020), Mamoudou Athie, Prime Video
Black Box (2020), Mamoudou Athie, Prime Video

Black Box, a horror/mystery/sci-fi film about what happens to Nolan, a single father after he loses his wife and his memory in a car accident is a film I don’t regret watching.

Starring Mamoudou Athie (Uncorked (2020), Phylicia Rashad, Amanda Christine, and from writer/director Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour; the story centres around an agonising experimental treatment that causes Nolan to question who he is.

What I like most about Black Box is the unexpected direction the story takes at its most interesting and engaging point. I also enjoyed all the performances. Especially Athie and Christine’s. The latter of whom did a great job of playing a child who’s had to grow up far to fast.

As for what I like least about Black Box, that would be the first third of the movie because it played/felt a tad flat. Thankfully, once we get to around the thirty five minute mark, things get very interesting indeed, through to the very end.

Give Black Box a chance if you’re curious. Especially for the last two thirds and good performances.

Happy Film Loving

G

HIS HOUSE (2020): New Trailer Starring Matt Smith, Sope Dirisu, Mevis Birungi, Javier Botet…

His House (2020), Sope Dirisu, Netflix
His House (2020), Sope Dirisu, Netflix

In new horror/thriller His House, an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface is the unexpected destination of a refugee couple who made a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan.

Directed by Remi Weekes; starring Sope Dirisu, Matt Smith, Mevis Birungi and Javier Botet, the couple struggle to adjust to their new life.

The Get Out (2017) vibes are strong with this one. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. This looks pretty dark. I find myself wondering about the motivations of the people that placed the couple in ‘his house’

Hopefully I won’t be too scared to watch this because I do want to find out how much everyone around the couple knows about what goes on in that house.

Bradley Banton, Vivien Bridson, Yvonne Campbell, Gamba Cole, Rene Costa, Andy Gathergood, Mark Gooden, Marie Hamm, Ty Hurley, Cornell John, John Kamau and John Samuel Kande also star.

His House Release Dates: October 30th, 2020 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G

THE CRAFT (2020): New Trailer From Cailee Spaeny, David Duchovny, Lovie Simone, Michelle Monaghan…

The Craft (2020), Lovie Simone, Gideon Adlon, Cailee Spaeny, Zoey Luna
The Craft (2020), Lovie Simone, Gideon Adlon, Cailee Spaeny, Zoey Luna

A remake of the 1996 film of the same name, new fantasy/horror movie The Craft follows Hannah (Cailee Spaeny) a newcomer to a Catholic prep high school who falls in with a trio of outcast teenage girls who practice witchcraft.

Also starring David Duchovny, Michelle Monaghan, Lovie Simone and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones; the girls soon conjure up various spells and curses against those who anger them.

Teenage me would be very excited about this. As for my non-teen self, I’m intrigued because this trailer isn’t bad (even though the wire work at 1:14 into the above edit seems questionable). I also I can’t remember much about the 1996 movie besides the fact that Neve Campbell is in it.

Just to be clear, I’m not a witch. OK, maybe that one time, for Halloween. I really just want to know more about the nature of their powers.

Zoey Luna, Gideon Adlon, Nicholas Galitzine, Charles Vandervaart, Donald MacLean Jr., Hannah Gordon, Julian Grey and Mike Dara also star.

The Craft Release Dates: October 28th, 2020 (US & UK)…

Happy Film Loving

G

SYNCHRONIC (2019): New Trailer From Jamie Dornan, Anthony Mackie, Katie Aselton…

Synchronic (2019), Anthony Mackie, Well Go USA Entertainment
Synchronic (2019), Anthony Mackie, Well Go USA Entertainment

Jamie Dornan, Anthony Mackie and Katie Aselton are the stars of Synchronic, a new sci-fi/horror/drama about two New Orleans paramedics, whose lives are ripped apart. All after they encounter a series of horrific deaths linked to a designer drug with bizarre, otherworldly effects.

Directed by  Justin Benson and  Aaron Moorhead; additional key cast includes Ally Ioannides, Bill Oberst Jr., Natasha Tina Liu…

This looks dark and quite promising. Also, I’m sure I’m not the only one getting Project Power (2020) vibes. I only wish that there wasn’t so much text interrupting all the clips in this trailer. Am I right or am I right?

Martin Bats Bradford, Devyn A. Tyler, Lawrence Turner, Sam Malone, Aaron Groben, Betsy Holt and Shane Brady also star.

Synchronic Release Dates: October 23rd, 2020 (US)…

Happy Film Loving

G