Movie News when it Breaks, Reviews Near the Release Date, Features every Sunday

16 Sep 2010

Author Feature: A Discussion on Tension, Horror and Death

Hey all, sorry for the late postings :(
Below is an extract from a conversation me and a friend had.
Who do you think is correct?

Friend:   Its far worse than most of the movies you watch, that actually has NO tension or foreshadowing, you just wait to see everyone die
Me:   it has tension lol [NB Talking about the upcoming movie F]
Me:   you should watch it and find out ;)
Friend:   Not as much
Me:   it does though
Friend:   No character development= No genuine fear for the character= little to no tension
Me:   dude you liked Clash of the Titans, thus that notion is false
Me:   and no development =/= no tension
Friend:     I found it entertaining because of its impressive big budget visuals
Me:   thus you know nothing about movies
Friend:     entertaining =/= quality of script
Me:   tension is made up most of cinematography and the soundtrack
Friend:     Paranormal activity didn’t need a soundtrack
Friend:     thus your statement isn’t true, is it
Me:   watch Cherry Tree Lane, there is one scene in there that proves my theory
Friend:     You can’t prove your theory
Me:   yeah, but PA relied so heavily on its cinematography
Me:   one scene
Friend:     all it takes is one film with no soundtrack to be tense and your theory is invalid
Friend:     ..paranormal activity
Friend:    Paranormal activity had no unique cinematography, it had been done before
Friend:    But the character development triumphed
Me:   dude that had so many holes in it
Me:   the cinematography doesn’t have to be original, just impacting
Friend:    go on
Me:   as the camera was taken from the cast themselves, you feel like you are with them. However, you end up feeling like one of them, rather than sympathising with them
Friend:    That’s more or less what i said
Friend:    Not necessarily
Me:   that’s what creates the tension, not the character development (if anything, you feel slightly detached), but rather the cinematography making you feel like one of them
Me:   you could have had 2 versions of the most boring people in existence as the cast, as long as the shakey-cam was used, the tension would be there
Me:   Final destination is a prime example of this
Friend:    You could see from a mile off that the girl was becoming possessed and you were urging micah not to stay by her
Friend:    Final destination was an absolutely abysmal set of films, just above saw but still at the bottom
Me:   and that’s a perfect example of the holes: the development was bland and boring, giving off obvious signs rather than making a sudden change into possession that Katy was not expecting, and neither were you
Me:   Yes, FD is shit, but it does have tension, undoubtedly
Friend:    I watched some of them, and there’s NO tension, you know the characters will die, you just wait for it, and it is obvious in each scene whether there will be a death or not
Me:   dude, have you seen them? the tension is there as the characters never die how you initially suspect they will
Me:   that’s part of the beauty of the writing (the only thing FD has going for it)
Friend:    No… no you’re so wrong
Friend:    If you know there WILL be a death, there is no tension
Me:   wrong
Friend:    The audience don’t sit there thinking "How will that electric razor kill him? Oh i can’t wait to find out"
Me:   in all horror films, death is inevitable, it’s part of the genre. However, it’s the method of the death, the timing, and the add-ons (eg music and cinematography ) that give the tension.
Friend:   Youre not always supposed to know right away if people will die and who dies though, the premise of FD was shit because it basically said "Everyone here is dead. Lets watch them all die one by one"

So, what do you think creates tension?

3 Sep 2010

Movie Review: Monsters

Monsters was easily one of the most hyped movies being shown at last weekend's FrightFest, with its low budget an amazing CGI. However, it didn't quite manage to live up to its promise.

Monsters starts 7 years after a satellite crash, after which "creatures" start to come to earth. Fearing for their safety, humankind eventually force them into specialised "Infected Zones". The main plot line  follows the journey of two characters, Whitney and Scoot, who have to travel through an "Infected Zone" in Mexico to get back to America. On the whole, the movie never really settles on a single genre, shifting from adventure to romance constantly, but never being able to intertwine the two together, leaving for an experience that is somewhat mixed.

As for the set-pieces, they are some of the best given the small budget. Director Gareth Edwards used his laptop to create most of the special effects, and it shows on some of the close ups, with some fine details being left out (such as skin texture). However, when the camera zooms out to show the sheer size of the creatures, the CGI is on par with the likes of District 9. The computer effects also shine during the landscape scenes, where ruined buildings are shown in their masses, each one being very realistic. However, all of the CGI never really manages to leave a lasting impression, with these scenes being few and far between, leaving for a movie that is 25% monsters, 50% walking and 25% romance scenes, and a movie with some of the oddest pacing I have seen in a while.

To the director's credit, around 40% of the movie was improvised, leading to a movie that is largely unpredictable. For example, a scene with some cows was improvised, and expertly highlights the paranoia felt by the characters. The movie also features many armed guards to transport the main characters, showing how dangerous the "creatures" are, even though these real armed guards were there to protect the cast and filming crew from militia.

As for the acting, the two actors (Andrew Kaulder and Samantha Wynden) are a couple off the screen aswell, and it shows. The chemistry between the two is relentless and true, making their relationship very realistic and believable. Their encounters with the varied locals is also genuinely entertaining. Given that most of these people were not meant to be in the movie, it makes the writing seem even more realistic that it would have otherwise been.

In the end,the set pieces are large and impressive, especially given that 40 per cent was improvised (according to the director). However, my biggest gripe with it is that it doesn't give the audience enough, with it's large set pieces being few and far between. In the end, it aspired to be the new District 9, but just ends up being the equivalent of it's little brother rather than it's more successful sibling.

Total Score: 7 out of 10

Neeson and Carnahan together again

Liam Neeson and Joe Carnahan will reunite on the set of the upcoming movie The Grey, after working together on The A-Team.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, A-Team star Bradley Copper was also supposed to have joined the cast, but later dropped out. Carnahan and Ian Jeffers scripted the action thriller for Scott Free Prods.

The synopsis, taken from Inferno Distribution, is as follows: "Eight survivors of a deadly plane crash are forced to prove their survival skills by racing from a bloodthirsty pack of wolves hunting them through the treacherous terrain of the Arctic."

Judge Dredd name change

The upcoming Judge Dredd has had a name change, to distance itself from the Sylvester Stallone original.

At the Toronto International Film Festival, the film is being referred to as just Dredd, with the plot being listed as follows:

"DREDD takes us to the wild streets of Mega City One, the lone oasis of quasi-civilization on Cursed Earth. Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) is the most feared of elite Street Judges, with the power to enforce the law, sentence offenders and execute them on the spot - if necessary. The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and the frenetic vision of director Pete Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film that returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra's revered comic strip."

Pre-production started on 23rd August in South Africa.

Madness grows on Cruise

H.P. Lovecraft's novel At the Mountains of Madness will be made into an upcoming movie. However, according to Collider, director Guillermo del Toro wants Tom Cruise to play the lead role: geologist William Dyer. However, Universal wants either James McAvoy or Chris Pine.

Cruise and del Toro were going to work together on a reboot of the Van Helsing movie, although Cruise's work on Mission Impossible IV  halted this.

As for Universal's choices, Universal and Mr. Pine have worked together on Wanted, the upcoming X-men: First Class (which he will play Professor X), and rumour has it that he will also play Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.

2 Sep 2010

Any Recommendations?

Hey Readers!
this blog has been up and running for a little over a month now, and I would like to ask you 2 little favours, if I may be so bold:

1) How could I improve this site?
2) What could I do to promote this site further so I can get it known and write about news and movies earlier?

Any comments are welcome, either via commenting on this post, or via dropping me an email at:

Thanks all, and I look forward to your responses!

I will try my best to sort out any requests :D

Movie Review: I Spit On Your Grave (Unrated)

Firstly, no, this isn't the classic banned movie. This is the remake of that film. And as a little disclaimer, I haven't seen the original, so I can't compare.

The story is about a woman who relocates into a secluded cabin to write her next novel. However, four of the locals then come in and begin to rape and torture her. As a result, she sacrifices herself into a river. Miraculously, she survives and starts to wreak havoc on those who done her wrong. Admittedly, this is a rather throw-away story and the plot leaves many holes. Yet this can't help the first half of the movie from dragging on. The beginning rape scene is dragged on far too long, and by the end all of the feelings that the writers try to conjure are replaced by slight boredom. However, in the end, you won't really care. When you enter the cinema to see it, you will know what you are getting into and you know that you won't be in there for the story.

You will definitely be going there for the gore. And let me tell you, it doesn't disappoint. Seriously, this film is gorier than all the Saw movies and the Hostel movies rolled into one, with the tension of the Final Destination movies thrown in there for good measure. To put this into perspective, the BBFC will not allow the version I saw to be shown in theatres uncut due to high levels of bloody violence, and even this version was cut by 43 seconds. The gore will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout, and you will be wondering what kind of torture method she will bring out next. This is where the movie triumphs, as it keeps you guessing throughout, something that very few horror movies have been able to do. Yet throughout the whole movie, you can't shake the feeling that the only thing really going for it is the gore. Yes, you know that the story is minimal, but you end up leaving unsatisfied and in need for something more in-depth.

The main downfall for this movie, however, is its distinct lack of character development. However, this isn't from the fault of the actors. Rather, the actors play their characters to a very high standard, with Sarah Butler, who plays the victim, showing the trauma her character suffers very convincingly. Rather, it is the fault of Meir Zarchi and Stuart Morse, the writers. Rather than giving the attackers their own individual voices, they attend to almost every thug stereotype, including the stupid one, the quiet one and the one the wants to be leader. Thus, this makes the attackers slightly unbearable and unbelievable. However, in the end, this won't matter as they becoming the same, sympathetic, apologetic characters when the gore starts to flow.

As for the cinematography and music, both fit the movie very well, but neither seem to make a lasting impression. Yes, they intensify the anger and distress felt by the victim in the first half, but in the second half of the movie, they add nothing to the experience. Rather, you will be squirming so much that no music at all would have been a better choice. The cinematography is also nothing special, providing a clear shot of the gory scenes. However, this is expected from this type of film and it never seems to go one step ahead.

Overall, this film relies on rather a lot of gore to make up for its lack of character development and a lacklustre plot. It can be compared to a plate of snails: it is very enjoyable if you can get past its disgusting side, although it probably won't be very satisfying if you were expecting something extraordinary.

Total Score: 6 out of 10

Transformers 3 halted by accident

UPDATE: According to IGN: " It is being reported that the injured extra has undergone brain surgery and is now in stable condition. says that Cedillo, was airlifted to nearby Loyola University Medical Center after the accident yesterday. Representatives for DreamWorks and Paramount have yet to comment on the matter."

Last Wednesday, filming on the set of Transformers 3 was stopped after an accident, leaving an extra seriously ill.

According to ABC, Gabriella Cedillo, a 24-year-old extra, was injured when a car stunt went wrong. Apparently, she was sitting in her car when an object hit her windshield.

"The vehicle was being towed by another vehicle. The cable between the two vehicles broke. It whipped around and sliced through the woman's car and sliced through her skull, apparently," ABC was told by Blaine Baker, a fellow extra.

The shooting was closed down by Indiana State Police, which was meant to stop shooting on location on Thursday.

More cast and a name change for Final Destination 5

Firstly, Final Destination 5 may no longer be called 5nal Destination (hooray!). However, this is just a rumour so far.

Also, another cast member has been added to the roster. This time, it is Emma Bell, of The Walking Dead and Frozen. However, she is also said to play the lead role in the movie, rather than a redshirt.

The movie will be directed by Steven Quale and will shoot in Vancouver in mid-September.

The Sandman Cometh

According to Hollywood Reporter, Neil Gaiman's acclaimed comic book, The Sandman, may be made into a movie.

Warner Bros has been trying to acquire the rights to the movie, which will revolve around Morpheus, the lord of dreams. Apparently, they are already in discussions with DC Comics and several writers/producers to make the dream come true, so to speak. yet the most interesting piece of news is that Warner Bros is looking to Eric Kripe, of Supernatural fame to produce the project.

The film, so far, has a history of never quite getting off the group, even though numerous companies have had their names attached to previous projects.

1 Sep 2010

Movie Review: 13 Hrs

13 Hrs, the only British-made film at the festival, opens as a car drives down an empty road, with a passing glance of a dead dog. This aptly set the scene for the whole, rather disappointing, film.

The plot revolves around Sarah, a daddy's-girl upper-class adult moving back into their family's stately home. After meeting up with her friends (who attend to every single upper-class-trying-to-be-free stereotype), a power cut happens and so they rush inside for booze and candles, just to find that their father is ripped apart on the bed. This is a classic werewolf tale updated for modern teenage audiences. The rather meagre upside to this film is that it has some genuinely tense moments, especially when the group split up only have have them being picked off in the next scene. Other than this, however, the film is, in all sense of the phrase, laughably bad.

Within the first 20 minutes of the movie, I felt a laugh starting in my stomach. It wasn't even a good laugh. Every actor in the cast puts on a posh English accent, none of which come off realistic. The acting throughout is wooden and stiff, making for a movie that is heavy on cheese and makes you feel absolutely no attachment to any of the cast whatsoever, leaving you not caring at the end and making the whole film seem like a waste of time. The only vague anomaly to this rule is Isabella Calthorphe, who plays Sarah. Her acting is somewhat bearable, if still a little stale.

Yet the worst part of this film is easily the script. I wouldn't be surprised if this film signifies the end of Adam Phillip's career. The script was in no way believable, and the writing left little room for emotions, leading to no attachment to characters. This could be sensed almost immediately as the film began, and was a niggling feeling throughout.

Yes, this movie was on a small budget. As a result, the creature itself is hardly ever seen. Yet this works in its favour, adding to the intensity. However, it also works against it, especially in the end scenes. Only brief glimpses of the werewolf is seen, making it seem unbelievable, but these are only in the end scenes, where Jonathan Glendening tries to pull of full-body shots of the creature without showing how far their budget [didn't] stretch.

The final gripe I have with this film is the cinematography. Throughout many of the tense scenes, such as the death scenes or werewolf fight scenes, the camera cuts from shot to shot far too quickly, leaving you in doubt as to what actually is happening. The one saving grace of the cinematography is when the camera gives a first-person view when the werewolf is on the hunt, although these shots are few and far between to give any lasting impression.

Overall, this film falls flat on its face, and gives British horror movies a bad reputation. Its tense scenes do not make up for its overall lacklustre performance, and so it is hard to recommend to lovers horror or werewolf films.

Total Score: 2 out of 10

Mad Max has Mad Stunts

A report has been circulating (thanks to Moviehole) that Mad Max has a grand total of almost 300 stunts. Yep! 300!

Stuntman Cameron Taylor told Transmoto "It's a big budget deal that's got 130 cars and bikes and 298 stunts! I'm literally riding all day at the moment, jumping up cliffs and doing some technical riding. So it's hard work, but good fun. … It's cool as we are actually going to be part of the movie, not just stunt doubles. I'll be back out here early next year for seven months while the thing is filmed."

Apparently "There's Yamaha YZ250s; R1s with super-long swingarms, knobbies and beefed-up suspension; and Tenere 650s [with] insane paint jobs. They're going all out on this," whatever that means.