Thursday, 25 August 2016
Thursday, 18 August 2016
Suffering from amnesia, confused and alone Melissa slowly discovers that the world isn't what it supposed to be.
Monday, 15 August 2016
Thursday, 4 August 2016
Monday, 1 August 2016
After the loss of her mother, medical student Nancy Adams travels to a secluded beach. Hitting the waves Nancy finds herself being stalked by a great white shark.
With a broken surf board lying near by a young boy finds a Go-Pro helmet cam and we get to see a recording of how its owner met their demise. We're then introduced to Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) bouncing around in a vehicle in the middle of nowhere, with the feeling we're in a torture tourist film. However, thankfully this is a killer shark film. Interestingly, director Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Unknown) quirkily shows her social media texts and photos as a wipes on screen. Played by Óscar Jaenada , Carlos the broken English local (who does not kill Nancy) drops the surf board touting tourist off safely at the beach. The perfect body, on the perfect beach, with the most perfect waves and scenery sets up a false sense of security.
It's not long before Nancy encounters some surfers who warn her of a strong current and rocks. It not just abs, bikini and cleavage. Surfing film fans may find the first minutes particularly interesting, its wonderfully shot as they surf the waves off the beautiful beach. In addition Collet-Serra makes full use of the unorthodox novel way (breaking the third wall) of the videophone calls and watch face projection on screen. These shots set up the family dynamics, back-story and elapsing time to hold attention and keep momentum. The proceedings are enhanced by Marco Beltrami’s (World War Z, The Thing 2011) score. But this is all inconsequential as deep down you're waiting for the shark to strike.
After a dolphin appears to break things up with a jump scare, Collet-Serra is wise to get to the great white quite quickly with an excellent shot of the sharks silhouette through a huge wave hot on Nancy's heels like something from a Steve Alten novel. When the water turns red - the survival story beings. The Shallows doesn't present great shakes in term of story, it's a basic don't get eaten tale reminiscent of Open Water (2003) and The Reef (2010), person verse nature. The Shallows offers big budget set ups and thrills with a whale carcass and buoy being bashed by the great white, the effects, bruises and bite makeup are finely done, there's also plenty of blood, severed limbs and bites on display. There's a solid performance from Blake Lively who is focal throughout. But the star of the show is the shark, when it breaks the water it's exceptionally realised, it feels and looks for the most part scarily real. This is not a Syfy channel special effect, this great white is unnerving and frightening.
There are calm before the storm moments where Lively's Nancy befriends a seagull, tends to her wounds, talks to herself, the night time shots are particularly eerie as she silently stalked. Inevitably each chance of rescue is thwarted by the tenacious killer. With a handful of shark attacks littered throughout there’s enough moments to maintain interest. Dehydrated, no food and losing blood writer Anthony Jaswinski's offers part an endurance test story as well as a creature feature. As Nancy goes from salvation points, through the salt water, rock to rock, there's plenty of tension as she times her swims in an attempt to out manoeuvre the shark. The slick editing and Jaswinski's story brings the film full circle playing against expectations and with sleight of hand you're into the unknown, with Nancy's fate up for grabs in the closing act where she faces off with the extremely aggressive predator. With high-tides, jelly fish stings, storms closing in, flare guns, Collet-Serra keeps the thrills coming until the end.
Refreshingly it doesn't rehash Jaws. Shark fans will no doubt get an uneasy and unsettled kick out of some of the elaborate stunt setups. With its small cast, excellent lead, beautiful location cinematography, if you’re into stranded shark films you can't go wrong.
Overall, a fast paced, grounded shark attack film and a recommend bite of entertainment.
Saturday, 30 July 2016
Saturday, 23 July 2016
*** This review may contain talking head spoilers ***
A mixed group of townsfolk team up to destroy the reanimated dead that have taken over their town to eat brains.
With lines that mirror and hark back to the 1985 surprise hit, it's more of a remake despite being called part II, akin to Evil Dead 2 in relation to part one. Here three kids, find a canister which contains a Trioxin enriched body. The barrel which (literary) fell off a back of a lorry is unlocked by two of the three teens, releasing a gas which make the two bullies ill and also revives the occupants of the local grave.
Young teen lead Michael Kenworthy's Jesse Wilson and Marsha Dietlein as Lucy Wilson are worthy of note (possibly named Wilson at a stretch to possibly link the two films with Burt Wilson from the original). Jesse who is locked up by the young bullies escapes their fate while locked up in a mausoleum. Director/writer Ken Wiederhorn offer excellent practical and make up effects, (despite continuity errors where Tarman 2's design inexplicably changes between shots), there's plenty of Thriller styled undead on display. Unfortunately the soundtrack (recreating the vibe of the original) was replaced due to license issues and the replacement music sadly takes away some nostalgic and complementary value.
The supporting cast are solid, if somewhat hysterically panicked. With a good mixture of horror and comedy there's Dana Ashbrook (Twin Peaks) as Tom, notable is Suzanne Snyder as Brenda, whose dressed in her best Tiffany outfit. At one point military men wielding guns show up, one of which is actor Mitch Pileggi pre-X-Files. Memorable is Philip Bruns eccentric Doc Mandel. The excellent James Karen and Thom Mathews return as grave robbers who release Jesse from the mausoleum. They ineffect reprise similar characters from the first outing, echoing the same slow changes into zombies, at one point Mathew's Joey even gives an acknowledging line of, "I feel like we've been here before. You... Me... Them!" and as a viewer you'll feel the same as many of the setups give a feeling of de ja vu right down to another leathery talking female corpse.
The setting including a graveyard, contrasting suburbs and town offers enough chills as the lumber dead horde go in search of brains, at one point even breaking into a pet shop. There's hands (reminiscent of Adams Family's Thing and Ash of Evil Dead's appendage), talking decapitated heads, plenty of body parts, worms coming out of faces, rotten flesh and every kind off blood guts and severed spines a horror fan could want.
As the survivors lure the zombies with carts of brains and Jesse faces off against his now dead bully there's a satisfying conclusion including a Michael Jackson thriller style zombie thrown in just for the hoot. Wiederhorn's offering doesn't get under the skin as much as its predecessor nor does it have the nihilistic ending that made part one standout. Nevertheless, the special effects hold up much better than the mix of horror comedy and its still a cadaver load of zombie fun.