Raw/Grave(2016)

 

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Rigor Mortis 殭屍 (2013)

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A retired actor, Chin Siu-Ho moves into an old run down apartment building after an attempted suicide where he meets an eccentric group of tenants and the apartment manager Uncle Yin. He eventually finds out that the building is haunted by hostile spirits and a vampire. Uncle Yin abandoned as a child, is a vampire hunter and the apartment manager. One of the tenants falls to his death down a flight of stairs running from a demon. He’s found by one of the tenants and the neighbors tell his wife.
The wife is so devastated that she decides to turn to black magic and gets help from a warlock to bring him back. The warlock recites a ritual and puts an intricate mask on the deceased husbands face but warns the wife to never take it off. While left alone with his body, she examines the mask on his face and begins to mourn because of all the cherished memories she has of him. She finally goes against the warlocks advice and removes the mask. He is now free to wreak havoc in the apartment building with a thirst for flesh and blood.

The actor begins to experience more of the supernatural prompting him to investigate the buildings dark history which he learns more about from Uncle Yin. From there he and Uncle Yin become adversaries in an attempt to cleanse the building of it’s evil spirits and demons. You’ll get a glimpse into the lives of eccentric tenants bound together by the supernatural. They’re caught between two dimensions. One of the living and on the other end of the spectrum a world of everything else you’ve ever read, watched, or heard about the creatures of folktales and the paranormal. The story reminds me of Ghost Busters but it’s darker, never campy, and more action packed. The protagonists literally fight the creatures from the netherworld. They still use relics to aid them but as you’ll see if you watch Rigor Mortis it proves to be a very arduous task.

 

 

 

 

 

Kirazu (Killers) 2014

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In Killers you’ll be met with a kick to the face with the introduction of one of our main characters Nomura, a classy, charming, intelligent, and affluent Japanese business man. The film begins with a look at one of Nomura’s murder victims. You see her strapped to a chair in a room with a sophisticated setup of cameras and video recording equipment. She has a plastic bag taped over her head. She’s sobbing and shaking with panic and fear. Nomura’s wearing a white mask to hide his identity from his recordings while with sarcasm tries to calm his victim down. He turns around and walks towards a table which holds an array of his killing tools of choice, and decides on the hammer. He walks back to his victim and gives her a blow to the head leaving her shaking and in shock. Blood starts pouring down her face when Nomura strikes another fatal blow and the cameras catch his killing ritual from the beginning to his victims last breath.

Nomura is meticulous in cleaning up and uploading his video to a dark web site where members share videos of their killings. This leads us to Bayu, a struggling journalist in Indonesia who shares custody of his daughter with his estranged wife. We learn that he unsuccessfully tried to investigate and expose a corrupt politician named Mr. Dharma. He is eventually drawn and introduced to Nomura through videos he’s watched on the same dark web site that Nomura is a member of. Bayu gets attacked one night by two men in a taxi cab, but manages to kill them both and catch it on camera. He decides to upload it to the site, and Nomura contacts him. This begins their relationship and Nomura’s grooming of Bayu in the joys of killing and keeping discreet.

Nomura and Bayu communicate and share their videos, but we quickly start to realize that Nomura is the killer with no remorse or conscience for that matter. Bayu is the type who tries to kill and stop only the corrupt. Nomura is the more experienced killer who has an extensive history of violence. Bayu is inexperienced, sloppy, and still manages to hold on to his humanity. He is a family man who wants to try to reunite his family. Nomura has no family and lives in a fog of loneliness. I thoroughly enjoyed the Killers film and the juxtaposition of the two main characters. I liked the writing and the way the story flows and weaves the characters lives together. There is much gore so those sensitive to limbs being ripped off torsos, and violence against women may want to pass. Over all, this was a good one for foreign horror lovers and I’ll be looking out for more films from the Mo Brothers.

Backcountry (2014)

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Backcountry is a very intense and frightening film based on the tragic story of Jacqueline Perry and Mark Jordan. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/black-bear-kills-woman-camper-north-of-chapleau-ont-1.556281 In the film, a couple (Alex and Jenn) decide to embark on a camping trip to revisit an old childhood hang out spot that Alex used to visit. Alex wants to share a bit of nostalgia with Jenn and is excited to lead her to an old lake in the woods. Jenn is a bit reluctant from the start yet agrees to go on the trip. In the beginning of the trip they enjoy themselves and the wilderness. At one point they run into an odd woodsman who offers to cook them fish which puts Alex off a little because he’s a stranger, but the next day they leave it behind them and continue on their way. Once they reach their destination they are astonished to find out that the lake Alex mentioned isn’t there. The lake isn’t there because they never found it, and they ended up at the wrong spot. They soon realize that they are completely lost and that they also have a black bear on their trail. They have no map or cellphone and have to rely on gut instincts to survive. Think about what it’s like to fight and triumph over fatigue, broken bones, starvation, and having a blood thirsty black bear chasing you down as prey. Scary thought isn’t it? I enjoyed this movie but have serious doubts that I’ll be camping in the woods anytime soon.

Housebound (2014)

 

 

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Housebound is as creative as it is hilarious. I’m not one for comedy-horror, but the writer of this film did such an excellent job with the story that it quickly became one of my favorite horror films.
We follow a tough girl named Kylie who runs the streets committing crime and giving the finger to the law who has no idea what to do with her or how to straighten her out. After a failed robbery attempt the courts decide on house arrest leaving Kylie confined to her childhood home with her mum, delightfully played by Rima Te Wiata. Tensions grow between Kylie and her mum as time goes by, and she shows no signs of remorse for her behaviour. It isn’t until she starts experiencing strange paranormal occurrences within the home that she starts trying to put the pieces to the puzzle together with her mum and security probation officer as to why these things are happening. I really liked how Kylie’s character was a strong female lead. She didn’t frighten easily and was prepared to figure things out her own way. But do the answers lie with their deranged looking neighbor? Is there more to their old house beneath the surface? You’ll just have to watch. It serves up many laughs AND spooks so I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Cheers and Enjoy!

Moebius (2013)

 

This film was very well thought out and imaginative. It was disturbing on SO many levels and although it featured no dialogue the actors were able to portray their roles and situations convincingly, proving that you don’t always need dialogue to tell a good story. We follow a well to do middle class family in South Korea and become immersed in their sensually dysfunctional and nightmarish web of chaos. The father,  played by Cho Jae-hyun has an affair with a woman who works at a local convenience store and once his wife (Lee Eun-Woo) finds out she becomes blinded by insane jealous rage leading her to attempt his castration. She doesn’t succeed, and her husband kicks her out of his bedroom instead of calling the police like a lot of men would do in this situation.  She then decides to turn to her sons bedroom, and plans to attack him instead. The attack leaves the son (Seo Young-Joo) without his parts, and from there the husband feels extreme guilt for what has happened. After the wife mysteriously disappears, the husband is obligated to help his son live a somewhat normal life after the tragedy. He goes through great lengths to try to make things right, but their lives just get worse and worse. The movie documents torment in itself and how each character literally gets off on torturing each other mentally and physically. I was impressed with what the director could do with no words, and shocked at most every twist and turn. Their obsession with sadism is chronicled from beginning to end and was like watching a very fucked up game of charades. I suggest you check it out, but be aware that there are some scenes that will temporarily scar you.

 

Pontypool (2008)

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This film is one of the coolest and still, I believe one of the most original takes on zombie films I have ever seen. To say that Pontypool is the best zombie flick of all time would be pushing it huh? I don’t want to get jumped by George A. Romero fans. When I watched Pontypool for the first time it was absolutely refreshing to experience a whole new and creative take on the zombie. I was eager to find out what social effects have taken place to poison the fragile fabric of humanity’s existence in the story. Pontypool is based on the novel,  Pontypool Changes Everything by Tony Burgess. I haven’t read it yet but the film is so good that I’m definitely grabbing myself a copy soon. The story takes place in a small Canadian town named Pontypool. The protagonist is Grant Mazzy, Pontypool’s local DJ.  He’s a cheeky middle-aged man who likes to push boundaries as far as what’s proper broadcasting banter and what isn’t. He’s also one who likes to go back and forth with his uptight station manager Sydney Briar. Sydney constantly struggles with Grant and wants him to follow the rules of traditional radio etiquette but Mazzy, a seasoned shock jock has different ideas and struggles with taking her orders. One night Mazzy takes a call on air from The Sunshine Chopper (the stations helicopter reporter) and discovers from their reporter Ken that strange things are happening around town. People are behaving violently, rioting, and attacking one another. They’re also repeating random words which leads them to a violent type trance.

One observance is that all the words being repeated are triggering and somehow infecting peoples cognitive functions. These particular words are from the English language. Therefore, certain English words are literally infected, and if repeated can render one incapable of conscious thought or actions. You are now a zombie. When a doctor breaks into the station he encourages Grant and Sydney to speak in a different language, for that’s the only way they can avoid the infected words. Parlez vous Francois? The movie takes place primarily inside the radio station and much of the action is heard while Grant is live on air which is great because I was able to use my imagination to visualize what was going on around Pontypool, and it gave me the chills. It was similar to listening to War of the Worlds. I liked the mystery behind how this virus came to be. It made me think about the media and the major role it plays with subliminal messages and mind manipulation. When you think about it we all sit in a trance-like zombie state when we’re under the spell of the television. The actors were impressive while working with the lack of special effects, and it was overall just plain fun to watch. I highly suggest you catch Pontypool if you can, and be cautious not to repeat certain words….words….word….wor…wo…worrrrdddddssss…..

Godzilla Vs. Mothra 1964

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Godzilla takes on Mothra in this classic science fiction thriller directed by Ishiro Honda. This is one of my favorite Godzilla films because it is the first time Mothra battles Godzilla. This is one of the last films where Godzilla is portrayed as an evil creature and I did like the introduction of Mothra to set up a contrast to the persona of Godzilla. Of course, this was back when the Japanese were still hesitant about using nuclear technology so you hear quite a bit of anti-nuclear rhetoric as the film shows the condition of Infant Island in the film. Infant Island where Mothra comes from has been destroyed and its inhabitants driven to a secluded area because of nuclear bomb testing. The main protagonists of the story visits the indigenous people of Infant Island to try to convince the people to defend Japan from another attack by Godzilla. After some deliberation, the natives agree to convince Mothra to help the people of Japan. I remember this movie was pretty cool because you saw Mothra in adult form fight Godzilla and than get finished off by the two baby Mothra larvae. Of course the costume acting was hilarious. Definitely a must see for any Godzilla fan that wants to see a classic battle!

Wriiten by guest writer Naerok