ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (FILM REVIEW)

Sequels have it hard. Zombieland raked in commercial and critical success for taking the audience off-guard in a period of zombie titles, so what can Zombieland: Double Tap bring to the table? The answer is – plenty. The franchise capitalises on three things: astute witticisms, irreverent self-awareness and unabashed caricultures. With that, the sequel has…

COUNTDOWN (FILM REVIEW)

There’s nothing terribly unpredictable about this – but that might not be a bad thing at all. Like Scream, Final Destination and any franchise with over 5 chapters, formulaic horror has an appeal of its own. Countdown has nothing of a reputation to bank on, but it follows a proven model and manages to get…

METAMORPHOSIS (FILM REVIEW)

South Korea is really gunning for their own Exorcist hit. From TV titles like The Guest (2018) to movies like The Priests (2015), The Wailing (2016), House of the Disappeared (2017), and most recently, The Divine Fury (2019) and Netflix’s, Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2019), it seems that the priest protagonist remains as enigmatic as…

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (FILM REVIEW)

“Why she so curious?” “I thought she returned the book?” “Why they return to the house?” To a movie reviewer, nothing is scarier than a viewer who needs to verbalise her mind. And to the teenage girl in question, the answer to all of your question is: Because this is a movie, so just watch…

BINDING SOULS (FILM REVIEW)

I used to study in a pre-war school, and so as you might guess, the grounds were filled with stories. The fact that actual riots and war heroes were part of its history made it all the more compelling. So haunted school plots have a particular relevance to me, especially when they involve unspoken topics,…

THE DEAD DON’T DIE (FILM REVIEW)

Let’s be clear here: You’ll either love this movie for all its cleverness (because you’re that savvy zombie genre fan – especially for Romero – and geeks out at inside references), or you’ll be like the rest of us – a little bored and cheated. To say The Dead Don’t Die is indulgent is about…

DEATH WHISPER (FILM REVIEW)

Well, someone’s a big fan of the Korean Whispering Corridors. From the rotating Hangeul characters during the opening credits to the gift of the actual film DVD to a student on campus, DEATH WHISPER makes no qualms about where it takes inspiration from. This remake by Awi Suryadi bears many references to the original in…

SADAKO (FILM REVIEW)

No matter how little of a horror fan you are, you would most likely have heard of the 1998 japanese classic The Ring. Not only did it launch a new era of stylistic horror, many aspects of the movies were repeated in titles to come in one form or another. You can’t deny that impressionable…

PET SEMATARY (FILM REVIEW)

Stephen King’s IT reboot was a phenomenal success. So it’s only natural for directors Kevin Kolsh and Dennis Widmyer to feel a little pressured when resurrecting PET SEMATARY – arguably one of Stephen King’s darkest titles. On top of box office and fan expectations, Kolsh-Widmyer has the difficult task of keeping the film fresh, as…

PEELE’S PRINT STEERS US TO POTENTIAL PERFECTION

Jordan Peele floored everyone with his sleeper hit Get Out in 2017. It was a riveting piece of satirical horror that seared its message like a brand on flesh. Playing once again with complexity, symbols, and deep archetypal nuance, Peele’s upcoming piece Us will no doubt be another memorable experience. Read about why Us will…

BURIED ALIVE (SUZZANNA: BERNAPAS DALAM KUBUR) (FILM REVIEW)

Asian spirits frighten because their appearances always allude to a terrifying cause of death. In the case of the sundel bolong from Javanese folklore, it is a woman with long flowing hair which covers a bloody hole in her back. It is believed that they were those who got pregnant out of wedlock, and died…

THE ROPE CURSE (FILM REVIEW)

A suicide is tragic enough, but there’s something extra about the image of a hanging body that never fails to chill one to the bone. So it’s not surprising that in parts of Fujian and Taiwan, that a ritual has been created to combat the horror of a person hanging by choice. It is given…

THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE (REVIEW)

Let’s get this out of the way. The hype for this film lies not in any revolutionary scares or monsters, but a gripping, masterful storytelling that brings forth the worst kind of haunting – that from within oneself. In essence, this is really horror in lyrical prose – an oeuvre to loss and the terrifying…

HELL FEST (FILM REVIEW)

The film gets one thing right – the sets. Otherwise, Hell Fest is really Halloween (including a very Michael Myers killer) without the gumption, impact or style. Horror films are not known for character development. But Hell Fest tests the boundaries of how much they can take with a crew of horror-film cliches. There’s the…

DOWN A DARK HALL (FILM REVIEW)

The movie establishes itself quickly. Angsty female lead. Gothic mansion. The classic “that area is out of bounds” line. 20 minutes in, you’ll find that Down A Dark Hall has a familiar tone to it. The way it introduces the characters, their relationships, some snappy cliches, and a painfully coerced romantic storyline – you have…

MARROWBONE (FILM REVIEW)

In a crumbling old house, at the top of the stairs, a mother (Nicola Harrison) draws a line in the dusty floor and announces, “our story starts here”. As her four children step over the boundary, the audience also gets pulled into a narrative that’s inventive and original, but also bewildering and occasionally frustrating. Former…

WINCHESTER (FILM REVIEW)

This show is proof that no actor is infallible, no matter how great their acting chops might be. Winchester is the story of why the eccentric Sarah Winchester built one of the America’s most famous houses. Helen Mirren plays the grieving widow and purported mentally-unsound heiress to the Winchester firearm empire. Eager to unseat her…

SATAN’S SLAVES (FILM REVIEW)

The 70s and 80s is having a great run in entertainment these days. From Stranger Things and Dark, to Ouija and It, the period serves itself well in the horror genre, most notably because there’s no mobile phones to the rescue. Satan’s Slave is a remake of Sisworo Gautama Putra’s 1980 film of the same…

THE PROMISE (FILM REVIEW)

The 47-storey scalloped architectural project that is Sathorn Tower is like the Titanic. It was to be the tallest and most luxurious of buildings in Bangkok, commanding priceless views from its prime position. But Thailand’s financial crash in 1997, nicknamed the Tom Yum Goong Crisis, sunk the development and everything was brought to an abrupt…

KODOMO TSUKAI AKA INNOCENT CURSE (FILM REVIEW)

Children, can be creepy. With their beguiling ways and cherubic faces, they intensify horror when gurgle becomes growl and smile becomes sneer. This formula has kept classics going – think Children of the Corn or The Omen – and in Japan, director Takashi Shimiau has been terrifying audience with Toshio, the mewling boy from Juon….

THE TAG-ALONG 2 (FILM REVIEW)

It won awards for the two leads and topping The Conjuring, was also the highest grossing horror film in a decade for Taiwan. So it’s not surprising that the 2015 The Tag-Along spawns a sequel from director Cheng Wei Hao. The Tag Along 2 is more of the familiar, following the predecessor’s key devices but…

Wish Upon (Film Review)

It seems like horror films these days come more with cred tags than an actual tagline. You know, the sort that goes “by the makers/producers/director of Insidious/Conjuring/Annabelle”? Wish Upon is the latest entry, opting to put the combination of Director and Annabelle together to achieve that repute. The cursed wish box film certainly holds some…

Alien: Covenant (Film Review)

I never considered myself a purist. But Ridley Scott might make one of me yet. Director Scott’s Prometheus began a journey into an origin story, effectively transforming the word universe from noun to concept. Although panned by some fans wanting their high-thrill monsters and less rhetoric, the first prequel was not only a box-office success,…

SIAM SQUARE (FILM REVIEW)

What is busiest during the day, usually morphs into the creepiest at night. And so with Siam Square, Phairat Khumwan conjures an urban legend of a missing girl who haunts the grounds at night, forever searching for her way out. I’m sure there’s a big life lesson here, ending with a big, “moral of the…

Rings (Film Review)

Origin stories are coming fast and furious in the film industry these days, as studios milk successful classics for all their worth. Reboots, spin-offs – you name it, there’s one for all the major titles. Part of this movement has stories being expanded, and although this execution has proven successful for a few, it usually…

Incarnate (Film Review)

I’ll say it – Incarnate is what happens when you merge Inception with The Exorcist. It makes for an intriguing premise, reviving the tired genre, but presented a lot of missed opportunities in this film. Dr. Seth Ember (Aaron Eckhart) is gifted with the ability of going into the minds of the possessed. That is,…

HIDE AND NEVER SEEK (FILM REVIEW)

Money and fame is to be had on the online world. And in the world of afreecaTV, a fictional channel specialising in horror named “Glow World” is chalking up some interest. The host of the channel, VJ Glow (Ryu Deok-hwan) is a douchebag skeptic, who bulldozes any possible spirits with his bravado and rapid-fire mouth….

Shut In (Film Review)

I’m sure it sounded good on paper. This thriller debut by Director Farren Blackburn was to be a tightly wound psychological piece, taking us through the unravelling of a mother’s mind as her family gets snowed in and experience ghostly happenings. But as you probably guessed – it’s not. Although the movie shifts much-needed gear…

Ouija: Origin of Evil (Film Review)

Unlike the obvious doll in The Conjuring, Ouija: Origin of Evil’s child lead Doris Zander, played by the beguiling Lulu Wilson, is truly a haunting vessel for evil. When perky blonde bob and fair-faced child turns to you with milky eyeballs and a gaping mouth, there’s no reason not to recoil in fear. Director Mike…