“Run, Rabbit, Run” Get Out (2017) Review

Posted in Horror Blog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Meeting the parents is a nerve-wracking experience for most but it certainly is the case for Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), an African-American man who accompanies his Caucasian girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) on a weekend trip away to her family home in the suburbs.

Get Out Poster

Due to his race, Chris immediately experiences understandable fears about his acceptance within the family and his position as Rose’s boyfriend, however she reassures him that her parents have zero issues.

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What follows is an emotionally intense, psychological chain of events which questions whether Chris will ‘get out’ of the unorthodox situation he’s found himself embroiled in.

From the chilling opening to the nail biting finale, Get Out is one of the must-see movies of 2017 and absolutely deserves the immense amount of praise it has been receiving. Horror has waited a long time for a film of this kind which tackles an important subject matter head on. This film marks a genre shift for it’s director and writer Jordan Peele who is renowned for his work prominently within comedy. As his horror debut he has created an accomplished film which out-rightly satires and highlights issues of racism within society and extreme white views which is both interesting and horrendous to watch.

Get Out

Get Out has been described as a “dark comedy” however it doesn’t explicitly fit into that category. For the most part it is extremely tense but it occasionally veers off with some light relief in order to break things up, namely the character of Chris’s best friend and confidant Rod (Lil Rel Howery). Speaking of his character, he is proof of how the film challenges typical horror tropes and even allows the “comedy relief” character to have more significance and importance to the story than is first expected.

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Daniel Kaluuya is captivating throughout the film and has the audience in the palm of his hand as he goes through plenty of twisted torment. His performance is gripping from the outset as he portrays Chris as a young man who isn’t afraid to display vulnerability. In horror it’s rare to see African American characters portrayed in a positive light. Take a look at the majority of slasher films where they are inexcusably bumped off for the sake of showcasing that the killer means business. Scream 2 (1997) cleverly critiqued this convention whereas Candyman (1992) also brought the horror of racial tension to the forefront. It is therefore refreshing to see an African American male shown to be strong and resourceful when he needs to be and isn’t afraid to stand up for his morals when it comes to the crunch. Chris is completely and utterly a well rounded, unforgettable character. Women in horror have also been underrepresented in the past but it is now a consistently growing movement. The genre has seen plenty of interesting and well written females in recent modern films so it does make a welcome change to see a male in the protagonist role.

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Without revealing too much, Allison Williams plays an incredible part as the sympathetic girlfriend as she struggles with her family’s conflict. Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Betty GabrielLakeith Stanfield and Caleb Landry Jones all encompass striking screen presences. It’s never quite clear what their initial motivations are which adds to the overall suspense. They are all characters to watch out for making Get Out essentially an ensemble piece.

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The opening of the film packs a punch with the eerie tune of “Run, Rabbit, Run” playing diegetically from a car creating an instantly visceral immersion into it. From then on the film gradually builds itself up crafting a clever script layered with racial overtones that creates a sense of unease from the get go. Nothing feels wasted at all as it all gears towards where it needs to be. The reveals are fantastically disturbing and well worth the wait.

The score composed by Michael Abels echoes a haunting atmosphere with it’s distinctive black musical influence as instructed by Peele when he was deciding on the direction he wanted the score to go in. Violin strings and vocal chants enhances the film’s anxious tone to a heart-rendering effect.

Get Out incorporates dream like visuals that are beautifully shot and equally trippy. 

There are so many layers to the film and so much political and social symbolism to look out for. 

Jaw-dropping, highly engaging and intelligently woven, Get Out is both impactful and an important horror film that has been much-needed.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews. 

 

Video Review: House (1985) Arrow Video Box Set

Posted in Horror Blog with tags , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Innermost fears are set to manifest in part one of Hayley’s Horror Reviews look at House (1985) from Arrow Video’s brand new blu-ray restoration.

https://youtu.be/i3cR1591xbs

Hayley House

Writing Horror: Interview with Author/Playwright Dan Weatherer

Posted in Horror Festivals, Horror Interviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

The most excellent aspect of Horror is how it holds appeal and can be adapted across all different mediums. In this interview I speak to the very versatile writer Dan Weatherer, who has written for the page, stage and screen, spilling the scares from novels to short films. He announced this week that he is working on a true crime piece, exploring the case of the notorious Dr. Crippen for a brand new novel. Not only that, his impressively darkly comedic short film Beige will screen at this year’s Stoke Your Fires Film Festival. He has also been shortlisted for an award for his collection Neverlight for the Arnold Bennett Literary Prize.

Legend-of-the-Chained-Oak Dan Weatherer

Before we get into the interview where Dan discusses his writing roots and upcoming projects, here is a little bit more info about the man behind then pen:

Dan Weatherer is represented by The Cherry Weiner Literary Agency (Author).

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Award-winning author Dan Weatherer, was first published by Haunted Magazine in Spring, 2013. The Legend of the Chained Oak was an immediate success and was made into a short film which won the award for ‘Best Horror’ at the Portobello Independent Film Festival (2014), ‘Best Short’ at The Bram Stoker International Film Festival (2014) and also the ‘Best UK Short Film’ award at the Stoke Your Fires Film Festival 2014. The film featured at numerous film festivals around the world during 2014. The premiere screening took place in his hometown of Cheadle.

In 2015 Dan was shortlisted for the prestigious position of Staffordshire Poet Laureate 2016-2018.

Aside from the publication of numerous short stories with a multitude of presses, his next major project was a solo collection of short stories titled The Soul That Screamed (Winner of the Preditors & Editors™ Readers’ Poll ‘Best Anthology 2013’.)

A further two collections Only the Good Burn Bright (Spring 2015, James Ward Kirk Fiction) and Neverlight (Spring 2016, Spectral Press) quickly followed. In 2017, Neverlight was shortlisted for the first annual Arnold Bennett Literary Prize.

His first non-fiction book titled ‘What Dwells Within’ was released in the Autumn of 2015 and details the life’s work of paranormal investigator Jayne Harris.

An accomplished playwright, Dan was a finalist in the Blackshaw Showcase Award 2016 and a two-time finalist of the Congleton Players One Act Festival, 2016. Dan has had several of his plays appear at festivals and fringe events.

Completed novels The Underclass and The Tainted Isle are currently with his agent. Expect to see The Dead Stage, a book detailing Dan’s experiences as a novice playwright appear via Crystal Lake Publishing in 2018.

Continuing on from the success of Legend of the Chained Oak, 2017 has seen Dan’s short film Beige added to The British Comedy Guide, and it continues to appear at film festivals nationwide.

Dan lives in Staffordshire, where is married to his wife Jenni and is a (proud) full-time dad to his daughter Bethany, and his son Nathan.

 

  1. What inspired you to become a writer?

As a child I always enjoyed creative writing, though never gave serious thought to a career as an author.

I was made redundant in 2013, and decided that I would try my hand at writing, now having time to dedicate to the craft. At the time, my daughter was two years old, and I fit my writing around her needs. My son is now aged two, and I still continue to work the same way. Being a full-time parent and writer seems to work for me, though the two aren’t without their challenges!

 

  1. You’ve written literature and written for the screen and stage, do you have a favourite medium or do you enjoy them all in equal measures?

I enjoy them all equally. Each medium presents its own challenges and rewards.

Writing for the screen is probably the most instantly gratifying, in that you write the action exactly as you intend the audience to see it on screen. Strong dialogue is a key factor in a good screenplay, but much of the writing centres on what the audience “sees” on screen.

Books enable you to delve deeper into a character’s mind-set, and literally construct the world around them. Every part of a characters psychological make-up is explored, resulting in a much richer final product.

Writing for the stage falls some way between writing for films/books. Again, very little direction is supplied by the author (leaving room for the actor/director to craft the piece as they interpret it), but the dialogue tends to drive the story here, as opposed to the visual element of film.

I find that stage plays are ideally suited to telling stories involving fewer characters/locations, where the level of intimacy afforded by a live performance heightens the impact of the piece.

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  1. Your first publication The Legend of the Chained Oak was adapted into a short film as was your stage play Beige. What was it like transitioning those works to film?

The Legend of the Chained Oak was my first introduction to film, and I learned a lot working on the project.

The film is actually a spin-off from my original story, and was entirely written to suit our non-existent budget, and limited shoot time.

Very little was scripted. The actors were given the outcome of the scene, and much of their dialogue was improvised. I would argue that this lends a natural feel to the film, though must add that this is due to the strength of the actors involved.

However, all of my screenplays/stage plays since have been tightly scripted. While I do agree that the method above can achieve results, most projects require a solid foundation of dialogue; Beige being a perfect example of this.

 

  1. What appeals to you about the horror genre?

There are so many angles with which the genre can be approached. I’d say much of my work could be classed as dark-fiction, as opposed to horror.

It is rare that I write anything that could be classed as outright horror, choosing instead to deliver more subtle, but equally unnerving pieces.

However, my recent short story/screenplay ‘The Home’, is possibly the most horror orientated piece I have written to date!

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  1. You’re working on an upcoming project that centres on the infamous murderer, Dr Hawley Crippen. What interests you about true crime and what is your overall goal with the piece?

I remember visiting The Chamber of Horrors, in Blackpool, as a child. One of the exhibitions featured Dr Crippen and his dismembered wife, Cora; it was an image that remained with me for many years.

I’d often recall the blank expression on the Doctor’s face, and I’d wonder what possessed him to commit the atrocity that he was executed for.

Many years later, I discovered that there was new evidence with regards to the case, and having read the report, decided to retell the story of Dr Crippen as a stage play.

The idea to further develop the story into a novel was one I have been toying with for some time. Now, having started work, I can attest that I will be supplying a much richer story than my stage play first hinted, and I am having fun exploring the minds of the characters.

Of course, this is to be a work of fiction – where I present a possible alternative theory as to what happened to Cora Crippen. However, it is based on a true story. I aim to present Dr Crippen, not as a monster, but as a person, flawed though he may be, and attempt to explain his actions.

Time will tell if I am able to achieve this.

I will say that I do believe he is guilty of murder…

 

  1. What do you think makes a genuinely scary story?

The reader has to feel for the characters. If bad things happen to them (and they inevitably do), the reader will feel. Whether you choose to scare the reader, or instil a sense of warmth, neither is achievable if your characters are throwaway.

 

  1. What has been your favourite project to work on?

Tough question. Each has its merits. However, I had great fun working on a script for a well know Hollywood horror franchise…

That script is now in the hands of my agent.

Birmingham Horror Con Halloween

  1. You will be showcasing your work at Birmingham Horror Con this Halloween, what are you most looking forward to about the event?

It probably sounds extremely unprofessional, but I’m looking forward to exploring the convention, and enjoying it as an attendee, rather than a stall holder.

I will be showcasing my short films, and hosting a Q & A panel afterwards, but most of my time will be spent meeting other authors/film makers working in the genre. These are people I respect, yet have only ever spoken to online. It will be great to say hello in person!

 

  1. Who are your literary influences?

Clive Barker, Stephen King, James Herbert, and Arnold Bennett. (Arnold did not write dark-fiction. He is the most successful author to come from my home city, and I am an admirer of both his work and his legacy.)

 

  1. What advice do you have for new and aspiring writers?

Rejection is never a “no.” It’s a “not for me.” Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you can’t – you just need to find that one person who believes in your work as much as you do.

I would like to thank Dan for taking his time to do this interview with me. Be sure to check out all of his awesome works.

For more information about Dan and his work, visit www.danweatherer.com 

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews.

Hayley’s Horror Update March 2017

Posted in Horror Blog, Love Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Hello Horror Hounds! Hope you are having a gore-geously glorious week filled with some mega movie watching!

Hayley on Horror Couch

I haven’t updated this blog for quite a while so felt it was time for a long overdue update. For those of you who follow me on Facebook you will have already seen all my recent content but for those of you who keep updated via here, here are some links to what I’ve been up to on Love Horror lately.

Prevenge

Back in February I visited my regular haunt, The Showroom Cinema in Sheffield, home of Celluloid Screams: Horror Film Festival which I attend each October. I went to see the UK tour of Alice Lowe’s frightfully funny, pregnancy horror Prevenge (2016). 

So far, Prevenge is my standout film seen this year, although I am also eagerly anticipating, Get Out. If you’re in the US, Prevenge is stalking it’s way onto Shudder in two days time.

Check out my full review: http://lovehorror.co.uk/horror-reviews/prevenge-2017-review/

Dead Air

Earlier this month I interviewed award-winning Independent Filmmaker Geoff Harmer (Fraught Productions) regarding his recent Kickstarter campaign for his female-led, rock infused, 80’s inspired creature feature Dead Air. The campaign ended last week and the project is currently on hiatus but I highly recommend checking it out as well as our interview which talks low budget filmmaking and female status in horror movies.

http://lovehorror.co.uk/interview/interview-geoff-harmer-fraught-productions/

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Finally, I subjected myself to some Euro Sleaze courtesy of new cult film label Maison Rouge and got my first taste of some Jess Franco with his seedy, 70’s sexploitation, Female Vampire (AKA Bare Breasted Countess). 

The movie is not so heavy on the horror with more emphasis on awkward, relentless sex scenes, but hey, it was a film experience I am unlikely to forget! You can read more of my thoughts on Female Vampire here: http://lovehorror.co.uk/horror-reviews/female-vampire-1975-review/

I also have a review of Helga: She Wolf of Stilberg (1978) coming right up. If those were my thoughts on Female Vampire as you can imagine, Helga didn’t fare much better. I’m still figuring out which one I considered worse!

I have plenty of creepy content coming soon, so keep your eyeballs peeled and plenty of new ideas for the site and my career in horror reviewing.

Head to my Facebook page for more regular updates including a weekly ‘Scary Soundtrack’, Follow me on Twitter @WelshDemoness and check out my Instagram mshayleyr1989

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

 

Short Film Review: Visitor (2017)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 9, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Force of Nature Films presents Visitor, an unnerving short film centered on a woman who receives mysterious text messages from a stranger. Visitor incorporates a simple premise and leaves the viewer wanting to know more. It’s key to bear in mind that Visitor is a concept piece geared toward becoming a feature film and already there is plenty of interesting material in place.

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Directed and written by Roger Sampson, Visitor is essentially body horror on a small budget but it doesn’t reveal a great deal. All that is presented about the lead character (played by Ashley Maure) is that she is a fertility doctor but there seems to be a whole lot more to her past that remains unexplored. The link between pregnancy and possession goes hand in hand thematically relating to the fear of physical invasion.

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Phone stalking is a frequent convention when it comes to horror but with modern technology continuing to grow and more and more people living through their devices it paves the way for a whole new kind of scary as an easier form of personal access. The combination of body invasion and the growth of technology makes for an unsettling experience. There’s a short amount of tension in place before events become extra sinister. The ending of the piece is disturbingly well-crafted and knows how to strike a nerve with it’s audience.

Visitor is well done and has a plenty of potential to develop it’s narrative further as well as include some creative and gory FX.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews 

Agatha (2015, short) Review

Posted in Horror Festivals with tags , , , , , , , on January 23, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

In the late 1800’s a young orphan known as Sophie (Louise Ogle) earns her keep by delivering slabs of meat to an ambiguous creature that resides at the top of the stairs in an old, eerie mansion. As Sophie climbs the stairs night after night her curiosity grows as to what inhabits that room. Is she prepared to discover the sinister presence that lurks in the shadows? Who is Agatha and what does she want…?

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Written and Directed by Timothy Vandenberg, Agatha is a prelude to what will eventually become a feature film, expanding on the mysterious narrative even further. Agatha is genuinely creepy in it’s tone and Vandenberg wholly utilizes the gothic location achieving a constant sense of tension and dread. With a concept such as this it would be so easy to throw in jump scares in order to unsettle and surprise the audience however the direction it takes is much more unnerving, notably with the use of rising music as Sophie enters the room.

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Shrouded in darkness with the prime focus on young Sophie’s reactions and the close ups of the unappealing food she is made to deliver, Agatha makes for a short but stomach churning viewing. Having the protagonist as a seven year old child makes the piece more heart-rendering as she is all alone and vulnerable in a frightening situation. Old photographs are extremely creepy and the photo on display with the baby’s face scratched out proves effective, allowing the audience to wonder what is wrong with Agatha.

There is plenty of scope to take the story further and heaps of unanswered questions and backstories to explore, particularly the mother character (Penny Kohut) and her motivations.

Agatha is a spine-chilling period piece with quality production values and gallons of potential for a much longer run time. Bring on the creep-fest!

In Autumn 2016, Agatha premiered at Screamfest LA in the Shorts Block. 

Watch the Trailer for Agatha Here:

https://youtu.be/kRNuI0ZqxxY

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

A Floresta das Almas Perdidas (The Forest of Lost Souls) (2017) Review

Posted in Uncategorized on January 11, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Short film director Jose Pedro Lopes (Survivalismo, 2011) has produced his first feature length film, the dark and disturbing, A Floresta das Almas Perdidas (The Forest of Lost Souls).

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The titular forest is Portugal’s most infamous suicide spot. One morning two complete strangers with their own demons to bear meet within the wood. Ricardo (Jorge Mota) has planned to end his life but is interrupted by the arrival of Carolina (Daniela Love) who shares similar motivations. Ricardo attempts to make sense as to why a young woman with her whole life ahead of her has a desire for a premature death while Carolina is hostile towards him. She soon gets under his skin in analyzing his situation. Events head into a tense and sinister direction that proves unpredictable and absolutely compelling.

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A Floresta das Almas Perdidas is shot entirely in black and white and while it comes across as cinematically stylish it also complements the melancholic tone of the film. It contains striking cinematography, and each frame is polished and beautifully composed. The cinematography makes the most of the beauty of the location. Overall it’s a very visual film, mostly telling the story through imagery with little dialogue. However, the dialogue spoken proves powerful and effective.

Daniela Love delivers a stand out performance as a complex young woman with extremely dark thoughts on her mind. Carolina is a chilling character and her actions throughout the film are fascinatingly disturbing.

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Plot-wise, A Floresta das Almas Perdidas is surprising and heads down an unexpected route from the film that first begins. It tackles a hard hitting subject matter artistically making it somewhat different and experimental.

The film incorporates a beautiful and haunting score which adds to the already chilling atmosphere as well as brilliantly fitting soundtrack.

With a relatively compact run time of 71 minutes, A Floresta das Almas Perdidas achieves a great deal in its narrative and visual storytelling. It’s a film that offers up complex and riveting characterization that drives the story. The violence is tastefully portrayed however it’s a film that packs an emotional and psychological impact.

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A Floresta das Almas Perdidas is a filmmaking achievement for Lopes, taking on a very real and emotionally difficult subject matter and creating something truly inventive. The film is an intriguing entry in the horror/mystery genre.

A Floresta das Almas Perdidas receives its world premiere in February 2017 at the Fantasporto Film Festival.

 http://www.fantasporto.com/

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJeL_vi9EQ8

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews