Archive for March, 2012

Brit Flick Fest 2012: “The Shadow of Death” From DeadBolt Films

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 31, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

“The Shadow of Death” (2012) is an upcoming non-budget, British slasher movie reminiscent of classic films from the 70′s and the latter part of the 90′s. “Shadow” focuses on a group of flatmates who stumble upon some woods in rural Southern-England with the incentive of meeting a dealer in order to score themselves a bit of weed. There’s also an amateur policeman lurking around on the lookout for any impending action! Little do they know there’s a mysterious killer on the loose and no one who enters the woods will be safe! The film uses the classic “urban legend” scenario adding a sense of enigma, inviting the viewer to want to uncover more. Stylistically it achieves a grindhouse and 70’s seedy horror movie feel similarly to “Last House on the Left” (1972) in terms of its editing.

Writer and director Gav Chuckie Steel has done an impressive job creating an entertaining, edge-of-the-seat horror while incorporating an old-school slasher movie style. The FX on the production are outstanding for an independent film leading to some squirm-worthy death scenes. The characters are entertaining drawing on post-modern archtypical horror victims that at times prove difficult to feel sorry for! However at the same time they could be characters encountered in real life. There’s a couple of stoners, a nerdy character, a Chuck Norris wannabe cop and a potential final girl! Tension is built up from beginning to end with some startling, creepy moments. To an extent “Shadow” could be described as “Texas Chainsaw meets Blair Witch” through being suspenseful, eerie and gory at the same time. What’s great about “Shadow” is that unlike most recent offers into the horror genre there is something edgy and raw about it, the fact that it was shot on a Panasonic SD60 camera compliments its intended “grindhouse” feel.

“The Shadow of Death” is a creative piece of independent film-making, clearly made for people who love and enjoy horror with a strong awareness of the conventions and an appreciation for the genre. The film will be premiering at “The Brit Flick Festival” (Groundlings Theatre) in Portsmouth on May 12th.

Independent movies such as this need to be supported, if your a fan of the horror genre I thoroughly recommend it.

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Hayley Alice Roberts.

A Hot Summer in Swansea in 1976, A Review of “Hunky Dory” (2012)

Posted in Old Non Horror Reviews with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

From acclaimed Welsh director Marc Evans (“Patagonia”, “House of America”) comes a feel-good musical, comedy set in sunny 1970’s Swansea! “Hunky Dory” (2012) is the tale of a free-spirited drama teacher Viv (played brilliantly by Minnie Driver) who encourages her class of teenage misfits to partake in an unusual adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” set to a rocking 70’s soundtrack with music from David Bowie to Electric Light Orchestra. Deemed as the Welsh version for the “Glee” and “High School Musical” generations the film maintains a strong sense of realism vs. escapism, believable characters and a whole lot of charm that arguably could be reminiscent of “This is England”. The premise may sound strange and out there however it will pleasantly surprise its audiences.

A strong sense of the 70’s comes across well with the bright yet grainy effect throughout the film as well as the music capturing the nostalgia. The cinematography aids a new feel and helps challenge the traditional image of Wales (namely bad weather and fields of sheep!) with the use of sunny landscapes conveying Swansea as the place to be!

The young cast of new and upcoming welsh talent deliver stunning performances  as rebellious, confused teenagers struggling with growing pains, school, relationships and summer heat. Each of them have a unique and mesmerising vocal range when it comes to the musical performance segments creating a surrealist notion to the piece. In a sense the vast amount of characters in the film could be further explored in a television series format due to several of the minor character’s sub-plots being unresolved. The characters are empathetic and identifiable providing a great deal of potential for future storytelling. Minnie Driver gives an outstanding performance playing a down to earth, happy-go-lucky Welsh woman, capturing an endearing humanity to her role as a teacher who truly understands her pupils teenage conflicts.

“Hunky Dory” is a must see and guarantees an uplifting feel good factor. Welsh cinema is truly making a name for itself thanks to gem’s like this and of course the critically acclaimed “Submarine” (2010).

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Abertoir Horror Festival 2011 Promo

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Following months of hard work,  I can now present the promo for the Abertoir Horror Festival 2011. I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped and contributed to making this video possible:

The Festival Organisers:

Gaz Bailey

Nia Edwards-Behi

Rhys Fowler


Rebekah Smith

…also to those who allowed us to film them:

Alex Chandon

Caitlyn Downs

Gavin Baddeley

Natalie Boyd Fields

Karolina Gruschka

Dan Edwards

and of course Devilish Presley for allowing us to use their awesome music!

Check out the video and come to Aberystwyth between the 6th-12th November for Abertoir 2012!

Hayley Alice Roberts.

The Case of…”The Woman in Black” (2012)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews
  • Directed By James Watkins
  • Screenplay by Jane Goldman
  • Based on a novel by Susan Hill
  • UK Release Date: 10th February 2012


“The Woman in Black” (2012) is a terrifying piece of horror that scares even the most hardcore fans of the genre. The atmosphere is eerie, complimented by the large, gothic scenery and spacious locations that creates isolation wonderfully. The production value was outstanding relying on very little gore and the jump scares provided an unsettling tone. It also makes use of the archetypal horror film setting of the traditional haunted house. So yes the film is a strong and satisfying contender for modern horror but it does have one major issue…

The days when horror films were rated 18 are sorely missed. In the past decade it seems that ratings for these types of films have been reduced in order to appeal to the teenage audiences. Let’s face it films are there to make money and horror is no exception, the original slasher films were made about teenagers for teenagers, but somehow the 12A certificate for “The Woman In Black” really takes the biscuit! Most horror’s that emerged from the 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s were 18 rated as if it was an automatic expectation for anything with scary, horrific or violent content to achieve that certificate. Take the “Scream” franchise for example, the films made between 1996-2000 were all 18’s. Flash forward to 2011 and the goriest offer of the series is rated 15. The point is the films that have emerged in the last decade that were rated 15 are a lot worse than the majority of 18’s of the past. Taking “The Woman in Black” into consideration, is this the beginning of a new wave of 12A rated horror films featuring disturbing imagery that potentially could fuel nightmares that will be viewed as suitable for children/young teenagers? Granted there is a major difference between a film that focuses on the supernatural and the un-real in comparison to a film where a masked maniac hacks up a load of people in an extremely violent manner but is this really an excuse?

What scares people as individuals varies. Children have vivid imaginations so is this film going to result in many sleepless nights? Bearing in mind “The Woman in Black” is based off a novel that was adapted into a stage play that is viewed by many GSCE drama groups around the UK so should that automatically make a film adaptation of it marketed towards that age range? It has been reported that the both the BBFC and the film’s studio made seemingly minor alterations to one of the most intense sequences in the film in order to reduce its intensity for the suitability of the 12A rating. In reality 6 seconds of this sequence were cut in addition to the sound level being reduced during certain moments and some shots being darkened, therefore from a personal standpoint these changes appear very minor to non-existent as the scene still came across as disturbing, unsettling and edge of your seat worthy. There were moments where the entire audience nearly leaped out of their seats screaming (and that was just the adults!) including a moment where a face screams at the window! **shudder!**

What the most disturbing factor is that the film focuses on child death, three young girls are seen committing suicide at the beginning of the film, the main character is seen digging up the corpse of a child and a child is seen coughing up her own blood before collapsing to her death and also there is a girl setting herself on fire. Nightmare-ish stuff that makes torture porn more preferable to watch!! Child death is a vulnerable and sensitive subject for parents let alone children themselves viewing it!

Allegedly 12A films should not feature strong moments of violence, sex and nudity, swearing, blood/gore and unsettling scenes. “The Woman in Black” contains the latter on a great scale. In terms of the financial side to the film its clear what is happening with its distributors, Daniel Radcliffe fresh out of the “Harry Potter” series is the main star, for ten years he has held appeal among the child/teenage audience and the film is being marketed through that success and popularity. The “Harry Potter” films began as family-orientated and PG rated but in its later years did develop a darker tone and the ratings increased. However the point is this is separate from “Harry Potter” and just because of a particular actor being in a film it should not determine its certificate especially when it comes down to the content of the film. Daniel Radcliffe himself has advised children against seeing this film and seems opposed to the 12A its been given, so that should be a strong factor when the lead actor has concerns.

“The Woman in Black” is far darker than anything found in films like “Harry Potter”. If this is what contends as a film suitable for young people then it really is a sad time we live in and highlights the loss of childhood or childhood becoming shorter. Personally it would be advisable if no one below 15 viewed this and parents avoid taking their children without viewing it first hand then making the decision on the maturity of the child. It remains a great shame that money and marketing overpower the actual content and work that goes into making horror films effective.

Hayley Alice Roberts