Archive for December, 2012

My Top 10 Horror Movies of 2012

Posted in Uncategorized on December 26, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

On the horror scene, 2012 has had so much to offer, making this one of the most difficult countdowns I’ve ever had to write. This year has seen a selection of unique and fascinating surgical body horrors as well as some thought-provoking psychological thrillers. The majority of the films included on the list have been previously reviewed mainly through the horror festivals Celluloid Screams and Abertoir, therefore I have provided you with quick summaries and a link to the rest of the coverage. Hope you have a blood-soaked new year and lets look forward to the gruesome sights ahead of us in 2013!!

10. The Woman in Black, Directed by  James Watkins

  • UK Release Date: 10th February 2012

womaninblack1Eerie and atmospheric, The Woman in Black proved to be one of the most unsettling ghost stories of the year. Based on the novel and stage play of the same name, the film sees a young solicitor (played by Daniel Radcliffe) visit a remote village where he stumbles upon a vengeful spirit of a wronged woman who brings non-stop terror on anyone who crosses her, soon the dark secrets of the village begin to unravel, accompanied by a terrifying twist. The film’s strength lies in its use of its Victorian, gothic setting bringing a sense of isolation and a bleak tone, the jump scares are unexpected and the build-up is nicely paced. It is fair to argue that the most disturbing aspect of the film could be its 12A rating especially with the subject matter of child death and suicide.

Read More on the film and its controversial certificate here: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/the-case-of-the-woman-in-black-2012-a-collaborative-review/

 

9. Anti-Viral, Directed by Brandon Cronenberg

  • UK Release Date: 8th February 2013

antiviral-caleb-landry-jonesFrom Brandon Cronenberg, Anti-Viral is a stunning piece of film that focuses on the notions of the obsession of celebrity culture and how far the public will go to have a piece of what they idolize. Anti-Viral tells the story of a young man (played by Caleb Landry Jones) who has been infected with the same virus that has killed one of the world’s biggest celebrities Hannah Geist (played by Sarah Gadon), despite public speculation, Syd must get down to the bottom of how she died in order to save himself. The themes are explored in an interesting and intelligent way; however the film provides the viewer with a lot to take in. The protagonist Syd March is a complex character and his presence in the film proves a challenging watch especially for the audience to form a sense of understanding and empathy with him. There’s also a fantastic cameo from Malcolm McDowell in there. Overall the film is beautifully shot and edited and is guaranteed to last in the mind long after the credits have rolled.

 

8. Sleep Tight, Directed by Jaume Balaguero

  • UK Release Date: Unconfirmed

imageThis Spanish psychological thriller will leave a profound effect on the mind. Sleep Tight deals with fascinating subject matters such as voyeurism and takes the viewer into a disturbing place but makes it impossible to take your eyes off the screen. The film questions whether we are really safe in our own home. Cesar (played by Luis Tosar) works as a janitor in an apartment block, he has developed a twisted fixation with one of the tenants Clara  (played by Marta Etura) and intrudes into her life unknowingly to her.  Without giving too much away as it really is a film to go in blind to, the consequences and following effects prove absolutely devastating. Sleep Tight doesn’t rely on blood and gore (bar one intense and graphic scene) in order to create something truly terrifying, that said to a degree it incorporates some dark humor and is accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack.

 

 

7. The Shadow of Death, Directed by Gav Chuckie Steel

  • UK Release Date: Unconfirmed

Shadow1Gav Chuckie Steel’s low budget, horror/comedy that reminds genre fans of the old stalk n’ slash sub-genre has personally been a very influential film, proving that with strong dedication, filmmaking on a small budget is achievable.

Check out my extensive coverage of “The Shadow of Death” here:

https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/brit-flick-fest-2012-the-shadow-of-death-from-deadbolt-films/

https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/the-shadow-of-death-interviews/

https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/something-to-die-for-episode-one-the-shadow-of-death/

6. Cell Count, Directed by Todd E. Freeman

Available on: iTunes, XBox, PS3, VUDU, Amason Instant, and CinemaNow

cell_count_hodge_poster001-730x365This stunning body-horror from Todd E. Freeman showcases how far someone will go for the person that means the most to them. Cell Count incorporates some innovative and interesting imagery as well as a human, thought provoking narrative. The film focuses on Russell Carpenter (Played by Roberts McKeehen), a desperate man who makes the decision to admit his wife Sadie (played by Haley Talbot) into an experimental treatment facility due to her suffering from a life-threatening disease. What follows is the pair find themselves along with six strangers locked in the isolated area where they are unknowingly being used and “treated” with a mystery “cure”, this of course goes horribly wrong and the characters enter a state of fear and panic in their confined environment.

Go here for the full review: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/celluloid-screams-2012-day-two-coverage/

For an interview with Director Todd E. Freeman, visit: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-interview-with-todd-e-freeman-writer-and-director-of-cell-count/

5.  Resolution, Directed by Aaron Moorehead and Justin Benson

  • UK Release Date: Unconfirmed

resolution_tribeca_film_festivalAn unexpected and unconventional entry into the Horror circuit, Resolution is psychologically creepy while at the same time has an endearing commentary on what it truly means to be friends and what we do for those we care about. After seeing directors Aaron and Justin’s dynamic during their introduction and Q&A at Celluloid Screams it is clear where the heart of this story really comes from. Their collaboration has resulted in a genuinely interesting, heart-warming and sinister film, which leaves the viewer on the edge of their seats right until the heart-stopping finale which no doubt leaves the audience wanting more.

Click here for the full review: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/celluloid-screams-2012-day-three-coverage/

 

4. Before Dawn, Directed by Dominic Brunt

  • UK Release Date: TBA

243204611_640With their marriage on the rocks Alex (Played by Dominic Brunt) and Meg (Played by Joanne Mitchell) retreat to the Yorkshire countryside in an attempt to fix their troubled relationship, but little do they know a zombie epidemic has spread across the area. As they attempt to fix their problems in a tense atmosphere, Meg soon falls victim to the virus after being attacked and bitten by a zombie, now Alex must do all he can and figure out what lengths he will go to in order to save his wife, will they be able to salvage what they have before its too late? Before Dawn incorporates stunning cinematography of the Yorkshire landscapes, and a sense of gritty British drama as it hybrids a social realist style with edge-of-the-seat, gory horror. The film is most definitely a refreshing take on the Zombie sub-genre.

For the full review, visit: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/celluloid-screams-2012-day-three-coverage/

 

 

3. Sightseers, Directed by Ben Wheatley

  • UK Release Date: 30th November 2012

sightseers-2012-001-chris-and-tina-up-mountain-posing-to-camera_0Sightseers is a darkly humored, black comedy about a seemingly introverted woman named Tina (played by Alice Lowe) who escapes the clutches of her “invalid” mother to take a caravaning holiday with her new boyfriend Chris (Played by Steve Oram). Love is in the air as the couple set off into the picturesque Yorkshire countryside, however events soon take a dark turn when Chris’s neurotic behavior turns deadly!! Sightseers truly captures the essence of what its like being in a new relationship, and depicts all the highs and lows with a goretastic horror metaphor in the background! There’s romance, sex, jealousy, murder and dog-napping!

Visit here, for the full review: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/celluloid-screams-2012-day-one-coverage/

 

 

2. Citadel, Directed by Ciaran Foy

  • UK Release Date: 1st March 2013

Citadel-Aneurin-BarnardHarrowing and terrifying, Citadel is the film that had a huge impact on me on the first viewing and almost captured the number one spot on this list. Emotionally-charged Horror doesn’t get any better than Citadel. The nightmare begins when Tommy (Played by Aneurin Barnard) helplessly watches on as his pregnant wife is attacked by a group of youths and is stabbed with a syringe. Tommy is left to care for their baby daughter while suffering with severe agoraphobia. Citadel is an intense portrayal of a young man attempting to overcome his fears. It merges disturbing horror elements with the tone of gritty British cinema and the balance of genres pays off well, making Citadel a fresh, unique offer into British Horror Cinema. Aneurin Barnard carries the film and proves he is an exceptional young actor, his performance is tear-jerking and devastating and he brings a realistic sense of empathy to the role.

For the full review, click here: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/10/31/celluloid-screams-2012-day-two-coverage/

 

 

1. American Mary, Directed by Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska

  • UK Release Date: 11th January 2013

579938_10151372657963572_1469870127_nFrom grindhouse to body modification, the Soska sisters Jen and Sylvia have advanced greatly as filmmakers since their feature debut Dead Hooker in a Trunk and have treated genre fans to an amazingly, stunning, feminist horror film that comes in the shape of American Mary. Mary Mason is a medical student who for reasons I can’t reveal becomes disheartened with the profession she once greatly respected. Its a story of survival and Mary must do what she can in order to make money. She then enters into a fantastical world of body modification and meets a collection of intriguing characters who ask for some of the most bizarre yet fascinating surgeries imaginable, including a delicious cameo from the Twisted Twins themselves and an amazing performance by Tristan Risk who plays Beatrice, a woman who has made herself look as close to Betty Boop as possible.  I fell completely in love with everything the film had to offer. Its beautifully shot and edited, Mary herself (played by the exceptional Katherine Isabelle) is one of the most empowering females in horror that has emerged in recent years.  Mary is an empathetic character and her journey into darkness is compelling. There is something unique that stands out about the entire piece. Its horrifying and sexy at the same time and is accompanied by one hell of a soundtrack including My Suicide by Luisa Pepe.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

An Interview with Todd E. Freeman (Writer and Director of Cell Count)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on December 20, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

I was fortunate enough to catch the screening of recent, claustrophobic, body horror Cell Count at Sheffield’s Celluloid Screams Horror Festival back in October and for me personally, it is one of the best surgical based films of 2012. When I reviewed the piece I admired how innovative and visually interesting it was as it incorporated a powerful and relate able narrative focusing on how far someone would go for the person they love the most. Writer and Director Todd E. Freeman has kindly taken the time to discuss his his work on the film, the continuation of the story through its up and coming sequel as well as more projects alongside his brother Jason. The brilliant news is that Cell Count is now available to purchase and download as Todd will further explain in the interview below.

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1.       Firstly, tell us about your production company Polluted Pictures. How did it begin? And what was the main vision for the company?

Well my brother and I have been making movies for over 15 years.  It really started when we were younger and Jason would make 8mm movies and I would be in them.  Then we were in film school around the same time and began making feature films shortly after.  Polluted Pictures was the production company name that Jason came up with and we’ve been producing movies under that banner ever since.

2.       Which aspect of filmmaking do you enjoy the most?

You know, I get asked that question a lot.  I’ve probably answered a million different ways.  I guess my favorite part is that there are so many varied different parts.  Whatever I’m doing at the time is my favorite.  Then it gets old and I move on to the next step.  It’s a constant merry go round of adventure.  

3.       Your latest directorial offer, “Cell Count” has been circulating the film festivals, what have the responses been like so far?

You know overall it’s gone very well.  I was so lucky to be able to go to a lot of these festivals and meet fans from all over the world.  I know that the movie is not perfect nor is it for everyone but it was just so cool to be able to show it to as many genre fans as we did.  Some absolutely loved it.  Some hated it.  No one ignored it.  When you are making something you always hope that people enjoy it and for the most part I think people really did.
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4.       Would you say there’s a difference between US audiences in comparison to the UK in terms of how they’ve received the movie?

 It’s funny.  I hadn’t seen the film until just recently with a US audience.  We played all over the world and then brought it back home.  I think overall the reaction is the same.  Genre films cross most cultural barriers and are received the same all over the world.  The audiences are very discerning and looking for a good time.  Hopefully we were successful… but that’s for someone else to answer. 

5.       The ideas behind the heart of the story is very personal to you, was it a cathartic experience when writing the film?

Absolutely.  As I came up with the idea for the film I was going through a very heart wrenching experience with my mom having cancer.   Being able to write it and also have my mom be 100% cancer free is the best thing in the world.  I was able to have fun with it and not feel like I was demeaning the experience with my mom.  She’s fine… and now I can put some monsters into the story.  

6.       Would you advise aspiring screenwriters to write what they know from their own lives?

I think there’s truth to that statement but not absolute.  I think the core always needs to come from something that you care about and know.  The first nugget for me is always personal.  Then there are no rules to where it can go.  I know nothing from personal experience about monsters… but the kid in me is very much excited and scared by them.  

7.        “Cell Count” is visually fascinating, has body-horror always been something that’s intrigued you?

I’ve always had a thing for scars and stitches.  Not completely sure why.  The idea that something emotional can manifest in something physical is also something I’m excited by.  The things inside of us make us who we are and in turn make the characters who they are in the sequel.  I love the psychological aspects as much as the physical.  But the physical ones are much more fun to shoot.
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8.       How long did the project take to shoot?

We shot the film in 23 days over a month and a half.  It was intense since we were at one location for the entire shoot but that also allowed us to shoot more pages every day.  Super happy with the way it turned out.

9.       What was your favorite aspect of making the film?

In hindsight the shoot was the most exhilarating.  Most of the time it is the most painful and exhausting things that you remember the most fondly.  

10.   …and what was the most challenging?

Completing the film is always the hardest to do.  Making sure everything is ready to go and exporting the deliverables.  It is the hardest and most frustrating part.  But I assure you nothing feels better than the moment it goes out the door.  I can’t even explain the relief and pride.  Amazing.

11.   Did you have any particular influences that inspired certain ideas in the film?

The Thing and Alien are the two most influential movies when it comes to story, location, and character.  I think that’s probably pretty obvious when watching the film.  Not to say it evokes much style wise cinematically… but when it comes to tone… absolutely inspired by those films.

12.   You’ve hinted that you intend to make a sequel, is there anything you can tell us about that at this stage?

We are in development with the second film.  Working on story aspects as well as concept drawings etc.  The film has always been a part of a much bigger story.  Hoping to shoot in 2013.  I’ll keep you posted.  

13.   The next project from Polluted Pictures “The Weather Outside” is currently in post-production, where you worked as cinematographer and producer, what can audiences expect from the film?

Well my brother Jason wrote and directed an amazing film back to back with Cell Count and it will be able to be seen everywhere in 2013.  We are talking to distributors and trying to find the right fit for the film.  I have always joked that my brother is the Ridley Scott brother and I am the Tony.  The Weather Outside is a beautiful and lyrical film that is precision filmmaking at it’s best.  Expect to laugh, tear up, and be intrigued until the final frame.  I’m so proud of the film and excited to get it out into the world.

14.   Would you say it has any similarities with “Cell Count” in terms of visual style and strong characters and narratives?

 Jason and I joke all the time that we are different planets when it comes to story but in the same universe when it comes to communicating visually.  The two films look nothing alike and could not be more different in narrative.  What we do have in common is our specific visual styles.  Each film has it’s own that comes from the director but the other brother knows how to help get that vision on screen.  He is a wonderful writer and an amazing director.  I couldn’t ask for a better partner in crime.

15.   Finally, what’s next for you? Anymore festivals? Release Dates? …and do you have any future projects in the pipeline?

Cell Count is available now on iTunes, XBox, PS3, VUDU, Amason Instant, and CinemaNow.  Plans for a Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray are on track for early 2013.  The Weather Outside is going out to distributors and film festivals.  Our first Co-Director credited film will also be available in 2013 under the title “Wake Before I Die” which is based on one of our dad’s books. 
As for what is next… well who knows.  We are working on developing Cell Count 2, writing a film called “Devil Rides Shotgun, and also working on my next personal screenplay which is currently untitled.  We have to juggle multiple balls until we find out what truly will be next but I’ll be sure that you are one of the first to know… once we do.  
Thanks for the interview.  Can’t wait for people to check out the films.  We are very proud.
Check Out more info on Cell Count here: www.cellcount-themovie.com
‘Like’ this Facebook page for more updates on Cell Count 2: https://www.facebook.com/CellCount2?ref=ts&fref=ts
and for Todd and Jason’s latest project The Weather Outside check out the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheWeatherOutside?ref=ts&fref=ts
Thank you so much to Todd for this interview.
Hayley Alice Roberts

Abertoir 2012: The Vlogs (Day Four-Six)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2012 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Apologies for the delay but here are the remaining vlogs that capture 2012’s goretastic Abertoir Horror Festival.

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Day Four

Caitlyn and I summarized all the wonderful film sights we saw on Day Three & what to expect from Day Four, including an Italian cinema legend and doing the time warp in style at the special Rocky Horror Picture Show screening and party!

Festival Director Gaz joined us to introduce a night of suspenders, drag, aliens and mayhem!

Day Five

Following a successful screening of Jen and Sylvia Soska’s visually stunning take on surgery and body modification, Nia, Gaz and I decided to send them a video response to the one they made especially for us straight from Australia.

While losing my voice I interviewed Gavin Baddeley on all things horror including its origins, issues of censorship and moral panics and what makes a horror film truly horrifying.

Day Six

Yep…voice totally gone, a big thank you to Caitlyn for keeping everyone updated on the shenanigans of Abertoir’s final day!

Our final summary, Caitlyn discusses our overall highlights and the winning films as well as general thanks. Also thank you to Jimmi Johnson (Editor of Night Breed: The Cabal Cut) for filming our last video.

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We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who supported our coverage at this years festival. We are so grateful to Gaz, Nia, Rhys and Becky for giving us this opportunity and of course a thank you is in order to all those involved who helped us with various pieces including filming and photography, Sally Jones, Lewis Gibson-Grainger and Janie Roberts. We hope those of you who have never been to Abertoir have enjoyed what you’ve seen and will consider attending next year and for those of you who were there you can look back on this piece of nostalgia with all your amazing memories. Caitlyn and I have some more projects under wraps for next year so keep an eye out!

Coming Soon…

MY TOP TEN HORROR FILMS OF 2012!

Hayley Alice Roberts.