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Hayley’s Top 5 Feature Films of Celluloid Screams 2017

Posted in Horror Blog, Horror Festivals, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Celluloid Screams 2017 presented festival attendees with one of their strongest line-ups to date. With classic anniversary screenings of Suspiria (1977) and Hellreaiser (1987) and an Inside No. 9 showcase with both its creators, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith present, the ninth edition of the festival proved fantastic. As well as familiar films for fans to rediscover on the big screen, Celluloid Screams also programmed a diverse selection of feature films from all over the world. The common thread between them all was that most of them contained a tongue-in-cheek flair to them, allowing the audience to experience laughs and scares and an equal amount of tension.

celluloid screams 2017

This list has sure been a tough one to compile as each film managed to bring its own identity to the table however these were the movies that struck a chord with me. So, without further ado, here are my top five feature films of Celluloid Screams 2017.

5. The Endless (2017)

  • Directed by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson
  • USA

the endless

Celluloid Screams 2017 launched on a high note, which therefore set the tone for the remainder of the festival. Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson are staples of Celluloid having screened both their previous feature films, Resolution in 2012 and Spring in 2014, respectively. They have hit a hat-trick with their latest flick, The Endless. Moorhead and Benson not only write and direct but this time around they both star in the film. Their unique flair for filmmaking is present yet again as they stray away from convention bringing something surreal and intriguing to the table. In The Endless, Aaron and Justin play two brothers who happen to be former cult members. After ten years and undergoing deprogramming, the two are invited to revisit their old way of life when a mysterious videotape arrives on their doorstep. What follows is a mind-bending journey of intrigue that leads the viewer into unknown territory. Established fans will already know to expect the unexpected with their instantaneously captivating style of storytelling. The film looks beautiful which is aided by the picturesque cinematography, the open outdoors setting signifies the vastness of how the plot is essentially bigger than what is initially thought. Moorhead and Benson continue to grow within their craft, creating films that are not pigeonholed to one specific genre. The Endless is a mesmerizing film experience that is best going into without knowing too much. It will be exciting to see what these multi-talented filmmakers come up with next.

4. Creep 2 (2017)

  • Directed by Patrick Brice
  • USA

creep 2

Creep 2 is the highly anticipated sequel from director Patrick Brice. Mark Duplass makes a delicious return to his role as the batshit insane, serial killer that he made popular in the first one. This time around, he lures ambitious journalist, Sara (Desiree Akhavan) into his lair (home!). Disillusioned with his life as he approaches 40, he puts out an online ad for a videographer which draws in the disenfranchised young woman who is struggling to make a success of her obscure web series. Following an initial meeting with Aaron, the bizarre encounter provides her with enough scope for her next video. Feeling galvanized by the experience, will Sara bite off more than she can chew or will she hold her own against the unpredictable psychopath? Creep 2 is equally as superb as its predecessor, but manages to venture into even darker territory. It is nerve shredding from the outset while containing an unnerving sense of humour. Erratic and unpredictable just like its core antagonist; Creep 2 is a nail-biting, unique cinematic experience that works excellently among a festival audience. It is gasp-inducing madness and proves to be one of the most effective found footage entries within the genre right now. Between them, Brice and Duplass have created an exhilarating sequel which remains consistent to the original while challenging audience expectations which is highly ingenious to see.

3. M.F.A (2017)

  • Directed By Natalia Leite
  • USA

MFA

M.F.A is certainly a revelation in light of the recent Hollywood sexual assault scandal. This film is both timely and imperative as it fearlessly tackles a subject that still faces a taboo outlook surrounding it. Introverted art student, Noelle begins to embrace college life when she is invited to a party by a pretentious yet charming classmate named Luke. The party takes a harrowing turn when Luke shockingly rapes Noelle and plays it down in the aftermath. Traumatized and violated, Noelle reports her ordeal to the appropriate channels to no avail. She then decides to take matters into her own hands, heading down a dark route of revenge which heartbreakingly is all she has left. M.F.A is astonishingly brave as it highlights the ignorance and hypocrisy surrounding reported rape and the many women who face suffering in silence. The approach the film takes is bold without being exploitative or highly controversial but strongly gets its message across. Francesca Eastwood gives the performance of the year in a transformative role with layers of character development and a realistic arc, from her vulnerable beginnings to the astounding journey she takes. M.F.A is a prime example of the dynamicity of the genre and how it can successfully display a very real but disturbing issue and glare a light on that. It is wholly frustrating but will hopefully spark a conversation that society absolutely needs to have. Uncompromising, confrontational and powerful in its execution, M.F.A needs to be seen and spoken about.

2. 68 Kill (2017)

  • Directed By Trent Haaga
  • USA

68 Kill

Annalynne McCord stars as the baddest bitch of them all in this fast-paced, high octane, comedic thriller. Soaked in exploitation, 68 Kill delivers the “perfect midnight movie” and then some. Perfectly placed in the 12am slot on the first night of the festival, 68 Kill fought any festival jet lag away as its thrilling nature keeps the audience engrossed from start to finish. Featuring a slew of reprehensible characters that will kill, maim and mangle to get their hands on cold hard cash, 68 Kill ensures edge of the seat action until those end credits roll. The cast gel exceptionally well together, with Matthew Gray Gubler’s sweet-natured Chip finding himself in a bizarre, unexpected situation, torn between two crazed beauties with more outrageousness to come. A surprise performance is delivered from Sheila Vand, from the mid-way point as a ruthless, gothic store clerk. 68 Kill is a movie Tarantino could be proud of and thematically it has all the ingredients in place to homage his brand of filmmaking. Tasteless, indulgent, unapologetically trashy and completely in your face, 68 Kill is one of 2017’s and Celluloid Screams most exciting offerings.

1. Better Watch Out (2017)

  • Directed by Chris Peckover
  • USA/Australia 

Better Watch out

Christmas has come early with this fantastic, festive fright flick. Better Watch Out encompasses all the components of the killer Christmas movie while embodying its own unique capability. This is a home invasion like no other that supplies nerve-shredding suspense with darkly thought out humour. The plot centers on hormonally-charged twelve-year-old Luke (Levi Miller), a regular Suburban kid who anticipates an evening alone with his babysitter, Ashley (Olivia DeJonge). Having already established a comfortable rapport with each other, Luke’s chances of finally confessing his feelings don’t go quite to plan when they are targeted by an unknown assailant, subsequently becoming embroiled in a twisted cat and mouse game with shocking consequences. Better Watch Out incorporates delightful twists and turns that will supply shocks and surprises for its audience. It is advisable to enter this film totally blind to experience the punch it packs! The bright, festive aesthetic the film displays provides a welcome contrast to the more darker themes. It’s a crowd-pleaser from start to finish with exceptional performances from its young cast. Much like Andrew Muschetti’s IT (2017), kid-cast led horror films are proving to be a hit right now and this is no exception. If you enjoyed Netflix favourite, The Babysitter (2017) then you’re going to love, Better Watch Out.

Well, there we have it, my top five personal outstanding feature films of Celluloid Screams 2017. Comment below if you agree or disagree with my choices and let me know which films hit the right note with you at the sensational Sheffield festival.

Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

 

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“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.

Get Out 2

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.

Get Out 3

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.

get-out-keith-stanfield

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.

get-out-movie-marketing

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

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/

lina romay

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