An adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower fantasy-western-sci-fi-horror series so perfunctory that four hours after I watched it I’d forgotten what I’d seen; generic fantasy with a high gloss finish that reduces the King novels to a mercifully brisk genre romp with good performances and no new ideas to speak of.
Young Jake Chambers has nightmares of a dark tower, a gunslinger and a Man in Black, while New York suffers increasing earthquakes. Except they’re not nightmares, and the Man in Black is a sorcerer trying to destroy the actual Dark Tower that keeps the demons from our universe. And the gunslinger is… a gunslinger. With six-guns made from Excalibur. No, really. Continue Reading
Seemingly innocent teen Jesse (Elle Fanning – Maleficent) moves to LA to become a model and immediately has to contend with the sleaze and depravity of a town that preys on ambitious young beauties. Attracting a stalkerish makeup artist (Jena Malone – Hunger Games, Donnie Darko), and the enmity of established models Sarah and Gigi, Jesse reveals a harder, darker character beneath her ingenoue persona to join the Women in the Edge of Self Destruction.
Nicholas Winding Refn (Drive, Valhalla Rising) quickly reverts to type to subvert his glossy Indie thriller into something altogether crueller and more perverse, with a shocker of an ending. Continue Reading
Ridley Scott didn’t create it, but his 1976 Alien kick-started a creature-feature sub-genre, in which otherwise intelligent people split up in dark, deserted places to get picked off by the local wildlife. Bouncing back from 2013’s daft and muddled Prometheus, Alien Covenant remixes the ’76 original, in which otherwise intelligent people split up in dark, deserted places to get picked off by the local wildlife. It’s a sci-fi horror crossover that fetishises big teeth, claws and terror. Meh. Continue Reading
Kate Beckinsale (Total Recall) returns as vampire assassin Selene in yet another Underworld Y-A action-horror-snoozefest. It wants to re-invent itself from Blade via Resident Evil to Game of Thrones, but really…?
The cast is an almost all-British affair in the ongoing war between vampires, other vampires, some more vampires and a bunch of scruffy hairy blokes – the werewolf Lycans – with everyone looking for the Corvinus line’s magic blood of invincibility to top the arms race and deliver victory.
With an underwhelming script rehashing more or less everything we’ve seen in the previous four, with added mystical vampire codswallop linking repetitive sword fights and gunplay, it’s hard to get excited about anything but Beckinsale’s buffed leather catsuit and corset. Continue Reading
An amusing genre mash-up of horror and classic literature tumbles out of the one-joke, no-budget, B-movie drawer. The cast has a whale of a time turning Jane Austen into the Walking Dead with bonnets, but for all it’s knowing winks and attractive stars, it’s little more than an overstretched French and Saunders sketch.
If you’re in the narrow, venn diagram demographic of classic literature, period drama and bloody body-horror fans, you will appreciate the genre clash, but maybe not all the way to the creaky, Hammer-inflected climax. Continue Reading
Mia Wasikowksa’s young spinster Edith Cushing is swept off her feet by impoverished English aristocrat Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hidddleston), touring America with his chilly sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain). Ghost-whisperer Edith should have run a mile from both of them, but instead, marries into the Gothic monstrosity that is Allerdale Hall, crumbling into the red clay of Cumberland’s Crimson Peak.
Guillermo Del Toro mounts a handsome horror that promises much in the early reels but even with layers of Gothic design, truly scary ghosts, snow and bloody violence, can’t reach the highs of The Orphanage or Pan’s Labyrinth. Continue Reading
Jim Jarmusch (Ghost Dog, Down by Law) returns as writer-director in this languid, mordant antidote to vampire movies. Tom Hiddlestone (Thor, Avengers, Warhorse) and Tilda Swinton (Narnia) are the undead husband and wife Adam and Eve. Largely ‘vegetarian’ for decades, a changing world threatens their peaceful life in the shadows, an existence unchanged for centuries, may well be lost forever.
Slow moving, intimate, with barely any action but packed with drama and suspense, Only Lovers is the quintessential vampire movie. The subject material may be innately silly, name-checking all the famous writers, musicians and scientists the pair have met down the centuries; but this is a most believable world of the undead. Continue Reading