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
Looking for the Twilight zone, all you get are testosterone-fueled pretty boys snarling their way through a macho version of The Craft. Some impressive special effects can’t disguise the vacuous, sub-Supernatural script. Unintentionally comedic, courtesy of ham-fisted Finnish demolition-meister Renny Harlin.
Somewhere in Massachussets; the Ipswich Colony (which immediately destroys the movie for the Brit’s – we can’t take anything from Ispwich seriously), where, since 1692, a ‘covenant of silence’ has kept witchcraft from the world.
Now, in the present day, the teenage heirs of four ancient families of warlocks battle it out with the banished evil fifth son… meh. Continue Reading
Welcome to the night-time, rain-soaked and neon-lit world or Daybreakers, writer-directors Michael and Peter Spierig’s stylish, hit-and-miss vampire horror.
There’s no dialogue for almost ten minutes in the well-crafted set-up – vampires have taken over the planet, humans are an endangered species farmed for food, their dwindling numbers creating a food crisis that threatens to wipe out vampires and humans alike.
Ethan Hawke (from the superlative 30 Days of Night) returns to the vampire genre as the guilt-ridden, chain-smoking and wimpish Edward Dalton, chief haematologist (a word never used – too long for the target audience) for whom the search for a blood substitute is proving fruitless.
Rejecting the vampire diet of blood, Dalton begins to degenerate into the bat-like mutant vampire Sub-siders, then aids the human resistance. Continue Reading