By: Zombie Grrl
There are a number of reasons that the “creepy house” film is such an enduring sub-genre of horror, they are relateable to audiences, budget-friendly for indie filmmakers and when done right, are effective as hell. But for a single location, spooky house film to work it’s all about building the atmosphere, isolation helps, but a good sound mix is essential. Match eerie music, sinister thuds with lots of doors, shadowy nooks and crannies you’re on the right track. And if you can throw in some ominous set dressing like animal skulls, dust cobwebs and miscellaneous unidentifiable things floating in jam jars you’ve got yourself a winner — as evidenced by The Silent House. The first two thirds of this Uruguayan import absolutely nails the atmosphere. As a result the film has garnered a fair amount of buzz both for its effective chills and for being a the first professionally shot, single take horror film. And mostly it’s deserved the acolades however, while the first two thirds are all claustrophobia, mystery and menacing bumps in the night, the final act, well… that’s another story.
Directed by Gustavo Hernández, The Silent House is allegedly is inspired by real events that took place in a small Uruguayan village in the 1940s and focuses on Laura a young woman who has met up with her father at an out of the way house which the two intend to begin repairing the following day in order to sell. As they settle in for the night Laura begins hearing a loud thudding sound, that at first seems to be coming from outside and then later from the floor above. Laura convinces her father to investigate upstairs while she waits below, when he doesn’t return after what sounds to be a vicious attack. Laura finds herself locked inside the house and what follows is a game of cat and mouse between Laura and the mysterious inhabitants of the house.
Equal parts drama, mystery and horror potboiler, Lake Mungo is a mockumentary styled film about the Palmer family, who is struck by tragedy, when daughter Alice drowns on a family vacation and the subsequent supernatural fallout.
The story unfolds through a series of interviews with family, Alice’s friends and even a psychic the family calls in when it becomes clear that something paranormal is happening in their home. Along with video footage from a variety of sources including handycams, a phone camera the film also presents some very unsettling photographs. All of these elements come together to paint a portrait of grief stricken family, a girl who was perhaps not exactly what she seemed and tell a damn good–if a bit melancholy–ghost story.
Presumed dead, Alice is soon discovered to have drowned, and the grieving family is left to move on however, it’s not that simple. Soon after her body is found evidence of a haunting begins to manifest in the family home. Noises, visions of an apparition and finally photographic evidence all point to a restless spirit.
While at first glance the plot is fairly straightforward, like any good true crime documentary nothing is as simple as it seems on its surface. The film does an excellent job of throwing a number unexpected curve balls the audience’s way, all leading up to a final reveal that creeps under your skin and is, in a word, haunting. (more…)
By Zombie Grrl
Splice is a film you have to sit back and mediate on to really form an opinion, if you go just by gut reaction you’re missing the point.
When trailer first premiered, Splice appeared to be just a technologically advanced rock ‘n’ roll reboot of Species, fortunately the trailers were intentionally misleading. Where Species was a sci-fi action affair Splice, in comparison, is a slowly paced psychological sci-fi potboiler. (more…)
Paranormal Activity is the kind of movie that creeps into your subconscious.
When I first watched this supernatural thriller with a group of horror-loving friends (including Rachel, of course), I didn’t find it particularly scary. The film documents the day-to-day life of a young couple that has recently moved in together. As day turns to night, however, it becomes apparent that Demon makes three, and the boyfriend attempts to record the demonic activity, setting up a camera to film them while they sleep.
There were a couple of moments while watching the film when I jumped, but overall I felt assured that the line between reality and fantasy would remain intact, despite the realness of the film’s DIY camcorder style.
Then I was alone, in bed.
My mind couldn’t help flashing back to the scene where a ghostly presence enters the main couple’s room and drags the girl out of bed. She wasn’t even safe with her boyfriend right next to her! What chance could I have, on this particular stormy San Franciscan night, when my significant other happened to not be around? (more…)
Reviewed by: Zombie Grrl
Greek mythology, has always piqued my imagination, and as a kid I couldn’t get enough of films like Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts. So really getting into the God of War series, with its mythical beasts, fantastical settings and tragic antihero Kratos, the Ghost of Sparta, was hardly a stretch. However, despite my obvious fangirl proclivities I am happy to say there is still no question that God of War III is a stellar game that will thrill fans of the series and newcomers alike (although I highly recommend playing through the previous three games, GOW, GOW II and Chains of Olympus, as there are a number of references as well of the motivations of the characters that will be lost to the uninitiated.)
GOW III picks up immediately following the cliffhanger at the end of GOW II with Kratos making his way up to Mount Olympus atop a titan, to seek revenge against Zeus. Awaiting him are a number of ill-fated gods, heroes and mythical baddies. In keeping with the series tradition the game opens with an epic battle, with Kratos taking on his first of many divine foes. However, the scale of this battle makes the fight with the hydra that kicks off the first game laughable in retrospect, the camera pulls way back to show a how massive the size of the battle is only to sweep back in and exploit every bit of the flying viscera–which there is no shortage of in this game. (more…)