Each day in October, three brave souls from our gang of Groovy Goolies (co-editor Paul Childs, Boardgames Master Aaron Nash and Ultimate Movie Geek Nathaniel Jepson) are watching horror films from around the world and across a wide spectrum of the horror genre, so expect slashers, ghosts, cultists, demons, vampires, cannibals, zombies, kaiju, aliens and more!
Paul’s Choice – Brotherhood Of The Wolf (2001)
Now here’s a film that doesn’t really know what it wants to be. Is it a historical drama? Yes, sure. A martial arts action adventure? Totally. Oh, and there’s the small matter of the central “werewolf” mystery, which, due to the luscious period detail and immaculately choreographed fight scene, it’s easy to forget about!
Brotherhood of the Wolf (or Le Pacte Des Loups to give it its original title) puts a fictional spin on the real historical case of The Beast of Gévaudan. Interestingly though, every single named character (with one exception, which I’ll come to in a moment) is based on a real person from available records. The truth behind the attacks was never uncovered although there are plenty of theories – and BOTW throws in a fascinating new take on both the French legend and the werewolf genre.
The attacks are well filmed and creepy, as are the small flashes we get of the beast. Sadly, the full reveal is a little underwhelming as the CGI is not great. However, like the best monster movies, these scenes are few and far between. However, it’s the martial arts sequences (choreographed by Philip Kwok of Hard Boiled fame) which really impress. Hawaiian karate and kung-fu expert Mark Dacascos takes second billing to the far less interesting hero (Samuel Le Bihan) as his Native American companion – and it’s his performance as the only truly fictional character in the story which, for me makes the film!
It’s by no means perfect – there are long periods of not much happening, the film is perhaps about 20 minutes too long, and the final reveal of who is behind the beast’s attacks is heavily signposted (to be honest they don’t even try to hide it) – but it’s still fun and exciting. If you’re looking to get into French cinema, this might be a decent jumping off point.
Aaron’s Choice – Get Out (2017)
I had no idea what to expect going in. I had seen a picture of a character screaming in a chair but that was all. I guess I expected some backwoods horror stalker film. Maybe something like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but definitely not what I got.
Get Out is a phenomenally clever psychological horror which contains some deep points about race and background which I never saw coming. It also doesn’t flaunt these points. They feel natural to the story and the world of the film, while making some really good stand at society and how it could change.
The acting is truly great with Daniel Kaluuya giving a realistic and natural performance which never feels overacted or staged. The direction is tight and focused with no useless filler. Everything is needed and everything helps build the mysterious puzzle that’s trying to be figured out.
The film cleverly has its tongue placed in cheek at times which allows for some clever self-aware jokes and a slight lightness in what is ultimately a pretty bleak film.
It’s nice to see a horror film these days which has next to no focus on violence and one which focuses almost entirely on building suspense and intrigue.
It’s a film that surprises on so many levels and one which is definitely worth checking out.
Nathaniel’s Choice – The Blair Witch (2016)
Our resident YouTuber is sharing his thoughts via a video every day. Check out his video review of the belated sequel (to the 1999 classic), Blair Witch below and read his write up here.