Overdubbing is usually horrible. This relatively unknown 2011 horror HELL is in German but has been overdubbed into English successfully. It explores the new world after the Sun’s instability and solar flares raised the average temperature by 10%. Intriguing film.

David Blyth – Wound

Wound was made in New Zealand earlier this year and was selected for the London Film Festival.   Behind the terrible slaughter we will witness there is a terrible logic.  Instead of playing for the victim’s terror, we are treated instead to the insanity of a fetish killer.

A skillful yet excessive rendition of the affected mind, failed mother Susan, superbly played by Kate O’Roarke in a compelling performance, is driven to deeds so terrible you can only share  relief to witness the sardonic sessions and nipple torture by Master John (Campbell Cooley), whom she must address as Sir and then with a strictly limited and pleasing vocabulary.  That he has to keep warning her that it is pretense serves as a warning.  Master John messes with her sense of continuity and her reality setting goes more haywire.

There are moments when you are brought along for the ride not as a willing partner, but fragile inside the broken mind.  Terror is etched deeply into Kate O’Roarke’s convincing performance , her fear is both intimate and shared.  She lives extreme terror her child hood brutalised by her father’s abuse, but what is happening to her is just as bad as her dream world

Almost too late, the emergency rendition team arrive, ordered by a genuinely concerned Dr Nelson (Ian Mune) to commit his patient.   Her demons have already got the better of her as she takes brutal revenge on her father.  The inner psychology of following her own line of paranoid reasoning takes the film into a realm where anything happens.  In walks her dead daughter and her death mother and every angle of horror can be explored.

The dream visualisation carries us into territory films can not usually explore.  Evil turns on a piece of fractured razor glass as severing and bleeding become a chorus.  It is her surviving twin daughter returning or a complex construction of grief for her long dead daughter – hard to say which one is worse – the wound ripped open in Susan’s devastated mind commits crimes while she thinks she is running away from them.  Or she is, more horribly, running from her little girl now full size, she is horrified by the mayhem and the path it creates for her to escape, in a collaboration of confusion and death.  The use of masks and dolls submerge identity and play Susan as a distorted child and this is effective and weird.

This film explores less clitchéd ground than expected from the “slasher horror” genre, it is stylistically revolting while its use of thick blooded imagery is not betrayed by any lack of profoundly sinister ideas.

The film is beautifully captured using  Canon digital cameras providing a believable texture.  Jed Town’s sound track is a subtle but perfect carrier wave for major talent.   This is David Blyth’s second horror film, the first was in fact the first splatter movie predating Peter Jackson by several years.

One to watch.

Rating * * * *  
Originality * * *

Frightfest listing


I Am Love – Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton is the lead in an Italian film by Luca Guadagnino that tells a story of love that upsets the balance of a family of great wealth. The family business frames the lives of those it is handed to, and when the grandson is given part control, fate is suitably twisted. The conventional and cold logic of capital and the logic of business are subtly pitched against the unremitting nature of human love. It is a pitch of contrasting values, one coldly redolent in finery and inherited privilege and the other naked, sumptuous and a slave to feeling.

Swinton’s character does not belong in either world – but her crossing of one to the other carries with it consequences that undo both. The tragic consequences of extraordinary love pivot on rebellion, the new generation that will not carry on the facade of wealth and all that it carries with it. In that way, the turbulent pendulum swings away from capitalist excess, the futility of wealth and inheritance is questioned and the wisdom of love exposed in all its destructive power.

A film that is both beautiful and sensual and yet expresses itself best in the illustration of coldness, of destruction and of contrast. The cast and direction are well measured and the film lures you into a controlled world that is never comforting to another ruled by the moment and extraordinary risk. That movement between worlds and Swinton’s ability to layer hidden feelings give it a depth of feeling that is otherwise strangely absent in these worlds that suffer under the light of extreme beauty.

Originality * * *
Quality * * * * *

New Directors
Telegraph Review


The flip side of lamentable wet romantic gothic vampire teen films is this, kids wearing ill fitting costumes, that beat the thugs at their own game by acting as vigilantes.

The most evil baddies die at the hands of an eleven year old wonder who’s opening line is “okay you cunts, let’s see what you can do.” as she proceeds to execute with extraordinary prejudice eight or so thugs with remarkably little malice in an offhand killing style that is intensely comic.

Comic book fiction in the unbelievably violent genre, so much so it becomes humour.

The nerdy guys get the girl, the eleven years old heroine enjoys being brutal and the hero boasts at the start of the film about how much he masturbates!   The fetish gear in which he carries on as Kick Ass is a green wetsuit designed by a plumber.  Must get awful sweaty in there.

Kick Ass is a brilliant and certainly an unusual film in a new genre not quite used to goofy risk taking and bone breaking hilarity with a heart.

This film is both derivative and yet highly original.  The ridiculously caped superhero genre is so well established but this style of crime fighting not only comes from a completely different place (pure revenge, not so much law or honour) and fallibility is celebrated.  It is not strength that wins the day, but guile.  The antithesis of power wins over force.  The man who brought his child up with violence in her heart and the awkward teenaged dweeb slaughter the bullies.  It feels good and despite ultra violence it is hardly blood thirsty.  Despite routinely severed limbs and killing with extreme prejudice the gore stakes seem lower than expected in this genre.  Justice is seen to be done.   The gawky hero gets the girl, revenge is won, everyone cheers.

**** Originality

*** Artistic value

***** Sheer fun