Film Review: A Ghost Story @ Sundance Film Festival 2017

★★★★☆ – As strange and alienating as the film could be, it defies the odds, and draws audiences closer with its exploration of life and death.

Every film festival has that one controversial film that will divide audiences between ‘a masterpiece’ and ‘pompous trash’. Whilst A Ghost Story has many positive reviews already under its belt, it definitely has potential to be this film. Director David Lowery’s off-beat vision is just so bizarre that it would be easily interpreted either way – but with a storyline intrinsic to each and every audience member watching, strangely hypnotic visuals, and a central concept that pulls you in like quicksand, Lowery definitely steers his film in the right direction.

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Film Review: Walking Out @ Sundance London 2017

★★★★☆ – Alex and Andrew Smith’s Walking out is a terse mountain thriller, juxtaposing the strength of the human psyche with the power of mother nature.

Following David (Josh Wiggins) on his journey to reconnect with his estranged father, the film opens with him landing in Montana airport. Glued to his phone playing violent video games and burrowing into his coat, the blistering storms outside serve to introduce rugged dad Cal (Matt Bomer) as he grabs David’s attention with a sharp rap on the window.

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Film Review: Dead Awake

★★☆☆☆ – Dead Awake by Phillip Guzman promises to stop you from sleeping ever again. It’s a big promise to make, and one that it doesn’t live up to.

Exploring the condition of sleep paralysis – being caught in limbo between dreaming and waking and not being able to move – the film has found a perfect niche for the horror genre in an area little explored. Bringing to life the idea of ‘Old Hag Syndrome’ and evil visitings during the paralysis, it’s an original concept that has potential for an incredibly frightening cinematic experience. Unfortunately, this film isn’t it.

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Blu-Ray Review: The Purge: Election Year

★★☆☆☆ – The latest Purge offers nothing new or interesting, instead spewing out confused moralistic standpoints dressed up in a distracting aesthetic.

The latest, but certainly not greatest, installment to hit screens from director James DeMonaco came just in time for this years hot-button topic of the American election – but sadly isn’t quite as scary as Trump being in power. Regurgitating a tired and poorly explored parallel universe once more, The Purge: Election Year seems to confuse itself with the moral highground it tries to take.

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Throwback: The Walking Dead Apocalypse

On Sunday 31st July, I set off for what was only described to me as ‘a scary zombie thing with guns’ by my dad. Suitably intrigued, it turned out to be The Walking Dead Apocalypse experience – a shooter that falls somewhere between airsoft and scarefest. Described online as “a live action video-game-like zombie shooting experience,” the night I traveled out to was in Kidderminster; and the suitably terrifying Drakelow Tunnels. The tunnels are disused nuclear bunkers that are as vast as they are dark – very fitting for an apocalyptic night of zombie killing.

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Review: Blair Witch

★★★★★ – Blair Witch is a new standard for found footage horror. Successfully entwining a solid narrative, horrifying visuals, and mastering the concept of ‘less is more’ – this year’s ‘evil in the woods’ is the most frightening yet.

Wingard and Barrett come to the franchise with a host of excellent collaborations already in place. The slasher-hit You’re Next, and fan favourites A Horrible Way to Die and The Guest inspired great excitement that the duo would be taking the helm on this risky throw-back, bringing the grandmother of found footage horror to modern screens. The excitement was well judged – as the two have hurtled The Blair Witch Project into the modern dimension in a way most would have doubted possible.

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Review: A Hologram for the King

★★☆☆☆ – Tom Hanks’ latest nice-guy endeavour falls flat in Tom Tykwer’s A Hologram for the King.

Aiming for a lot and achieving little, the culture clash of America and Saudi Arabia – whilst interesting at first –  doesn’t feel like anything new. Visually stimulating but with little to back this up, it feels fair to say that whilst there are a few redeeming moments to pull the film together; the final product still feels intensely average.

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