Slam Dunk’s status as the UK’s favourite pop-punk festival can hardly be contested. With a section for every genre, big-name sponsors lining the walls, and stages both inside and out – this year’s festival felt like the most professional yet. Continuing the move from Wolverhampton City Centre to Birmingham NEC, it settled into the second city with ease on its 11th anniversary, making all things bigger, better, and more boisterous in the process.
★★☆☆☆ – 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.
As usual, Slam Dunk 2017 boasts a wealth of pop punk favourites, returning to the UK across three venues this May for a day of alternative rock. Hosted at Birmingam NEC on Saturday 27th May, Hatfield Forum on Sunday 28th May, and bringing in the bank holiday with a bang in Leeds City Centre on 29th May; the annual festival has already sold out at its Southern-most venue.
★★☆☆☆ – 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.
In celebration of their twelfth studio album, ‘The Serenity of Suffering’, Korn are set to return for an arena run across six different venues in the UK this December. Gracing the likes of Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, London, Cardiff and Nottingham; the Californian nu-metal group have stated: “We’re really proud of our new album and we can’t wait to play these songs for our amazing fans in the UK, they are some of the best in the world! This tour is gonna be sick!”
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.
★★★★★ – 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.