Sunday 26 April 2020

Edge of Extinction

d./w. Andrew Gilbert; p. Andrew Gilbert, Julian Hundy; cast: Luke Hobson, Georgie Smibert, Chris Kaye, Bryn Hodgen, Nicholas Chambers, Susan Lee Burton, Neil Summerville

Nasty, brutish and, well, 141 minutes long, this impressive second feature from the team behind The Dead Inside is a bleakly nihilist, bloodily violent post-apocalyptic tale where no character has any real moral integrity. Two men with no reason to trust each other rescue a female mutual comrade from an organised gang of cannibal psycho rapists, then face down their enemy with the help of a couple living in an isolated eco-home. There are many more layers of betrayal and brutality than that precis implies. It all happens a few years after a global war reduced society to individuals and groups eking out a desperate existence, making this a sort of miserabilist British Mad Max. Childhood flashbacks give us some clues, though it’s never explained why no-one has a gun (which would have changed the plot significantly!). Shot (as The Brink) weekends in 2017/18 in Beds and Bucks, with terrific use of derelict locations. Mycho’s Anna and MJ Dixon were associate producers (and are among the extras), repaying Hundy and Gilbert’s contribution as co-producers on Mask of Thorn. Brit horror regular Rudy Barrow has a small role but doesn’t last long.

Tuesday 21 April 2020

It Never Sleeps

d. Matt Mitchell; w. Matt Mitchell, Taliesyn Mitchell; p. Clare Pearce; cast: Laura Swift, Fabrizio Santino, Cassandra Orhan, Pixie Le Knot, Charlie Rawes, Simon Mathews, Richard Foster-King, Kevin Golding

Unseen outside South Africa due to sales agent problems, this is a slick, enjoyable and original spooker from the director of Gangsters,Guns and Zombies. Ex-squaddie Joan, now working as a bouncer, sees a therapist to help overcome her PTSD. But there’s more to her problems than flashbacks to Afghanistan. She’s being haunted by a young woman – and something even less corporeal. A man who she literally met once, randomly, for a few seconds is having similar visions and together they try to solve the mystery. It Never Sleeps take a sharp left turn about 20 minutes from the end which will initially leave you confused and annoyed – but stay the course because things will make sense before the credits roll. Swift (principally a stunt performer) is great in the lead with terrific support from Orhan as her gobby best friend and Rawes as her partner on the nightclub doors. Shot in 2014, this will definitely get a proper release at some point.

Sunday 19 April 2020

The Haunting of Margam Castle

d./w. Andrew Jones; p. Rebecca Graham, Robert Graham, Andrew Jones, Sharron Jones, Harry Willis, Jonathan Willis, Tom Willis; cast: Jane Merrow, Derren Nesbitt, Vernon Dobtcheff, Simon Bamford, Garrick Hagon, Caroline Munro, Judy Matheson, Amy Quick, Lance C Fuller, Mads Koudal

A solid B-movie spook-show with a nostalgic cluster of British horror veterans, Andrew Jones’ latest is a treat for fans that effectively combines classic and contemporary horror. Nesbitt and Merrow are a local history expert and a medium assisting a visiting gaggle of American para-psychologists in a Welsh castle, where things get spooky in act 2 and deadly in act 3. Dobtcheff is the creepy caretaker, Munro and Matheson are warning voices in the local pub, and Biggs Darklighter is the Dean who sends them across the Pond to boost his university’s reputation. Add in Hellraiser’s Bamford as Matthew Hopkins in a hallucinatory sequence and indie legend Koudal as a ghostly axe murderer and there’s not a lot of space left for the actual plot, to be honest. Jones’ regular DP Jonathan McLaughlin ably photographs the actual Margam Castle, an early Victorian monstrosity built for William Fox Talbot’s family. If it looks familiar, you might have seen it in Up All Night or any of several ghost-hunting TV series.