William, it was really nothing.
‘Minutes to Midnight’ is the film that could have been. Could have been funnier, could have been scarier and could even have been destined for cult classic status (who knows, it still might be), were it not for minor details. ‘Starring’ William Baldwin (of the lesser-spotted Baldwin brothers) you kinda-sorta know a film is in trouble when he’s the star, more so when the co-star is former teen-hunk Richard Grieco who these days looks like his plastic surgeon owes him an apology and a refund.
The story is a simple one, it’s New Year’s eve in a small town and a small bunch of people who work for Baldwin are looking to celebrate. He pops in, wishes them a Happy New Year, and buggers off, which is pretty much all that you see of him until the end of the movie. Okay, that’s up to you whether or not that’s a blessing in disguise given that his acting career hasn’t exactly set Hollywood on fire, but it seems as if more and more mothballed ex-celebs are being dusted off and put into low budget horrors with varying results. The same can be said for poor Mr Grieco, who plays one of the most unconvincing Town Sheriffs I’ve seen to date. The story has a slight, and I do mean slight, echo of ‘My Bloody Valentine’ in that something nasty happened in the town once-upon-a-time, so there’s generally not a whole lot of celebrating going on, but hey, the youngsters never learn, so off they go to a… wait for it… Cabin in the woods. Yeah, that’s right, another film in which a bunch of young people (I’m avoiding the word ‘teens’ here as they clearly aren’t) get attacked by a mystery assailant, or indeed several.
I began by saying what this film could have been, but here’s what it actually is, it’s a decent enough film with some of the better ingredients of many of the better horror films of its type. It has a routine story and the acting isn’t all that and a bag of chips, BUT it is actually quite effective in the horror aspects, with wholesale gore and the kind of masked psychos which toy companies make action figures of. Where this film really goes wrong is that it’s trying so hard to be a Rob Zombie film without having Rob Zombie involved, even to the point that there’s a suitably maniacal performance from everyone’s favourite Otis Firefly the legendary Bill Moseley, so it’s not all bad. The other actors are largely just window dressing, with no stand-out performances from the usual stereotypes, and yes, there’s a bit of screwing involved and there IS the almost obligatory gratuitous lingering shower scene, all of which is totally unnecessary in a film which if it were just to concentrate on the horror instead of cheap titillation could have been so much better. When it comes down to pure adrenaline soaked action, well, there’s an attempt at it, but it comes across a bit like two pensioners in a nursing home fighting over the last biscuit on the tea tray.
Can I or would I recommend it? Sure, it’s not so bad that it’s not worth watching, and if you can see it on VOD for cheap then it’s probably ok with a couple of beers and some popcorn, but it’s not going to rock your world or even wiggle it a bit.
Now available on home video.
In2ruders is a dark, sexy and twisted short horror film from award-winning director Naeem Mahmood. What price would you pay for fame, that's the question asked by this intelligent film, about the darker side of the music industry.
Starring the music duo Bloom twins, Caprice, Dr Who's Samuel Anderson with a wonderfully creepy turn from music legend Tony Hadley as a nightmarish lounge singer, In2ruders is a powerful film that is as gripping as it is shocking. Highly stylised with a fantastic dream-like quality that slips in and out of the realms of pure nightmares, In2ruders is a captivating film. Tightly shot and utilising some great editing techniques, the film draws you entirely into the plight of the protagonist. Aiding this immersion in the nightmare world is a disturbing and unsettling times film score from Duran Duran legend Nick Rhodes that matches the events on screen perfectly. Rhodes has composed a score that really gets under your skin and leaves you feeling somewhat disoriented.
Caprice's turn as the beguiling villain is a revelation, when she is on screen she commands your attention, with her siren like performance. The Bloom twins also handled themselves very well, they may not have the screen presence of Caprice but they do a bring a sense of fragility to their roles.
In2ruders, like all good nightmares, doesn't have a typically linear plot, the events of the film are presented with a sort of fractured timeline, ensuring that the viewer is kept on an uneasy and uneven keel. And like all good nightmares, the film has an effective ambiguous and open-ended finale.
If you are looking for an intelligent horror film that isn't your usual run of the mill, then In2ruders is the film for you. It's exploration of Faustain and the struggles that females face while trying to make in the music business themes are cleverly handled and bring something new and unique to this well worn trope. Like the twisted offspring of David Lynch and Black Mirrors In2ruders is a surreal nightmare journey into the dark underbelly of fame.
If you would like to catch In2ruders at the cinema there are two special showings this month. It will be screening as part of Shorts on Tap Halloween Special on 30 october at Regents street Cinema
And as part of the Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival on 31st October
Oh budget, where were you when they needed you most? As we at the Ginger Nuts of Horror deal extensively with low-budget indie movies it’s hardly surprising to get films with slightly rounded corners where a little trimming has been done to keep things affordable. ‘It Lives Inside’ is one of those films which really could have done with a bit more cash invested in the only area which required a bit of a boost… The pretty poor CGI. Not saying that’s the only downside, it’s not even a deal breaker, just that something a little better than the ‘smoke monster’ from ‘LOST’ would have been preferable.
I say that the CGI is not the only downside, there’s also the odd muted performance from supporting cast which realistically could have been ramped up a notch, you know what… It doesn’t matter! This is a surprisingly good film, one which would easily stand a second viewing. It’s not an in your face kind of movie and as such it is not going to bombard you with jump scares and loud music, what it is going to do is build tension solidly making you anxious to see just how bad things are going to get for the young couple and their baby who are the focus of the film.
The baby’s father is a sleepwalker, he finds a book from which he releases a demonic spirit, yeah, I know, it’s all been done before and hey, I was prepared for a yawnfest too, but I was pleasantly surprised. The father is possessed, but not in any ‘Ashy slashy’ fashion as it’s more a case that he looks quite normal and does his best to fight the urgings of the Demon. This is a normal guy with a no-frills lifestyle who is just trying to protect his family. Is the demon real though or is the buggered-up sleep-pattern making him lose his grip on reality? Thanks to a largely unnecessary intro set in 1890 and showing a Blacksmith at an encampment being possessed by the smoke demon and going bat-shit crazy killing everyone in the camp, it’s all pointing toward the demon being real. Personally the film would have been better without the intro and the money saved on not filming that could have spent on the CGI. Better luck next time eh?
It Lives Inside is a very smart film, although it doesn’t blatantly allude toward mental health issues it certainly covers them with great sensitivity albeit in broad strokes necessary to keep the supernatural edge right up until the nasty finale.
It is now available on VOD and DVD and is well worth the rental.
This film is the story of mechanic who has a peculiar side-line in mercy killing the sick pets of those who cannot afford vet’s fees. “The small ones get gas, the big ones get a bullet” he states when asked how he does it. Let’s make no mistake, this is dark, unpleasant and very grim material, and yet no matter how antisocial the lead character is I absolutely felt a sort of kinship with him as I also wouldn’t wish to see an animal suffer. For a modest fee he will end their suffering and bury the animal afterwards, it’s not legal but better that than have the animals in pain.
Where things go wrong is when he is brought a healthy dog to euthanize for no other reason than it’s a nuisance, so rather than killing the dog he adopts it. This causes a major conflict between him and the dog’s former owner and it is this conflict which propels the film forward to a deadly conclusion.
I cannot in all truth say that I enjoyed this film, because it is not set up for enjoyment on the same level a standard horror film would be. It’s more of a film to think about, regarding euthanasia in particular but also the nature of people in general and how they view the animals they are supposed to be caring for. Man’s inhumanity to man (and beast) and all that.
Regarding production values, everything spot on, no complaints here and as far as the acting is concerned there are also no complaints as everything is delivered in a perfectly natural way as if it’s more documentary than a film, which if anything makes it even more unsettling. The main character is far from sympathetic and is beautifully portrayed; it’s a solid performance which is a delicate balancing act between finding him to be a miserable old sod whilst his empathy for animals is touching.
Although there is the primary conflict between the euthaniser and the dog owner, that isn’t the whole of the story, as he develops an unhealthy relationship with a somewhat quirky woman who appears to be more a lost soul than he is, which doesn’t end well for either of them.
It’s a film with no charm, no truly likeable characters, absolutely no sense of redemption and as stated previously not enjoyable. However, it is dramatic and at times horrific and although not a traditional horror by any standard I would state it is certainly worth watching. It seems wholly contradictory to say it’s not enjoyable but to go ahead and recommend it, but I believe that if you do choose to watch it you’ll get exactly what I mean.
It’s available now on home video.