Film reviews and more

Martyn Conterio

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Film Review: ‘Freaks’

★★★★☆ The first American picture to be marketed as an unambiguously supernatural horror experience (released on Valentine’s Day, 1931) was Tod Browning’s Dracula starring the iconic Bela Lugosi. Universal were at that time in a financial jam, thanks in part to the economic travails of the Great Depression. They found their saviours in […]

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DVD Review: ‘Gente de Bien’

★★★★☆ There are a number of key scenes in Columbian director Franco Lolli’s superb Gente de Bien (2014) – a playful title that means both ‘Decent People’ and ‘Well-off People’ – where it feels like it was written as a sequel to Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves (1948). The setting (Bogotá) and the […]

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DVD Review: ‘What’s Left of Us’

★★★★☆ If bucketloads of dripping gore is what you’re after you may end up feeling shortchanged by What’s Left of Us (2014), a genre piece far more interested in existential vicissitudes and much less in entrails and folk being eaten alive. In writer-director Christoph Behl’s exceptional horror movie, a love triangle provides a […]

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Film Review: ‘Robot Overlords’

★★☆☆☆ At a point in Jon Wright’s Robot Overlords (2014), Robin Smythe – the film’s human Big Bad played by Ben Kingsley – asks “You know what ‘chav’ stands for? Council house and violent.” It’s delivered in an unsure northern accent that straddles the uneasy border between old foes Lancashire and Yorkshire (particularly […]

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Blu-ray Review: ‘Rabid’

★★★★☆ David Cronenberg’s second theatrically released picture, Rabid (1977), can be taken very much as a companion piece to his debut, Shivers (1975). While not linked narratively, both are set in Montreal and proffer parasitic creatures and transmitted diseases as the engine of doom. As with his first film, satirical touches further mark […]

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DVD Review: ‘Nurse’

★★★☆☆ Are hopes and expectations dashed or raised by a film called Nurse (2013) starring Paz de la Huerta? It doesn’t suggest a classic, more a titillating horror comedy. Therefore, the whole endeavour edges close to the perilous shores of a joke-concept, and one expected to flounder on the rocks of a weak […]

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DVD Review: ‘Deliver Us From Evil’

★★☆☆☆ If man is five and the devil six, then Fincher’s Se7en (1995). Scott Derrickson’s religious-themed supernatural drama, Deliver Us fom Evil (2014), takes place in a city of endless rain and tenebrous shadows occasionally disturbed by the diamond-dazzle of car headlights, or torches penetrating the dank spaces of tenement buildings and subterranean […]