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Everybody needs good neighbours, according to the long-running soap's theme-tune, but rarely does big screen entertainment offer up a good neighbour. Generally, in movies, the person living next door is not going to severly impact upon your property's value but possibly your nerves, sanity and even your life expectancy too. From vampires (Fright Night) to neighbours unseen (The 'Burbs) to frat parties fraying a thirty-something couple's cheerful resolve (Bad Neighbours and its sequel) it's fair to say that on the big screen those residing next door are bad, bad news!
In Cutter, Mississippi people tend to keep to themselves. This suits army veteran John (Josh Stewart) and his missus Rosie (Alex Essoe), who live on a ranch, as they dabble in a rather shady trade that helps fund their planned escape to Mexico, where they plan to live out the rest of their lives together. On the day the twosome plan to leave Rosie goes missing. John suspects that his mysterious neighbour Troy (Bill Engvall) might have something to do with Rosie's disappearance. John toddles over to the abode next door for a snoop around only to find out that Troy is up to horrible things in his basement.
Star Josh Stewart proves to be just as nimble on his feet when it comes to ducking and diving behind walls and doors as he was in the same director's The Collector and The Collection. Stewart anchors The Neighbour turning in a solid, sensible lead character that you route for. Initially I feared that The Neighbour would be more of the same trapped-in-the-house shenanigans that the two Collector movies offered. To a degree The Neighbour is similar but it's also surprising with the other steps it choices to take.
The films opens with a dream, our hunky lead Thomas Kaiser (Ethan Peck), tossing and turning as he dreams of a dark-haired beauty, who's sleeping, funnily enough. Thomas is an artist, single and not one for mingling with other people, preferring his own company, aside from a friend who pops his shopping in from time to time. Thomas has recurring dreams about the sleeping girl, Briar Rose (India Eisley), where each time he fails to awaken her from her slumber with a kiss.
Thomas receives a phone call advising him that he has inherited an ancestral mansion, Kaiser Gardens, from an uncle he hardly knew. Being a horror film the property is not without its problems, it just happens to come complete with a mysterious curse. Before committing suicide Uncle Clive took time to write Thomas a letter advising him to never, ever venture into the lower levels of the building (you just KNOW that Thomas will not heed the advice).
In accepting the property Thomas has become a guardian appointed to keep the evil demons in the house at bay. Rather than just accept things for the way they are Thomas enlists assistance in attempting to unravel the mysteries his new acquisition holds. If that wasn't enough for our hunky artist he also has the outstanding issue of awakening the sleeping beauty of his dreams.
Tales of Halloween boasts ten interlocking segments from eleven genre directors - including The Descent's Neil Marshall and The Woman's Lucky McKee - along with cameo appearances from horror icons such as Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Creepshow) and director John Landis (An American Werewolf in London). In short Tales of Halloween sounds perfectly pitched for genre fans, but alas it's, for the most part, it feels more of a trick than a treat.
From the start Tales of Halloween opens with a whimper only beginning to find proper form in the last half-hour when the proceedings liven up considerably, especially with director Mike Mendez' Friday the 31st, a Friday the 13th meets Evil Dead pastiche. Given the considerable talent involved, Tales of Halloween should have resulted in something much more than merely average, it's almost like some of the names attached weren't really trying.
“If he really is a ghost... then I won’t be able to kill him”
South Korean box office smash, The Wailing, is a riveting police investigation which turns into a sensationally terrifying thriller as a likeable cop is drawn into a nightmarish hunt for a source of pure evil disturbing his quiet, rural village.
Out of his depth, local police officer Jong-goo investigates a spate of killings, as well as an outbreak of madness seemingly connected to the recent arrival of a mysterious Japanese man who resides in the outskirts of the village. What’s more, he is horrified to discover his young daughter may have fallen under the stranger’s curse.
Jong-goo calls on a charismatic shaman to free his daughter from the stranger’s dangerous influence, but the shaman’s intense exorcism ritual threatens to worsen the situation... and Jong-goo, with his world collapsing around him, realises he must confront the ultimate evil.
With the likes of The Host, I Saw The Devil and this year’s Train To Busan, South Korea is developing a reputation for producing top quality, world class horror films. The Wailing cements that reputation – a box office smash, having taken over $50 million dollars in South Korea alone, the film is a stunning entertainment quite unlike anything that’s gone before. Hong-jin Na (who directed the acclaimed thriller Chaser) effortlessly combines bone-chilling frightsand heart-wrenching drama with moments of comedy to relieve the nerve-shattering subject matter.
Packed with real emotional weight, and a devilish final act twist, this is assured, impressive and wildly original piece of filmmaking featuring inept cops, red-eyed flesh chewing ghouls, a mysterious shaman and a sinister stranger, as well as the most foul-mouthed possessed youngster since The Exorcist.
Beautifully filmed in the mountains of South Korea, and dripping with atmosphere, Na’s film features an unlikely leading man, Do Won Kwak, a comically incompetent cop who has to face down an extraordinary evil to save his family and his village.
Early, humorous scenes give way to a nightmarish battle between good and evil, including an exhilarating, jaw- dropping exorcism set piece, conducted by Jung-min Hwang as the charismatic shaman, and a brutal, multi-layered showdown that lingers long in the memory.
Breaking box office records on its release in South Korea, garnering rave reviews after showing at Cannes this year, and securing a spot at the prestigious London Film Festival, THE WAILING is an epic, assured horror film of The Exorcist-like proportions that will terrify, amuse and astound in equal measure.
Check out the trailer here...
“A powerful blend of detective story, occult horror and Stephen King-esque small-town suspicion, this is superb” SciFiNow
“You absolutely must add THE WAILING to your must-see list this year.”Den of Geek
“This could well be regarded as one of the best films to emerge from Korea in recent years.” Screen Daily
“A bone-chilling, thunderous descent into Hell” TwitchFilm “A gripping whodunnit” Variety
“Deliciously entertaining” The Playlist
“Exhilarating bleakness” Slant Magazine
“A darkly unsettling story about evil is masterfully told” The Hollywood Reporter
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