Don’t Listen: Talking To Daddy From The Otherside

Written by Luke Barnes

Don’t Listen (Voces, the original Spanish language title), is a Spanish horror film directed by Angel Gomez Hernandez. The plot sees Daniel (Rodolfo Sancho), lose his son. After the death Daniel becomes a wreck and becomes convinced he can hear his son’s voice trying to communicate with him through electronic means. As such Daniel enlists the help of German (Ramon Barea), an established paranormal investigator to try and make sense of the goings on.

I have to say as far as ghost stories go this film is chilling. I did not expect too much for the film going in, as the premise seemed quite generic, however, I can say after watching it that I was pleasantly surprised as the scares and the atmosphere definitely make an impact and are both very effective.

The scares themselves are the standard haunted house, Conjuring esque scares, grabbing’s and night time shenanigans. However, here it feels more real and raw. I can’t quite put my finger on why that is, but what would feel played out in other films actually works quite well here. As such, I am pleased to say this film made me jump several times and left me feeling uneasy after watching.

There is a twist at the end of the film, that I won’t spoil, but this twist works wonders for the film and not only feels natural and needed but also helps to bring the whole film together to strengthen it as a whole.

Overall, a creepy ghost story with a clever twist.


The scares

The performances

The twist

The atmosphere


You have seen similar films before, slightly contrived.


Friday The 13th Part 2: The Sweater With The Power Of Mind Control

Written by Luke Barnes

Friday The 13th Part 2 is a slasher film directed by Steve Miner. The film takes place 5 years after the events of the first film, except for the opening or at least that is the implication, and sees yet more camp councillors head down to Crystal Lake to try and reopen the summer camp once more. The wild parties and near constant sex soon turns ugly however, as a new killer begins killing councillors once again.

In my mind this is superior to the first film. Firstly, we get to see Jason not as a little zombie kid but as the killing machine we all know him as, yes in the space of 5 years Jason goes from a little kid to a huge fully grown man- don’t question it. Admittedly, he is minus his signature hockey mask, but it is still nice to see him in action.

Moreover, this film confirms the ending of part 1 was in fact real as Mrs Voorhees’ (Betsy Palmer), head is shown in the fridge of the final girl from part 1, she is then quickly killed by Jason. It is nice to get the closure, and finality to this plotline as it was a detriment of part 1.

Moreover, the teens of part 1, even Kevin Bacon, are all fairly forgettable and meh. However, Amy Steel’s Ginny Field is a terrific final girl; easily contending with other genre greats like Nancy and Sidney. The final showdown scene when Ginny becomes Mrs Voorhees, at least in Jason’s mind, is so well done and is actually quite creepy. On that note I also like how this film adds to the wider magic of the series and showcases the voodoo that is at play, again during this showdown scene in the form of dressing as we can see Mrs Voorhees’s severed head on top of a voodoo alter.

Overall, an improvement on the first film with an interesting final girl, a strong showdown and everyone’s favourite mask wearing zombie making his first proper appearance.


Jason proper

Tying up the ending of the first film

Amy Steel

The showdown


The ending feels a bit weak and too open ended.


Friday The 13th: Pitching Your Tent At The Cite Of A Brutal Murder, Because Why Not?

Written by Luke Barnes

Friday The 13th is a slasher film directed by Sean S. Cunningham. The plot sees a group of teen camp councillors head down to Crystal lake, the site of a grizzly murder years ago, to reopen a summer camp. However, as they do someone starts picking off the campers one by one.

So I have visited Elm Street and played a game with Jigsaw and now it is time to go camping at Crystal Lake and explore the Friday the 13th series. So, in the past I have seen many of the films in this series, but I’ve never really taken them in, or looked at the series as a whole.

I think of all the slasher film franchises this series might be the most fun, sorry Freddy. There is something so campy and almost silly about this series, and this film, that just cant be ignored. Whether it is the camera angles and editing techniques that seem straight out of the modern youtuber playbook, or the preposterousness of the villain.

This is the only real entry in the series, apart from V, that doesn’t feature Jason as the villain and instead has Mrs Voorhees (Betsy Palmer). Mrs Voorhees makes for an interesting antagonist, and her motivations make her a believable threat.

Personally, I don’t think the end scare of having zombie Jason coming up out of the lake to attack the final girl works, and I think her surviving it, and it being played off as ‘oh maybe it was just a dream’ work even less.

Overall, a fun slasher film that benefits from being a little goofy, albeit unintentionally, and from having a strong antagonist.


Mrs Voorhees

The goofier elements

It does slasher horror well

The kills are well executed


The teens are very forgettable


The Tangle: Bleak Visions Of An AI Future

Written by Luke Barnes

The Tangle is a science fiction thriller film directed by Christopher Soren Kelly. The plot sees two agents investigate the death of one of their own in a futuristic setting.

I admire the worldbuilding of this film, they really do paint a picture of their version of the future; despite the fact that we don’t actually see a lot of it. I thought the story as a whole felt rich and ready to be explored with enough depth to keep you engaged throughout. I would say an issue on the writing side of this film is that a lot of the twists and turns were fairly easy to guess, and I could easily predict what was coming next.

However, despite this I still found the ending satisfying. I thought the ending of the film, that I wont spoil here, answers a lot of the films questions in an interesting way and opens up the door for a lot more fun in sequel films, that I would be very here for. Personally I enjoyed the characters and would like to see them come back in future films either prequels or some kind of sequel.

Overall, a very interesting high concept science fiction film that could have done with tighter writing.


The concept

The world

The characters


The predictability

A little cliché


Star Wars The Clone Wars: The Prequels Were Actually Pretty Rad

Written by Luke Barnes

Star Wars The Clone Wars is an animated tv series created by George Lucas that explores the events in between episode 2 and episode 3 of the Star Wars prequels trilogy ending with the final moments of episode 3 and the order 66 purge.

I remember watching this when I was a kid and enjoying it a lot. However, for one reason or another I never ended up finishing it. Recently, I have been reconnecting with the Star Wars franchise, and my rewatch of this as well as the Mandalorian have been front and centre in that process; as I have always preferred Star Wars outside of the films, books, games, tv shows etc.

I enjoy the focus this show has on building up the wider lore of the prequel trilogy, with most of the interesting characters and events from those films being explored in a lot more detail here. I particularly enjoyed the Mandalore plot line and the return of Darth Maul: I think it was an inspired move that really adds to the wider Star Wars mythos.

Moreover, the new characters created for this show are also very welcome and serve to only boost the pre existing material.

Though it is nice to warmly reflect on this show from my childhood I would be deeply remiss if I did not point out the issues with it. Firstly the episodes are not in canonical order and are spread all over the place, this can be annoying when trying to work out what happens when, but it is widely ignorable. More egregiously however is the padding. Seasons are padded out with nothing b storylines that go nowhere and add very little, and this is a consistent problem throughout. You will break away from an interesting storyline about the wider war or universe and instead be given a plot about Jar Jar Binks or Padme doing something dull; suffice it to say this gets old quickly.

Overall, it is a fun animated show that fills in the blanks of the prequel trilogy nicely, however the padding and the episode sequencing do prove a challenge when binging.


Developing the wider lore

Great character moments

An infectious love for all things Star Wars


Multiple episodes of padding per season

The episode order is all wrong


Hostiles: A New Draw For Westerns

Written by Luke Barnes

Hostiles is a revisionist western film directed by Scott Cooper based on a story by Donald E. Stewart. The plot sees Captain Joseph J. Blocker (Christian Bale), and his squad of soldiers escorting a Cheyenne war chief and his family back to their home in Montana during the final months of the Indian Wars.

This film really does feel different within the western sphere. It has familiar genre constructions that will be easily recognisable, but it also has a lot more nuance and depth going on under the surface.

The thoughtfulness of this film is best shown in it’s characters, we see Blocker start the film as a racist who hates Native Americans based on his own experiences from the war, right from the off he is not portrayed as a good or a bad character rather as a grey reflection of reality. As the film goes along Blocker forms a begrudging respect with the war chief he is protecting and the relationship furthers, and we see it from another dimension. Though this storyline has been done before, here it is used in a way to contextualise the western as a genre and show the evolution.

Moreover Rosamund Pike plays Roselee Quaid, a frontiers woman who loses it all. Through Quaid we are presented with the lived reality of frontiers life rather than the romanticised version we often see in westerns. Bad things happen to Quaid fairly regularly, and they are treated with a normality that becomes more and more troubling progressively, this causes you to think about other western films and characters therein and view them in a new light.

The film itself is very, very bleak, but the ending does bring with it a degree of hope that I think nicely compliments the film.

Overall, a pallet cleanser and recontextualised form for the western genre that feels incredibly honest and fresh.




The character work and ambiguity

The ending


It is incredibly bleak


Thirteen Ghosts: The Devil’s Fun House

Written by Luke Barnes

Thirteen Ghosts is a horror film directed by Steve Beck. It serves as a remake of the sixties film of the same name, and sees a family move into a house they gain through inheritance, only to realise that the basement is housing angry spirits.

I love the creativity of this film. Each ghost feels unique and has an established backstory to go along with them, which creates this feeling of love towards the monsters of the film that really runs throughout. Likewise the creature design of each ghost is also terrific, not only is each distinct and memorable in its own way, but the look of these characters gives off a sense of personality without them even having to say anything which further enhances the world and the wider lore.

The performances are also fairly good, Matthew Lillard plays the rogue with a heart of gold well and has several moments that feel like peak early noughties gold. Similarly F. Murray Abraham, is milking the hell out of his role as the main villain, getting every single ounce of evil fun out of the character that he can.

In terms of horror I would not say this film is all that scary, yes there are some strong horror moments, but as a whole it feels a bit light. Maybe suggestive of tonal problems, as there are comedic moments and scary ones trying to compete against one another for our attention here.

Overall, a fun thrilling ride with an excellent performance from Matthew Lillard.





The care, love and strong design work that goes into the ghosts


Slight tonal inconsistencies


Interview With Terence Elliott: Writer/ Director Of Devil In The Woods

Written by Luke Barnes

Hey Everyone!  I recent had a chat with writer/director Terence Elliott about his new horror feature Devil In The Woods, which follows a group of film studies students out in the woods who soon run into something supernatural, in our conversation we talk about, the creepiness of the woods, Ti west, and a shared remembering of our days as film studies students.   

Q: How would you describe the film in a word?

TE: That’s a tough one, I guess I’d say tragic. Yeah, tragic. I think that really covers some events that predate the story, along with the path that follows.

Q: Who is your filmmaking inspiration?

TE:  Ok this is a 2 fold answer. My first inspiration has to be John Carpenter. I remember as a child seeing Halloween for the very first time on BBC 2. Mark Kemode presented an intro to the film and I was aw struck. Carpenter has such a unique classic look to his films, and he is the master of creating suspense and dread. I’d have to also say Peter Goddard. I met Peter working in retail many years ago, and he asked me to help fill a small role in his debut feature film ‘Season of the Witch’. It was so inspiring to see someone just getting out there and making a film, something I’d wanted to do but didn’t think a real possibility. From there I’ve been fortunate to work with and learn a lot on subsequent films.

Q: Do you have any funny on set stories?

TE: Yes! On the final large shoot, which had been plagued with Delays due to recent lockdowns and Covid restrictions, we were finally able to get going. Nicholas Carter, who plays Officer West, had stepped up to help out with gore fx at the last minute, but first he’d overslept when I’d gone to pick him up, then he got an Uber from 30 miles away, got dropped off but took the wrong turning and was lost in the woods! He found us eventually.

 Q: How important is natural horror to you in the film?

TE:  Whilst I love all sorts of horror, even cross genres with things like sci fi, I think there’s something instinctively scary when that horror could be close to home, based in reality. Saying that, a big influence on the script for the Harvest of the Dead films was H.P. Lovecraft, and that’s some of the most out there stuff!

Q: Did you focus on atmospheric horror over jump scares? And if so how did you strike the balance between the two?

TE: Atmospheric horror for sure. I find jump scares more often than not just a bit on the nose. Yes, I tend to jump at them myself 9 times out of 10, but when writing I focus more of creating that sense of unnerving, I find that far more interesting

 Q: What was your catalyst for making this film?

TE: So I’d co-written and played the killer in Peter Goddard’s Harvest of the Dead and had a greater involvement in the script on its sequel, along with helping more and getting more involved, so really I felt that I needed to challenge myself with writing a feature script myself and trying my hand at directing.

 Q: For me this film brought back a lot of memories of shooting short films in the woods, was that the idea to capture a sense of nostalgia within film students?

TE: Yes it was a trip down nostalgia avenue for me as my first media assignment was a short horror filmed in the local woods over a decade before. With zero budget filmmaking you have to be practical with what you can shoot and where, it just so happened that I’d wanted to create this film project within a film and went to my roots with the location.

Q: Sequel ideas or future projects?

TE: I’d deliberately left the ending lingering on a particular item as all the answers for the surviving characters could be found on that (being vague to avoid spoilers!) but I don’t know if I’ll ever be returning to those characters and that world. I like the ambiguity of it and there’s a direct starting point to pick things up from but right now I have no plans for a sequel.

Q:  How would you describe the current state of horror?

TE: There’s a lot of interesting projects going on currently. Ari Aster is a big inspiration with his features Hereditary and Midsommar so I’m looking forward to what he makes next. Also I’d heard Ti West is returning to horror which is very exciting. Peter Goddard and I have just finished a script for our next collaboration which we’re both very excited to get started filming. I think horror is in a good place, you just have to keep your ear to the ground and know what to look out for, as there’s some real gems recently.

 Q:  If you won an award or Oscar for this film who would you thank?

TE: I’d obviously thank the cast and crew, without their tireless effort none of this would be possible. Again, Peter Goddard for helping me really from day one, whether loaning me equipment, offering editing advice or filming a lot of the action scenes, I’m indebted to him. Also my mum. Me and my sister, Cari Payne who operated the boom and played Judy Lench, lost our mum about a month after production started. It was a really tough time but also brought us closer together so if this won an Oscar, it’s for you Mum!

If you would like to watch Devil In The Woods you can find it on DVD or on BD-R via Vipco and as always you can find my review of the film on site now.

Devil In The Woods: A Film Studies Project Brings More Kids To The Woods

Devil In The Woods is a British horror film directed by Terence Elliot. The plot sees several film studies students go out into the woods to shoot a project however, as they go about their business they soon realise that they are not alone, and that something other worldly is in their too.

An aside, this film takes me back to my days as a film studies student in college, though I am still one now at University level, when I would be doing very similar things to the characters in this film- the only difference is that no monsters were stalking me. Still, there was a lot of fun reminders of my own experiences in this film. 

Setting to one side my own life experience this film reminded me quite a bit of films like The Blair Witch Project and another British horror film The Borderlands, I saw this as a compliment as not only does this film manage to live up to those, in some ways it improves on them.

The acting from across the cast is quite strong, you believe these are real people, real students and as such you become that bit more engaged in the film. Likewise, as things start to turn sinister you can’t help but root for the characters to survive as they feel like you’re friends.

Personally, I have always found woods creepy, and this film manages to perfectly capture that as it brings to the forefront that quiet feeling of dread and silence that is never too far away on any visit to the woods, or maybe that is just me.

I applaud this film for building its scares through atmosphere rather than forcing in jump scares, it is always more effective, and that is shown here. I think the quietly increasing oppressive nature of the atmosphere is what makes this film unsettling.

Overall, a strong effort that highlights a primordial horror in nature through an oppressive atmosphere that never lets up.


A strong cast

A relatability, especially if you are a film student

Good scares


Tapping into the horror of nature, the silent unease




Interview With Jimmy Kustes: Writer and Actor Body Swap

Written by Luke Barnes

Hey Everyone! I recently had the chance to chat to Jimmy Kustes the writer actor star of Body Swap, a film about two very different people who swap bodies and have to experience things from the other’s point of view. We talked about the art of writing good dialogue, fixing up houses and Napoleon Dynamite  

Q: If you were to describe body swap in a word what would it be?


Q: Who is your filmmaking inspiration?

JK: My two biggest are John Hughes and Billy Wilder. But I like the Andersons, PT Anderson and Wes Anderson. With a limited budget the one thing you need to focus on is the dialogue. I envy filmmakers that can make a film with just visuals. Ghost Story has very little talking but I’m not sure if I have that skill. 

Q: What was your catalyst for making this film?

JK: I had the script lying around and had already done a small movie with the director Tim Morton called New Cops. My parents and brothers have been fixing up houses since I was a kid so making something that gets everyone involved and proud of their work that you can give to someone else is a great feeling. Unlike houses, making money off films is something not many people have figured out. There’s a reason New Kids on the Block and Vanilla Ice have HGTV shows. 

Q: What is your favourite Body Swap film, other than this one of course?

JK: 17 Again is good. It has a 90s style trailer even though it came out in 2009. We actually released 1990s, 1980s, and 1970s style trailers for Body Swap in addition to the modern one. It just so happened that Wandavision was released with a similar concept where each episode was based off of a different era. 

Q:  How important was the balance between romance and comedy here, and how did you manage it?

JK: Well it’s not a sappy romance but you can’t free base comedy, it gets exhausting. Step Brothers and Napoleon Dynamite might be the only movies to pull that off. You have to dilute it with a genre like Ghostbusters or Black Dynamite does. The go-to genre to mix it with is romance. And I’m a big fan of how Billy Wilder does that so hopefully we pulled off something close.

Q: Why did you choose to structure the film as a body swap?

JK: There aren’t that many entries in the genre even though there were three in 2020 with Body Swap, Possessor, and Freaky. I thought the romantic comedy where the slob meets the career woman had been done quite a bit so maybe adding two worn genres would be original if they body swap as well. Just so happen, Freaky made a horror movie where the final girl and killer swap bodies so we have a bit of a twin movies situation. I’m not complaining because it’s free advertising.

Q: Do you have any funny on set stories?

JK: The scenes in the cafe were fun to shoot because we had a lot of extras and they bring their own dynamic and make it fun.

Q: Sequel ideas?

JK: One of the characters is watching a Christmas movie on TV in Body Swap so maybe a sequel where the Christmas movie is the whole thing, and they watch pieces of Body Swap 2 from the other side. 

Q: What is your personal favourite moment from the film?

JK:  I enjoy the ending; it ties the whole movie together. It took awhile to find a satisfying ending.

Q: If you won an award for this film who would you thank in your acceptance speech.

JK: That actually did happen! It won best feature awards at Louisville International Festival of Film and Peachtree International Film Festival. One is headed by an Academy member Conrad Bachmann and one is Academy Award-qualifying so that’s basically like winning an Oscar. Isn’t it? I like to thank Tim the director, my friends Worth, Brent, Sean, Laura, and Tracy who worked on it. Matt, Evan, Allie, and Ella and the rest of the cast and crew. I mean our lead actress filmed and cut together a “behind the scenes” video so everyone pitched in more than they had to, to get it done.  

If you want to check out Body Swap it is on Amazon,  the Google Play Store and Youtube, and as always I have a review of it up on the site now!