The Feast: If You’re Bringing Up Long Strands Of Hair Seek Medical Attention

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

The film follows a Welsh dinner party in which everyone in attendance dies by the end of the film at the hands of a mysterious being.

Though the premise is nothing new there is something so unsettling about this film that makes it good. There is an off-kilter uncanniness that accompanies this film wherein nothing is quite like it seems and everything is filled with clues and hidden meanings, in many ways to truly get everything out of this film you should watch it several times over.

I enjoyed the rural folk horror and thought it did interesting things with a message of environmentalism and not disturbing the natural world. I found the film more uneasy than scary however, there is nothing from this film that stayed with me after watching.

The acting is all quite good. I think Annes Elwy was strong as the lead and played both sweet and sinister well. Most of the characters in this film balance out fairly standard greed and lust issues with far darker under the surface evils to great effect.

Overall, a strong folk horror film that is well worth a watch even if you have to read subtitles.

Pros.

Elwy

The folk horror

The uncanniness to it all

The twist

Cons.

Not particularly scary

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Spell: Never Forget Your Roots

Spell is a horror film directed by Mark Tonderai. The plot sees successful lawyer Marquis (Omari Hardwick), find out that his abusive father has died. As a result he takes his family back to where he grew up to pay their final respects. During the trip the family’s plane goes down over Appalachia and Marquis wakes up in the attic of an old school hoodoo practitioner who has sinister designs for him and his family.

I went into this film with high expectations and it met them. I enjoyed the examination of traditional folk magic, it is not a topic often covered in the horror genre especially this type, but here it is done well and to great effect, creating some genuinely tense and unnerving scenes.

Like most good horror films, this one priorities atmosphere over jump scares. Over its runtime the film creates a constant sense of unease, we never know if Marquis is going to escape or what the fate of his family is and there are a lot of teases and red herrings scattered in throughout to throw us off.

There are also some grizzly bits of gore that will make you skin crawl and make you wince, yes I am talking about the nail scene.

My one complaint of the film would be its ending. Yes, the final showdown is exciting to watch, but it feels too neat. Things go from a tense cat and mouse game that seems skewed against Marquis, to a brawl that will either see him and his family safe or dead: naturally this does away with any tension.

Overall, a very effective horror film that I enjoyed very much if the ending could have been better it would have been getting top marks.

Pros.

The atmosphere

The gore and the scares

The focus on folk Magic

Omari Hardwick

The supporting cast

Cons.

The ending is too neat

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

The Borderlands: Sometimes The Old Ways Take Over

The Borderlands/ or as it is otherwise known as The Final Pray is a British found footage horror movie directed by Elliot Goldner. The plot sees a team of Vatican Investigators descend upon a small English town after a local priest claims to have witness a miracle, or at least something unexplainable. The team soon start to notice odd things going on and suspicions grow.

I was on the verge of not watching found footage films anymore, films like Found Footage 3D and the second Blair Witch film had led me to lose faith in the genre with film after film feeling like samey, boring, repetitive trash. However, after a few people on Twitter recommended this film to me I decided to have one last hurrah and give it a go and I am pleased to tell you I enjoyed it.

For a start it is nice to see a found footage horror film set in the UK, in a quaint little village no less, rather than some endlessly expansive wood somewhere Stateside. Another thing I appreciate about this film is that it does not drag things out. We all know how it goes, first you get some bangs, then maybe something falls off the wall, then they put up cameras, then they hear something etc; it is at this point formulaic and obvious. However, before the first 20 minutes are over in this film a group of the local youth have set a sheep on fire to scare the priests and their associates, there is no boring, drawn out built; this film gets right to it.

Another thing I will applaud this film for is you’re never quite sure what the monster is. Even in the final moments of the film you are none the wiser as to what is killing the men. A Pagan God seems like the most logical suspect, but nothing is ever confirmed, and the ending is deliberately ambiguous.

The one thing I will bring the film up on, is the use of camera effects such as cutting out and distortion. Whenever something paranormal happens the camera picture starts to break up, obviously so they didn’t have to find a practical way to show what was happening, and normally I wouldn’t mind this, but here it felt a little overused.

Overall, a marvellous found footage film that might have reignited my interest in the genre.

Pros.

It is nice seeing it set in the UK for a change.

The ending and the ambiguity.

It gets right into it.

The scares.

Cons.

The camera trickery is overused.

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

Kill List: A King To Be

Kill list is a British crime horror film directed by Ben Wheatly. The plot follows two ex-soldier hitmen Jay (Neil Maskell), and Gal (Michael Smiley), who’s job soon takes a turn for the strange as they become entangled with a cult, though they don’t realise it at first.

I think this film is excellent, truly excellent. I think if any film could be the Wicker Man equivalent of our modern times it is this; and that is not just because they share some similar plot threads. The reason why I think so highly of this film is because of how subtle it is, you don’t realise that you’re watching a horror film, most of the film is more crime focused, until the last 10 minutes; but then when the film ends you see how it was really a horror all along.

The performances are superb and so are the characters. Jay and Gal are not written to be likable, right from the off we see Jay through a negative lens, but that is the point. This film achieves something few others do, it takes characters that are fundamentally bad/unlikable and by the end it makes you care about them. In the final sequence of the film you want Gal and Jay to be okay, you really do.

The folk horror aspect is also really well done, as I mentioned before a good comparison would be The Wickerman, but there is also some Hereditary in there too. I think the ending is fascinating and it makes all of the events of the film take on a whole other meaning; a rewatch is a necessity. I loved how all the actions of the two main characters had been mapped out by the group and everything was leading up to that moment.

Overall, I think from a writing and structure point of view this film is a triumph and I think from a horror point of view this is also incredible. I think more people should see this as it seems to be quite unknown to some. One of the best films I have recently.

Pros.

The folk horror.

The crime thriller aspect.

Making you care about awful people.

The ending.

All of the little details.

Cons.

None

5/5

Reviewed By Luke  

The Droving: A True Sequel To The Wickerman

The Droving is a thriller horror film directed by George Popov. The plot sees Martin (Daniel Oldroyd), return from a tour of duty to find that his sister has gone missing in a remote community. He then sets out to find out what has happened to her and find those responsible. Descending further and further into a world of violence and death.

This is a superb horror film, it reminded me in a lot of ways of the Wickerman it has a very Wheatly esque folk horror vibe to it. There is something about these sorts of films that remind you just because Britain has developed over the years, there are still wild parts scattered here and there. There is a deep sense of isolation and tradition in these places and that is scary in and off itself.

There are plenty of twists and turns throughout this film, all of which are really good and add to the overall scope of the mystery. The ending especially did this, when we see that the folk traditions that have underpinned this whole story are in fact all true, and the ending sees Martin fall under the influence of the evil.

The performances are also fantastic, Oldroyd has such a great presence throughout the film. His Martin goes from zero to one hundred in under a second and it makes all of the scenes incredible tense. I love the unpredictable temperament his character has, and it seems so realistic for someone who would be in that situation. Someone who is doing everything they can to save someone they love, but also further sliding into the dark.

The atmosphere in this film is also great, it is menacing and oppressive, it feels like the character we are following is alone in a hostile world, where supernatural things happen and are real, this leads to a lot of good scares and terrifying moments.

Overall, this is a terrific film, it feels almost like a spiritual sequel to the Wickerman, the performances are great, and the ending sets up a lot of very interesting questions for future sequels, which I really hope they make.

Pros.

Great atmosphere.

A terrific lead.

The ending.

Fantastic scares.

The twists and turns.

Cons.

It becomes repetitive after a while.

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke