The Forest (Jason Zada, 2016)

Aokigahara, also known as suicide forest, is an infamous anti- tourism site. The forest is one of the worlds most haunted locations and is a place where unhappy travelers go to take their own life. So we can leave it to Hollywood to turn this horrific place into a feature film. However, you will be surprised to know that this is the first ever film made about this gruesome location.

Side fact: As filming in the Aokigahara forest is not permitted by the government. The film was shot at a nearby forest. (How many forests are in Japan?). However, due to weather conditions many parts were filmed on stage.

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The Forest, staring the beautiful Natalie Dormer plays the twins Sara and Jess Price. Sara feels that something is wrong with Jess so she takes a trip over to Japan. She later discovers that Jess decided to take a trip into the forest and has yet to return. However, with both of our twins lost in a forest known for its ghosts and mind games, our characters begin to go a little crazy. The ghosts of the forest persuade you to kill yourself by tricking and scaring anyone who wonders off the path.

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‘Stick to the path, beware of the moors’ – (John Landis, 1981)

The film opens extremely well, it sets the scene for both our characters and gives the feel of a fantastic indie style horror.  The lighting, filming style and camera work throughout is haunting and rather sinister. We are constantly on edge waiting for something to happen. The film plays mind tricks on both the characters and the audience. To add insult to injury, they add a very untrustworthy but attractive travel writer into the mix. He just wants to get Sara’s story… or so we think. Taylor Kinney plays Aiden, someone who acts far too suspicious for his own good. You will be thinking throughout the whole film ‘what is this guy up to’.

If being stuck lost with a guy who may or may not be trying to kill you is bad enough. There are some creepy Japanese ghosts that look like something from a horror Anime.  I’ve spent way too much time on Tumblr not to find that at least slightly amusing. Well up until I saw there creepy faces.

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I find that this is one of those films to educate you on what NOT TO DO IN A HORROR FILM. Firstly, don’t run out on your own in a very haunted location… stick together! Second, if you know the forest is trying to get you to kill yourself don’t try and cut your wrists if you think that something is crawling under your skin. I don’t think that many bugs would suddenly appear under your arm. Third, if someone in your group already thinks you are trying to kill them, don’t act even more suspicious.

Despite the fantastic acting and potential storyline, I found that the ending was fairly weak. We are suddenly given a huge plot twist but with very little time for it to sink in. I believe they could have made the story much scarier. They had such an infamous location and so much creative room to work with but they just didn’t meet my expectations. However, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The film also attempts the ending of the ‘Sinister’ franchise but fails due to lack of either make up or CGI quality.  There is nothing worse than a shitty ending.

Overall, the film is good for a late night watch in front of the TV but I would have been slightly pissed off if I paid to watch it in the cinema.

How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.

 

Follow me on twitter @apriely31 and Instagram deathbyapril for more updates.

 

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Channel 4’s Fresh Meat (Sam Bain, Jesse Armstrong, Tom Basden, 2011)

As a university student, I should be able to relate to Fresh Meat. A show all about student living and house sharing. However, as a second year still in halls, I have all this to look forward to next year. For any of you thinking that university is anything like Fresh Meat, you would be wrong. Truest me it’s no were near as adventurous or as crazy, or maybe I’m not doing it right?

Yes, Fresh Meat is essentially at 45 minute comedy about a few Manchester students with very different personalities living together in a shared student house. Like you would expect, we have the flat mate that sleeps with other flatmates, the good student (who sleeps with her teacher), the anti-social house mate, the one who thinks he is a musical genies, the drug dealer and the stuck up rich kid. The whole mixed personality, allows for some interesting and hilarious story lines and for some unlikely friendships. I would agree that the people you get saddled with in university are some of the weirdest and best friends you will ever make. The whole graduation thing seems like a nightmare.

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With the four seasons, we get to see all three years of university. The season currently airing over on channel 4 is the final year for our students. So if you want to watch the hilarious comedy, you have a lot of catching up to do. I would suggest that third years or late second years wait till after you have done your dissertation. Currently our characters are stressing out about finals and the grand paper at the end of your final year and to be honest it’s stressing me out. I and many other students have that to look forward to.

The series is fairly similar in style to the ‘Inbetweeners’ a bunch of students who manage to get themselves into questionable situations. The show even includes the ‘Inbetweeners’ very own Joe Thomas. But without people falling off a cliff or having drug lords searching your house for £60,000 right before finals, the show would be far less interesting. I feel like the show gives a false idea of university but to be fair I find ‘Harry Potter’ gives a false hope of school. The show misses out most of the actual university work and just includes the home life. Trust me we don’t just sit in the house and get drunk. (Well maybe on the weekends).

I think the show would also be better if the first few students were set in student halls, as more people would be able to relate. However, it can be argued it adds to the humour… and helps with the budget.

All I’m saying is if you want to know what student life is like, don’t rely on Fresh Meat to give an accurate representation.

How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.

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Krampus (Michael Dougherty, 2015)

Yes I know it is March and I am reviewing a Christmas film but who said we can’t watch Christmas movies in spring? We don’t just watch horror films on October 31st or Friday the 13th on the most unlucky day of the year. So we can watch this Christmas horror any time of the year.

When Max (Emjay Anthony) rips up his Christmas list after a fight with his cousins, an evil Santa comes to punish his family and the rest of the town. Krampus plants some evil toys, food and elves to do his dirty work. I know that they don’t sound too scary but trust me they are creepy as hell.

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The film opens with a hilarious yet realistic representation of Black Friday, well representation of Black Friday. Since I am not American, I can’t actually tell how accurate the scene is. If it is real, I gotta say Americans do love their shopping! From this scene you can assume that what you are about to watch falls into the comedy genre. However, due to some of the fairly frightening scenes later on you can also assume that the film is a horror. Therefore, Krampus is defiantly a good example of a hybrid genre. We see some snippets of comedy, a lot of the conventions from horror and of course evil Santa means a Christmas film.

When the horror finally kicks in it is fairly creepy but when you finally do see the monsters you can’t help but think that what you are watching is ridiculous. Giant jacks in the box that eat people, evil ginger bread cookies and a demon teddy bear aren’t really scary but they are hilarious. Depending on what people find freighting, there are going to be several reactions to this film.  I personally though it was odd but my brother loved the film and made us watch it again they day after. Yep I have now seen a Christmas film twice in one month.  I mean do you find this scary or funny:

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The prop department must have had a ton of fun on this film.

My favourite part about the film is defiantly Adam Scott’s character Tom. He seems to be the only character who seems to think that the whole thing is just absolutely bonkers but does accepts the situation he is in. He knows that he is being stabbed by a toy robot but just think it’s crazy.

 

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Oh you’ve got to be kidding me!

The film ending is rather confusing. You don’t know if you should feel happy or sad. I you can’t really tell if the dog died or not (a very important question in any film). It doesn’t help when doesthedogdie.com can’t tell you either.  Even though it is crazy, it has a very good twist on the original Christmas films and I would suggest that you do sit and watch it either now or during December.

How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.

 

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Absolutely Anything (Terry Jones, 2015)

 

What would you do if you could do anything, absolutely anything? Would you live in your dream house? Cure cancer? Marry Tom Hardey? (I would defiantly do all three of those things). Well in the 2015 film Absolutely Anything Neil Clarke (Simon Pegg) is given this ability by some crazy aliens voiced by the Monty Python cast.  The whole situation is slightly concerning.

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Yes Neil must attempt to prove that he can use his powers for good, in order to stop aliens destroying the planet. But when he has to deal with a noisy dog, a novel deadline, an awful job, an evil boss and an incredibly sexy next door neighbour with a crazy American ex- boyfriend, nothing is as easy as it sounds.

(What would you really really want? zigazig ha.)

The overall premise of the film sounds incredible. You could literally do absolutely anything with the plot. I wanted a little more creativity with this film. Some of the outcomes to his little commands are great but would you sit around reading novels in German or be in a yacht drinking cocktails with your favourite celebrities? Trust me, if I had those power, I would not still be attending work and talking (Literally) to my dog. I would very much be in the middle of the ocean drinking a WOO WOO with Chris Pratt and Helena Bonham Carter.  But don’t get me wrong he does do some of the things we would all try. “I want a sexy body”

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Even though there are just so many variables that could affect the plot. It just all seems fairly weak. I find that the most important element of a plot is to come to the resolution after a final climax. However, the main issue seems to be resolved within a matter of 5 seconds. But the late Robin Williams character is the main cause for this so we can forgive him.

With a 2015 film I would also expect some fantastic special effects. I mean have you seen ‘Mad Max’ (George Miller, 2015) or ‘Star Wars the Force Awakens’ (J.J. Abrams, 2015) the effects are incredible. However, with this we get some questionable character designs. I’m not sure whether to blame this on the idea that this film is a comedy, the budget or the effects team.  The one thing that seems to improve the aliens is the great voice acting from the Monty Python cast. I find that it is just the cast that brings the film together. I love Simon Pegg so anything he is in I will watch.

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I will mention that the film includes Rob Riggle (such a great name). I find that he does have a type cast of playing the douche bag in EVERYTHING. If you don’t know who he is , you obviously aren’t watching enough American comedies.

Premiere Of Columbia Pictures' "21 Jump Street" - Red Carpet

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 13: Actor Rob Riggle arrives at the premiere of Columbia Pictures’ “21 Jump Street” at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater on March 13. 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

I find that I may be being a little harsh because it is funny. There are a few inappropriate jokes and F bombs so it defiantly isn’t for children. If you here Robin Williams shouting “shag her Neil, shag the bitch” you can tell that it wasn’t aimed at younger viewers.

I’m not sure whether or not to suggest it. On one hand the concept is great and a fantastic cast. But on the other, I find you may be disappointed.

How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.

Follow me on twitter @apriely31 and Instagram deathbyapril for ore updates.

Vincent (Tim Burton, 1982)

 

As a big fan of Tim Burton’s work, I thought it would be a good idea to watch his first ever film. This film being a short black and white animation that was so odd, they only played in Art cinemas… but could we really expect anything else from the twisted mind of Burton. Well, I have to say it was a bit too much and defiantly not suitable for younger audiences.

Vincent is a short animation based on a mad child with a bit too much love for the dark science; he attempts to turn his do into a zombie and preforms some questionable experiments. He has a love for the poet Edgar Allen Poe and uses his poems for inspiration. Therefore, to make this even worse, the whole thing has a voice over of a poem, done a bit too similar too Dr. sues. Thanks Tim for ruining my childhood. Just when you though it couldn’t get any creepier, poetry is added to the equation.

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Vincent Malloy is seven years old
He’s always polite and does what he’s told
For a boy his age, he’s considerate and nice
But he wants to be just like Vincent Price

He doesn’t mind living with his sister, dog and cats
Though he’d rather share a home with spiders and bats
There he could reflect on the horrors he’s invented
And wander dark hallways, alone and tormented

Vincent is nice when his aunt comes to see him
But imagines dipping her in wax for his wax museum

He likes to experiment on his dog Abercrombie
In the hopes of creating a horrible zombie
So he and his horrible zombie dog
Could go searching for victims in the London fog

His thoughts, though, aren’t only of ghoulish crimes
He likes to paint and read to pass some of the times
While other kids read books like Go, Jane, Go!
Vincent’s favourite author is Edgar Allen Poe

One night, while reading a gruesome tale
He read a passage that made him turn pale

Such horrible news he could not survive
For his beautiful wife had been buried alive!
He dug out her grave to make sure she was dead
Unaware that her grave was his mother’s flower bed

His mother sent Vincent off to his room
He knew he’d been banished to the tower of doom
Where he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life
Alone with the portrait of his beautiful wife

While alone and insane encased in his tomb
Vincent’s mother burst suddenly into the room
She said: “If you want to, you can go out and play
It’s sunny outside, and a beautiful day”

Vincent tried to talk, but he just couldn’t speak
The years of isolation had made him quite weak
So he took out some paper and scrawled with a pen:
“I am possessed by this house, and can never leave it again”
His mother said: “You’re not possessed, and you’re not almost dead
These games that you play are all in your head
You’re not Vincent Price, you’re Vincent Malloy
You’re not tormented or insane, you’re just a young boy
You’re seven years old and you are my son
I want you to get outside and have some real fun.”

Her anger now spent, she walked out through the hall
And while Vincent backed slowly against the wall
The room started to swell, to shiver and creak
His horrid insanity had reached its peak

He saw Abercrombie, his zombie slave
And heard his wife call from beyond the grave
She spoke from her coffin and made ghoulish demands
While, through cracking walls, reached skeleton hands

Every horror in his life that had crept through his dreams
Swept his mad laughter to terrified screams!
To escape the madness, he reached for the door
But fell limp and lifeless down on the floor

 

His voice was soft and very slow
As he quoted The Raven from Edgar Allen Poe:

“and my soul from out that shadow
that lies floating on the floor
shall be lifted?
Nevermore…”

 

This short creative piece shows great homage to the original horrors with church bells, fog, thunder& lighting and powerful use of film Noir. For those of you who don’t study film cultures, film noir is the powerful use of light and dark within the ‘classic Hollywood era’ (anytime between 1913 and 1960). By using these elements, the Disney concept artist is creating a film within the horror genre and does so a bit too well, it’s defiantly not your typical Disney movie but to be fair, neither was ‘The Nightmare before Christmas (Tim Burton, Michael McDowell, 1993).  The whole film is just a bit dark and confusing.

The not so innocent child Vincent is a bit too mad for my liking but like all children he gets told off and sent to his room for being naughty. However, naught usually means stealing food or making too much noise not creating an electric conductor in the basement. One great thing about the film though is the fact that we never get to see the face of his parents, just legs and torso. It reminds me of the good old days of ‘Tom and Jerry’, ‘The Power puff Girls’ and ‘Ed, Ed and Eddy’.

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Basically, the whole thing is a weird and confusing poem that makes you question the sanity of Tim Burton. I can defiantly say that this kind of film making style has died down a little bit. The animation however is very similar to the films he is creating now and without this odd film , i feel that we would have very different looking Tim Burton films today.

How have you not seen this? – Deathbyapril- April Ely.

Follow me on twitter @apriely31 and Instagram deathbyapril for more updates