Host: The best horror film of 2020

If you’re anything like me you’re sick of hearing the word virus by now. Host, however, presents a completely different, and somehow scarier, form of a virus. A malevolent, demonic computer virus.

This critically well received film revolves around Six friends that hire a medium to hold a seance via Zoom during lockdown, but they get far more than they bargained for as things quickly go wrong.

This film is shot in a similar way to Unfriended and Searching, entirely by using the screens of computers to portray the film. The film opens with the heartfelt struggle of lockdown and what it does to the human psyche. Saying that, the first 15 minutes are rather hilarious. Dissecting the common limitations of using zoom to communicate and the kind of all-too-familar routine we have all fallen into.

Host then further reflects upon the affect that lockdown is having on relationships and the difficulty of being confined in the same living space of someone else for a prolonged period.

The film then begins to progress as all horror films do. Hello demon. The way this demon spreads is via the Internet, similar to a computer virus and begins to infect the users living space. This concept is fantastic and something i really enjoyed about the movie.

The scares are great; a mix of jump scares and suspense really plays out well and never feels cheap. I never felt cheated out of any scares, something I experienced a lot with the later Paranormal Activity films.

This indie film is a must watch for all horror fans. It is available on Shudder.

Gaming For Mental Health

Myself, along with my friends, are currently doing a 20 hour stream for MIND.

MIND provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.

https://www.mind.org.uk/need-urgent-help/using-this-tool

You can follow us and watch as we power through 20 hours of fun, loud and entertaining gaming adventure. You can view this here:

https://tiltify.com/@nordable/nordables-gaming-challenge

My First week with Cyberpunk 2077

I was lucky enough to experience this AAA game on a next-gen console, and, first things first, I adore this game.

Don’t get me wrong, this game definitely isn’t without its issues, as you will definitely know by now, the bugs are a killer.

The main story (so far) is engaging, deep and full of complex,  fleshed out characters. Without a doubt, though, the highlight of this game is it’s side quests. But oh my god. SO. MANY. SIDE. QUESTS.  Your phone doesn’t stop and you drive through the vast Night City; contacts call you to tempt you into thievery, bounties, rescues and other high-octane jobs to earn Eddie’s (currency).  This currency is used for basically everything so the more the merrier. I have been playing for around 30 hours now with my character and found myself jumping between side jobs, gigs, and the main story.

Night City is amazing. It is littered with debauchery and depravity, paying homage to Blade Runner by both design and atmosphere. The verticality of this game is truly remarkable and it really allows you to immerse yourself into the experience. Take your time to view the advertising, listen to the news, and really get a grasp of how much detail has gone into this game.

My first play through I’ve focused on tech weapons, hacking and the technical skill tree. These weapons act an alternative way to engage with your adversaries, giving you an edge in combat. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself (so far). The progression of cyber ware, quick hacks and engineering is really rewarding and definitely leaves you to make some difficult choices spending your finite skill points. Due to the limited amount of these points, it encourages multiple play through (and I can’t wait for this) to experiment with different classes.

The game excels with its personalisation of cyber ware, there are so many levels and variations to these upgrades. This adds layers to the experience. Upgrades are capped to the player levels, but as you progress it enables you to branch into deeper customisation.

The crafting system is pretty straight forward. I have found resources quite sparse when looking for epic/legendary items, but it hasn’t stopped me from finding and experimenting with high-powered weapons.

Driving around Night City is thrilling its own right. Taking in the magnificent neon scenery of the city juxtaposed with the derelict landscape of the outskirts really brings the city to life. I would recommend driving to each way point instead of fast travelling to take this in (and not to miss side quests).

I have not enjoyed a game as much as this in a long time. My view is bias, however, I have an affinity towards both Blade Runner movies and being in the centre of a dystopian Sci-Fi thriller is all I could ask for.

The bugs I experienced aren’t game breaking. They resulted in game crashes, strange NPC behaviour, cinematic scenes not playing out correctly. At worst, this takes you out of the game, in emotionally powerful scenes this can ruin the mood, but I’m sure it will be fixed shortly.

I would give this game a 8/10. The bugs are present, yes, but do they ruin the game? Not for me. I can see how others are disappointed , especially on last gen consoles, but I would still encourage to buy this game.

Xbox Series X: My first impressions

I was lucky enough to land a pre order for the Series X. Like a child before Christmas, I couldn’t wait to open it!

Packaging

This feels luxurious, literally like opening up a present. The unboxing experience was satisfying and something Microsoft nailed.

Console Setup

Download the app. If you haven’t already, download the Xbox app. The entire setup and customisation can be done from your phone. This feels, easy, futuristic and is a fantastic touch.

User Interface

I was a little disappointed with this. I migrated from the PS5 across to this Xbox and was left a little underwhelmed with how it all looked (especially compared to the Ps5).

Game Pass

This was the Xbox’s big selling point and by god, it is worth it. With a myriad of games to choose from, this definitely makes the subscription worth the price. I have particularly enjoyed Sea of Thieves, something I had had access to on the PlayStation. Skeletons, megaladon chases and cannon fights have made my time at sea extremely exciting. More swashbuckling tales inbound.

I have also really enjoyed replaying The Witcher 3, which is probably the best RPG ever made. Slashing through ghouls, griffin’s and swamp monsters has never looked and felt so good.

Another highlight is taking a trip down Locust Lane playing the first 3 gets of War, and being treated to the two newer installments. I had never truly realised how dark and visceral these games where.

Hard drive

I have finally hit my hard drive capacity. This didn’t take me too long, I had 18 games installed. A mix between Xbox One and 360 games (This does include Warzone).

Pros

The 120 FPS is definitely noticeable and a pleasant additions to my First-Person-Shooter experience. Dying in The Gulag seems to be smoother.

Up scaling to certain last gen games looks beautifully vibrant, in particular Sea of Thieves. Scanning the horizon you can really appreciate the graphics and colour depth of the game in all of its chest-stealing glory.

Quick resume is another incredible feature. I had a feeling this would be gimmicky, but it’s anything but. Turning off your console mid game and then booting it back up and be back to dying in insane mode on Gears within seconds.

Cons

No games. How can a console be launched with 0 exclusives? This is by far the most frustrating part. Counting down the clock until Cyberpunk 2077.

Comparing the controller to the new PS5 one feels a little underwhelming. This is the main device you interact with and it doesn’t feel any different to what I used on the 360. I understand the ‘don’t fix it if it’s not broken’ mantra, but still, a little change would have been good.

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri: Winner of 3 BAFTAs.

This film is a visceral powerhouse. From the acting to the narrative, no punches are pulled. The emotional weight this film and its characters carry is insane. The contemporary and mature themes explored have to be admired. This is a must watch.

Synopsis: A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit

This plot sounds pretty mundane, something that has been done hundreds of times before. Maybe it has, but not like this.

Without a doubt, this is one of Frances McDormands’ greatest films. Her portrayal of a heartbroken mother trying to discover her daughter’s murderer is inspiring and nuanced. This is evident throughout a myriad of emotional sub-plots. She is also a fucking badass.

The supporting actors, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and Caleb Landry Jones really solidifies an all-star performance. Each character, some likeable, some detestable, all really hold their own and deliver an authentic performance.

The story never feels long or bloated, each scene progresses the narrative and character arc; the fixation on the characters, rather than the plot, is what makes this film excel.

Martin McDonagh has created a masterpeice here. The films explores topics such as rape, police brutality, domestic abuse and oppression, yet at times this film can be hilarious. Tonally, this film feels similar to his previous outstanding film, In Bruges.

Certain scenes critique the obvious systematic racism and police brutality within the American police force. In no way does shy away from sensitive issues. A topic that is all-too-present in current times.

The film definitely carries an undertone of redemption, and drives characters’ arcs. The way this has been directed, like most good drama, has a fulfilling sense of catharsis.

To take nothing away from this, this film can be depressing. It can equally be intriguing, hilarious, terrifying and engrossing. This film will open your eyes in many ways. It will shock you. Most of all, this film will leave you with a sense of wonder and deep appreciation.

5 stars

Why The Sandman is the best book on Audible

You need to listen this. The cast, the world building, the depravity, the philosophy, the heartbreaks, the laughs, the amazement.

Synopsis: Torn from his real, The Sandman – Morepheus, the immortal king of dreams, stories and the imagination – was imprisoned on earth for decades. On escaping he must restore his power, descend into hell to face Lucifer, chase rogue nightmares, visit a serial killer convention and cross paths with characters from DC comic book, ancient myths, and real-world history.

This fantasy novel starts with Morpheus, The Dream Lord, imprisoned after being summon at a ritual. This plays out similar to, and very much holds it’s own against, great gothic literature classics such as Frankenstein and Dracula. This embodies a perfect prologue to an anthology style list of stories. The narrative very much flows chronologically throughout these stories, but each explores different themes such as philosophy, metaphysics and lore. These complex topics could be considered an ambitious reach for a comic, however, these stories are filled with depravity, incredible fantasy world building, dark action scenes and a fantastic script to follow. Whilst accomplishing and succeeding in all of these, The Sandman never feels anymore than a comic (in a good way) and allows the reader to immerse themselves in a fantasy style of narration without long bulky chapters. The characters are well designed. Created with the perfect amount of depth and personality allowing them to transition in and out of each scene effectively.

The cast, which I would label as A- list, do a fantastic job to create these characters. They create compassion, hate, empathy and really do make the reader feel for the characters.

This is not a book for kids, let me make that clear. The content in this is dark, extremely violent but never to the grotesque scale. I sought this out after hours of cherry picking through well-rated horror books on reddit, and I was not let down.

The main theme of this book, and the title of the main character, is dreams. Dreams are such an abstract, yet constant and influential part of every human life. We can’t control our dreams, they can dictate our mood, frighten and inspire us. The book studies the metaphysical side of dreams, and quite literally turns the mind to matter. Terrifyingly.

I can’t begin to convey how much I enjoyed this. I didn’t want it to end. Each story presented new characters, new themes yet constantly being written to a high degree of quality and entertainment. After this I am going on a Neil Gailman book binge. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.

5 stars.

Foe: The Second (and in my opinion better) novel by Iain Reid.

Foe, Iain Reid second novel and, by chance, the second novel I read from the author. Iain Reid’s second haunting, philosophical puzzle of a novel, set in the near-future, Junior and Henrietta live a comfortable, solitary life on their farm, far from the city lights, but in close quarters with each other. One day, a stranger from the city arrives with alarming news: Junior has been randomly selected to travel far away from the farm…very far away. The most unusual part? Arrangements have already been made so that when he leaves, Henrietta won’t have a chance to miss him, because she won’t be left alone—not even for a moment. Henrietta will have company. Familiar company.

Goodreads: 3.67

As soon as I had finished I’m Thinking of Ending Things I couldn’t wait to read a second novel by Reid. After researching, Foe, his lesser known novel came up. I didn’t even need to read the snyposis, I saw the author and instantly purchased it. His prior book felt so original and covered an array of visceral topics on top of an absurd narrative, I didn’t need to think twice. I’m glad I didn’t.

Foe endorses a much more sci-fi approach than its predecessor, yet is extremely personal in the topics it explores. The narrative is intentionally elusive, questioning the integrity of the narrator throughout. For me, this plays out in a much more introspective style, and works really well building empathy for the main character, some the previous book did really well. As the material progresses , the book quickly turns into a paranoid thriller which lays foundation after foundation, questioning the integrity of each memory, each action, until reaching its heart-in-mouth crescendo.

Throughout the story it expands and seeks to explore to deep rooted philosophical questions, in particular, what does it mean to be human? And what does it mean to love? This is a question all masterful scifi books and films alike have tried to answer. Although the book never tries to answer this directly, it expands on it ethically and portrays both the questions in a mature fashion. There are times when this book can be labelled as a horror, similar to I’m Thinking of Ending Things, but never oversteps it’s mark and effectively blurs the line between horror and mystery.

The book excels in its personal attachment to the narrator and only features three characters. This choice lends itself to strong character development, empathy and an attachment to the characters.

The downside to this book is that it is quite slow, and although it tries to be a blend of Sci-fi and mystery, it never excels at either. The voice actor for me was quite monotone and the way it was read never truly immersed me into the book, but did enough to grip my attention. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy this book, it definitely felt original and kept me captivated until the end, but the narrative was grounded.

Both books (I’m Thinking of Ending Things) have a sense of isolation, yet a deep rooted fascination with the importance of companionship. These are both abstract themes and both thrive on the readers subjective experiences. Reid’s understanding and portrayal of these themes is masterful and equally terrifying. Due to its philosophic narrative, and ere of mysetery, I preferred this over Reid’s other novel and would recommend to all readers.

4 Stars.

Books Vs Film: I’m Thinking About Ending Things

Synopsis: Full of misgivings, a young woman travels with her new boyfriend to his parents’ secluded farm. Upon arriving, she comes to question everything she thought she knew about him and herself.

Goodreads: 3.55

IMDB: 6.7

Book

I was strongly advised to read the book before the film was released, and I am so glad I did. In comparison, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, the film was good, just not great. The book, by Iain Reid, delivered a much more sinister undertone throughout and, therefore, a much more enjoyable and captivating experience. The book worked extremely well by casting a air of mystery via character monologues which integrated into this fantastic, suspense driven novel.

As good as the book was, sometimes it felt slow and can be difficult to get through. This was down to extended monologues, expanding on introspective scenes. As it progresses, the tension builds leading to an ending that is well worth the pay off. It really excels as a  psychological thriller as the reader is cast ruthlessly into the mind of the main character, absorbing the reader into the subjective confusion of the situation, tearing down the psyche and boundaries to this person’s morbid reality. This book is evidently polarizing, and is not for everyone, but I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a psychological horror.

4 Stars

Film

The film, adapted by the fantastic Charlie Kaufaman, feels like it employs a much more dream-like atmosphere. I absolutely adored Kaufaman’s other work in the form of Being John Malkovich and was extremely excited to see Jesse Plemons in a main role, along side an all star cast. In my opinion, this lacked any sinister undertone which the booked pioneered so well, and instead opted for a funny, idiosyncratic approach. I’m all for a director putting their own spin on things and I believe some viewers will prefer the movie over the book, but I see this as an opportunity missed. That said, it is beautifully shot and and definitely does work as an indie thriller. The mid-section of the movie is definitely the highlight; the narrative starts to becomes bundled together, appearing non-linear, coupled with extremely peculiar circumstances, the film really starts to build on what the book was trying to achieve. As a whole it takes the viewer in a much more transcendent direction. If I hadn’t read the book prior to viewing the film, I think my opinion would have been much different.

3.5 Stars

Both the film and the book creates a sense of absurdity, this is no way a straight forward film, but I would recommend both to fans of indie thrillers. The film won’t quickly leave your mind and sits there in stagnation as you try to pick apart and piece together what you have just experienced. A story of hope and connection; I’m thinking about I’m Thinking of Ending Things.

World Cinema: Films to See

I thought i’d put this list together to really honour the truly fantastic world cinema films out there. A lot of the time these movies slip under our radar and don’t receive the true attention they deserve.

The Handmaiden

I went into this movie blind, and man, was it worth the pay off. This movie is critically acclaimed, and rightfully so. The movie is presented as some sort of escapism, an almost dream-like world with sinister undertones. The movie slowly develops, gently guiding you through in almost a dream-like state just hit you with unexpected malicious twists. To call The Handmaiden an erotic thriller would be to understate the term. At 2 Hours 24 minutes, the film is deep, captivating and thoroughly enjoyable. If you’re a fan of world cinema, or art-house movies, this is a must watch.

If you’re a fan of world cinema, or art-house movies, this is a must watch.

Rec

If you’re like me, you appreciate great horror films when they come along (as rare as that may be). Rec plays like a regular zombie horror movie at first, except with nice twist that its all shot from POV. This put you in the eyes of Angela, a news reporter. The movie itself its very claustrophobic, you feel trapped, constantly on edge, and boy, do those zombies move fast. The movie starts slow, but what really makes Rec work is the ambiguity behind the plot, what is causing this infection. The movie is essentially a single location film, that being said, the apartments feel very mysterious, you feel lost, scared, which really adds a fantastic layer to the suspense.

That all aside, the last 15 minutes of the movies is where it excels, as many zombie movies go, the ending can kind of be anti-climatic. The ending to this, well, it gave me nightmares. The Penthouse, thats all I’m saying. As the truth is uncovered, you realise its much more than your standard zombie film.

Roma

Roma is one of the most heart braking and heart warming stories i’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Its the type of movie that reinstates your love of film. The minutiae behind every single seen is incredible, the scrolling shots really capture the dynamic and ever so volatile live of the Mexicans in the 1970’s. The plot follows a maid working for a middle-class family. The films proceeds in almost a auto-biographical fashion playing at almost real-time. By doing this, the events feel real, nothing feels dramatised or forced, it pieces together in such cohesion it almost elevates the viewer. What Alfonso Cuaron pulls off exceptionally is the little pieces of information scattered throughout the scenes.

For a film that is shot in black and white, there’s so much energy to the it, each scene is so vibrant, yet completely independent to the one that came before it. If you have the opportunity to watch this, do so. For me, it is a contender for film of the decade.

Notable mentions

Pan’s Labrynth
City of God

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. Relax, you’re going to love it.

If you’re like me, you can’t wait for this time of the year as it usually means one thing. A BLACK MIRROR EPISODE. Last year, we were fortunate enough to feast on Season 4, this year, bandersnatch takes over over screens and our minds.

There aren’t many writers can could pull bandersnatch off with such mind-swirling precision as Charlie Brooker. Hats off to Netflix for going along with to create a unique, and the first of its kind, interactive movie. When i first saw that this was going to be an interactive movie, i’ll be honest, i was a little apprehensive. Factors such as editing and how much gravity a choice carries really made me unsure on how this could be carried out effectively. I was particularly worried about the latter, were choices going to be primarily cosmetic and carry no weight, eventually leading to a pre-determined ending.  Thankfully, after completing my first play through and having the ability to go back and change my choices, i realised this was definitely not the case. The most difficult choice comes at the beginning, Frosties or Sugar Puffs? I’m not prepared to make that decision and live with it.

Bandersnatch is a creative work of meta-madness, filled to the top with easter eggs for all the die hard Black Mirror fans. These easter eggs pay homage to some of the stand-out episodes that have come before it, but no way dictate or provide information that is needed to understand the story. This can be watched as a standalone episode.  Each choice that is made ultimately leads to a different ending, the beauty of this is that once the end of that ‘tree choice’ has been reached, it prompts you back to the last choice that was made, allowing you to go down the alternative route. This no way feels like a cheesy gimmick, the content is filled with out-of-the-body experiences, the dark side of technology, and laugh out loud moments, together, making the Black Mirror recipe we’ve all come to love.

My favourite part of this is how meta the whole thing is, its almost like a tri-fector of decision making. You, the player, are making a choice for a the character, who is ultimately making the choice for the player in the game, who is under the impression that they are making their own choices (inception flashbacks, anyone?). The fourth wall is also broken multiple times, which feeds into an ironic, almost comical screenplay. If you’re under the impression that is is a ‘lighter-hearted’ black mirror episode, you are wrong, they are dark scenes embedded within the choices.

After my second play-through i am still completely consumed by curiosity to what the other endings/alternative choices maybe. Each path reveals a completely different contextual understanding of the world, straying away from the moral linear perspective of the main character, to a government controlled operation which is dictating the choices (ironic, i know). Furthermore, each choice carry weight and examines character relationships, how they are formed and to which trajectory they may follow. This may be one of the weaker areas of the episode, so much time has gone into the choices, character development can be very fragmented and limited. To fully understand and appreciate the relationships, multiple play-throughs are required.

This definitely stands on the shoulders of some of the Black Mirror greats, it matches the perpetual insanity created by ‘White Christmas’ and the gaming paranoia cyclone put forward by ‘Playtest’. Relax, you’re going to love it.

Sci-Fi: Blade Runner 2049 Review

A Sci-Fi masterpiece. 

I was a little late to the party viewing the original Blade Runner (1 year ago) and, after i watched it, I really appreciated how it had developed to become such as cult classic. The creativity, in accompany of, and not limited to, the philosophical, existential view on what it means to be human. This view has been explored numerous of times recently, but Blade Runner, which was made in 1982, sets the tone for others to follow. 

I would advise watching the original before diving into the immersive world that is Blade Runner 2049. My initial fear when i first saw this was that it was going to be a cash grabbing sequel that would all but ruin the original, how wrong i was. 

The plot in Blade Runner 2049 is very minimal, it follows a replicant (a blade runner) set on a course to find a baby which was conceived by another replicant. This is the first of its kind so you can imagine, everyone who is finding out is losing their shit. 

As minimal as the plot is, the dystopian universe you are in is so expansive, the detail to each corner, each outfit is aesthetically gorgeous.  The neon lights contrasting to the bleak, dark background enhances the futuristic feel but feels so native and true to the original. Each scene seems to have been designed in its own independent way; as if every moment had been leading to this, a visual masterpiece which integrates itself perfectly into the narrative. 

As much as this film indulges in ‘What does it mean to be human’, it also looks at the abstract feeling of love. Subtle actions and reactions remind you that the replicants aren’t human, yet, as they organically grow and learn about the world, the existential questions sink in. Can love exist between two replicants? What does constitute as ‘love’? The ideology around love with it being an abstract and subjective feeling really leaves the viewer questioning is what they are seeing ‘real’? The love for your species, the love for another, romantic love, these are all explored in subtle ways throughout, all contributing to the real human emotion. The stand-out feature of this film is the cohesion of the cinematography and Hans Zimmer’s electronic score to create a nail-biting, mind-swirling journey. 

For me, this is one of my favourite films. It has taken me three viewings to really appreciate the depth and the detail that has gone into this film whilst still being a fantastic Sci-Fi movie within itself. 

Prime Video: Oats Studios: Volume 1. Horror films from the mastermind of District 9

VHS horror film fans (not the old tapes you had to rewind to rewatch) tune in, you don’t want to miss this.
If you’re like me, and have never heard of Oats Studios, then you will be forgiven, you also might be thinking what the hell is all this about. Before i go any further, this has to be the best collection of Sci-Fi/horror shorts i have ever seen, it definitely belongs on a prestigious stage, such as FrightFest. It is packed with scares, suspense and grotesque monsters.
Oats Studios is an independent film studio created by Neil Blomkamp (District 9, Chappie, Elysium). Volume 1 is essentially a collection of short films, split up into three main short stories, further complimented with additional stories throughout. Naturally, all the films have an indie feel to them, but in no way does this take away any quality from both the narrative or the scares. On the contrary, i haven’t seen short films that are this eery, grotesque and down-right creative since John Carpenter’s The Thing.
Note, the audience demographic for this will be very niche and not for the faint hearted. The gratuitous violence is used as a narrative drive throughout and could possibly rival The Evil Dead on the gore counter (that’s not a bad thing, mind). Saying that, the scares don’t come from the gore, or rely on cheap jump-scenes, they are well crafted and built up through suspense and the outlandish feel to the world you’ve landed in. The sticking factor for these short films is the creativity behind the monsters. The bold, out-of-this-world conception of these creatures quite physically makes your stomach turn; the pure terror of these beings and their desire to kill in such a monstrous way really delivers on the fear factor. A landmark to follow for all future Sci-Fi horror films.
The synopsis labels the films as experimental, and that really is what it feels like. The stories feel completely uncensored, unregulated, as if they were leaving Blomkamp’s mind (through the form of telepathy, obviously) and ending up directly on your TV; an immersive trip into a horror experience like no other. This all being said, there are a few A-list actors the films are constructed around, such as Alien killing maestro Sigourney Weaver and Earth defender Dakota Fanning. The acting isn’t relied on too much, but it’s always nice to see a Sigourney’s face when aliens are involved, right?
The three main short films are:

Rakka: A tale of a dystopian future where an unknown alien group have colonised the earth and humans struggle to fight back.

Firebase: While fighting the Vietnam war, both sides face a new kind of threat that neither of them were prepared for

Zygote:Stranded in an Arctic mine, two lone survivors are forced to fight for their lives, evading and hiding from a new kind of terror
Out of the three, Zygote was my personal favourite. This was purely down to the design of the monster, i won’t give anything away, but it’s definitely worth a watch.
As previously mentioned, if you’re a fan of the VHS collection then this is a must for you. It mirrors the narrative without the centralised story, but amplifies the cinematography, the scares and gore exponentially. A great watch for Halloween, but i cannot reiterate enough, this isn’t for the faint hearted.

Halloween Horror: The Best Horror Movies on Netflix

Regardless of your stance Halloween, if you’re looking to be scared shitless, you’ve come to the right place. Netflix offers an array of horror movies, ranging from the ‘not so great but oh so gory’ to the down right terrifying. Below is my top horror films available on Netflix (UK).

The Babysitter

Synopsis: The events of one evening take an unexpected turn for the worst for a young boy trying to spy on his babysitter.

If you’re looking for complete scares this is the wrong movie for you. The Babysitter offers comedy, horror and gore all in equal measure. Its entertaining from the offset and copious amounts of in your face violence mixed with a great soundtrack to keep you gripped until the end. It has the feel of a potentially a future cult movie, a cheesy slasher horror topped with laughs to kick the night off. Real good fun.

Creep

Synopsis: A young videographer answers an online ad for a one-day job in a remote town to record the last messages of a dying man. When he notices the man’s odd behavior, he starts to question his intentions.

Creep has much more of a indie/found footage feel to it, in that essence it works for what the film tries to achieve. The concept is simple, the execution is carried out fantastically. The movie slowly builds up an unerving tension until it boils down to its heart pounding finale. If you dont mind a slow burner, this movie is a fantastic Halloween treat.

Veronica

Synopsis: Madrid, 1991. A teen girl finds herself besieged by an evil supernatural force after she played Ouija with two classmates.

Veronica is the only one on this list with a paranormal theme, and subtitles, mind. The concept has been done to death, but the delivery of Veronica is substantially better. A great film to watch if youre a fan of the Conjuring or Paranormal Activity as the concept is similar, along with the quality of the scares. Guaranteed jumps and a few after thoughts. You might be sleeping with the lights on tonight.

The Neon Demon

Synopsis: An aspiring model, Jesse, is new to Los Angeles. However, her beauty and youth, which generate intense fascination and jealousy within the fashion industry, may prove themselves sinister.

From Director Nicolas Winding Refn, The Neon Demon is as beautiful as it is slow. The aestethics and cinematography alone is to be noted as some feat. The film is slow, it absorbs the user in with feelings of lust and symbolism creating an immersive vortex to get lost in. The film doesn’t offer jump scares, but instead preys the viewer’s mind leading them down a path with grotesque consequences. A film for a patience viewer but the payoff at the end is definitely worth it. A violent halloween treat.

Hostel

Synopsis: Three backpackers head to a Slovak city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them.

Hostel stands a giant as an original gross-out movie. if you’ve not seen it youve definitely heard of it. Pulled from the depths of Eli Roth’s mind, the story takes the viewer on a dark journey where there is only ever going to be one outcome. The ideology is down right terrifying, the films itself doesnt shower you with scares but what it lacks in scares it makes up for in over the top violence. Even the most horror fans born on Elm Street may feel like putting the candy down after watching this.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Synopsis: A father and son, both coroners, are pulled into a complex mystery while attempting to identify the body of a young woman, who was apparently harboring dark secrets.

A almost single location shot film, stiched together so well even the surgeons would be proud. The film gets right so much that other entity films gets wrong. It draws the viewer in instantly making them ask questions but at the same time extends so much empathy to the two main characters, something that is lost in most horror films. The Autopsy of Jane Doe provides great scares layered on top of a fancinating story. Definitely recommended for all horror fans.

Annhihilation

Synopsis: A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply.

Annhihilation tops my list for numerous reasons. Alex Garland (Ex Machina) has created an engrossing Sci-Fi Horror that stands on the shoulders of films such as Alien, in my opinion. The cinematography alone is enough to amaze the viewer; a creative world were the laws of nature as we know it are no more, bound to a new and deadly ecosystem. Psychology grips the entire atmosphere around the film, moulding a creepy, yet unexplained enviroment for the characters to thrive in. A twist on everything we know, unique to any films that have come before it. In the midst of the chaos it creates an eary abstract world that is as much immersive as it is an scary experience for the viewer. There are enough scares, violence and tension to top my Halloween list.

New on Netflix: Better Call Saul Finale Spoliers

The transformation is complete. Vince Gilligan pulls off a directory masterpiece, again.

Just like Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul slowly shows the fundamental process of change for the protagonist. The way it is shot, directed and acted, will again create a clear milestone for streaming TV. Breaking Bad sees Walter White, a moral man set in an unfair world, set upon bettering the future life of his family but spiralling into the depths of crime, purely out of circumstance. On the contrary, the world see’s Jimmy as bad, despite his selflessness to look after his older brother, Chuck. This forces Jimmy down a route of living out the perception others have of him, thus, turning him into a con artist.

The finale acts almost as an entire encapsulation of everything that has come before it; a clear transition stage from Jimmy McGill to Saul Goodman. The episode began with a emotional look back to what could have been between Chuck and Jimmy, a celebration to mark the starts of Jimmy’s career in law. A heart warming performance of Chuck and Jimmy singing ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All” pulled on my heart strings, a moment which has been lost on the viewers in the midst of the brother’s relationship. A scene of ecstasy, love and caring, followed by another heart warming scene where the two brothers staring longingly at the ceiling, slowly reciting ABBA, a moment to live long in the memory. In this moment, as Jimmy wished, what if this relationship could last?

The middle portion of this amazing episode was dominated by Mike and his pursuit of Ziegler, the one that got away. The whole cat-and-mouse chase was crafted straight from the fundamental intensity that made Breaking Bad just so damn good. The dialogue, the creativity of Mike, and the bold injection Lalo, together, these ramp up the adrenaline of the show exponentially. As the fate of Ziegler is unknown, as he plays no part later on in Breaking Bad, his fate was left uncertain, adding a layer of unease to the whole narrative. Lalo is actually first referenced by Jimmy in his first episode in Breaking Bad, when Walt and Jesse take him out to the desert. Jimmy questions them both “Lalo didn’t send you?”, suggesting Lalo will have a huge part to play in the series to come.

For what felt almost like a filler at times, the final scene between Mike and Ziegler does not take any prisoners. The deep and sudden realisation for Mike when it dawns on him that he needs to kill his friend is truly heartbreaking. This is then followed by an equally/if not more so heartbreaking conversation between Ziegler and his wife. The deed is done. Mike’s own personal transformation from anti-hero to criminal is complete.

The last scene is extremely powerful; As Jimmy stands for his appeal he begins to read an emotional goodbye letter from Chuck, he pauses. In that moment it seemed that Jimmy had truly been struck by what had happened to Chuck and its sentiment in its entirety. He gives a eulogy, to both the board and Kim, demonstrating his pure sincerity to his late older brother and how he would do anything to honour the name McGill. A scene that had been long overdue, it is hammered home by a fantastic monologue and some spine tingling acting from Bob Odenkirk, the true star of Better Call Saul.  He had me fooled, too. It was a all a con.

Saul’s deception hits Claire hard, she believes that Jimmy has turned a corner; throughout the series she has gazed on whilst Jimmy read Chuck’s letter with no emotion; how he disregarded everything with such ease. But now, she thought he had changed. Jimmy bounces over, cruelly teasing how he manipulated her and the board to solely and selfishly get his appeal acfepted. He completely disregards the name McGill to take up the Breaking Bad mantle of Saul Goodman. He lives Kim standing the in hall, lost, confused, and ultimately feeling betrayed. She had been his partner, through thick and thin, the catalyst for him to pull this off, but in the end, she feels like another victim of one of his crimes.

Netflix Review: Maniac Episode One *Spoliers*

Bold, intriguing and almost mentally exhausting to watch. Netflix, unmatched for its cultural and entertainment presence, has taken a bold move in the creation of Maniac. Netflix’s decision to hire Emma Stone, Jonah Hill and Cary Joji Fukunaga (True Detective) means business. The first episode feels like a creative journey, allowing both the streaming service and the director to unleash their full creative ability. Albeit, ‘The Chosen One’ isn’t perfect, but it definitely takes the viewer on a journey, exploring keys issues such as mental health and social desirability, both sandboxed into a dystopian universe.

If you’re looking to sit down, relax and turn off your brain to Maniac, well think again. From the start, you’re blasted with the theme of connections; the creation of life, the desire to be socially accepted. This is all set to the backdrop of a dystopian New York with Owen, who suffers from schizophrenia, at the centre. This episode ‘The Chosen One’ covers a unconventional plot, consisting of two people, Owen and Annie, who want to leave their comfort zone to explore a deeper purpose.

Episodes 1 focuses on Owen, a outcast from his family seems to have lost his way. The everyday struggle for Owen is evident through his mental health, his job (which he loses early one), to be heard or really appreciated by his family. These symptoms could play a factor when he is ‘visited’ by an imaginary figure in a  scene that can only be described as something from a Mission Impossible film. He is told that he is the hero, and he is going to save the world (not Ethan Hawke, this time). The scene ends in a bizarre fashion with popcorn ‘popping’ infant of Owen’s eyes on the pavement, for me, this symbolises that his world is about to be turned inside out. As the episode develops it see’s the episodes protagonist, experience a multitude of visions and fate callings. This eventually sees him accept a pharmaceutical trial, but not to better science, to save the world.

The first episode feels like an introduction into Owen’s life, plagued by being a outcast to his family, yet expectations are forced onto him. His hallucinations give Owen’s life a fresh meaning; a heroic purpose for him to show his family, and maybe others, he is not what they think. The introduction of a dystopian world could lead to endless opportunities for the narrative to explore, and the aesthetic of the first episode really delivers on this front.

The episode ends with a very ambiguous trial almost ready to begin, a trail that has had numerous issues in the past.’The Chosen One’ delivers an interesting take on a dystopian world which is a compelling, and leaves the viewer in a station of confusion and awe. If you’re like me, i can’t wait to see where the plot goes and how the world is expanded on.

4/5.