Ravers

The intro of a closing fizzy drink factory where a mistake leads to mayhem and violence sets up this entertaining horror that varies on the zombie theme using the rave culture of the 80’s as a backdrop.

Becky (Georgia Hirst) is a journalist that can’t quite to the heart of a story and has a crippling problem with her germaphobia. Looking for a fresh story she decides to go to a rave with her cousin Ozzy (Danny Kirane). Going through the rigmarole of finding the location, she’s met with people looking for a good time and the dregs of the drug dealers.

Hannah (Manpreet Bambra) recognises her and slowly Becky starts to get with vibes, if not managing to quite get a grip of her phobia - wiping beer bottles after a slurp. Drug peddler Vince (Kamal Angel Bolden) finds a stash of the drink, which is promptly pinched by the organizer and distributed for free to the party goers. In some sense this goes down very well as this combined with the drugs hits a high. However this also scrambles the mind and gives them great big red bags under their eyes. For a time this is all well and good as the music is keeping them in a state of dance limbo and not real harm. This all goes to pot when the music stops and metaphorically there are no chairs, for anyone.

What follow is not a new concept of people going mad, some don’t, try to escape and there’s a villain who uses it to his advantage. It feels padded in places with the protagonists working their way through the dancers for what feels like ages. Now this could be that this writer is not a big fan of dance/rave music so it dragged, though the plot is on the thin side and fairly conventional.

No matter, the cast are having a good time - Becky at almost every turn having to confront her phobia - and the gore and violence are sometimes pretty grim. It’s almost in two halves as the opening has a as sense of fun and even satire, only for it to get progressively darker takes on a grimmer aspect.

3 stars

The Man who Killed Hitler and then the Bigfoot

The title suggests 42nd street grindhouse, in fact it is anything but. It is a fantastic story the same man killing Hitler and the bigfoot and for ostensibly the same reasons. However, the depths of emotion and character that the film examines is on a level rarely seen.

Calvin Barr (Sam Elliott) is a veteran of the Second World War who now passes his nights in a bar and in his thoughts. A hero he may be but killing a Hitler (there were more than one) is not something that he could readily put on his CV. As the film flashes back to the days of the war when as a young man with multi-lingual skills bouncing around Europe (played by Aidan Turner) the world was at his feet; a sound career and a blossoming relationship with Maxine (Caitlin Fitzgerald). She is virtually discarded once the mission is complete and then passes at a young age.

There are people though who know about his exploits and due to his unique blood group is asked to hunt and kill the Bigfoot that carries a plague that could wipe out humanity. The Bigfoot lives in the forests of Canada so Barr sets off to hunt him in what is quite a brief section of the film and could probably done with expanding. With the completion of the mission, Barr has to disappear.

Its an odd film in that performances are excellent and there is genuine pathos as it looks over the themes of loss, pride, discipline and obligation; Barr has effectively ‘died’ twice to save the world. Plus writer and director Robert D Kryzkowski has an eye for the landscapes, as well as gentle pacing as Barr moves around the town.

Where there is a weakness is the correlation between young and old Barr, and that is jarring. Granted we are talking about a gulf of fifty years and people can change enormously over time but the flashbacks cannot help but force a comparison between them and they appear to have very little in common. Nevertheless it’s an affecting story and tears will flow.

3 stars

Terrified (Atterados)

You are setting yourself for fall by calling a film Terrified and then presenting it to an audience of discerning horror film fans. That’s what director and writer Demián Rugna has done with some confidence and mostly hits the nail into the eye.

A quiet suburb of Buenos Aires is affected by a number of paranormal events starting with a woman hearing voices in the pipes of her house promising to kill her. She’s dispatched with some violence. It turns out that the entire neighbourhood is undergoing disturbances some mysterious cracks in walls appear and noises. With no idea what is going on police officer Funes (Maxi Ghione) calls in the services of three paranormal researchers. After a very creepy interview the rather po-faced bunch each set up in a different house, start to work only for matters to quickly deteriorate.

This is highly enjoyable if not actually that terrifying. There’re a few jump scares but more effective is the lingering presence of evil with the half-sights of bodies scurrying under beds, apparitions in neighbours’ windows that appear/disappear, and then appear, long-limbs stretching out of nooks and crannies’, and blood sucking cupboards. The night scenes are filmed with a sickly grey/green hue which adds to the dread.

It’s also an original idea to spread the manifestations over the neighbourhood rather than confine to the one house. With each researcher in a different house Rugna individualises their experiences at the same time heightening the desperation of the overall situation as there’s no apparent escape from the forces aligned against them. All good fun.

4 stars

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