By midlandsmovies, Jun 24 2018 03:51PM
Movie Catch Up Blog 2018 - Part 1
As with every year, we're playing a bit of a game with the amount of films on release in the UK. Below is some of the films that came out over 2018 that we've now caught after passing us by on their main release:
The Titan (2018) Dir. Lennart Ruff
Released via Netflix in the UK, Sam Worthington (Avatar) becomes another human-alien hybrid as he plays Rick Janssen – a pilot who joins an experimental programme to settle the human race on Saturn’s moon Titan. As he is pushed past extreme conditions he’s soon swimming underwater for 40 minutes but there are evil plans afoot as some of the volunteers begin to exhibit strange behaviour and body convulsing horrors.
His wife Abigail (Taylor Schilling) starts to fear for her husband’s increasing strange development as he loses his hair and skin as his body evolves. Part Frankenstein, part Splice and a whole dose of The Island of Dr. Moreau quality (i.e. none) the film’s slow pace leads it down to the inevitable test results – it’s simply deathly boring. And Tom Wilkinson as a shady government professor brings little to this film experiment. With a slow build up, the admittedly interesting concept is neither explored fully as a scientific drama nor silly enough for its probably more suitable b-movie thrills. An unsatisfying ordeal of titanic proportions. 4/10
Verónica (2018) Dir. Paco Plaza
Based on the “true” 1991 story where Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro died mysteriously after using a Ouija board, Verónica is a new film from REC 1 and 2 writer/director Paco Plaza. A side-comment on REC is that it is one of my favourite horror films of all time. I know hand-held horror is not to everyone’s taste but what it does is fantastically creepy and the sequel is one of the best horror follow-ups of all time in my book. So, with some lofty expectations it was disappointing to see Verónica being far too tame across the board.
15 year-old Verónica looks after her younger siblings Lucia, Irene and Antoñito but during a solar eclipse at their school, she sneaks away from the playground to a basement to try out a Ouija board. In one of the best scenes of the movie the director elicits a genuine foreboding atmosphere out of a scene we’ve seen hundreds of time before in cinema. As expected, supernatural occurrences happen around Verónica including ghostly apparitions and poltergeists as well as strange noises, bite marks and so on. And it’s these expected sequences that really harm Verónica as it fails to build upon its early good work.
A blind nun from the school called “Sister Death” is a tremendous character however. Her chain-smoking appearance is creepy and if this was a Blumhouse production, she’d get her own spin off. Alas, aside from the nun and although Sandra Escacena as Verónica is fantastic, the film heads towards inevitable conclusions and although it’s better than most Hollywood horrors, it fails to bring anything truly exciting or new to the genre. 6.5/10
Cargo (2018) Dir. Ben Howling and Yoland Ramke
This Australian post-apocalyptic thriller film is based on an original short from the directors and stars The Office’s Martin Freeman as a father trying to protect his child in a world overtaken by a zombie-like virus.
Andy (Freeman) lives with his wife (Susie Porter as Kay) and his one-year-old daughter Rosie on a houseboat in rural Australia. But as food rations run out, they visit an abandoned boat and something deadly bites Kay. They continue forward despite knowing that in just 48 hours Kay will inevitably fall victim to her infected wound. After a road accident knocks out Andy he awakes to find Kay transformed. Despite his anguish, Kay is put out of her misery by a forlorn Freeman – but not before he too is bitten and realises he needs to get his baby to a safe-haven.
With glorious vistas and aerial footage of the desolated Australian outback, the real locations are thoroughly well filmed and although the movie tackles dark themes it avoids the blood and guts of most zombie flicks. Replacing them is a more subtle and nuanced look at family, sacrifice and survival in a world filled with little compassion.
Andy’s inevitable, and time-limited, decline gives Cargo a sense of impending purpose and he crosses paths with Thoomi (Simone Landers), an adolescent girl who keeps her infected father as a sad contaminated pet. Their interactions provide the audience with thoughtful issues whilst highlighting the harsh realities facing those of different ages, backgrounds and cultures and how each adapts to the same threat. Not wanting to lose loved ones and Andy’s certain outcome plays on their minds and Cargo delves into these issues as they journey on.
The introspective dialogue is delivered well by Freeman and the support cast, whilst Anthony Hayes as Vic Carter shows an opposing view where selfishness reigns as Vic uses humans, specifically the indigenous Aborigines, imprisoned in cages as bait to attract and kill zombies.
A satisfying ending and hugely empathetic performance from Martin Freeman means Cargo is a great addition to the sometimes overstuffed (and of sometimes questionable quality) zombie genre which is hugely to its credit. Looking at issues of race and colonialism, Cargo will probably not deliver the requisite horrors for a jump-scare zombie film fan. But for those who tend to avoid this sort of film like the plague, at 105 minutes Cargo doesn’t overstay its welcome as a satisfying domestic drama rather than a fright flick. 7.5/10
Midlands Movies Mike