icons-02 icons-01 MM Logo Instagram FILM FREEWAY LOGO

blog

Movie news, reviews, features and more thoughts coming soon...

By midlandsmovies, Sep 6 2018 11:59AM



Heather (2018)


Directed by Scott Driver


A scream of ecstasy or agony opens new 3-minute short Heather, the latest from Midlands filmmaker Scott Driver


Previously directing other impactful shorts such as HIM and Restroom, it is quickly made clear by the director that these cries are not from pleasure. Or are they? We cut from legs writhing on a bed to a bespectacled woman raining hammer blows on a body in the bedroom who seems more than happy as to what she is doing.


Scrubbing the resulting blood from her face in the mirror, our assailant is then seen dragging a heavy black bin bag outside.


“What’s in the bag?” asks a delivery man who is passing by, leaving us with a palpable tension in the air as she struggles to come up with a suitable reply. And whilst leaving a package he runs off disturbed with what he has witnessed.


A nearby DIY shop comes to the rescue as our unidentified lead purchases a shovel and the audience may guess where this could lead. And yes, a we’re soon off to a wooded area for the body to be disposed.


Director Driver has an eye for showing not telling an audience the main points of his plot and keeps the dialogue at a minimum. The confines of a short run time can force directors into making snappier edits and trims which I’d love to see continue into their longer local feature films.


Created as part of the regional High Peak Independent Film Festival, the short was entered into their 10 hour film challenge. That’s right. Make a movie in just 10 hours – from start to finish. This goes some way to explaining the lack of dialogue but the short is all the better for its visual, rather than expositional, story-telling.


An ending involving a make-shift wooden headstone and a heavy suggestion this may not have been the first killing the perpetrator has committed draws the film to a close. Will she get caught? It’s not looking likely. Lucky Heather indeed.


Driver’s speedy construction of plot, script and narrative combined with the more than fine high production values and shot choices sees a superb short created in super-fast time that also contains a hard impact and an assured confidence from a talented group of local filmmakers.


Mike Sales





By midlandsmovies, Aug 26 2018 07:36AM



Revenge (2018) Dir. Coralie Fargeat


A rape-revenge action horror, Revenge is certainly not for the faint at heart. Director Coralie Fargeat has created a visceral show of bloody violence and dreamy imaginations as a young girl escapes into the wilderness to hide and stalk her tormentors.


Married man Richard (Kevin Janssens) flies out his secret lover Jen (Matilda Lutz) to a remote house in the desert for a saucy weekend together but are interrupted by the arrival of his hunting pals Stain (Vincent Colombe) and Dimitri (Guillaume Bouchède). After a night of partying, Stan rapes Jen in a vile act whilst Dimitri stands by. When Richard returns, the situation spirals out of hand and with a promise of paying her off and returning her home, he pushes her from a cliff where she is impaled on a tree.


Leaving her for dead, the film uses incredibly strong imagery throughout. As Jen pulls herself off the tree, her battered, bruised and bloodied body twists and contorts. Audiences will be fixated in the hope she survives but at the same time will struggle to watch as they turn away from the stark and graphic images on screen. And the film never lets up.


Jen’s thoughts turn to survival and with little dialogue Lutz does well with her role bringing depth to what is truly a b-movie concept. She is also both stalked and the stalker. Jen needs to simultaneously avoid the men yet needs the cars and guns they possess to escape from the harsh desert, which acts as its own villain in her survival plans. When her wounds begin to take hold a hallucinatory drug allows her to cauterize the wound but plays havoc with her version of reality.


After acquiring a gun and when Stan’s SUV runs out of petrol, Jen becomes sniper and in an exchange of shooting, the film’s most stomach-turning scene is “merely” a shard of glass through a bare foot. Removing it slowly, the sequence is simply shot and all the more revolting because of it. See similar French drama/realism in the fantastic Martyrs and Raw, both comparative nasty gallic pieces.


The film does play out much as you expect so doesn’t push many boundaries with its action-drama-violence. And although it’s been claimed it’s some sort of feminist revision, it’s no Love Witch for sure. I’d argue that whilst there are sprinkling of those themes throughout, they are a smokescreen for the usual revenge flick clichés and tropes.


But that’s no bad thing. The nasty violence should bring in the splatter fans, whilst the more discerning can enjoy a depth of character and ideas rarely seen in this brand of furious filmmaking. With intense scenes, Revenge is a non-mainstream cinematic coup that explores slightly deeper themes than your average personal payback piece to provide exploitation pleasures and explosive sequences.


8/10


Mike Sales



By midlandsmovies, Aug 17 2017 09:36PM

The Belko Experiment (2017) Dir. Greg McLean


From the director of Wolf Creek 1 and 2 comes this horror-drama where a group of office workers in South America are pitted against each other in a social experiment fight to the death.


Each worker has a voluntary tracking device in their head (owing to possible kidnappings) yet when their high rise building is suddenly locked down, a mysterious intercom voice instructs them to kill each other or face having their in-head trackers blown up.


A ridiculous premise for sure, I found the characters boring and not even a broad turn from the likable John C. McGinley (Office Space) could help with the repetitive killing spree.


Uninspiring “deaths” and a lack of tension unfortunately didn’t help proceedings and the film was crying out for the genre-bending and satirical style of similar structural kill-fest ‘Cabin in the Woods’. In a world where realism is often missing from modern movies, it was clear that what The Belko Experiment actually needed was a big pinch of hyper-reality or dark comedy to compensate for the ludicrous set-up.


Despite being written by James Gunn, the film contains little of his wit and clever character arcs (as seen in his ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ films) and was ultimately just like a long unfulfilling 9-5 shift at the office.


5/10


Midlands Movies Mike


RSS Feed twitter