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Genre:

Mystery, Thriller

Release Date:

July 1, 2020

Director:

Derrick Borte

Cast:

Russell Crowe, Jimmi Simpson, Gabriel Bateman, Caren Pistorius, Michael Popajohn, Anne Leighton

Plot Summary:

Unhinged is a psychological thriller that takes something we’ve all experienced – road rage – to an unpredictable and terrifying conclusion.

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Reviews

Memories of Murder (2003) | A Gripping Thriller from Start to Finish

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Bong Joon-Ho’s second feature length film was given a stunning 4K re-release in select cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema last week and it is a real treat to watch- particularly in a cinema. A smart, and surprisingly funny, thriller that really delivers and holds up for the entirety of its 131 minute runtime

Since Parasite became the first foreign film ever to win Best Picture at the Oscars back in February, director Bong has been the man of the moment and audiences around the world have been discovering his fantastic filmography and watching his great films such as The Host (2006), Mother (2009) and Snowpiercer (2013) to name some of my personal favourites. Previously Memories of Murder was practically impossible to find in the U.K. at a reasonable price so Curzon’s re-release was a real wallet-saver and I was so pleased to be able to see it.

Memories of Murder is loosely based on the true story revolving around a set of the first serial murders in Korea. The film follows three detectives trying to crack the case of who has been raping and murdering the local women of a small town in Korea and stars Song Kang-Ho (Parasite) as the lead detective.

It’s been about a week since I saw the film but it has been on my mind ever since. It really is a lot to take in and yet it stands out as an incredible piece of filmmaking right away. We instantly take a liking to Song Kang-Ho’s Detective Park Doo-Man and he brings a certain level of charm to the film. Much like Parasite, the film is actually very funny and witty in the first hour before the next 70 minutes completely rip you apart and change your entire perspective of the film. For a film revolving around a killer who rapes and murders his victims, I laughed far more than I had any right to. And it wasn’t just me laughing, there were multiple times when the entire cinema was laughing because Bong manages to do an incredible thing in blending genres. Whilst Memories of Murder is a dark thriller at heart, there is surprisingly a lot in here to laugh at and to bring a smile to your face at times.

But over time, as the film builds towards its crescendo, the laughs start to fade away as the detectives keep picking away at the case with little luck and the laughs turn into terror. The tension continues to build all the way through the end and the final 30 minutes of this film is truly edge of your seat material that will leave you entranced. It’s truly remarkable that director Bong has crafted a film that tonally, is in many places at once and yet you still feel the terror of the murders for the whole duration of the film, even when you’re laughing and even when you’re on the train home half an hour later. I walked out of the cinema in awe at the film and lost for words, and now, over a week later, I have managed to find some words to describe it but I am still in just as much awe.

A fantastic film, delivered with great skill by director Bong Joon-Ho, that fills the audience with fear throughout and ends with an incredibly chilling final shot that will leave you speechless, proving that Bong was one of the greatest directors in the world, long before Parasite weaved its way into our lives.

Rating: 4.5/5

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Reviews

The Devil All the Time | A Psychological Thriller That Doesn’t Thrill Much

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The devil All the time? Perhaps the devil should take a break. Clocking in at 138 minutes long, Antonio Campos’ latest film is long, cold and dark and probably not worth your time- at least it isn’t worth all your time.

The Devil All the Time (2020) is a psychological thriller based on the novel of the same name with an all-star cast that hit Netflix earlier this month. Starring Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Far From Home), Robert Pattinson (TENET) Bill Skarsgard (It), Sebastian Stan (Avengers: Infinity War), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland), you’d really expect this film to be a treat. Whilst the cast deliver good performance, the film sadly fails to deliver much else.

The film revolves around various mysterious character’s but mainly Holland’s Arvin Russell, son of Skarsgard’s Willard Russell as he fights against the various evil forces in Knockemstiff, Ohio and it’s surrounding woods. The problem this film has it has too many characters and we don’t really get sufficient depth to any of the characters. Right from the start of the film we experience Donald Ray Pollock’s narration and at the start of the film, the narration serves to set up the various characters and themes linking the film, after the first act, the narration gets very tiresome and rather unnecessary. Rather than helping to explain certain themes or telling us more about certain characters, the narration was just spoon-feeding us information. At times the narration was merely explaining things that were happening on screen and it felt like as an audience, we were being treated like school children having everything explained to us and not like an intelligent audience who are able to understand a film by themselves.

The performances themselves were rather good for the most part. It’s great to see Holland shine in another role outside of the Marvel Universe and Pattinson is having a stellar year with another great performance here, only weeks after Christopher Nolan’s TENET hit cinemas around the world. Whilst the acting is good, the characters themselves are very shallow. We never really get to see much beyond generic villainy for some characters or just others as the victim. For a dark thriller- and this is a very dark film- you really want to be able to connect with the characters on a much deeper level than that of victimhood. And if you’re not invested in any of the characters, the film doesn’t deliver the same punch that the filmmakers intended it to. Whilst Pattinson and Holland shine, Sebastian Stan unfortunately felt very miscast; he just didn’t fit the persona of the Sheriff he was supposed to be playing at all making his character even less appealing

The film could have done with being a bit shorter as well. At almost 2 hours and 20 minutes, it’s not a short film and when you’re 90 minutes into the film and you don’t really feel invested in any of the characters at all, you begin to wonder how the next 50 minutes will fare. The sad truth is that the film eventually gets very boring and becomes much like a chore to complete. If the characters had been presented better, perhaps it wouldn’t have felt as long or as much of a chore to finish but sadly this wasn’t the case.

Overall, The Devil All the Time (2020) is a fair attempt at dark, gritty psychological thriller but ultimately it fails to make much out of the top cast due to poorly written, rather one dimensional characters.

Rating: 2.5/5

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Reviews

Dark Encounter | A Low-budget Film With An Original Approach

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It’s incredibly hard to imagine
that four adults …
… and a dog!
… four adults and a dog
simply vanished in the course of an hour.

I saw “G-Loc” a while ago. And my first thought now was:  “Why not try another SF?“. Not only because it’s one of my favorite genres. But because “G-Loc” was horrible and a disappointment in every way. And I wanted to forget this ordeal as soon as possible by watching an SF of better quality. And luckily “Dark Encounter” was of a completely different quality than the latter. Even though that wasn’t really difficult to achieve. But in retrospect, I did wonder whether it was indeed an SF in the strict sense of the word.

 

 

Stroboscopic luminescent bulbs.

The opening scene shows mother and father Anderson coming home from a night out after which they discover that their daughter Maisie has mysteriously disappeared. However, there’s no trace or indication of a violent kidnapping. She simply vanished into thin air. In the next scene, we witness a family gathering. A family dinner where it’s abundantly clear that the pain of losing their child is still there, resulting in snappy conversations in a tense atmosphere. Until suddenly strange light phenomena are seen by Ray (Mel Raido) and he and the other present men suggest investigating the seeings. When they arrive in the forest and witness more spheres flying around and one of them disappears without a trace, they realize there’s more to it than some inexplicable weather phenomenon or local rascals playing with fireworks.

 

 

Mixed genres.

I have to admit that Carl Strathie knows how to mix different genres in an ingenious way. In general, you think that for the umpteenth time, alien green creatures are randomly abducting people to use them as guinea pigs for their experiments. Or maybe Martians who just dropped by to get acquainted. However, don’t expect impressive images of colossal intergalactic spacecraft. It’s limited to bright shining lights during a foggy night. Even though there are similarities with for example “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, you won’t be awed by an immense spaceship with lighting like the dance floor in “Saturday Night Fever”. Next, you get the feeling that you are watching a scary horror where household objects defy the laws of gravity and where lights start to flicker. And as a basis, you have a family drama about missing a loved one and the accompanying grieving process.

 

 

What a surprising revelation.

And if these aren’t enough film genres, there’s the very surprising denouement, after which the whole is suddenly approached from a completely different perspective. The sci-fi aspect fades into the background and a crime mystery demands attention. The denouement is overwhelming and most will react in a similar way as I did. “Ah, that’s what’s going on” as I thought at that moment. All I wondered is the origin of the entities that provide the clarification. Aliens? Or spiritual manifestations? Not that this matters. The end result is what counts. And thanks to this highly original twist, this film effortlessly rises above average.

 

 

This flick is worth a watch.

Dark Encounter” is a low-budget film with an original approach. Despite the fact they diligently borrowed from other well-known films, “Dark Encounter” pleasantly surprised me. And not just because of the originality of the story. But also because of the acting by the almost unknown cast (especially Laura Fraser). Plus the excellent soundtrack and sound effects. And the nostalgic feeling it gave me. It reminded me several times of similar films from the 80s. And the overall mood they managed to create. There’s something else that surprised me after reading about it. It seems as if it all takes place in the U.S. during that period. And yet this movie was entirely filmed in the UK with English actors. Amazing. In short, this SF is highly recommended.

 

 

My rating 7/10
Links: IMDB

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