Movie review: Below (2002)

Synopsis: An American submarine stops to rescue survivors of a sunken ship but as soon as they are on board, strange happenings start to occur in this claustrophobic supernatural thriller.

Director: David Twohy

Starring: Bruce Greenwood, Dexter Fletcher, Matthew Davis and Olivia Williams

Review: I normally avoid war movies but I was drawn to this one due to its supernatural twist and also Dexter Fletcher – who doesn’t love him? Plus, ghost stories set at sea? I’ve not seen or heard one I didn’t love.

Anyway the pretence is that an American submarine undertakes a routine rescue mission, saving Williams and Fletcher. There’s plenty of misgivings about having a woman on board the submarine, not helped by things going bump in the depths.

Due to the setting of the film, it’s very claustrophobic which helps to build tension but it’s also well acted with even the minor characters putting in a good performance. Williams plays her usual ‘too cool British character’ we’ve seen in other films and shows such as Dollhouse but she does bring a certain depth to her character. Fletcher is typical Fletcher and plays his character well, while Davis as the first officer struggling to follow the commands of a rapidly unravelling Greenwood is excellent. However, it is Greenwood who steals the show as the war-hardened captain with a big secret.

I’ve mentioned the claustrophobia caused by the set but the director makes best use of the space and you get a feel for what life in a submarine must be like. The creaks and groans as the sub descends also adds to the unease felt by the crew and the fact that you know there is no escape when things start to go wrong builds tension and you’ll find yourself wishing the crew weren’t so far under water when ghostly happenings start to occur.

This was no jump-out-of-your-chair horror but a well crafted and thoughtful supernatural thriller which kept me entertained from beginning to end. I think it’s a shame that it’s not been more widely viewed and for those of you with Netflix it’s a great Friday night movie.

Movie review: Seconds Apart (2011)

Seconds apart 2011.jpg

 

Synopsis: Twins Seth and Jonah share a dangerous ability, telepathy. Using their powers they can get people to do things which they later regret

Director: Antonio Negret

Starring: Edmund Entin, Gary Entin and Orlando Jones

Review: Detective Lampkin (Jones) is called in to investigate a series of deaths which seem to always have twins Seth (G Entin) and Jonah (E Entin) at the centre. The twins have a telepathic ability which can force people to do things against their will and causes a number of deaths. It seems as if the twins will continue on their evil path when Jonah meets ‘Eve’ and romance blossoms, although I have to question her movies: he’s a strange outsider while she’s a normal girl who could be part of the popular group. It’s not a normal relationship but then none of the relationships in this film could be deemed normal.

The twins are creepy throughout the movie and their actions go from squirm-worthy to downright evil very quickly. There’s no doubt from the beginning that these are two very disturbed young men with a certain ‘Damien from Omen’ quality about them – they believe it’s their right to act as they do because they have been given a ‘gift’. They act as if there are no consequences and even their teachers and parents are scared of them. For most of the movie you believe their powers to be equal but towards the middle of the film you see imbalances and begin to wonder if these boys could live apart from each other or who would be the first to demise if they were separated. Who holds the power in this relationship? It’s a question which continues to be asked right until the very last scene.

The storyline involving Lampkin seems forced and contrived and frankly the film could have down without dumping ‘issues’ on one of the characters. Contrived personal trauma does not a back story make! In fact it was one thing which annoyed me about the movie and slowed the pacing down as I drifted off when Jones was on screen. Jones is not a charismatic actor and the film would have worked without his story arc. In fact, I think it would have been a stronger film if they had eliminated his character entirely and focussed more on the relationship between the twins and Eve.

The direction is good and shows the different aspects of the twins lives and actions with a good, clean ending. As I’ve said, the acting can be a little uneven and the script is ropy in places but given that this is a good indie movie with an unusual pretence, go check it out!

Book-irthday for Weird Wild!

Yay, it’s my book-irthday for Weird Wild! To celebrate my publication anniversary for Weird Wild, I’m doing a quick throwback to when I was interviewed by Margret Helgadottir on her blog about the inspiration for Weird Wild, how I get writing and other musings. You can read the interview here. If you’d like to contact me about my writing, reviews or anything else, please comment below 😊

March Meet the Maker: Work in Progress

Today’s #MarchMeetTheMaker theme on Instagram is ‘work in progress’. Given that at any one time I’ve got at least two knitting projects, assorted writing projects in different stages of completion, cards being made and sewing being done, I had a lot to choose from. 

I decided to post a snippet from Book Two of ‘The Vampires Bodyguard’ saga, currently titled ‘The Changling’. It’s a series of books I’m writing featuring, you guessed it, a bodyguard to a vampire and I’m enjoying delving into assorted supernatural lore and world building. I’m planning to self publish book one early next year so make sure you pop back as I’ll start posting more information and tidbits from the world of Lamina and Joe (oooo spoilers!) 

Movie review: Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009)

 

Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009).jpgSynopsis: Two friends head out to the wilds of Essex for a walking holiday but they meet a bunch of women with an appetite for more than fun.

Director: Phil Claydon

Starring: James Cordon, Matthew Horne, Paul McGann and MyAnna Buring

Review: Apparently writers Stewert Williams and Paul Hupfield did as writers have done for years, they selected random words (and in this case possibly the most click-worthy words) and decided to use them for the basis for a movie.

I won’t lie to you, it’s not in the same league as Hitchcock, but does offer more than a passing nod to the likes of Shaun of the Dead, Evil Dead trilogy and the Scary Movie franchise. There are a lot of cliches, from the nearly naked, incredibly beautiful foreign students on a field trip to the gormless hero with an unknown legacy, a knight with flashing mobile phone and of course the comic relief provided by Cordon. The scenes are fairly well directed and for a low budget, the scenery and costumes are good. However, there’s lots of choppy editing which can be jarring but given the comedy value, it’s forgiven. For a cast of relative unknowns, everyone puts in a solid performance, although for some, it’s not much of a stretch (I always enjoy Corden but see below).

It would be easy to dismiss this movie but that would be doing it a disservice. Cordon plays the same character he has played in Gavin and Stacy, the beer drinking side-kick with limited brain capacity, Paul McGann hams it up like the best Peter Cushing style as the vicar trying to save his daughter from turning into a vampire. There’s the Buffy-esque ‘Lotte’ played by MyAnna Buring who’s the obligatory virgin/know all who our hero must rescue. And finally Matthew Horne as the likeable, but unlikely hero (again, see his character in Gavin and Stacy).

A quick pointer for any would-be vampires or foreign exchange students deciding to visit the UK: it gets VERY cold here. Short skirts which don’t cover your bum and little bits of flimsy, fluttering material will not keep you warm in the wilds or villages. You may be undead but cover up or you’ll freeze!

It feels like a lot of mates for together to make a film and you’re drawn into the fun the whole cast must have had making this. It’s crude, lewd and very rude but there’s more than a few laughs which make this movie worth watching.

March Meet the Maker: Favourite to Make

Welcome back!

If you follow me on Instagram (and if you don’t, go do it now! Yes now! @bluebeaglebaby) you’ll know that I’m taking part in the #MarchMeetTheMaker event. Today’s title is ‘Favourite to Make’.

Hmm, well this is a tricky one. I’m constantly told I need to concentrate on one ‘thing’ but as any creative knows, there’s too many voices in our heads to listen to just one! So, here’s a few of the things I create!

Geri's makes

In many respects my first ‘baby’ is my writing. I remember writing the opening chapter of what would become my first novel ‘Akane: Last of the Orions’ while travelling through Brazil. Given how many other things I’ve written, it’s funny that this sticks in my memory, and I’ve still got the original notes too! It took a further seven years to finish, edit and submit it to publishers before it finally found its home at Fox Spirit Books.

Weird Wild by G Clark HelleryI have assorted other books available, including my collection of short stories ‘Weird Wild’. I’ll also be making short stories available through my website soon so pop back soon.

I’ve always loved different craft activities and since the birth of my daughter I learned how to sew. I’ve been busy designing her some skirts (see the picture above or my Facebook page for more images) but have recently really enjoyed sewing capes. I was commissioned to sew a ‘family’ of capes for a customer and my daughter liked them so much, I had to sew her some in assorted colours. Seeing her and her friends running around wearing them is brilliant. I’m planning to work on a few cosplay pieces soon. If you’d like a cape made for your little person, feel free to contact me for a quote. Capes

I’ve recently started ‘felting’. There’s something very relaxing about stabbing a needle into felt and I’m planning on making some figures. In the meantime, I’ve ‘felted’ a mermaid toy and also a series of cards, including these for Mother’s Day.

Felted cards by G Clark Hellery