F (2010)

A gang of hooded youths attack a school and the teachers, under siege, are forced into a deadly game of survival.

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Skyline (2010)

Hypnotic lights descend on Los Angeles, heralding a full scale alien invasion, the intention of which is the xenocide of humanity.

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A Serbian Film (aka Srpski film) (2010)

 

Milo (Srdjan Todorovic), an aging pornstar, is enticed back into the world of filmmaking by a generous offer from the mysterious Vukmir (Sergej Trifunovic). The only information that Milo is given about the project is that it is an ‘art film’, being produced for an elite clientele, and, although suspicious, Milo agrees; the money earned will set him and his family up for rest of their lives.

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Buried (2010)

Civilian trucker Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is ambushed and taken hostage while working as a contractor in Iraq. He is buried alive, with a phone and some supplies, and must do as his captors bid him if he is to survive.

Filmed entirely within the confines of a coffin, Buried is a claustrophobic piece, but due to an inventive mix of camera techniques, boredom is kept at bay. Seven different coffins were used and it was shot in only 17 days, which could account for keeping costs at the $3 million mark.
Reynolds does a stellar job considering the pressures that must come with what is essentially a solo role (voice roles not included): at moments you can feel the paranoia, begging the question “Is this real?”, at times the frustration at the bureaucracy encountered over the phone, at other times the tension from constantly assessing the situation, your mind running at a thousand miles per hour, thinking “What would I do to get out of that box?”; all in all an impressive acting feat.
The screenplay for Buried was written by newcomer Chris Sparling who, sick of scripts being rejected for location costs, decided to write something ultra resource friendly; one star, one place, plenty of clever ideas. It will be interesting to see what he has to offer in the future.

Well worth watching: 4 out of 5.


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Autumn (2009)

Billions are struck down by a mysterious virus leaving the few survivors in a state of shock. When the dead start to rise, Michael (Dexter Fletcher), Carl (Dickon Tolson) and Emma (Lana Kamenov) decide that the city is no longer safe; they set out in search of a more secure location in the countryside.

Autumn has gotten some really bad reviews, most of which it deserves, but the truly frustrating thing is that most of the flaws were avoidable. The editing was clumsy: some scenes went nowhere and seemed to have little point; one character had a particular motorbike at one point and the model changed for no apparent reason, then changed back a few scenes later; and there were at least three points when the frame was clearly paused for no apparent reason. The soundtrack was far worse than the editing: music cutting off mid-scene; unrealistically loud background effects (like footsteps); muffled dialogue; music not fitting the mood; argh! If ever a movie suffered from being the last editing job on a Friday evening then Autumn is it. 
There are some good points though, most relating to the story. Autumn is based on a book of the same name by David Moody, originally released for free online; it became successful, inspiring the creation of four sequels, the rights to which were acquired by Thomas Dunne Books in 2008. Watching the movie makes you want to read the books because the story does contain some interesting and unique elements.
The zombie virus in Autumn, which takes out most of the worlds’ population in a matter of minutes, works in a slightly different way than you are used to. Those not immune to the virus immediately seem to die, and only after an incubation period of a day do they mobilise again but slowly; initially they have no aggression at all and the danger comes from their apparent decomposition but their behaviour gradually evolves into something more sinister. The dialogue was engaging, with some nice zombie-apocalypse logic here and there, making you think that someone actually considered about some of the problems at hand; and it was well executed by Fletcher, with Tolson and Kamenov doing a good job too. David Carradine’s role as a crazy old man, surrounded by the undead, was thoroughly enjoyable but much too brief.

Watch Autumn for the reasons stated ignoring its many flaws … if you can.

2 out of 5.

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ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction (2009)

The peaceful town of Port Gamble is thrown into turmoil when a zombie virus strikes. When it is discovered that the source of the outbreak is a group of Middle Eastern terrorists it doesn’t take long for the townspeople to find some easy targets to place the blame on.

Frida (Janette Armand) is a second generation Iranian immigrant who would like nothing more than to be recognised as being an American. Instead she is frequently referred to as an Iraqi by the ignorant locals who have known her all of her life. When the virus hits the town Frida finds refuge with her neighbours, the Millers, but paranoia soon creeps in and creates more danger inside than out.
Tom (Doug Fahl) has been away from Port Gamble for many years, making a life for himself in the city, free from the town’s homophobic atmosphere. Tonight he is on a mission though; he is going to his mother’s house with his boyfriend Lance (Cooper Hopkins) and plans on ‘coming out’ to her over dinner. Unfortunately the zombie virus complicates the issue, leaving Tom and Lance no choice but to flee into the relative safety of the local church. It’s only a matter of time before members of the congregation begin to suspect that the two men are not as they seem.
One of the posters for Zombies of Mass Destruction calls it ‘A Political Zomedy’ and this is an accurate enough statement; there are plenty of zombies throughout, a good dashing of comedy (not all of it finding a mark) and lots of political statements too. The script raises some complex issues about small town attitudes towards those perceived as being different; from the plight of Middle Eastern immigrants thoughtlessly labeled as terrorists to the prejudice experienced by gay couples from various religious groups, ZMD has a crack at each issue in turn.
At its heart though ZMD is a solid zombie movie, with all of the action and gore you’d expect from the genre. The dual story-lines make it different enough to stand out from similar movies; it’s not often that you see a couple of gay guys and a Middle Eastern college girl team up to kick zombie ass!
Well worth a watch, 3 out of 5.

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Colin (2008)

Colin (Alastair Kirton) has been bitten by a zombie; follow him as he joins the ranks of the undead, exploring what this new existence has to offer.

Colin is an insightful look at a day in the ‘life’ of a freshly turned zombie, as he (it?) journeys through the streets of London. Not surprisingly there is little dialogue throughout the movie, making it all the more remarkable that you begin to feel empathy for Colin as the story unfolds; a story which has much more depth than you might first imagine.

There are glimpses of other stories throughout Colin, serving to hint at the breakdown of society, and some flashback scenes, to let the viewer see what happened to Colin immediately preceding his fatal bite. Both of these devices nicely break up our hero’s shambling progress and lend him a pinch more humanity than he actually possesses.
Rumoured to have cost only £45 to make, Colin is the ultimate low budget horror movie, but don’t let the budget put you off watching it; there are worse horror movies than Colin that cost an awful lot more money to produce, and the unique perspective and strong script more than makes up for the shaky camera work and occasional dark lighting.
Colin was written, produced and directed by the same guy, Marc Price; it would be fascinating to see what sort of film he could produce given a more generous budget and the freedom to use it.
A worthwhile watch, especially for zombie film fans.

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Irreversible (2002)

Set in Paris, over one night, Irreversible explores the events surrounding the brutal rape of Alex (Monica Bellucci) and how it affects her boyfriend Marcus (Vincent Cassel) and Pierre (Albert Dupontel), her ex-lover.

Written and directed by Gaspar Noe, the co-writer and director of the 2009 thriller, Enter the Void, Irreversible is an unflinching study of the destructive power of time. 
You can read the full review here.

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City of Rott (2006)

The zombie apocalypse has arrived, brought about by parasitic worms living in the water supply; they enter the body, taking it over, and then force the reanimated corpse to relentlessly pursue fresh meat. Enter Fred, a lonely old man, who is gradually losing his mind but is determined to find a new pair of shoes.

He is armed only with his walker, which speaks to him, as he journeys through Rott City, battling the hordes of zombies that now roam its streets.

City of Rott is the creation of just one man, Frank Sudol; he wrote the script, directed it, produced it, composed the original soundtrack, edited and starred as all of the characters. That is impressive. City of Rott is the first of a trilogy of animated movies by Sudol, with Dead Fury (2008), an animated take on The Evil Dead series of films, being the second, and Shock Invasion (2010), an action science fiction about the alien invasion as the last. Currently Shock Invasion is only available as a digital download.

Aside from the animation of City of Rott being flash-based and a little basic, it has a lot to offer fans of the zombie horror genre: There is plenty of violence and gore, along with tons of zombies; Fred is a master of the walker as a close combat weapon; the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously and there are many amusing references to zombie lore throughout; the plot twists and turns to keep you on your toes and the parasitic worm angle has originality. All things considered City of Rott is more than the sum of its parts.

Suffice to say it’s not suitable for a younger audience.
3.5 out of 5.        

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7 Days (Les 7 jours du talion) (2010)

Surgeon Bruno Hamel (Claude Legault) leads a normal middle-class life in a normal middle-class neighborhood. He loves his wife, Sylvie (Fanny Mallette), and the couple lavish attention on their only child, eight year old Jasmine (Rose-Marie Coallier). Their ideal life is torn apart when Jasmine goes missing,on the way to visit a nearby friend, and is later found raped and murdered. Bruno descends into darkness, wracked by feelings of guilt and unable to escape images of his daughter’s torment. When the prime suspect is caught and about to be brought to trial, Bruno devises a deadly plan in which he abducts the murderer, tortures him for 7 days and executes him. Will Bruno follow through on his plan; if so will he ever be the same again?

7 Days is full of memorable moments, many of which are for the wrong reasons. Consider before viewing this movie that you can’t un-see something that you have just watched. The scene in which Jasmine’s body is found, dumped on some wasteland, is extremely difficult to watch; the viewer is not spared any details and can fully empathise with Bruno as his world tumbles down – heartbreaking. During the torture of his daughter’s murderer Bruno uses his surgical skills at one point in a particularly inventive way; the result s are both fascinating and disgusting.
7 Days is a thriller and a horror, playing both genres effectively. The script is well written, the camerawork moody, and the characters are complex and real, with some excellent supporting roles; Herve Mercure (Remy Girard), the detective responsible for bringing Bruno in, is complex and deserves a special mention. The horror, when it comes, is graphic and manifests itself in brutally realistic torture scenes.
Think of 7 Days as a modern day revenge tragedy; often brutal, at times horrendous, sometimes frustrating but definitely watchable.
4 out of 5.

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