At the beginning of this millennium, British horror cinema brought a series of highly memorable offerings to the table. From the heart-stopping terror of The Descent to the hilarious Shaun of the Dead and the suspenseful Dog Soldiers, British horror was very much back on the map after the 90’s had been ruled by the American meta slasher. With The Ritual, many remarked that the trailer suggested that the tone and theme of the film would be similar to that of The Blair Witch Project. While the film does indeed feature a small group of individuals who experience increasingly terrifying events after they get lost in a forest littered with strange symbols and objects, The Ritual is fortunately entirely its own entity thanks to the source material penned by Adam Nevill.
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Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner has continued to intrigue and engage audiences since its initial release, and the dystopic neo-noir is widely considered one of the most influential films of all time. As the years passed and more alternative cuts were released, the film increasingly raised more questions than it answered, making fans eager for a sequel, and almost two decades after it went into development, Blade Runner 2049 has finally arrived. In the current climate of reboots and franchises galore, many were understandably concerned about which direction the new film would take, but Denis Villeneuve thankfully puts these concerns to rest, as Blade Runner 2049 not only is an incredibly impressive sequel to Blade Runner, it is also one of the best sequels ever made.
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Written in a fevered frenzy over a period of five days, writer and director Darren Aronofsky has described writing the script for Mother! as a fever dream, which is coincidentally also a rather apt description of what it feels like to watch his latest effort. As seen from the point of view of lead Jennifer Lawrence for the majority of its runtime, Mother! tells a strange, yet compelling story that is incredibly confrontational not only in terms of its cinematography and imagery, but also in terms of how it challenges the viewer. By dealing with themes such as privacy, idolatry and the pitfalls of interpersonal relationships, the viewer’s own perceptions become part of the viewing experience, which makes watching the film a very subjective affair.
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Having been a kid in the 90’s, there are certain pop culture phenomena that will always remain with me. From the one-liners from Terminator 2: Judgment Day being quoted to death during recess to rushing home from school to catch the latest episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, I have as many fond and rose-tinted memories of 90’s film and TV as most of my generation, and I am sure that many of my peers will also be able to recall how they were traumatized by the Stephen King’s It miniseries at some point. Since it aired rather frequently, I remember seeing it several times back in the day, but I also remember that it was quite popular for kids to dare each to watch it. Sure enough, most kids cockily accepted the challenge and often came to regret it. You see, on Danish television, the national broadcasting service, Danmarks Radio, would show two-part miniseries every week with the first episode airing Monday night at 10pm after the evening news and the second episode at the same time the following evening. Thus, kids would arrive at school Tuesday morning with a somber look on their face after an uneasy night’s sleep thanks to Tim Curry’s iconic, coulrophobia-inducing performance. However, if they decided to brave the second half of the miniseries, they would arrive at school with a different facial expression on Wednesday morning, namely that of disappointment; as good as the first part of the miniseries is, the second half is a letdown, mainly because Tim Curry was the heart and soul of an otherwise mediocre production, and the lack of his presence in the second part makes it incredibly cheesy.
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After having written the scripts for 2015’s Sicario and 2016’s Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan has not only penned the grim proceedings of Wind River, he has also taken on the role of director with the third and final instalment of his Modern American Frontier trilogy. In this closing chapter, a young Native American woman is found dead in the cold wastes of the Wind River Indian Reservation by local tracker Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner). The circumstances surrounding her death are suspicious to say the least, and the FBI therefore sends the inexperienced but determined Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) along to assist the local police. However, Agent Banner is out of her depth on the reservation where the locals do not prove particularly helpful to the outsider, and Lambert therefore joins forces with Banner in an attempt to not only solve the tragic case, but also to hopefully get some vicarious closure after a traumatic loss of his own.
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Whether you like his public persona or not, you have to admit that Tom Cruise has achieved his status as a superstar because of his strong charisma and tenacious dedication. Sure, he is guilty of occasionally hamming it up to unbearable degrees like most actors with his status do from time to time, but when he is good, he is undeniably very entertaining to watch. While 2017 has already showed us the hammy Cruise earlier this year when the movie-going public had the misfortune of seeing him do some of his worst work to date in the reboot and supposed franchise starter The Mummy, we are thankfully reminded of his good acting qualities as he spends the entirety of American Made charming both government officials, drug cartel overlords and cinema audiences alike.
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The name Jennifer Spence may not be a household name, but if you have been a keen consumer of many horror films of recent years and have paid attention to the credits of several of the Insidious and Paranormal Activity films, you may have noticed that Jennifer Spence has been the production designer on these films along with a number of other horror films, including last year’s Lights Out. With Annabelle: Creation currently in theaters worldwide after having received substantial praise that is seldomly given to horror films in the dubious sub-genre of prequel-to-a-prequel-that-was-also-a-spin-off, Spence’s work continues to be seen by an increasing number of moviegoers, but how did she get into the film industry in the first place?
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