Unfriended (2014) – Review

hfEBlhvVWFt61EWjNbjlKdDilBI-0-230-0-345-cropUnfriended is about a group of teenagers with a dark secret who are being hunted by a mysterious killer. Slowly, the truth about what really happened all those years ago is revealed,  and at the same time characters are murdered one by one. It’s the standard slasher plotline, the same one that appears in Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and countless other films of variable quality.

To be fair though, Unfriended does attempt to break the mould and do something new(ish). This is not a normal slasher film; this is a modern, high-tech slasher for the digital age, for people with four different web-capable devices and a Google+ account. Continue reading “Unfriended (2014) – Review”

Mindhunters (2004) – Review

mindhuntersMindhunters has a stupid title. It would be a weak title for a film about predatory psychics, and that’s not even what this film is about. The two words in the portmanteau do have relevance to the plot, but you could make an equally strong argument for almost any pair – Clockwatchers, Stringpullers and Dummystreet are all just as valid. They may actually have picked the title from a hat filled with relevant words.

It’s called Mindhunters because it’s about FBI profilers who try and track serial killers by understanding their minds. The basic idea should be familiar to anyone who has watched television in the last twenty years. Unlike every other show or film based around these profilers, Mindhunters takes an indirect approach to the whole idea of profiling. Continue reading “Mindhunters (2004) – Review”

Zootropolis (2016) – Review

ZOOTROPOLIS_TEASER_UKHundreds of years ago, mammals overcame their instincts. Predators and prey stopped feeding on and fleeing from each other (respectively), and started working together. Now, Zootropolis is the centre of a new world, in which mammals of all dietary preferences live and work together in harmony.

Judy Hopps is a rabbit with a dream. In a civilisation founded on (in theory) the principle that no one is limited by their biology, she wants to be a cop. The police of Zootropolis tend to be predators, or very large – bison, rhinos, elephants. A bunny doesn’t really fit in.

She has to deal with prejudice, gruelling physical trials, and disillusionment as she works to track down a missing otter. Her only (reluctant) ally is a small-time fox criminal who would much rather be anywhere else. It’s the perfect set-up for a buddy cop film. Just with animals. Continue reading “Zootropolis (2016) – Review”

Captain America: Civil War (2016) – Review

Civil_War_Final_PosterSet after the events of Avengers: Age of UltronCaptain America: Civil War shows a world in which the civilian population has suffered catastrophe after catastrophe. Alien invasions, plummeting cities, general super-powered destruction and death.

In order to deal with growing public outrage at collateral damage, the UN takes control of the Avengers. Those who sign up can only intervene in situations when instructed. Those who refuse to sign are arrested, or forced to retire.

Captain America (and friends) end up on the other side from Iron Man (and different friends). While they fight over philosophical differences, future Nazis search for cryogenically-frozen super-soldiers.

Continue reading “Captain America: Civil War (2016) – Review”

Daybreakers (2010) – Review

daybreakers_posterI didn’t intend to watch Daybreakers. I was looking for a slasher film I hadn’t seen before, and found this film instead. It looked like a schlocky vampire film, and I thought that would scratch the same itch.

That’s not what Daybreakers is. Rather than being a fun, campy b-movie in the vein of Van Helsing or UnderworldDaybreakers is a surprisingly complex and polished film.

The film takes place in a world run by and for vampires. All houses and cars are fitted with shutters against the sunlight; walkways and tunnels connect all the buildings. Unturned humans are an increasingly small, hunted minority. When they are caught, they are farmed for their blood. Continue reading “Daybreakers (2010) – Review”

Deadpool (2016) – Review

DeadpoolI was initially a little reluctant to watch Deadpool; he’s a character who seems to have more than the usual number of fans who don’t know when to finish conversations. I was worried that the film would be pandering, full of fan service and self-conscious edginess.

When I was finally dragged to watch it though, I was pleasantly surprised. Deadpool, due to the concept, was always going to be a difficult film to pull off, but it’s actually rather well done. Continue reading “Deadpool (2016) – Review”

Exam (2009) – Review

ExamLately, I’ve been watching a lot of films set within a locked room. That’s not the same thing, I should clarify, as a locked room mystery, in which characters have to solve a seemingly impossible murder. These films start with everyone alive.

The premise is simple and frequently used. A group of strangers wake up in a room/mansion/mechanical cube, and have to find a way out. There’s generally a time limit, or something else piling on the pressure – traps, further instructions, et cetera. The pressure builds and builds throughout the film as they slowly get picked off (by death, or, less commonly, quitting), until there are only a few desperate, crazed people scrabbling at the walls.

Of these “locked room” films, Exam is probably the best. It’s generally a type of film given to terrible acting and worse plots, but Exam manages to avoid, at least partially, those pitfalls.  Continue reading “Exam (2009) – Review”