Unfriended (2014) review

unfriended_posterDirector: Levan Gabriadze

Starring: Shelly Hennig, Matthew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson, Heather Sossaman, Moses Storm, Will Peltz, Renee Olstead

KEN: “It’s probably just a glitch.”

VAL: “Well the glitch just typed.”

Here’s a tip about being in horror films that Scream forgot to address. If you were either directly or indirectly involved in someone’s death, it’s probably a good idea to lie low on every major anniversary of said offing.

For some reason, those affected usually decide to take revenge one, five or ten years to the day after the incident. Personally, I’d go for the element of surprise: “It’s been seven and a half months since you killed me, so time for you to get all dead and that.”

Unfriended takes place exactly a year after high school student Laura Barns committed suicide. Guess what happens next. Continue reading “Unfriended (2014) review”

Poltergeist (1982) review

poltergeist_posterDirector: Tobe Hooper

Starring: Craig T. Nelson, JoBeth Williams, Heather O’Rourke, Oliver Robins, Beatrice Straight, Zelda Rubenstein

“This house has many hearts.” (Tangina, Poltergeist)

What do you get when you combine Steven Spielberg at the height of his power – right after directing E.T. – and Tobe Hooper, director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

The answer is simple: you get one of my favourite films ever.

First though, some housekeeping. It has long been debated whether Hooper had much influence during the making of the film, with many reports and actor testimonies claiming that Spielberg had most of the creative control.

You see, Spielberg had a clause in his contract that stated that while he was working on E.T. he wasn’t allowed to direct another movie. It’s claimed, then, that Hooper was brought in to take on the role of director while Spielberg pulled the strings behind the scenes. Continue reading “Poltergeist (1982) review”

Silent House (2011) review

Silent House posterDirectors: Chris Kentis, Laura Lau

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens, Julia Taylor Ross, Adam Barnett, Haley Murphy

“Daddy?” (Sarah, about a hundred times, Silent House)

Here’s a fun fact: there are actually more movies about haunted houses than there are houses in North America.

Okay, that isn’t true. But it’s getting to the stage that I wouldn’t be surprised.

Silent House at least tries to do something different by introducing a rarely used gimmick: the entire film is presented as one single shot.

Granted, it does cheat a little bit – more on that later – but the concept is at least enough to keep your interest for a while. Continue reading “Silent House (2011) review”

A Haunting At Silver Falls (2013) review

haunting_at_silver_falls_posterDirector: Brett Donowho

Starring: Alix Elizabeth Gitter, James Cavlo, Tara Westwood, Steve Bacic, Erick Avari

LARRY – “There’s a lot of dead people in Silver Falls. Didn’t anyone tell you? It’s, um, Ghost City USA.”

JORDAN – “Right. So, who died?”

LARRY – “Who didn’t die? I’ve been to six funerals. There were several suicides, a car accident, a bulimic whose stomach exploded…”

Often, when I watch a film about ghosts, I like to apply my patented Louise Test™.

My wife (and co-presenter of the That Was A Bit Mental podcast) isn’t a massive fan of ghost movies, so usually when I want to watch one she’ll sit at the PC instead and browse the internet.

Occasionally she’ll look over at the telly and, should she see a ghost, audibly express her dismay at having done so. That’s when I can tell the film’s ghosts are effective.

A Haunting At Silver Falls offers more screen time to its ghosts than any other film in recent memory, except for maybe Casper. And yet, as Louise looked over to the screen numerous times throughout, she didn’t bat an eyelid. Continue reading “A Haunting At Silver Falls (2013) review”

That Was A Bit Mental – The Podcast!

That Was A Bit Mental is a few years old now, and as its audience has slowly grown there have been increasing requests for a podcast.

For a while I’ve resisted, mainly because I hate podcasts with only one host, and I don’t really know anyone who would willingly watch the same shit movies as I do and talk about them on a regular basis.

Thankfully, I finally realised the solution was right under my nose all the time, and as such I give you That Was A Bit Mental: The Podcast, complete with super-secret special co-host.

Episode 1 features reviews of Ghostwatch and My Little Eye, as well as shorter reviews of Ginger Snaps and The Taking Of Deborah Logan.

We also discuss which horror series should be allowed to die, and which we just can’t get enough of.

First though, a disclaimer: This is only a pilot episode. It’s fairly rough, there’s plenty of “umming” (mainly coming from me) and we’re just messing around with ideas at this stage to see what works and what doesn’t.

Please do give it a listen, then, and get back to me with feedback: what you like, what you hate, any other ideas you think we should incorporate.

For now it’s only available on the embed below or, if you’d rather, this direct MP3 link. I’ll look into sticking it on iTunes soon.

The Amityville Asylum (2013) review

The Amityville Asylum posterDirector: Andrew Jones

Starring: Sophia Del Pizzo, Lee Bane, Andy Evason, Eileen Daly

LISA – “What’s that smell?”

DELANEY – “It always hangs in the air. No matter how much we bleach the floor, there is always that smell of death.”

In December 1975, George and Kathy Lutz moved into 112 Ocean Avenue, a house in Amityville where thirteen months previously, a man had shot and killed six members of his family.

The Lutz family left the house after only a month, claiming they had been terrorised by evil paranormal forces living there. A book entitled The Amityville Horror was released two years later and the story went on to spawn a number of movies.

The Amityville Asylum is the eleventh movie to use the Amityville story as part of its plot, but in reality this review’s already discussed it more than the film does. Continue reading “The Amityville Asylum (2013) review”