Something wicked this way comes…. @theconjuringuk hits cinemas tomorrow. #film #review

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So the scariest film of the Summer is almost upon us, and in the US its already earned an R-rating for being too frightening, but how will this side of the Atlantic fair?

Here’s what its all about… oh and by the way, it’s a based on true events (eek!)

In 1971, Carolyn and Roger Parren move their family into a dilapidated Rhode Island farm house and soon strange things start happening around it with escalating nightmarish terror. In desperation, Carolyn contacts the noted paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, to examine the house. What the Warrens discover is a whole area steeped in a satanic haunting that is now targeting the Parren family wherever they go. To stop this evil, the Warrens will have to call upon all their skills and spiritual strength to defeat this spectral menace at its source that threatens to destroy everyone involved. Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 11.02.09

What we thought…

From the get-go, this is not a film which is easily ignored, you may have seen the posters on the underground featuring the rocking chair and a scary looking doll staring at you as you walk past, well, this is exactly what you face the moment the film starts. There’s no messing around as we find ourselves in the midst of one of the Warren’s earlier incidences. What is nice is that you get to know each character individually and the paranormal investigators take centre stage as much as the family being haunted.

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As is much loved by any horror fan, the chance to jump out of your seat as someone decides to walk into a dark room, or a booming thud can be heard from the stairs above is plenty! But its not all just about the “scare factor” for the audience, the sinister nature of the tale itself is chilling to the bone and compels you to keep watching. Also the fact that this film is based on true events and that these are all real people adds that little bit of fright (in addition to the awful 1970’s clothing) to the film that might just tip some horror fans over the edge.

Acted well by Vera Farminga as Lorraine and Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren, you feel more and more that you are watching one of their famed lectures rather than a Hollywood budgeted film, and this is one of the many appeals of The Conjuring. Most importantly though it takes you back to the era of The Amityville Horror and The Exorcist with its mix of mysticism, paranormal activity, history and plain old bumps in the night!!

There are lulls in the middle part of the film however, once the key characters have been established and we get the first proper glimpse of exactly what is causing the disturbances, there is a slight anti-climax as it feels like you can predict a little of what happens next. However, this isn’t enough to deter you from the entire second half of the film, there is still a sense of intrigue and wondering as to whether there are more twists in the tale, and there really are…

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One of the more enjoyable horror films in recent times, not one that will stick in your memory for years after watching it, but certainly something that will keep you sleeping with one eye open…particularly around 3:07am.

4 stars


#Horror fans are you ready for The Collection? – Out on DVD 29th April #scarycollection #review

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Anyone keen for a bit of blood, guts and gore? Well, this may be the perfect present for you. Out on DVD on the 29th April is The Collection. A splatter-fest from the makers of Saw IV, V, VI and 3D, this is the sequel to the terrifying The Collector and is great, great fun!

Here’s what it’s all about:

When Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick) is talked into attending an underground warehouse party with her friends, she finds herself caught in a nightmarish trap where the revelers are mowed, sliced and crushed to death by a macabre series of contraptions operated by a masked psychopath. When the grisly massacre is over, Elena is the only survivor. But before she can escape, she is locked in a trunk and transported to an unknown location.

Fortunately for Elena, one man – Arkin (Josh Stewart) knows exactly where she’s headed, having just escaped from there with his life and sanityScreen Shot 2013-04-23 at 12.52.07 barely intact. Going back is the last thing on Arkins mind, but Elena’s wealthy father (Christopher McDonald) hires a crack team of mercenaries to force Arkin to lead them to the killers lair. But even these hardened warriors are not prepared for what they encounter: an abandoned hotel turned torture chamber, rigged with deadly traps and filled with mangled corpses.

What is great about this film is that its all about the action. There is no significant backstory build up, the film centres upon one night and where it leads. Bar a quick flashback to open the film, we pretty much start with Elena being stood up by her boyfriend and immediately tempted to put her studying to one side and head out with her group of friends. By heading straight into an action packed start, we’re faced with a roller coaster ride, which makes the film sail through without you even stopping to take a breath.

Emma Fitzpatrick is a solid leading lady in The Collection, smart, vulnerable and likeable, she seems less superficial than her group of friends who we meet at the beginning of the film, and her tomboyish look and nature makes her incredibly relatable and likeable to the audience watching – she is in no way a damsel in distress. What we don’t see with her are those moments where you want to shout at the TV screen “don’t go in there” because you know what’s going to happen. Instead we see her making decisions, which probably wouldn’t be too dis-similar to those the audience would make if they were ever placed in this gruesome situation – which in comparison to other horror leading ladies, is a relief!

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 12.44.55The entrance of our villain – The Collector himself, immediately reminded me of The Phantom of the Opera – a masked man stood above a room full of people, watching and ready to strike. Quite fittingly you see him descend on a room of club revelers as they are ripped apart by perhaps his largest contraption (something along the lines of a room sized lawn mower blade!) Not a pretty way to go! But you immediately get the sense that this is a calculated, clever human being with a disturbingly sadistic mind, who thinks three steps ahead.

With this, you have the beauty and the beast combination, which makes horror films like The Collection so engaging to watch. The audience is kept wondering why Elena is spared, and just when you think you’ve worked it out, another gory surprise is just around the corner.

The supporting cast, comprising of Arkin and the team sent in to save Elena throws another element into the mix. For us skeptical Brits, the team is essentially a hammed up stereotypical American pseudo SWAT team who use their brawn over brains and their single mindedness provides the very subtle comedic undertones to this film. Arkin on the other hand proves himself to be the redeeming protagonist in The Collection. An ex-con who was missing for months in The Collectors capture and like Wentworth Miller in Prison Break is the key to getting the girl and getting out. Like Elena, his character is sympathetic to watch and suitably underplayed, particularly in relation to “the team.” Arkin is resourceful, careful and believable which makes him yet another engaging character to watch.Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 12.44.39

The Collection isn’t the greatest horror movie of all time, and certainly isn’t on the scale of the Saw films. However, you can’t deny that for what it is, its most certainly well shot, watchable and lots of good fun. We would have loved to have had a few more jumpy moments, but at least we could still go to bed that evening not worrying that some lunatic hasn’t rigged it to swallow us up whole! If you like blood, guts and gore in films, this is definitely a keeper for your ‘collection,’ and in any way it’s certainly worth a watch.

3.5 stars