Saturday, 31 August 2013

Frightfest 2013: No One Lives

We have all been there, it’s a film you know you have to see but something about it really does not float your boat. When I saw the connection between No One Lives and WWE, this weakened my inclination to watch it. But as is often the case, it’s the movies you want to see that you like the most.

The unnamed character of the movie credited with the name Driver (Luke Evans) is a caring and considerate partner, despite his consideration, there is something about him that is just not quite right. When moving to a new location he and his partner stop off for dinner, in doing so they come face to face with a group of violent thugs. After an altercation, Driver is alone, his partner who he loved deeply sacrificing her life in order to provoke a response. Now Driver has a new hand to play, he will not be the victim, but it’s not all about the revenge, there is something far more sinister buried in his past that is about to come to the present. 

No One Lives is a real rollercoaster ride, it’s not slow paced at any point, it starts and puts you on the run, and continues through it’s duration.  It’s far from original in its story, but its delivery is something else. From scenes involving skin suits, to a rather nifty series of attacks on the perpetrators of the original attack. 

For director Ryuhei Kitamura it’s a million miles away from Midnight Meat Train, but equally as compelling. Some nice twists and turns, and fantastically well-paced action shots keep you like the characters on the run. As the movie progressed I was reminded an awful lot of the Christopher Lambert 90’s movie Roadflower. While at the same time you can also compare it to last years instant cult hit The Aggression Scale.

No One Lives is a great ride, how it plays out on multiple viewings I could not tell you, but for a one off trip, it’s pretty catchy stuff, and a bloody good combination of laughs and action.

Frightfest 2013: Haunter

“Lisa Johnson, Edgar and I are collecting treasure in the pirate cave”  a brief recap of the line that will haunt you the most from upcoming horror tale Haunter. While it starts the film in innocence, those words echo something far more unpleasant as the film continues.

Haunter is a bizarre little movie that combines a life after death existence with Groundhog Day and Nancy Drew. This movie has the potential to be something truly breathtaking in the horror genre, but sadly it falls foul of its only clever story forty-five minutes in and does not manage to get it’s strength back. 

Circling around Lisa (Abigail Breslin) who makes a rather unpleasant discovery one morning when her life pans out exactly the same way as it did the day before, but only she can see it. Keen to try and get to the bottom of this big mystery, Lisa tries to uncover this weird Groundhog Day existence, but the discovery is not quite as she expected.

Haunter works so well for half, then fails so badly for the second half, it’s truly disappointing. I have never encountered a movie that has swung round so badly so quickly, 30 minutes in and this was one of the most promising movies I had seen in decades, but it was the exact point I realized this that things went wrong. The repetition that was once haunting became completely lackluster as soon as you start to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

The performances in the film are good, particularly from Breslin and Stephen McHattie best known for his performance in Pontypool. But good performances do not allow the film to recover from the hell-hole it slips into.

It’s upsetting to slate a movie that worked so well for much of the story, but there is so much unexplained, so much repetition, so much boredom this 97 minute film feels like 197 minutes by it’s rather uninspiring conclusion.