BARE BONES: THE APPARITION and THE CHILDREN

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THE APPARITION (2012)

Put equal parts Paranormal Activity, The Ring and Poltergeist in a blender and the result would be The Apparition, a routine supernatural thriller about a young couple battling a supernatural entity. Kelly (Ashley Greene) and Ben (Sebastian Stan) move into her parent’s future retirement home to maintain it and soon start to experience strange occurrences. Before long it is clear there is a malevolent entity in the home and an experiment Ben was involved in might be why.

Director and writer Todd Lincoln helms this very familiar tale pretty much by the numbers, although he does achieve some effective scenes early on before the story starts to get more involved and thus sillier and more convoluted. It would have been better off if it stuck with being a routine haunting flick, but once Ben’s friend, Patrick (Tom Felton), the author of the experiment, shows up and tries to play ghostbuster, things just fall part with all the Star Trek meets Ghost Hunters mumbo jumbo about rifts and predatory entities from other dimensions. Fortunately, the film is barely over 80 minutes, so it moves quickly toward it’s stale climax. At least leading lady Greene is charming enough to allow us to like her character, even when she isn’t parading around wearing only half her clothes. Now only if she had a much better movie built around her scantily clad heroine, it might have been more of an enjoyable guilty pleasure.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 star rating

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THE CHILDREN (2008)

Kids can be creepy enough as it is, but this chilling and sometimes brutal British horror takes it to a whole new level. Writer/director Tom Shankland’s flick is a very effective and disturbing tale of a Christmas vacation get-together that becomes a nightmare when the children start to exhibit increasingly strange and soon violent behavior. What begins as a possible cold spreading from child to child, soon starts to take on some aggressive then violent characteristics. The young couples are soon faced with a parent’s worst nightmare, as it appears their kids want to kill them.

That’s what makes this horror flick work so well, despite some flaws, is the simple questions it poses… what would YOU do if you had to fight for your life against your own child? Could you? The parents in this film are confronted with that exact dilemma, as their own children become homicidal, with nowhere to run in their secluded country house. A disturbing and well made horror flick from Tom Shankland. Stars Hannah Toiton, Eva Birthistle (Wake Wood) and Jeremy Sheffield.

-MonsterZero NJ

three and one half stars rating

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: WAKE WOOD (2011)

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 WAKE WOOD (2011)

Despite echos of Pet Semetary and The Wicker Man, Wake Wood still manages to be a spooky tale of not leaving dead things lie. Young couple, Patrick and Louise (Aiden Gillen and Eva Birthistle) loose their daughter, Alice (Ella Connolly) in a tragic accident when one of veterinarian Patrick’s canine charges mauls her to death. Heartbroken, the couple move to the small backwoods town of Wake Wood to try to get away from the awful memories, but fate intervenes. There are some pagan practices going on in this strange little town including an ancient ceremony that is said to be able to bring back the dead for 3 days, as long as the party in question has been dead for less then a year. Now the Daley’s have a chance to see their dead daughter one last time and properly say goodbye. But this is a horror film, so it’s no surprise that things go wrong with gruesome results. After all, the Daley’s did lie about how long their precious Alice has been dead and now what has come back may no longer be their little girl.

Wake Wood has some flaws. Aside from the familiar story, it does cut away too fast sometimes from some of the gruesome moments without giving them full effect and the deliberately slow pace may not be for everyone, but it is still an effective horror with some good atmosphere, plenty of creepy goings on and some very bloody mayhem, especially during it’s last act. The final scene is also quite chilling, even thought not being entirely unexpected. Director David Keating gives the film some nice moody atmosphere and some very creepy moments, despite the derivative nature of the script. He also gets good performances from his cast especially from young Miss Connolly as the reanimated and not quite right Alice. A spooky little flick from the new Hammer Films for a stormy Saturday night on the couch.

A spooky 3 reanimated corpses!

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