DANGEROUS GAME

2 out of 10

Release date: 26th June 2017 (DVD premiere)

Director: Richard Colton

Cast: Calum Best, Amar Adatia, Jess Impiazzi, Darren Day, Gary Webster, Jessica-Jane Stafford, Ricky Rayment, Benjamin Griffin, Lucy Pinder, Marlia Arkian, Stefan Boehm, Lee Stafford, Tony Fadil, Andrew Harrison aka Tiny Iron, Luke White, Brandy Brewers with Shizzio and Alex ‘Reidinator’ Reid

Writer: Amar Adatia

Trailer: DANGEROUS GAME

Dangerous-Game

Wow, where to start? This is Calum Best’s (REQUIEM) (son of the late footballing god George Best) first lead film role to my knowledge. He’s forged quite a career as a reality TV star in braodcast offal like Famously Single and Celebrity Big Brother, so it was only a matter of time before the low-budget film brigade came look for him to star. It seems to be a growing trend that the stars of shows like The Only Way Is Essex etc. are now beginning to get recruited by the acting world. In rare cases those selected can act. Unfortunately, Calum Best may have been blessed with text book good looks, he looks like a tatooed Will Young, but he really, really cannot act. He’s also left stranded by a really shitty script by his co-star/produced Amar Adatia (GANGSTERS GAMBLERS & GEEZERS).  In an effort to forge a double-act that could extend into future comedians, wanna-be comedian Adatia also grapples with the challenges of film performance. As demonstrated in his debut, Gangsters Gamblers & Geezers, its hard work and he makes heavy work of the simplest of scenes. He’s got no comic timing and frankly, he’s hard to watch.

The plot sees newly signed premier league footballer Rose (CALUM BEST) is on the rise. His best friend, Adam Chopra (AMAR ADATIA) is his best friend who owes lots of money for gambling debts. His latest debt has been bought by Russian mobsters, led by one time TV presenter, Darren Day (THIS MORNING) putting in the film’s best performance (not hard). Guess who has the money to get him out of the hole – only the mobsters want more than money, they want a ca$h cow to throw big games for them. It’s a dangerous game that you have to play to survive. The soppy duo, embark on a crime spree followed by cheeky chappy cop, Graham Crawford (GARY WEBSTER – MINDER) and Det. Saunders (RICKY RAYMENT – THE ONLY WAY IS ESSEX). Meanwhile, Rose begins dating a club girl, Ashlee (JESSICA IMPIAZZI – EX ON THE BEACH) to complicate things, as he has to hide his new hobby as a bank robber.

The film is only 90 minutes but it plods about with lead in its boots, as our cast of TV stalwarts and reality TV non-actors work their way through an over simplistic plot. There’s a hitman in the mix, that turns up too late to make a real difference but at least there’s an ending to clap. And its not one that’s been earned by the cast or story, you just clap because it means this tribute to bad cinema is over. It’s a slight improvement on Amar Adatia’s first production, as he’s not directed this one. Richard Colton, the director, shows some signs of technical ability, and there’s some competent sound work, cinematography and soundtracks. So this can only improve, as it is definitely on the road to looking like a proper TV programme. Alas, it’s plotted and acted like a bad spin-off from Hollyoaks or Brookside.

The young producer Amar Adatia is the newest in a line of new filmmakers that show some promise. He’s got to check his ego and stay behind the camera or spend some money on acting lessons rather than the hire of a Rolls Royce for his next film.

2 out of 10 – Unenjoyable caper movie ruined by terrible actors and a very stinky script and plot. Dim signs of improvement on offer but there’s so little to recommend here.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

MINDHORN

8.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 5th May 2017

Director: Sean Foley

cast: Julian Barratt, Essie Davis, Andrea Riseborough, Russell Tovey, Simon Farnaby, Richard McCabe, David Schofield, Nicholas Farrell, Jessica Barden, Harriett Walter, Simon Callow, Robin Morrissey, Jordan Long, Neil Edmond, Tony Way with Kenneth Branagh and Steve Coogan

Writer: Julian Barratt & Simon Farnaby

Trailer: MINDHORN

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Julian Barratt: Brakes, Aaaaaaaaah!, The Harry Hill Movie, A Field In England, Bunny and The Bull, Nathan Barley (TV), The Mighty Boosh (TV)
  • Essie Davis: Game of Thrones (TV), Assassin’s Creed, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (TV), The Babadook, The Slap (TV), Isolation, Cloud Street (TV), Legend of the Guardians – The Owls of Ga’Hoole (voice), Australia, The Matrix 3, Code 46, The Girl With The Pearl Earring, The Matrix 2, The Custodian
  • Andrea Riseborough: Battle of the Sexes, Nocturnal Animals, Birdman, Oblivion, Welcome To The PunchShadow DancerW/EBrighton Rock ( 2011)Never Let Me Go, Made In Dagenham, Happy Go Lucky
  • Russell Tovey: The Hippopotamus, The Pass, The Lady In The Van, Blackwood, Effie Gray, Pride (2014), Muppets Most Wanted, Grabbers, Tower Block, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (voice), Huge, The History Boys, Being Human (TV)
  • Simon Farnaby: Bill, Yonderland (TV), Paddington, Horrible Histories (TV), All Stars, Burke and Hare, Your Highness, Bunny and The Bull, The Mighty Boosh (TV)
  • Richard McCabe: Goodbye Christopher Robin, Poldark (TV), Eye In The Sky, Wallander (TV), Indian Summers (TV), Nightwatching
  • David Schofield: Da Vinci’s Demons (TV), The Last Passenger, All Things To All Men, Ghosted F, Burke and HareDevil’s Bridge, The Pirates Of The Caribbean 1 – 3, The Wolfman, Valkyrie, The Musketeer, From Hell, Gladiator (2000), Anna Karenina (1997), An American Werewolf In London
  • Nicholas Farrell: Another Mother’s Son, Remainder, Legend (2015), Grace of Monaco, Summer In February, The Iron Lady, Driving Lessons, Charlotte Gray, Beautiful People, Hamlet (1996), Twelfth Night (1996), Othello (1995), In The Bleak Midwinter, Greystoke – The Legend Of Tarzan, Chariots Of Fire
  • Jessica Barden: Penny Dreadful (TV), The Lobster, Comedown, In The Dark Half, Hanna, Tamara Drewe, Coronation Street (TV)
  • Harriet Walter: The Sense of an Ending, Black Sails (TV), Call The Midwife (TV), Star Wars – The Force Awakens, Man Up, Suite Francaise, Downton Abbey (TV), The Assets (TV),  The Wedding Video (2012), Morris – A Life With Bells On, Law & Order UK (TV), Cheri, Atonement, Babel, Chromophobia, Onegin, The Governess, Bedrooms & Hallways, Keep The Aspidistra Flying, The Leading Man, The Hour of The Pig, Sense & Sensibility
  • Simon Callow: Victoria and Abdul, Hampstead, Viceroy’s House, Golden Years, Outlander (TV), Love’s Kitchen, Ripley Underground, The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Bright Young Things, Thunderpants, No Man’s Land, Shakespeare In Love, Bedrooms and Hallways, The Scarlet Tunic, James and The Giant Peach (voice), Ace Ventura 2, Jefferson In Paris, Streetfighter, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Soft Top Hard Shoulder, Mr & Mrs Bridge, Postcards From The Edge, Maurice, A Room With a View, Amadeus
  • Jordan Long: Eat Local
  • Tony Way: Trespass Against Us, Identicals, Aaaaaaaah!, High-Rise, Convenience, The Riot Club, The Edge of Tomorrow, Sightseers, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2012), Down Terrace
  • Kenneth Branagh: Murder on the Orient Express (dir)(2017), Dunkirk, Cinderella (dir), Jack Ryan, Thor (dir), Wallander (TV), The Boat That Rocked, Valkyrie, As You Like It (2006)(dir), Sleuth (dir), Five Children and It, Rabbit Proof Fence, Shackleton (TV), Love’s Labours Lost, The Theory of Flight, Wild Wild West, Celebrity, The Gingerbread Man, Hamlet (1996), A Midwinter’s Tale (dir), Othello (1995), Frankenstein (1994), Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Swing Kids, Peter’s Friends, Dead Again, Henry V (1989), Thompson (TV), Fortunes of War (TV), A Month In The Country, High Season
  • Steve Coogan: Stan and Ollie, Despicable Me 3 (voice), The Trip 3 (TV), Happyish (TV), Minions (voice), Night At The Museum 3, The Trip 2 (TV), Philomena, What Maisie Knew, Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa, Despicable Me 2 (voice), The Look Of Love, Ruby Sparks, The Trip (TV), The Other Guys, Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief, Night At The Museum 2, In The Loop, Tropic Thunder, Hamlet 2, Saxondale (TV), Hot Fuzz, Night At The Museum, Marie Antoinette, A Cock And Bull Story, Around The World In 80 Days (2004), Ella Enchanted, Coffee and Cigarettes, I’m Alan Partridge (TV), 24 Hour Party People, The Parole Officer, The Wind In The Willows (1996), Knowing Me Knowing You (TV), Coogan’s Run (TV), The Indian In The Cupboard, The Day Today (TV)

THE LEVELLING

8 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 12th M                                                           7

Director: Hope Dickson Leach

Cast: Ellie Kendrick, David Troughton, Jack Holden, Joe Attewell, and Joe Blakemore

Writer: Hope Dickson Leach

Trailer: THE LEVELLING

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Ellie Kendrick: Game of Thrones (TV), Whisky Galore (2017), Cheerful Weather For The Wedding , An Education, Diary of Anne Frank (TV)(2009)
  • David Troughton: ChickLit, Nina Forever, The Interceptor (TV), New Tricks (TV), Casualty 1909 (TV), Casualty 1907 (TV), Captain Jack, Bonjour la Classe (TV), The Chain, Wings (TV), David Copperfield (1975)(TV), Dr Who (TV)
Posted in L.

MAGIC BEYOND WORDS – THE JK ROWLING STORY

1.5 out of 10

Release date: 18th July 2011 (DVD premiere)

UK/Canada co-production

Director: Paul A Kaufman

Cast: Poppy Montgomery, Emily Holmes, Antonio Cupo, Janet Kidder, Andy Maton, Paul McGilling, Marie West, Lisa Norton

Writer: Jeffrey Berman & Tony Caballero

Trailer: MAGIC BEYOND WORDS

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I do understand the obvious fact that this film wasn’t made with me in mind. It’s still no excuse for palming fans of JK Rowling off with this slapdash, Hallmark Channel, biopic of the world’s most famous children’s author. I’ve never read a Harry Potter book, but I’ve seen the lamentable films, and on that evidence I have to say I could live without JK Rowling’s contributions to the world. However, I did find her life story, about her rise to fame and her dedication to becoming an author a true inspiration. It’s a real-life fairy tale for anybody that has a bit of talent and can work hard enough to win a shot at fame. This film fails to convey much of the struggle or the enormity of her achievement. Magic Beyond Words is in fact a bog standard, ‘births, marriages and death’ sprint through the highlights. You’d probably get more of an insight from reading the short JK biog at the back of her novels than watching this.

Poppy Montgomery (WITHOUT A TRACE) certainly looks the part, as JK Rowling, and battles valiantly with a lazy script. There’s not a single scrap of meat on the plot bone, as it ferries her version of JK from one scenario to another. One single scene, showing JK’s childhood games dressed as a witch some woods portrays her as a fun loving and imaginative child. It’s down hill from there. Her first marriage to a Portuguese gent, Georges (ANTONIO CUPO – AMERICAN MARY) whose story arc goes from handsome dreamboat hunk to abusive dick in less than 5 minutes. There’s no room for development of any of the characters anywhere. During the Edinburgh phase, we’re treated to a very light version of I, Daniel Blake, where JK struggles to make sense of the labyrinth British benefits system. Luckily, she found time to write her books. This is depicted in a few short scenes with a knackered typewriter and a stack of notebooks – total running time equals  exactly 20 seconds in the film – cue montages of flurrying fingers over a keyboard and empty coffee cups. Zzzzz, wake me when the cliches die.

Magic Beyond Words is an unofficial biopic. It’s existence has been ignored by the author herself and for good reason, it’s total shit.

1.5 out of 10 – Utterly lazy rush job adaptation made for undemanding children and idiots. Hardly the inspiring account of an genuinely interesting life most viewers would hope for. Tragic beyond turds. (ed. what are you, a six year old?)

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Poppy Montgomery: Unforgettable (TV), Without a Trace (TV)
  • Emily Holmes: The Shack, The Man In The High Castle (TV), Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3, Nightwatching, Snakes on a Plane
  • Antonio Cupo: American Mary
  • Janet Kidder: Arrow (TV), Ginger Snaps 2,  Bride of Chucky

DAD’S ARMY (2016)

2 out of 10

Release date:  5th February 2016

Director: Oliver Parker (Johnny English 2 / St Trinians 2 / Dorian Gray / St Trinians (2007) / The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) / An Ideal Husband (1999) / Othello (1995))

Cast: Toby Jones, Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tom Courtenay, Daniel Mays, Blake Harrison, Alison Steadman, Sarah Lancashire, Mark Gatiss, Felicity Montagu, Emily Atack, Holli Dempsey, Annette Crosbie, Julia Foster, Mark Tandy, Andrew Havill, Martin Savage, Ian Lavender with Bill Paterson, Oliver Tobias and Michael Gambon

Writer: Hamish McColl

Trailer: DAD’S ARMY (2016)

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Oof, why does this exist? Did the fans of the original 1960s and 1970s TV series really need this reboot. I don’t know any fans of the old show so I don’t know if this film has done it justice, I can only appraise it on it’s own meagre merits.

What do you call a comedy with no laughs? There seems to be so many of them made, it should be a genre in its own right. Sadly, this is yet another DOA remake, reboot, sequel with a cast full of household names from TV and film, plus a load of oldies and one member of the original bunch, Ian Lavender (EASTENDERS).

The thin-plot involves the arrival of a spy in the village of Walmington-on-Sea during WW2, where Captain Mainwaring (TOBY JONES – TALE OF TALES) and his Dad’s Army guard a section of the coast.  Meanwhile, a mysterious woman, Rose Winters (CATHERINE ZETA-JONES – BLUE JUICE) moves to town. She’s a journalist, and has the male population all a quiver and falling over themselves to ‘bed’ her. Little do they know she may be the spy they are on the look out for.

When the identity of the spy is revealed near the end, I had no idea it was meant to be a secret.  Non of the hi-jinx is funny or even engaging and it’s a shame that such a wonderful cast has signed on to this vapid nostalgia turd. Its as lifeless and as pointless an exercise like most of the current crop of TV remakes. There’s no excuse for the lack of decent jokes as their is a hoard of comedy writing talent in England that could have turned this into gold standard material, instead we got Hamish McColl, the guy that wrote the so-so Johnny English movies. It’s time for him to move on and give someone with an active funny bone the typewriter.

2 out of 10 – A lousy, unfunny comedy made on a huge budget, amde to cash in on the grey pound. The least the makers could have done is employ a gag writer. Crap and empty.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Toby Jones: Jurassic Park 5, The Snowman (2017), Atomic Blonde, Wayward Pines (TV), Tale of Tales, Anthropoid, Morgan, Alice In Wonderland 2 (voice), The Man Who Knew Infinity, Dad’s Army, Serena, Hunger Games – Mockingjay 2, By The Gun, Marvellous, Muppets Most Wanted, Captain American 2, My Week With Marilyn, Snow White & The Huntsman,  The Berberian Sound Studio, The Hunger Games, Red Lights, Tintin (voice),Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows- part 1 (voice), Captain America, Your Highness, The Rite, Sex Drugs and Rock N’ Roll, St Trinians 2, Nightwatching, Creation, W., Frost / Nixon, City Of Ember, St Trinians, The Mist, The Painted Veil, Infamous, Mrs Henderson Presents, Finding Neverland, Ladies In Lavender, Harry Potter & The Chambers Of Secrets, Simon Magus
  • Bill Nighy: The Limehouse Golem, Their Finest, Pride (2014), I Frankenstein, About Time, The World’s End (voice), Jack The Giant Slayer, Total Recall (2012), Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Wrath Of The Titans, Arthur Christmas (voice), Chalet Girl, Rango (voice), Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows- part 1, Wild Target (2010), Glorious 39, The Boat That Rocked, Underworld 3, Valkyrie, Pirates Of The Caribbean 3, Hot Fuzz, Notes On a Scandal, Flushed Away (voice), Alex Rider- Stormbreaker, Pirates Of The Caribbean 2, Underworld 2, The Constant Gardner, A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (2006), The Magic Roundabout (voice), Enduring Love, Shaun Of The Dead, Underworld, Love Actually, State Of Play (TV), I Capture The Castle, Auf Wierdesen Pet! (TV), The Lost Prince, Lucky Break, The Lawless Heart, Blow Dry, Guest House Paradiso, Still Crazy, Alive and Kicking (1996), Being Human, True Blue
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones: RED 2, Side Effects, Broken City, Rock of Ages, Lay The Favourite, Playing for Keeps, The Rebound, Death Defying Acts, No Reservations, Ocean’s 12. The Legend of Zorro, The Terminal, Intolerable Cruelty, Chicago, America’s Sweethearts, Traffic, High Fidelity, The Haunting (1999), Entrapment, The Mask of Zorro, The Phantom, Blue Juice, Darling Buds of May (TV), Splitting Heirs, Christopher Columbus – The Discovery
  • Tom Courtenay: Guernsey, The Legend of Barney Thomson, 45 Years, Night Train To Lisbon, Quartet, Gambit (2012), The Golden Compass, Flood, Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Last Orders, Whatever Happened To Harold Smith?, A Rather English Marriage (TV), The Boy From Mercury, Let Him Have It, The Dresser, Catch Me a Spy, One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, A Dandy in Aspic, The Day the Fish Came Out, The Night of the Generals, Doctor Zhivago, King Rat, Operation Crossbow, King and Country, Billy Liar, Private Potter, The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner
  • Daniel Mays: The Limehouse Golem, Star Wars – Rogue One, The Infiltrator, Victor Frankenstein, Byzantium, Welcome To The Punch, Tintin (mo-cap), Made In Dagenham, Nanny McPhee 2, The Firm (2009), Shifty, The Bank Job, Atonement, Vera Drake, All Or Nothing
  • Blake Harrison: Prime Suspect 1973 (TV), Bob The Builder (voice)(TV), The Inbetweeners 2, Keeping Rosy, The Inbetweeners, The Inbetweeners (TV)
  • Alison Steadman: Burn Burn Burn, In The Blood, Gavin & Stacey (TV), Confetti, Fat Friends (TV), The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Adrian Mole (TV), Chunky Monkey, Topsy Turvy, Pride & Prejudice (TV), Blame It On The Bellboy, Life Is Sweet, Wilt, Shirley Valentine, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Stormy Monday, Clockwise, A Private Function, P’Tang, Yang, Kipperbang, Nuts In May
  • Sarah Lancashire: Happy Valley (TV), Last Tango In Halifax (TV), Lark Rise To Candelford (TV), When Did You Last See Your Father?, Rose and Maloney (TV), Clocking Off (TV), Where The Heart Is (TV), Coronation Street (TV)
  • Mark Gatiss: Taboo (TV), Sherlock (TV), Denial, Absolutely Fabulous – The Movie, Our Kind of Traitor, Victor Frankenstein, London Spy (TV), Game of Thrones (TV), Wolf Hall (TV), Dr Who (TV), Starter For 10, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (voice), The League of Gentleman’s Apocalypse, Sex Lives of the Potato Men, Birthday Girl, The League of Gentlemen (TV)
  • Felicity Montagu: Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa, I’m Alan Partridge (TV)
  • Emily Atack: Iron Sky 2, Ibiza Undead, The Bunker (2016)Almost Married, Get Lucky, Outside Bet, The Inbetweeners (TV)
  • Holli Dempsey: Aaaaaaaah!, The Aliens (TV), Derek (TV)
  • Annette Crosbie: Eat Local, Into The Woods, What We Did On Our Holiday, Little Dorrit (TV), Calendar Girls, One Foot In The Grave (TV), The Debt Collector, Shooting Fish, Doctor Finlay (TV), Solitaire For 2, Leon The Pig Farmer, The Pope Must Die, Hawk The Slayer
  • Julia Foster: All Coppers Are…, Half a Sixpence, Alfie (1966), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
  • Mark Tandy: The Limehouse Golem, Maurice, Defence of the Realm
  • Andrew Havill: The Children Act, My Cousin Rachel, The Carer, Hyde Park On The Hudson
  • Martin Savage: Mr Turner, Another Year, Topsy Turvy
  • Ian Lavender: Eastenders (TV), The Hooligan Factory, Dad’s Army (1971), Dad’s Army (TV)
  • Bill Paterson: The Healer, High-Rise, Outlander (TV), Law & Order UK (TV), Creation, Dr Who (TV), How To Lose Friends and Alienate People, Miss Potter, Amazing Grace, Rag Tale, Kingdom of Heaven, Bright Young Things, Crush (2001), The Match (1999), Hilary & Jackie, Spice World, Victory, Richard III (1995), God On The Rocks, Truly Madly Deeply, The Witches, The Rachel Papers, Hidden City, Auf Wierdesen Pet (TV), Defence of the Realm, A Private Function, The Killing Fields, Smiley’s People (TV)
  • Oliver Tobias: Highway To Hell (2013), The Brylcreem Boys, Cobra Mission, Dick Turpin (TV), The Stud, Arthur Of The Britons (TV)
  • Michael Gambon: Mad To Be Normal, Victoria & Abdul, Viceroy’s House, Paddington (voice), Fortitude (TV), Quartet, The King’s Speech, Harry Potter – parts 2-8, The Book Of Eli, Fantastic Mr Fox (voice), Brideshead Revisited (2008), The Good Night, The Good Shepherd, The Omen (2006), The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,  Layer Cake, Sky Captain and The World Of Tomorrow, Sylvia, Open Range, The Actors, Ali G In Da House, Charlotte Gray, Gosford Park, High Heels and Low Lifes, Sleepy Hollow, The insider, Plunkett & Macleane, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Gambler, Wings Of The Dove, Mary Reilly, The Innocent Sleep, Two Deaths, Nothing Personal, A Man Of No Importance, The Browning Version (1994), Toys, Mobsters, The Cook The Thief His Wife and Her Lover, A Dry White Season, The Rachel Papers, Paris By Night, The Singing Detective (TV)

REICH OF THE DEAD aka ZOMBIE MASSACRE 2

6.5 out of 10

UK/Italy co-production

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 8th June 2015

Directors: Marco Ristori & Luca Boni (House of Evil)

Cast: Aaron Stielstra, Andrew Harwood-Mills, Ally McClelland, Lucy Drive, Michael Segal, with David White and Dan van Husen

Writer: Marco Ristori & Luca Boni

Trailer: REICH OF THE DEAD aka ZOMBIE MASSACRE 2

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

THE RIZEN

7.5 out of 10

Release date: 19th June 2017 (DVD premiere)

Director: Matt Mitchell (Rizen 2)
Cast: Laura Swift, Patrick Knowles, Christopher Tajah, Tom Goodman-Hill, Laurence Kennedy and Lee Latchford-Evans with Julian Rhind-Tutt, Sally Phillips, Stephen Marcus, with Bruce Payne and Adrian Edmondson

Writer: Matt Mitchell

Trailer: THE RIZEN

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Catch this wonderful horror on the wrong day, in the wrong mood it could be the worst film you’ve ever seen. Catch it right and it’s a sublime, all knowing pastiche / homage to the BBC sci-fi props department, Dr Who, Red Dwarf, Quatermass and the Pit, and HP Lovecraft. The acting from the three leads is purposely stilted to evoke the ‘boy’s own’ adventures of the 50s and 60s. The Famous Five and Just William spring to mind, when the game trio begin to puzzle out the riddle they find themselves stranded in.

We’re dropped into the mystery with just a few words, “Quarantine breached. The failsafe has been deployed…”  Cook, Frances (LAURA SWIFT – RIZEN 2), Dr Baughman (CHRISTOPHER TAJAH chanelling Simon Callow to good effect) and Pvt BRIGGS (PATRICK KNOWLES) are found trapped in a subterreanean maze being stalked by demonic, humanoid monsters. Piecing together memories the three must realise their purpose if they are to survive the nightmare.

To back up the main three performers are a band of better known actors and comedians, who pop in repetitive flashback to reveal the answers. There’s not really much to say about the story or the central mystery. What makes this fun to watch is are the strange performances and the very peculiar atmosphere, which puts you on edge in two ways. Are we really watching a bad horror film, or is this an arthouse movie in the style of a bad horror movie. It’s not very scary in a traditional way but its disorientating in the same way David Lynch’s Eraserhead is. The plot is fairly rigid and does little to confuse.

It’s a pleasure to see the likes of Bruce Payne (PASSENGER 57) hamming it up in a very strange role simply referred to as Admin. Elsewhere Sally Phillips (RIZEN 2) excels in a tiny scene as a mystery government official who may hold the key to what’s going on. Adrian Edmondson (THE YOUNG ONES) is also wonderful as the Psycho Evaluator.  Look out for a member of Steps in the mix too!

Fans of Dr Who will love that The Rizen has been torn straight out of it’s 70s era. The monsters have that nightmarish blankness only ever achieved in the very best classic episodes. Also sci-fi horror nerds mayb ein hog heaven spotting other similarities to other shows. It carries it’s own originality too though, so it’s not a slavish duplicate.  A sequel was filmed at the same time as the original so that it could retain some of its in demand cast on location to expand on their tiny cameoes in this installment. Here’s hoping it has enough of it’s own ideas.

7.5 out of 10 – A nicely, presented low-budget sci-fi that will delight fans of old school horror and sci-fi. Get past it’s unusually mannered central performances and this is a great z-movie. Roll on Rizen 2.

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?