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
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?
- Laura Swift: Rizen 2
- Tom Goodman-Hill: Humans (TV), The Imitation Game, Mr Selfridge (TV), 7Lives, Fat Slags, Festival
- Laurence Kennedy: Rizen 2, The Honourable Rebel
- Lee Latchford-Evans: Ten Dead Men, Cash and Curry, Steps – On The Road Again (doc)
- Julian Rhind-Tutt: Rizen 2, Chubby Funny, Burn Burn Burn, Bridget Jones 3, Aaaaaaaah!, Castles In The Sky, Banished (TV), A Touch of Cloth (TV), Lucy, Inside No.9 (TV), Rush (2013), Gambit (2012), Your Highness, Stardust, Green Wing (TV), To Kill a King, Miranda, Lara Croft -Tomb Raider, The Trench, Notting Hill
- Sally Phillips: Smack The Pony (TV), Rizen 2, Burn Burn Burn, Bridget Jones 3, Set The Thames On Fire, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, The Decoy Bride, Miranda (TV), Green Wing (TV), Bridget Jones 2, Bridget Jones, Mean Machine, Birthday Girl, Born Romantic
- Stephen Marcus: Rizen 2, Rise of the Footsoldier 3, Fanged Up, Eliminators, Gridiron UK, The London Firm, The Smoke, It’s a Lot, Fast and The Furious 6, Interview With A Hitman, Ninja Assassin, The Baby Juice Express, Kinky Boots, Stage Beauty, Quills, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Hear My Song, My Beautiful Laundrette
- Bruce Payne: The Antwerp Dolls, Breakdown (2016), Age of Kill, Getaway, Vendetta, Prowl, Dungeons & Dragons, Warlock 3, Necronomicon, Passenger 57, Pyrates, The Howling 4, The Fruit Machine, For Queen and Country, Billy The Kid and The Green Baize Vampire, Absolute Beginners, Oxford Blues
- Adrian Edmondson: Rizen 2, Star Wars – The Last Jedi, Interlude In Prague, War and Peace (TV), The Comic Strip (TV), Blood (2013), Holby City (TV), Guest House Paradiso, Bottom (TV), The Pope Must Die, Filty Rich & Catflap (TV), Eat The Rich, The Supergrass, The Young Ones (TV)