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

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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.

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RIPPER

1 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 8th May 2017 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Ian Powell & Karl Ward (Ripper 2)

Cast: Kelby Keenan, Thomas Thoroe, Josh Myers, Kunjue Li, Georgia Maguire, Ian Weichardt, Jack Brown, Vincent Dr Paul,  Edward J Englander, Iulia Benze with Khan Bonfils and Andrew Shires

Writer: Ian Powell

Trailer: RIPPER

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Here’s a terribly boring thriller that has the nerve to tell the viewer what makes for a good horror film, yet fails in every way, when it comes under scrutiny.  A group of wankers meet to win a prize for writing the best horror screenplay. They all have to stay together in a spooky Whitechapel warehouse – where did they find one of those that hasn’t been turned into a hipster bar? One of the contestants is a boring goth girl (KELBY KEENAN) who has been gifted the actual knives Jack The Ripper (ANDREW SHIRES – RIPPER 2) used to murder his victims. Guess what? He wants them back, all the while uncovering a generations old secret, you’d be dying to find the answer to. Errr.

Slower than your average mould crawling up a mountain, with a script that would embarass Steve M Smith (Borstal), this starts off with having to sit through a seminar on how to write the perfect horror. Being given a lecture, isn’t it. Having dim characters sleepwalk for 20 minutes to reveal its a dream sequence does not get the heart pumping either. Also, nicking the plot of Dracula doesn’t win it points either – with characters shouting, “It was always youuuuu!” whilst gurgling blood isn’t deep and meaningful either. Pity poor Josh Myers (usually dependable as hard men – here relegated to being the dim one out of The Inbetweeners) and Georgia Maguire (so bloody good in Love Me Till Monday).  It’s utterly suspenseless, slow and dimwitted, and the worst kind of horror in thinking its the beeknees. It’s been made by film geeks who think filmmaking is easy, yet being nerdy is not enough. Having the right camera isn’t enough. If you don’t have a good script save us all the bother. I can’t believe these talentless prats think this was good enought to make a sequel but no, we’ve now got Ripper 2 to look forward to. I’d sooner see Flipper 2.

1 out of 10 – Dead as a doornail. These knives are blunt. A missed opportunity to take the Jack The Ripper myth somewhere a bit interesting.

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THE REZORT

5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 21st January 2017 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Steve Barker (Outpost 2 / Outpost)

Cast: Dougray Scott, Jessica De Gouw, Martin McCann, Elen Rhys, Jassa Ahluwalia, Lawrence Walker, Kevin Shen, Sean Power, Shane Zaza and Clare Goose

Writer: Paul Gerstenberger

Trailer: THE REZORT

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A ROOM TO DIE FOR

4 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 16th January 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Devanand Shanmugam (Gangs of Tooting Broadway)

Cast: Loren Peta, Michael Lieber, Christopher Craig, Antonia Davies, Ben Ellis with Jon Campling and Vas Blackwood

Writer: Matthew J Gunn

Trailer: A ROOM TO DIE FOR

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REMAINDER

7 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release date: 24th June 2016

Director: Omer Fast

Cast: Tom Sturridge, Cush Jumbo, Ed Speleers, Danny Webb, Shaun Prendergast, Jumayn Hunter with Arsher Ali and Nicholas Farrell

Writer: Tom McCarthy / Omer Fast

Trailer: REMAINDER

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ROBERT 2 – THE CURSE OF ROBERT

1.5 out of 10

Release Date: 12th September 2016 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Andrew Jones (The Toymaker / The Exorcism of Anna Ecklund / Robert / Conjuring The Dead / The Haunting At The Rectory / Poltergeist Activity / The Last House on Cemetery Lane  / Theatre of Fear  / Amityville Asylum)

Writer: Andrew Jones

Cast: Tiffany Ceri, Jason Homewood, Steven Dolton, Nigel Barber, Chris Bell, Clare Gollop, Christopher Hale, Richard Burman with Lee Bane and Suzie Frances Garton

Trailer: ROBERT 2

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By rights the first film about the cursed killer doll Robert the Doll should have been ridiculous. But it contained good performances and some effective chills. This sequel should be filed along side Nightmare On Elm Street 2 in the shit sequel box.

Robert the Doll gets stolen out of a police evidence box and sold to an evil American museum owner keen on making lots of money from people wanting to get a glimpse of the legend. Once Robert is installed he goes on a killing rampage pinning the blame on a glamorous Mrs Mop, Tiffany Ceri (THEATRE OF FEAR). Different cops get on the case only to be saddled with straight out the cliched cop box dialogue. Steven Dolton (THE HAUNTING OF ANNIE DYER) and Chris Bell (RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER 3) as the hapless cops are wasted and its sad to see them strait jacketed by director / writer Andrew Jones’ crappiest script yet. Tiffany Ceri, who impressed in previous Jones’ films is given a real plank of an actor to work opposite – step forward first timer Jason Homewood who is more wooden than the doll.  What the film lacks is Lee Bane (THE TOYMAKER) – who was killed in the first film. He pops up here in a new role at the end, in the films only strange / good scene.  By showing us a film without him, actually shows us how much he improves the material he’s been given in past Jones’ movies. An official spin-off called The Toymaker is next off the conveyor belt, so look out as Robert might be back.

Back to this film which is set in the worst excuse for a museum I’ve ever seen. Does it really exist as the exhibits seemed to consist of a few dummies and a fake shop? At least the director turns the lights off in this movie and attempts to create an atmosphere, but unfortunately the film is a massive blunt instrument. There’s no build up, as Robert just hops out of his display case and kills everyone without any preamble. In the first film there was a lot of smoke & mirrors, we never saw the doll move for the longest time. Here he’s a fully animated psycho. So creepiness adds up to zero and it’s about as scary as Chuggington.  Oh yeah, the film score is very bad too. Very bad.

We’ve caught Andrew Jones’ and co. on a serious ‘off’ day, so let’s see if they can make a comeback. It needs to happen, hopefully with Lee Bane back in the lead role to give some gravity to proceedings.

1.5 out of 10 – Very poor, lazy and pointless sequel that just seems like a set up for The Toymaker.

Another review below by Matt Usher

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