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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DEMON BABY

3 out of 10

Release date: 2nd June 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Coz Greenop

Cast: Carina Birrell, David Wayman, Cameron Jack with Lee Harris and Bhasker Patel

Writer: Coz Greenop

Trailer: DEMON BABY

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Demon Baby is an unusual horror as it seems to duck the central issue by not presenting us with anything chilling, demonic or ghostly. Demon Baby is a baby film though in that it’s scale is that of a postage stamp. It’s short, has a small cast and will slip from the memory as soon as you’ve gone to bed for the evening.

You’ll see worse films but to see a film that’s almost a ghost itself is something else, so vapour like is everything about it. The actors are fine but don’t seem to do anything to make you pay all that much attention. If I was being cruel, you may even think the TV has switched itself off in a bid to entertain itself. As it is, here’s the plot. A young couple hire a mobile home and dash off to Scotland. The girl (CARINA BIRRELL – JACK SAID) is suffering from visions of a ghostly lady and this weirds her vaguely creepy boyfriend out, played with steady footing by David Wayman (VENGEANCE). He may not be creepy though because he just wants to have lots of sex and she’s seemingly up for it, then not up for it, which gets him cross. A weird policeman (CAMERON JACK – DEATH RACE 4) begins to bother them, but he’s just a normal copper in there for triangulation purposes. A phone rings and gets ignored. Could this issue be the source of the mystery? It solves some of it, but it’s much like the rest of the film, a giant non-sequiteur designed like a ghost story but it’s too polite to conjure any real doom and gloom. OR did the production run out of money and they finished it by bringing in Bhasker Patel (WILD WEST) as a doctor to read a bunch of belated exposition to the watchers? Who knows? You’ll forget you’ve seen it anyway before trying to solve what went on.

3 out of 10 – A non-ghostly ghost story with fair acting and an elusiveness that can’t be accidental. Vapid.

Read another review below, by Matt Usher

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SURVIVORS (2015)

3.5 out of 10

Release Date: 26th October 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Adam J Spinks (Extinction – Jurassic Predators)

Cast: Joanne Gale, David Anderson, Simon Burbage and Adrian Annis

Writer: Adam J Spinks & Lawrence Timms

Trailer: SURVIVORS (2015)

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A reasonable attempt at a no-budget zombie flick that is a cut above the rest because plot momentum is kept. Well-performed in the main by two of the three leads, its certainly an improvement on the majority of z-grade apocalypse movies. The camera man seems to be strong enough to hold the camera steady, the editor seems to know what he’s doing and there are some interesting supporting characters in the mix.

Joanne Gale’s Reporter stumbles on a government conspiracy to keep an ongoing outbreak of a virsu that turns everybody into mind less killers. She contacts her exboyfriend, Duke (SIMON BURBAGE – KNIGHTS OF THE DAMNED) to be her camera man. He annoys the hell out of her before they literally spilt up. Then in a later parallel story, Joanne is paired off with a mysterious man called Michael – the slightly wooden David Anderson (ADULT LIFE SKILLS) – who may have something to do with the virus. In parallel storylines both duos set off across England trying to survive.

Some scenes work better than others, depending on the supporting actor wheeled in to run the scene. Are they friend or foe? etc. The unknown Adrian Annis impresses the most as a muddled-up thug who’s gone past the point of return. The music and the locations are generally good as well for this kind of thing.

So whilst Survivors is far from brilliant, it’s at least watchable and once it ditches the annoying ‘found-footage’ framing after 15 minutes it begins to become more and more involving. You even begin to get used to Anderson’s weird non-acting style. Its the closest thing to a middle of the road zombie flick I’ve ever seen because it has no original ideas but it accomplishes more than the average low-grade zombie flick by concentrating on the characters and their predicaments and the gore and zombies are kept on the fringes, seen all too fleeting until it’s too late. Not a bad debut.

3.5 out of 10 – Above average, no budget flick made in the main by wanna-bes and amateurs.

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ESTRANGED

3.5 out of 10

REVIEW COMING SOON

Release Date: 29th August 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Adam Levins

Cast: Amy Manson, James Cosmo, Craig Conway, Eileen Nicholas, Nora Jane Noone, James Lance and Simon Quarterman

Writer: Simon Fantauzzo

Trailer: ESTRANGED

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SILVERHIDE

1 out of 10

Release Date: 6th April 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Keith R Robinson

Cast: Kelly Wines, Lucy Clarvis, Matt Brewer, Jordan Murphy, Phil Stone, Sean Hayes and John Hoye

Writer: Keith R Robinson

Trailer:SILVERHIDE

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This film is on-par with Steve Lawson’s creaure feature Killer/Saurus in that it was shot in a garage and features a glove puppett for a monster. OK, so even with no expectations this film still couldn’t be worse if it got help.

Several conspiracy buffs trespass onto a top-secret military base the same evening a top-secret military experiment goes out of control. Project Silverhide is a wolf that can turn invisible in the moonlight. A fence falls down and the wolf savages all the cast in such a boring fashion I gave up trying to follow the plot (for what it was?) How a monster flick with a standard plot template could end up a confusing mess is quite an achievement but here’s the proof. Throw in a missing Dad, to one of the trespassers who happens to work at the base (or something) and a photographer that whispers (or got given the broken microphone) all of the exposition is lost. All that’s left for the viewer to do is laugh at the bad special effects and a pre-occupation to replicate JJ Abram‘s famous lense flare with a go-pro.

To say the only positive aspect to Silverhide is that you never see the monster very often or out in the open is a bonus. You see it’s eyes, a paw or a tail. You do see the wolf savage a soldier near the end and it reminded me of the famous TV interview when Burt Reynolds got on the wrong side of Rod Hull & Emu to comedic effect. It’s a joy to watch some amateur actor get wasted by a fluffy sock puppet.

The dialogue is a ripe as Joe Pesci II’s underpants, as soldiers question their superiors with such dopey insolence it’s a wonder they’re not in thrown in the stockade. They’re not even reprimanded. When the soldiers begin to get picked off you realise that you can’t tell who was who? Who was Starbuck? Who wars Red Killer?

The leads are terrible. Only Lucy Clarvis (THE CURSE OF THE WITCHING TREE) was previously known to me and she’s a lot worse here than she was in that lame horror. She looks relieved to be picked off relatively early and it’s a shame because I thought the film must be nearly finished but alas the she bails before the tedium quadruples.

1 out of 10 – Utterly unscary, badly written, badly acted, poorly produced piece of sci-fi twaddle. This makes Killer/Saurus look like Jurassic Park.

Review by Matt ‘Silver Bullet McMonobrow’ Usher below in the darkness…

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BLOOD MOON

5 out of 10

Release Date: 5th October 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Jeremy Wooding (The Magnificent Eleven / Bollywood Queen)

Cast: Shaun Dooley, Anna Skellern, Corey Johnson, Amber Jean Rowan, George Blagden, Raffeolo Degruttola, Eleanor Matsuura, George Webster, David Sterne with Kerry Shale and Jack Fox

Writer: Alan Wightman

Trailer: BLOOD MOON

review by Matt ‘ Silverbullet’ Usher below

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RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER 2

5 out of 10

Release Date: 26th December 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Ricci Harnett

Cast: Ricci Harnett, Luke Mably, Coralie Rose, Johnny Palmiero, Joshua Osei, Scott Peden, Nabil Elouahabi, Andy Linden, Slaine Kelly, Tygo Gernandt, Georgia Bourke with Jasper Britton and Steven Berkoff

Writer: Ricci Harnett

Trailer: RISE OF THE FOOTSOLDIER 2

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Sick of films about Essex gangsters? Well, obviously the DVD buying public aren’t. So here we are again. A sequel to answer those wondering what became of former Essex Boys associate Carlton Leach (KILL THE BITCH) after the events of Rise of the Footsoldier.

The answer is not a lot. But saying that Ricci Harnett (TURNOUT) has found his signature role and makes a good job of building up the myth for Mr Leach. He certainly makes his muse proud here, kicking off over small mishaps, being nice to children, horrible to naked ladies and stopping to regret that he’s not the type of bloke to look at rainbows (but he wishes he was – or something). The amount of people that die in this film, it’s a wonder that Leach isn’t buried under the jail, but this is the point isn’t it. These films are built to enthrall, scare and build myths, not so much bore you with facts – see Essex Boys – The Truth that crams in so much detail it would send the average viewer into a coma. So what’s true and what isn’t shouldn’t bother the majority. Is it any good? Well, I’d say it’s quite good as it keeps you watching, it’s a suitable sequel and there’s no dip in quality, so it’s not a cheap cash-in.  The acting’s OK, and the film is cast with stalwarts of the game, although Luke Mably (EXAM) seems a bit bewildered by his quietly psychotic henchman’s torture methods and weird monologue about comparing such methods to listening to pop music on vinyl.

We catch up with Carlton Leach being muscled out of his nightclub, but he’s given a last chance by local gangster to be a debt collector. It’s all going well until one night he has to drop out of collection in Ibiza when his mystery / forgotten son turns up out of the blue. Leach gets to show his tender side in these familial scenes but elsewhere the ‘job’ in Ibiza goes wrong and people die. There are consequences and Mr Leach has to do some fast thinking to get out of the jam or die. Well the ending is daft as ‘comedy vampire’ from The Reverend (2012) shows up once more to overact and send the film back to the bottom of the cheap racks at Asda.

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If you like nude women there are stacks to leer over in this film, but there’s price. You also see Ricci Harnett‘s bum crack. Only a low-budget, megalomaniac actor/director would make us look at his arse crack. Maybe it’s a message to his critics. Or is it a message to Bernard O’Mahoney (ESSEX BOYS – THE TRUTH) who’s been busy discrediting Mr Leach for his direct involvement with the Essex Boys? Who knows? But there you have it crack addicts.

So it’s quiet praise but this is a lot better film than we’ve come expect from the ever growing ‘Essex crime-genre’.  It’s a worthy sequel to Rise of the Footsoldier (there’s no crap wigs in this one). And Ricci Harnett is a good actor in this kind of role. It’s also got a baffling one-scene cameo by Steven Berkoff (THE BIG I AM) as a comedy doctor? Can’t get to bottom of that one.

5 out of 10 – Solid, worthy sequel to the first one. Nothing great, beyond giving Ricci Harnett a chance to walk around in the character that made his name.

Second review down below by Matt ‘Ave a go, mate’ Usher

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