Review – The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

This isn’t going to be a film for everyone. At Dead By Words, we like to think we’re pretty broad-minded and not easily shocked and this film stayed with us for a longggggg time after we watched it. There’s a scene which is up there, as disturbing as anything in Martyrs, which will get you. You’ll know it.

Yorgas Lanthimos is quickly becoming one of our favourite directors – The Lobster was absorbing and phenomenal – and once again he is reunited with Colin Farrell (who knew he would turn out to be an arthouse indie darling?!), who plays his lead protagonist in this movie. Steven Murphy is a heart surgeon and has a beautiful family – wife Anna (Nicole Kidman – fantastic performance) and two kids – in a beautiful home. He regularly meets with a strange teenage boy called Martin (Barry Keoghan – chilling) and the nature of their relationship becomes evident as the film progresses. We’re thrown into a scenario so dark, so disturbing, where Steven has to make the ultimate choice. What path will he take?

From the start, Sacred Deer grips hard with unsettling imagery, dialogue and a score which chills to the bone. Comparisons will be made to Stanley Kubrick and The Shining, from the music through to Murphy stalking the stark corridors of the hospital like Danny on his trike around the Overlook Hotel. Everyone is slightly off-kilter and not present. Murphy family life revolves around select, isolated locations. Steven and Anna’s sex life involves her pretending to beĀ anaesthetised. It’s difficult viewing but a masterpiece of cinema. Give it a shot…*

Your interpretation of Sacred Deer may well be different to ours, but to say anything further would be to give the game away. Let us know your thoughts below in the comments section…we’d love your interpretation on who Martin actually is…(we’ll let you know ours!)

GORE RATING: 1/5
SCARES: 3/5
DISTURBIA: 5/5
RATING: 9/10
Watch it for: A stunning piece of filmmaking, however unsettling it is
Watch out for: Steven’s selection. Bloody hell

*a bad choice of wording

Advertisements

31 scary movie moments – 4) The fox in Antichrist (2009)

Lars Von Trier’s intriguing, beautiful and repulsive horror film about He (Willem Dafoe), She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and the grief of losing a child has its truly disturbing moments – genital mutilation being amongst some of its most graphic imagery. The film’s not really that scary to be honest, just high on shock value, and we pretty much know what to expect from Von Trier – he is a master of shock and playing around with the emotions of his audience. However, when you come across a self-disembowelling fox that rasps ‘Chaos Reigns’ at you, yep that jam is pretty eerie. Please get out of our dreams, Mr Fox.

Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

An effective and original chiller, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is about a mystery body that turns up in a murder house and baffles father and son coroners Tommy (Brian Cox) and Austin (Emile Hirsch) as they struggle to determine the cause of death. When a violent storm starts and a radio takes on a life of its own, playing songs about the Devil, they realise that this may be an extraordinary corpse.

It’s got the gore of the autopsy – performed real-time – which reveals more and more strange horrors and clues about Jane’s demise. Add into that the sinister supernatural undertones and you’ll be jumping as to what’s coming next.

Cox is excellent as the main lead, and gels well with the innocent Hirsch. The last Act is slightly confusing – as to what Jane is and what her motivations are – but don’t let this distract from a great little horror film that is one to draw the curtains and turn off the lights to.

Kudos must also go to Olwen Kelly who plays the Jane Doe, when most of her performance is being laid out on a slab. Despite not doing very much indeed, she has a formidable presence throughout and is damnnnnnn scary.

GORE RATING: 5/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 2/5

RATING: 8/10

Watch it for: When ‘Jane’s’ powers truly come to light. Breaking the lights

Watch out for: The ring of the toe bell

Review – Alien:Covenant (2017)

Oh Ridley Scott. Ohhhhhh. There was so much promise in those trailers and we were SO ready to be terrified again. We really wanted Alien:Covenant to, well, be good but it’s soulless with poor character development, too much alien CGI (which just doesn’t work) and nothing in the way of scares. Sad face xenomorph emoji šŸ˜¦

There’s some neat stuff around the origins of robot David (Michael Fassbender) and why he likes to play God, and then we’re blasted into space with the merry (dull) crew of the colonisation ship Covenant. Billy Crudup’s Christopher Oram heads up the ship, with a new Sigourney Weaver heroine of Katherine Waterston as Danny Daniels (with Demi Moore Ghost hair), Ā Michael Fassbender’s OTHER robot Walter, Danny McBride’s spunky pilot Tennessee Faris and various other alien fodder. The ‘neat’ (dull) touch this time is that the crew members are married but we never get as far as working out who is married to whom or who actually gives a crap about each other.

There’s some flakey stuff around Oram’s faith which is never fully explained, before he heads the Covenant off to explore a radio transmission from another planet which is wayyyyyy off from where they’re heading. After landing and encountering some pesky black weird alien spore stuff, a crew member is infected and we have a reverse John Hurt moment. Pity what he ‘gives birth’ to is so CGI and crummy – it really does spoil the moment.

There are three particular things to enjoy from the film; Fassbender plays a blinder as the two robots and when they meet it’s pretty divine. This movie is essentially David’s story and he’s absolutely chilling. Danny McBride as action hero is also something very special indeed – next time, next film, we want him as romantic lead. And Waterston is great as Daniels – kick ass and strong. It’s just a shame the rest of it is so shambolic.

GORE RATING: 3/5

SCARES: 1/5

DISTURBIA: 1/5

RATING: 4/10

Watch it for: Michael Fassbender’s dual roleĀ 

Watch out for: Extreme backacheĀ 

Review – Damien: Omen II (1978)

The second installment in The Omen series, we follow 12-year old Damien (a seriously spooky Jonathan Scott-Taylor) as he starts at military academy and realises his destiny. Damien is now living with adoptive parents – after both his parents were taken care of in The Omen – and as those close to him get to know what he’s all about (the 666 on his scalp is a big sign), they start being bumped off. There are also those who exist to protect him.

It’s a good watch and features some pretty gruesome Final Destination-like scenes – the journalist having her eyes pecked out by a raven is especially nasty, as well as the doctor who is chopped in half by a falling lift cable. Scott-Taylor is excellent as our chilling protagonist, who knows he’s a little different to other boys but comes of age with his powers.

Omen II sets us up nicely for Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), and it’s a solid and classic horror franchise that’s still very eerie.

GORE RATING: 3/5

SCARES: 3/5

DISTURBIA: 2/5

RATING: 7/10

Watch it for: Scott-Taylor’s Damien. Creepy kid

Watch out for: Large trucks, if your eyes have been pecked outĀ 

Review – A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

An atmospheric, beautifully shot Iranian vampire Western, A Girl Walks… is a stunning film which also features one of the best cats in cinema – just as good as Ulysses fromĀ Inside Llewyn Davis.

Arash (Arash Marandi) is a hardworking young man who cares for his drug addict father. He also looks super cool, like James Dean. The Girl (Sheila Vand) stalks the streets of Bad City dressed in aĀ chādor, taking drug dealers as her vampiric victims, and listens to moody indie music in her home. One night Arash and The Girl meet – Arash aptly dressed as Dracula, straying from a Halloween party – and she takes him back to her apartment. The rest…that’d be telling.

There are nods to David Lynch throughout – the point of view night time driving, people dancing and throwing strange shapes, the general oddness – and it’s an achingly hip film. Vand is captivating as the quiet but threatening Girl, and Marandi is an old school cinematic heart throb. Be prepared to be absorbed into the strange goings on in Bad City, and to be swallowed by this movie.

GORE RATING: 1/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 1/5

RATING: 7/10

Watch it for: The cinematography is exquisite

Watch out for: Finger lickin’ goodĀ 

Buzzed For – Alien: Covenant

Danny McBride as action hero. James Franco as – he’s got to be, right? – alien nasty, nasty death fodder. Is Seth Rogen going to pop up in the alien costume? We’re very excited for Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant and it looks hopeful that we may be going back to dark roots and true horror.

Out 19 May 2017 in the UK and US.