Penny Dread­ful

What’s hap­pen­ing in the world of hor­ror movies this month…

SFX - - Penny dreadful -

The kids aren’t al­right this month, from the shy, se­cre­tive fish­worker in ex­cel­lent Scando chiller When An­i­mals Dream, to the bul­lied kid with a se­rial killer for a brother in low bud­get cu­rio Found. Then there’s two lit­tle zom­bie girls, Maggie and Me­lanie, mak­ing their way to big screens soon. Plus David Lynch gets an alarm­ing of­fer...

Head girl

One of my favourite books of the last year, MR Carey’s The Girl With All The Gifts is get­ting a movie adap. Hooray! It’s the story of a gor­geous, lov­ing, su­per- smart lit­tle girl called Me­lanie, who also hap­pens to be a zom­bie. I must ad­mit I’ve been hav­ing se­ri­ous zom­bie- fa­tigue of late, but some­how The Girl With All The Gifts feels new – from the care­ful world- build­ing, the phe­nom­e­nally chill­ing end­ing, to the highly like­able char­ac­ters ( Gemma Arter­ton is set to star as Me­lanie’s kind- hearted teacher, Glenn Close as the sci­en­tist search­ing for a cure, with Paddy Con­si­dine as the sol­dier try­ing to pro­tect them). The direc­tor is Colm McCarthy, who made de­cent gritty mon­ster movie Out­cast – so far, so promis­ing, ex­cept one thing. They’ve changed the ti­tle to She Who Brings Gifts. Hor­ren­dous. For a start, The Girl With All The Gifts is al­lit­er­a­tive and trips off the tongue, sec­ond it means some­thing ( it’s re­lated to the Pan­dora myth) and fi­nally She Who Brings Gifts sounds like a sort of sin­is­ter Santa and not a per­fect child blessed with grace, in­tel­li­gence, kind­ness and beauty as well as some­thing a bit more sin­is­ter be­sides. Still, if that’s the big­gest change I’ll love this any­way – Carey him­self de­vel­oped the script con­cur­rent with the novel so this has ev­ery chance of be­ing a master­piece.

Dad of the dead

More lit­tle girl zom­bies in the new trailer for Maggie, a fam­ily drama/ un­dead hor­ror star­ring Abigail Breslin as the tit­u­lar teen in­fected by the virus with Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger him­self as the lov­ing fa­ther who wants to stay by her side dur­ing the change. This was de­vel­oped from a black­list screen­play ( the an­nual list of the best un­pro­duced scripts in Hol­ly­wood) by fea­ture first- timer Henry Hob­son and de­spite the heavy­weight cast and the in­trigu­ing trailer I’m ner­vous. Orig­i­nally this was go­ing to star Paddy Con­si­dine and Chloë Grace Moretz, which sounded per­fect. Then the film was go­ing to pre­miere at the Toronto Film Fes­ti­val, which of­ten de­buts the best new hor­ror around, but it got pulled at the last minute by Lion­s­gate who’d just ac­quired it. And now it’s get­ting an early May US re­lease, right in the mid­dle of block­buster sea­son, af­ter a first screen­ing at Tribeca. Who is this for? Hor­ror fans? Arnie- philes? Eight­ies ac­tion afi­ciona­dos? Call me cyn­i­cal but this could be DOA.

Cheap and nast y

It’s a truth uni­ver­sally ac­knowl­edged among com­mit­ted hor­ror fans that we’ll put up with a cer­tain level of, let’s say, “rough edges” if a film is clever/ com­pelling/ gory/ funny/ fright­en­ing enough. We’ll swallow vaguely hammy act­ing. We’ll call grain­i­ness “au­then­tic grit”. We’ll take ex­ces­sive use of ketchup on the chin. But there is a tip­ping point, and Found, an in­ter­est­ing, com­pelling but grimy chiller out now on DVD, is only just on the right side. Di­rected by no one you’ve heard

Looks like he’s Found an ex­cuse to get out of the dec­o­rat­ing…

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