Good zombies, bad kids, awful politics and a greasy treat
The joys of summer
What a wonderful time to be a horror fan. Not only is it the season of FrightFest but this month I’ve seen a handful of brilliant chillers heading your way in September and October which prove how gorgeously diverse my favourite genre is. Details below, but also in September look out for Morgan , Blair Witch and Under
The Shadow – more from me on these next month, and also what I caught at FrightFest.
An absolute work of genius (one small and unnecessary beat aside), Don’t Breathe comes from Fede Alvarez, the director of the Evil Dead remake, and is the first film from Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures that’s genuinely great. Jane Levy stars as one of a group of scuzzy kids who break into the house of a blind veteran in order to steal his money, but find him more formidable and strange than they expected. It looks gorgeous, it’s packed with very smart setpieces, and it begins with this incredible sweeping shot of the house, touring all the potential weapons that might come into play – it’s the best bit of “Chekov’s gun” (whereby if you see a gun in the first act, it must be fired by the end of the third) tension-building I’ve seen in ages. Better than Hush, slightly reminiscent of the best of the Final Destination movies, it’s ace, except for one misjudged plot twist that changes things. No spoilers, but Sam, Fede, if you want to drop me a line before the next one I’ll be happy to have a read of the script.
How do you feel about wang gags? If it’s an especially funny wang? The grindhouse horror event of the year will almost certainly be The
Greasy Strangler , and your feelings about farts, wangs and, um, grease, will strongly affect your enjoyment of the film. It’s about a father, Big Ronnie, and his son Big Brayden, who run a crap disco walking tour. Brayden falls in love, Ronnie gets jealous, and tries to pinch his lady with his bizarrely revealing crotchless disco suit and amusing/disquieting aforementioned wang. Also, he greases himself up of an evening and goes on murderous rampages. The Greasy Strangler channels early John Waters, is highly repetitious, deliberately annoying and wilfully disgusting but very funny. Eyeballs pop, grease is slathered, farts abound, and there’s a hilarious bit around the mispronunciation of the word “potato”. See it.
A zombie movie about a beautiful little girl is the wistful and grown-up horror of the month.
The Girl With All The Gifts , adapted from Mike Carey’s novel by Carey himself, is an atmospheric, moving and relevant chiller in which a teacher in a military encampment (Gemma Arterton) forms a bond with one of her charges, a bright, fascinating child called Melanie who loves myths and legends, is kind and generous, good at maths and geography and has a craving for human flesh. A fresh take on an age-old genre, with a killer ending.
crime of The year
Okay, so it’s not all zombies and wang gags in the world of horror. Out now, The Purge:
Election Year was a huge disappointment. I liked the first one – clever, new, self-contained and one of the first genuinely original horror franchise ideas in years (if we accept that
Paranormal Activity is just Blair Witch in a house). I liked the second one, too, taking us into the wider world and introducing Frank Grillo’s sympathetic Leo Barnes. Election
Year, on the other hand, is rubbish. The politics are facile, the characters onedimensional and the dialogue is awful. This month, it’s Ghost House: 1 Blumhouse: 0.
A spot of housebreaking does not go to plan in Don’t Breathe. Slather up with The Greasy Strangler. Anya Taylor-Joy is Morgan.