Tag Archives: Horror

Office (Film) Review

May-hem month seems to be leaning towards Asia Extreme movies so far and I for one am here for it. While this week’s pick is nowhere near as bat shit crazy as the last, it’s still pretty out there in terms of premise and delivery. There’s a strong moral to the movie too which I’ll address but for now, my thoughts.

*Spoilers*

Office (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

The investigation following a sales manager brutally killing his entire family leads to a track of mystery and tragedy in an overwhelmed work team at Seul.

My Review

Lee Mi-Rye (Ko Asung) is a hard-working intern hoping to be made permanent in a big sales firm in Seoul, South Korea. As with so many big companies, she’s treated like a pack-horse and given very little recognition in return, which I’ll go into in just a moment. First I should mention that the film begins with Mr Kim, an employee at the same firm. As the movie opens we witness Kim return home from work, eat a nice meal and then slaughter his entire family, child and all, with a hammer. What’s wrong with After Eight Mints is what I want to know?

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Stop. Hamm… no I can’t. Too much.

Back at the office, the police are going through the staff one by one trying to work out a) why this happened and b) where Kim is now he’s at large. It soon becomes apparent to Detective Jong-Hoon (Sung-woong Park) that the staff are all hiding something.

Back to Mi-Rye. As soon as the police turn up, Mi-Rye is briefed by her colleagues to pretend that she didn’t know Kim very well. She plays along at first because she’s eager to please. However, Jong-Hoon soon sees through her and learns that actually she was quite close to him. Mi-Rye explains that he was the only person nice to her when she started.

The rest of her colleagues are absolute bastards to her actually and this only gets worse when their big boss Kim Sang-Gyu (Eui-sung Kim) hires a second intern. This pits the girls against each other and has Mi-Rye’s colleagues comparing her unfavourably to the new girl.

Meanwhile, the cops work out via CCTV that after the murders, Kim returned to the office and was not seen leaving. This suggests he’s still in the building! EEEK. This theory is further reinforced by the fact that Kim (and Mi-Rye’s) colleagues start to turn up dead in wonderfully gruesome ways.

All this is set against the backdrop of an overworked and under-valued work force who are being worked to the bone by their overbearing and demanding boss. Who reams them out in front of everyone else in the department which is probably the scariest thing about this thriller/horror – and my worst nightmare.

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Will we find out what pushed Kim over the edge? What are the others hiding? And is Mi-Rye okay, hun?

While I want to do a decent job of reviewing this I don’t want to give away every nuance of the plot. It is quite hard to keep a track of and the end is quite ambiguous, although AWESOME.

My Thoughts

Office was actually really compelling. I was all in from the get go, even though it does have a habit of flipping you backwards into a flashback without much fanfare. A couple of times, even though I was concentrating I had to rewind to understand a scene. I’m not afraid to admit that I also found a Reddit forum discussing the film and read that cover to cover to help me understand a couple of points.

The performances were good, the set up is great and there’s something so relateable about the setting of an office, since I personally spend so much time in one. As Mi-Rye learns what her colleagues really think of her, via the old-school medium of hiding behind pillars and eavesdropping, I could feel her distress and paranoia bubbling over.

Korean cinema is my favourite and although this doesn’t have the impact of Old Boy or Memories of Murder (to name but a few shit hot examples), it’s not bad at all. I like its creepy tone and enjoyed unraveling the plot. I also really found myself rooting for Mi-Rye who has the look of a rabbit caught in headlights for most of the film.

And the aforementioned moral of the story – and potential *Spoiler* – be nicer to your interns, fuckers.

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My Rating

3.5/5.

What did Jill think of this one? Would stay late to work on it or fire it? Find out here.

Tag (Film) Review

This month is May-hem Month (see what Jill did there?!) and we start off with quite the bang. I’m not sure if that’s in a good way either because I am still trying to work out what the fuck happened. So without further ado, let’s get down and dirty with our first May-hem pick!

Tag (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

A girl’s life cascades into chaos as everyone around her suffers a gruesome fate while she herself becomes less and less certain of who she is and what kind of a world she lives in.

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My Review

WTF was a common phrase running through my head as I watched this. I have little to no understanding of what happened which actually doesn’t matter that much as it adds to the general vibe of what our main character Mitsuko is going through. I’ll try my best to elaborate anyway.

Mitsuko (Reina Triendl) appears to be a sensitive soul, writing poetry and being less abrasive than her classmates (in short, there’s something special about her, bear that it mind). On a school trip, our heroine narrowly escapes a bloody and inexplicable fate. (Like the most creative death scene since Ghost Ship (2002) – it is immense!).

Killer wind, anyone?

Dazed and confused but very much alive, Mitsuko immediately stumbles from the scene of the accident into a (different) school where her peers all seem to recognise her – but she’s got no clue if she’s a student there, who she is, who they are. Bemused by her sudden flakiness, her friends – Aki, Taeko and Sur – make her cut class and they all end up in the woods. Whilst there, Mitsuko outlines what happened on the bus (killer wind, sliced up bodies, all that jazz) – and puts it down to being a bad dream.

This leads to an existential discussion about parallel timelines and alternate worlds lead by Sur (short for ‘Surreal’) – who philosophises that to avoid a horrible fate and set the world back in motion, Misuko just has to do something completely unexpected (honestly, I got lost here but there is a giant crocodile dream sequence which is pretty glorious).

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When the girls return to their classrooms, they are torn down by homicidal teachers with machine guns (and I thought Catholic school was heavy). All but Mitsuko are slaughtered where they stand. From here we flip and flop into an exploration of these alternate universes, as Mitsuko becomes Keiko and Izumi (played by different actresses so very confusing). Her alternates are a bride betrothed to a boar headed man (been there) and a marathon runner.

(You with me?) LOL.

Mitsuko keeps on meeting the same group of girlfriends who are either friend or foe in these realities – but they generally end up killed in the most OTT ways imaginable. Always constant however is Aki, who pops up to support or gee up Mitsuko/Keiko/Izumi along the way. At one point she tells Mitsuko that she might be these other two characters in different lives but at the core she will always be Mitsuko.

Aki also explains to Mitsuko that in order to stop the cycle of all her friends being slaughtered in every reality, she needs to die. Later there’s a convoluted thread about all this being a computer game with Mitsuko as the main character, some stolen DNA and a sinister as all fuck shrine to all her dead classmates.

I guess the final point here is, will Mitsuko make the ultimate sacrifice to save her friends?

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My Thoughts

Apart from the gore there isn’t an awful lot to engage me here – which is ludicrous because on paper this is the most me film you can think of. However, I just didn’t connect with it at all. I loved the killings and the fantasy/horror element of everything but the plot is just too incoherent for me to keep up. I’ve read through the Wiki synopsis a few times and I’m still confuddled.

I do like what it’s supposedly saying about the ‘boys club’ and how everything is run by a bunch of sad and pervy little boys and I would have liked more of an exploration of that. It would have been amazing to have seen Mitsuko fuck up the patriarchy – but it is refreshing to watch a movie run by so many females.

In tone it reminds me of a film called The Machine Girl (2008) – which dials up the blood and goo but doesn’t deliver much else. Again, believe me I’m as surprised as anyone that this sub genre doesn’t seem to be for me.

My Rating

Sorry, but 1.5/5.

What did Jill make of this one? Would she leave it outside in the killer wind or follow it through parallel universes for lyfe. Find out here.

Such Small Hands (Book) Review

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It would be very hard for me to go in too deep on this book because it’s very hard to define. It’s stunning though; macabre, fascinating and eery as hell.

Marina is seven and has just become an orphan, after her parents are killed in a car accident. The same accident strips the skin from her ribs and leaves her body scarred for life. Her personal mantra has become “My father died instantly, my mother in the hospital” and she wheels it out whenever she’s asked to tell her story.

In the hospital, Marina is given a small spooky doll by the doctors and it becomes her constant companion, her confidante.

One day she arrives at the orphanage and creates a ripple amongst the little girls who already live there (less a ripple more a tidal wave, honestly). The girls’ obsession and their love for Marina while pure, isn’t always kind and they torture her daily with their teasing, their silence and their tricks. They steal her doll and deliver it back to her body part by body part, and bury what’s left in the ground.

But at night, everything is different. At night they play Marina’s game.

Based on a terrifying real-life event, Such Small Hands is a poetic horror story molded from the most beautiful prose I’ve read in a long time. It’s nightmarish and pretty at the same time, like some of the most appealing things in life and I couldn’t recommend it more. I hope it leaves you as breathless and creeped out as it did me.

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Book details:

Such Small Hands
Publisher: Portobello Books Ltd (3 Aug. 2017)
ISBN-10: 1846276438
ISBN-13: 978-1846276439
Gifted hardback (new)

What are you currently reading?

Kudos to Andrés Barba for his amazing author photo. Look at it! (above).

31 Horrors – A Round Up

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Man, I love Halloween (and yes, I am finding it hard to let go). Not least because I get to indulge my passion for horror movies in a more unabashed way.

This October I made a deal with myself that I’d watch 31 horror movies in 31 days – and here’s the list (including my ratings).

I’m so chuffed to be able to include Creep 2, the follow on from Patrick Brice‘s masterpiece Creep. If you haven’t seen that one yet, you’ve got to, it still haunts me to this day.

You better run
  1. Last Girl Standing (2015) – 3/5
  2. Under the Shadow (2016) – 4/5
  3. Gerald’s Game (2017) – 5/5
  4. Boys in the Trees (2016) – 3.5/5
  5. Session 9 (2001) – 4/5
  6. The Void (2016) – 3/5
  7. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) – 3.5/5
  8. Better Watch Out (2016) – 4/5
  9. Cult of Chucky (2017) – 3.5/5
  10. Exhibit A (2007) – 2.5/5
  11. The Atticus Institute (2015) – 4/5
  12. The Black Room (2016) – 0.5/5
  13. Friday the 13th (1980) – 3/5
  14. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) – 5/5
  15. A Dark Song (2016) – 4.5/5
  16. Long Pigs (2007) – 3.5/5
  17. Creep (2014) – 5/5
  18. The Sacrament (2013) – 4.5/5
  19. The Den (2013) – 3/5
  20. The Innkeepers (2011) – 4/5
  21. Creepshow (1982) – 3/5
  22. Two Evil Eyes (1990) – 4/5
  23. Killing Ground (2016) – 3.5/5
  24. 1922 (2017) – 3/5
  25. Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1972) – 3/5
  26. Carrie (1976) – 4/5
  27. The Visit (2015) – 3.5/5
  28. Trick r’ Treat (2007) – 4/5
  29. Digging Up the Marrow (2014) – 3.5/5
  30. Creep 2 (2017) – 4/5
  31. Tales of Halloween (2015) – 3.5/5
How cool are these posters?

Roll on next October! 🎃♥️

Halloween Would You Rather?

Putzel

Happy Best Day of the Year! I’ll be eating candy with Stranger Things and the lights off tonight, what are you doing?

In the spirit of this great holiday, I thought I’d do my own Halloween version of Would You Rather? (I stole the idea from the internet). I’ve put my answers in too, so you can get to know me even better than you already do. Play along if you fancy.

Here goes.

Would You Rather:

Or

Go on date with Jason Vorhees for a whole evening OR kiss Michael Myers on the lips for ten seconds (over his mask)?

The date with JV, though the conversation would definitely be stilted. Still, been on worse.

Spend the night in a haunted house on your own OR visit The Upside Down for an hour?

Haunted house I think, although I definitely would not make it through the night. But it would be cool to say I’d done it if I did survive.

Be turned forever into a vampire OR a werewolf?

Even though werewolves are infinitely cooler, the whole process of changing every full moon seems exhausting, so I choose vampire. Vampires also get to stay young and beautiful, so that’s a bonus.

Or (2)

Have your Air B&B turn out to be The Overlook Hotel in The Shining OR the cabin in The Evil Dead?

Yikes. Definitely The Overlook. At least there’s a bar and no tree branches.

Eat nothing but pumpkins OR get egged every night for the whole of October?

Pumpkins I guess? Although I’m not even sure if I’ve ever really tasted pumpkin without all the cinnamon and sugar and spice that usually goes with it.

Or (6)

Go to your Halloween party dressed as Winona Ryder’s Joyce Byers OR Lydia Deetz?

I think Joyce is going to be as iconic as Lydia one day so I’m going for her. I’d wrap myself in fairy lights and work on my deer-in-headlights look.

Or (7)

Be a horror writer OR a horror director?

I love horror movies with all my heart but I think to be able to write a genuinely terrifying book would be incredible so I say writer. I love how prolific female writers are in the thriller/horror/ghost genres.

Have awesome telekinetic abilities AKA Eleven/Carrie OR amazing medium abilities AKA Lorraine in The Conjuring?

I think it would be so cool to be able to move things with the mind. I wouldn’t be able to handle being bugged by the dead. I have enough trouble keeping up with friends let alone having to be there for a whole other realm.

Or (8)

Ryan Reynolds in The Amityville Horror OR The Voices?

This was just my excuse to post a picture of a half-naked RR with a beard, not gonna lie. So I think you have an idea of my answer.

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Be a Ghostbuster OR be in the Stranger Things gang?

Stranger Things, hands down. Those kids are so cool.

Get a Good Guy Doll for your birthday OR Annabelle?

Chucky. At least he’d be a laugh before he murdered me.

Be a Trump Supporter OR star in the real life remake of Ghostwatch?

The latter any day of the week. Over and over if I had to.

2017 Pennywise OR 1990 Pennywise?

Tim Curry all the way, even though I like the new IT. You can give it a good go but you can’t beat the original and best Pennywise. Obvs.

Or (12)

Do a Ouija board with guaranteed ghostly interaction all night OR play one round of Would You Rather?

Ouija baby, I’m too much of a wimp to allow myself to get physically hurt (or hurt someone else for no good reason).

~

Over the next couple of day I’ll be rounding up Blogtober 2017 and my 31 Horrors, but apart from that, my Halloween work here is done.

Until next year, my spooky friends.

Halloween Digest : Bumper Edition

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It truly is the most wonderful time of the year – and I’m sad that it’s coming to an end for now. I’ve been having a blast watching horror movies, playing dress up, stuffing myself with sweets (though this is an evergreen activity tbf) – and wearing dark lipstick.

The office has been awash with Halloween goodness, skeletons are dripping from every surface and we dressed up for my first work party on Friday night, which was lovely. Tonight I’m with my brother and sister-in-law at another party and I can’t think of a holiday season I enjoy more. It’s so perfect and so AUTUMN.

Here’s what I’m digging this week, in addition to all the socialising.

My Halloween Bumper Digest:

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Trick R’ Treat (2007)

This is a classic part of the Halloween season as far as I’m concerned and the horror anthology is a huge part of the horror genre too. While this might not be in the same league as Creepshow (1982) and pals, as a contemporary piece I think it works well. It has a sense of humour that I enjoy.

A series of small vignettes splice together to bring us a satisfyingly gory Halloween treat. A reluctant Halloween participant, a bus full of doomed children, a sexy Red Riding Hood and her friends on a unique night out, a sack headed loner kid and a vindictive single dad – there’s something here for every horror fan and I enjoy it more every time I watch it.

There’s still time to enjoy this before the month is out, just sayin’.

Digging Up the Marrow (2013)

A seasoned horror filmmaker and his camera crew meet up with a man who claims there is a whole metropolis of monsters living beneath the ground, in a parallel world just like ours, called The Marrow. Initially deeply cynical, despite the desire to believe, the crew are delighted to discover their new friend AIN’T LYING.

UGH. This film is so beautiful in terms of the monster work. I’m so surprised I haven’t seen or heard of it before now. As a whole piece, I really liked it.

Coming to the podcast soon!

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Pumpkin Carving

I love pumpkin carving – it’s too much fun. The smell, the feels of the innards are they ooze through your fingers – the opportunity to create something wonderful and terrifying. Or in my case, pretty damn cute actually.

 


Winona Forever (But Especially During Her Best Month)

Literal Queen of Halloween – then, now and forever. She looks as incredible today as she always has but I am loving these pictures of young, gothic Winona.

Winona Forever, indeed.

Creep 2

I’m not saying much now because I will probably be blogging this one – but OMG 😮 !!!

What are you digging?

Final Girl Friday: Nica, Cult of Chucky (2017)

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I can’t remember how this week’s FG fell in with the infamous ginger doll, probably because their meet cute was so forgettable.

But I very much do remember Cult of Chucky because I’ve only just seen it and that’s what has reminded me how cool Nica is. Not least because she’s the only paraplegic horror heroine I can think of.

If you know of any more disabled horror protagonists, I would love to know of them. A Google search throws up only Cherry Darling, Mr. Glass and The Blind Man in Don’t Breathe but he’s nasty.

The Girl

Nica Pierce, Cult of Chucky (2017) – first introduced in Curse of Chucky (2013)

The Situation

Nica’s in a mental institution following the murder of her family. She’s finally accepted that “Chucky” was all in her head and that she is the one responsible for all that carnage. Under the care of Doctor Foley she’s been granted a small amount of freedom in medium security but her life is set to change forever (again) when it becomes clear that the truth she’s been living for the last few years ain’t anywhere near the truth.

He’s baaaaaaaaak…

*Spoilers – beware!*

The Final Girl

I mentioned above that Nica is in a wheelchair and even though it shouldn’t be a big deal, it is fucking great to see a disabled heroine on the big screen. She’s a proper badass is Nica with a fearless streak I admire. Her only true concern in life now is Alice, the niece who now has a new guardian and a new life away from all the horror. When she finds out her raison d’être has passed on from this realm, she feels incredibly helpless, resigning herself to her own death.

When Chucky comes a-calling again (aborting her suicide attempt) and she accepts he’s real after all, she’s quite calm considering. Her dickhead (but not really) fellow patients don’t believe her story but she sets out to prove Chucky’s existence regardless. As the murder count rises and only one other person believes Nica, she’s forced to fight the short shit all over again.

Nica is by far a more satisfying ‘victim’ than pathetic Andy (the original kid now slightly off-putting Chucky obsessive adult) – and the point is, she doesn’t come off as a victim really. She fights smart and hard.

On discovering that Doctor Foley has been sexually assaulting her while she’s been under hypnosis, Nica smashes his fucking face in and then inadvertently joins the dark side, giving us a glimpse at the very best film in the Chucky franchise to come (if the Heavens align and there is a God): The Tiffany and Nica Road Trip Movie. 

Sure, this Final Girl is now possessed by Charles Lee Ray but how fun? He’s a great horror character and now he’s in Nica’s body. I can’t wait for the next tacky af instalment! I do want Good Nica back but not yet – let her have some fucking freedom for a bit, yeah? She’s been through so much.

You shall soon have your bloody revenge, girlfriend!

Final Girl Rating

4/5 – She’s on another journey now but this won’t be last we’ve seen of Nica.

You can read my Cult of Chucky review here, if you fancy.