Viewed 22 Agust 2008  DVD

When a movie is said to be the scariest film of all time – those are big words.  The Blair Witch Project, a film this Spanish horror resembles in style but not in subject, was hyped the same but disappointed due to a tiny budget and few genuine scares.  Not so for this story of a female reporter, her camera guy and a team of firemen who become trapped in an apartment building after a routine night shift turns into a gruelling battle for survival.  The feisty female (Manuela Velasco) at the centre of the action is superbly convincing, all ambition and naivety following these firefighters and trying to make a documentary in the process.

In much the same way as Blair Witch and Cloverfield and more recently Diary of the Dead, this is all hand-held camera work that cranks up the immediacy and intensity – but unlike those films there is more believability and  genuine point to the ‘keep on filming’ and the directors here (Jaume Balaguero & Paco Blaza) have nailed the concept perfectly.  Now what makes this film so damn effective is the well staged shocks that will have you jumping out of your seat on several occasions even if you can sometimes see them coming.  Also add to this the claustrophobic atmosphere of the building, and the use of black outs, night vision and a superb sense of hopelessness – this is easily one of the most terrifying movies I have ever seen.

For full effect watch in the dark with the sound cranked up!!

Verdict:  5 /5

Diary of the Dead

Viewed – 19 August 2008  DVD

George A Romero, the godfather of the zombie movie is back with his latest feet dragging opus in this documentary-style origin tale of the zombie apocalypse, almost as if his previous movies never happened. 

Taking its lead from movies like The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield this follows a group of film students who find themselves amidst of a zombie outbreak whilst filming their own horror movie.  This slow-burning series of events, done as if edited together from witnessed footage and narrated by one of the film students, is a fresh apporach to the genre but lacks some of the scares of the more famous films in the series like Dawn of the Dead and most notably Night of the Living Dead.  Yet the cast of unkowns are likable and convincing even if this overall concept keeps you wondering why everything is still being filmed and why they don’t just get the hell out of dodge…but then again one only has to look at the amateur footage captured during 9/11 to realise we will document the most harrowing of experiences rather than doing the more rational alternative.

Even though, I felt this film, whilst fascinating and with plenty of good moments lacked energy and thrill.  After watching the sublime Cloverfield this just felt a little amateurish.  Still a thought provoking oddity none the less thats worthy of your time.

Verdict:  3 /5