What the previous, third entry in this popular cult franchise had in personality, gore and entertainment, it lacked in under-the-skin scares and dread, whilst adding very little to the story. Oh and why it was called Genesis is anyone’s idea. However a bride wielding a chainsaw will always get points from me.
So we come to this fourth and probably final entry in the franchise, as lone survivor Angela; the reporter who managed to get through the horrors of the apartment building in the first two movies, finds herself on a boat surrounded by scientists and the military amongst the regular crew. Have they managed to contain the virus that caused people to turn into ravenous zombies? Thankfully this is a return to the more serious, claustrophobic and tension filled tone of the first two movies, dropping much of the schlock of the third, which at times was more comedy than horror. The hand-held camera approach that worked so well initially doesn’t make a return however but that’s no major loss (apart from causing the title to make little sense) and I still found this pretty nail biting stuff. Following on from the shock climax of the second movie, I enjoyed the is-she isn’t-she of Angela’s infection, wondering what the scientists are really up to, and why there seems to be a monkey running around.
In Manuela Velasco’s Angela we have a gutsy, suitably sexy heroine who is supported well by some interesting characters, including a geeky tech guy who just happens to be the plucky reporter’s number-one fan. The movie barely touches on the demonic possession angle of the previous movies however and is much more straight-forward action horror – with a very exciting and intense final act. Yet by the time we reach this fourth entry, clearly the story is scraping the ideas-barrel … and a parasitic organism just isn’t as scary as possession, despite the franchise’s initial potential. For a zombie-fest though, I still had a good time.
Last night I stumbled upon a showing of Hostel: Part II on television, and it dawned on me, that although this particular movie is rather missable overall, it does feature one of the most shocking horror scenes that has ever been in a mainstream motion picture.
So here’s my run down of some of the more disturbing / shocking movie moments I have seen … in no particular order.
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!!
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