ON THIS PAGE: supernatural, horror, psychological thrillers
SUPERNATURAL/ OCCULT / MINDBENDERS
When things go bump in the night
BOO *** Not one of the best scary films ever made, but thoroughly entertaining. It tells of a group of five college students who enter an abandoned hospital on Halloween night to play tricks on one another. What they discover is that the rumours of the place being haunted are very real when they run into people who are trapped in the hospital and tempt the dead. They also uncover a vengeful spirit who is hell bent on making sure no one gets out alive, except himself. Be prepared for an onslaught of gore. It was written and directed by Anthony C.Ferrante.
THE DESCENT ***** Don't be surprised if you stop breathing halfway through this British shocker! One year following a horrendous and tragic accident, six girlfriends meet for their yearly adventure in a remote part of the Appalachians for a caving trip into the arteries of the earth. Deep inside the caves, disaster strikes again when a rock fall blocks their route back to the surface. The girls learn that Juno, the leader of the expedition who is always pushing herself that bit further, has brought them to an unexplored cave and that no one is coming to rescue them. The group splinters and each push on, praying for another exit. But, there is something else lurking under the earth - a race of monstrous humanoid creatures that are adapted perfectly to life in the dark. As the friends realise they are the prey, they unleash their most primal instincts in an all-out war against an unspeakable horror - one that attacks without warning, again and again and again. Go behind the scenes
DRAG ME TO HELL **** This is the most fun you'll ever have watching a horror! Director Sam Raimi ("Spider-Man" trilogy, "Evil Dead" series) returns to the horror genre with an original tale of a young woman's desperate quest to break an evil curse. Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is an ambitious L.A. loan officer with a charming boyfriend, Professor Clay Dalton (Justin Long). Life is good until the mysterious Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) arrives at the bank to beg for an extension on her home loan. When Christine shams Mrs. Ganush and dispossessing her of her home, the old woman places the powerful curse of the Lamia on Christine, transforming her life into a living hell. The Bonus features includes superb Production diaries. Go behind the scenes
FINAL DESTINATION *** On what should have been a fun-filled day at the races, Nick O'Bannon (Bobby Campo) has a horrific premonition in which a bizarre sequence of events causes multiple race cars to crash, sending flaming debris into the stands, brutally killing his friends and causing the upper deck of the stands to collapse on him. When he comes out of this grisly nightmare, Nick panics, persuading his girlfriend, Lori (Shantel VanSanten), and their friends, Janet (Haley Webb) and Hunt (Nick Zano), to leave…escaping seconds before Nick's frightening vision becomes a terrible reality. Thinking they've cheated death, the group has a new lease on life, but unfortunately for Nick and Lori, it is only the beginning. As his premonitions continue and the crash survivors begin to die one-by-one--in increasingly gruesome ways--Nick must figure out how to escape death once and for all before he, too, reaches his final destination. The film marks the latest in the highly popular "Final Destination" series, and its first 3D installment, giving horror fans an especially visceral thrill ride. "The Final Destination" is directed by David R. Ellis from a screenplay by Eric Bress. The bonus features include additional deleted scenes. Read more
FLIGHTPLAN **** Jodie Foster delivers a stunning performance in this tense psychological drama as a mother who will do everything in her power to prove that her daughter, who disappears mysteriously onboard a flight from Berlin to New York, is alive. The only problem is that there is no proof that her daughter is alive or has ever boarded the plane. Go behind the scenes
IDENTITY **** What if every choice we ever make was already made for us? What if there really were no coincidences in life and our destinies were already predetermined? From James Marigold, the writer/director of C Land and Girl, Interrupted, and Cathy Konrad, the producer of the Scream franchise, comes Identity, a mind- bending thriller with a shockingly original and disturbing twist. It has some great features and is an ideal gift for those who enjoy mind-bending thrillers. Go behind the scenes
THE INVASION **** This latest adaptation of the classic Body Snatchers novel the story of a mysterious epidemic that alters the behaviour of human beings. When a Washington D.C. psychiatrist (Nicole Kidman) discovers the epidemics origins are extraterrestrial, she must fight to protect her son, who may hold the key to stopping the escalating invasion. "The latest and lamest version of Don Siegel's 1956 pulp classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (from the Jack Finney novel) might have been an accidental camp classic if its politics weren't so abhorrent and the movie didn't try to hide its ineptitude behind a veil of pomposity." Manohla Dargis, New York Times. Features: Documentaries 'We've been snatched Before' and 'Invasion in Media History', and 3 featurettes 'The Invasion: A New Story', The Invasion: On the set' and The Invasion: Snatched Go behind the scenes
IN MY SLEEP **** In Allen Wolf's taut psychological thriller, Marcus (Philip Winchester) struggles with parasomnia, a rare sleepwalking disorder. After Marcus wakes up with blood on his hands and a knife at his side, he is startled to hear that a close friend has been found stabbed to death. Marcus frantically tries to put the pieces together - could he have murdered his friend in his sleep to hide a dark secret between them? The police close in as Marcus investigates his own nocturnal activities, desperate to figure out what happens after he goes to sleep. His journey to uncover the truth leads him to a shocking revelation. Says writer-director Allen Woolf: "I had read many stories about people who had done all kinds of horrifying things while they were sleepwalking. I found cases on record dating back to the 1800s. The idea of someone doing something horrifying without any consciousness or memory of it was fascinating to me. As I did further research, I discovered that people with extreme sleepwalking disorders can do just about anything while sleeping. I thought that most of us could relate to feeling like a part of our lives is out of control. I wanted to take that to the next level - what if you lost control of yourself when you were sleeping? That idea drew me to the story ...The movie has a tremendous amount of symbolism. I enjoy how much movies are a visual medium. I've always thought that you should be able to close your ears while watching a movie and still know what is going on. Water is a key symbol in IN MY SLEEP. From the opening frames water is an element in which Marcus is constantly floating and existing. He swims in it, drinks it, hides something in it, dreams about it, showers in it - even his apartment is the color of water. Later in the film in takes on a greater meaning when Becky compares the ocean to God's love. I think Marcus wants love desperately and in a metaphoric sense that's why he is constantly around water. But he doesn't really put all the pieces together until the end. Notice that his father is running a bath of water when he, as a little boy, approaches his father's room. Becky offers him lemonade (sweetened water) but what she's really offering is too sour for him at the time. His phone screensaver is of the ocean and he works at Aqua Day Spa. You'll notice many nautical images that compliment the water theme. Marcus wears a shirt with a sailboat, the wrapping paper for one of his gifts has images from a ship and Becky wears a sweatshirt with anchors on it, referencing the anchor she becomes for Marcus. Sleep symbolizes the state we're in before we wake up to the true reality of the world around us. Characters often use sleep associated words in their conversations. Derek draws meaning from when his arm fell asleep, Becky talks about getting a wake up call in her life. The tree is another important symbol. In one of the opening shots, when we see Marcus lying on the ground, there is actually a carefully placed apple in the upper right-hand corner of the tree. I wanted this moment to represent the fall of man. He took the apple and now we would see the consequences. The tree appears throughout the movie - on the walls of the spa, in a picture in his room and at the cemetery toward the end. To me, it symbolizes that his problem is deeper and has "roots." … Hitchcock was a big inspiration for me in making IN MY SLEEP. The dining scene with Gwen when we hear her say "knife" over and over is an homage to Hitchcock's first sound movie BLACKMAIL from 1929. That film was very famous in the section where a guilt-ridden character hears a jumble of incoherent words punctuated by "knife...knife...knife". I wanted that same kind of expressionistic sound within IN MY SLEEP. It's apparent in the moment when Marcus hears the pictures talk back to him from his pegboard to the dramatic moment when the cops arrive at the end when the sound drops out completely. Sound design is very important to me. The Italian pre-Surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico also influenced my work on IN MY SLEEP. I reference the figures from his paintings in the dream sequences of in which the mysterious, conically-shaped head figures appear. I appreciate the haunting, brooding moods de Chirico creates in his brightly lit paintings and emulate that throughout the movie. I thought it would be much more creepy to have a murder story happen in sunny and colorful Los Angeles."
ISOLATION *** This shocker from Film Four and Lionsgate (DVD release only) is set on a rural farm where simple pregnancy tests on cattle by a biotech laboratory results in frightening consequences. Over the course of 24 hours five people become unwilling participants in a terrifying series of events. The tagline says it all: It didn't want to be born. Now it doesn't want to die!
LADY IN THE WATER **** A modest apartment building manager named Cleveland Heep (Paul Giamatti) discovers a mysterious young woman (Bryce Dallas Howard) in the building's swimming pool and learns that she is actually a water nymph, a character from an ancient legend who is trying to make the treacherous journey from our world back to hers. Cleveland and the tenants of the building slowly realize that they are also characters in this legend. They must work together to protect the mystical woman from the deadly creatures that reside in this modern fairy tale and are determined to prevent her from returning home. As they help the woman, she gives them a sense of belonging and helps them discover their own self worth. The Bonus features include a fascinating 6-part documentary on the making of the film, additional scenes, a gag reel and weblinks. Go behind the scenes
NUMBER 23 ***** A bold and imaginative journey into madness. Joel Schumacher struts his visual flair in a story that demands extreme execution, entering a world of fantasy and spectacle that is daring, provocative and thrilling. It is good to see Jim Carrey in top form in a dramatic role that breaks away from his zany comedy roles and allows him to shine as an actor. It is equally refreshing to find a film that is original in conception and stimulates the intellect.. Spiralling into a dark obsession with the number 23, Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) twists his once idyllic life into an inferno of psychological torture that could possibly lead to his death as well as the deaths of his loved ones. Spurred on by a mysterious novel, The Number 23, that he doesn't dare put down, Walter is forced to unlock the secrets of his past before he can continue his future with his wife, Agatha (Virginia Madsen), and teenage son, Robin (Logan Lerman). The DVD offers a choice between the theatrical and unrated version. Bonus features. Audio commentary by director Joel Schumacher and a fantastic All Access pass with tons of features and interviews on the making of the film and phenomena surrounding the number 23 and insight into numerology. Go behind the scenes
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY ***** There is no ways you can escape the terrifying psychological onslaught of this clever shocker. While they are sleeping, the audience becomes a watchdog to the unseen horror that lurks in the dark. What makes it truly frightening, is that you are witness to something you have absolutely no control over. After a young, middle class couple moves into what seems like a typical suburban "starter" tract house, they become increasingly disturbed by a presence that may or may not be demonic but is certainly most active in the middle of the night. Especially when they sleep. Or try to. One of the scarriest independent films ever made, this supernatural mindbender tells of a haunted house that makes no secret of the fact it's not pleased with its new tenants. Katie (Katie Featherson) and Micah (Micah Sloat) are a twentysomething couple who've just moved into a new home in San Diego, CA. Katie has an interest in the paranormal and believes that malevolent spirits have been following her since childhood, though Micah is not so easily convinced. However, after several nights of loud noises and strange happenings, Micah starts to agree with Katie that some sort of ghost may have followed them to the new home. After a paranormal researcher tells the couple he can't help them, Micah decides to take control of the situation and sets up a battery of video cameras so that if a spirit manifests itself, he can capture its behavior on tape. Once the surveillance cameras are in place, Katie and Micah bring in a Ouija board in an effort to talk to the spirits, a move that deeply offends the ghosts. Paranormal Activity was the first feature film from writer and director Oren Peli. Read more
PASSENGERS ***** One of the most extraordinary love stories of the year. Make sure not to know too much before watching the film. It is one of those quiet films that will remain with you long after leaving the cinema. After a horrific plane crash, a young therapist, Claire Summers (Anne Hathaway), is assigned by her to counsel the flight's five remaining passengers and determined to uncover the truth. She is drawn deeper into a conspiracy--and deeper into a relationship with Eric--that will soon collide in an explosive twist of fate. There are no bonus features. Go behind the scenes
THE PLAGUE *** This DVD release only will be welcomed by most horror buffs. It is described as an apocalyptic thriller and produced by Clive Barker (the creator of Hellraiser, Candyman), with James van der Beek as a man caught up in a web of mystery and supernatural intrigue. For ten years, the children of the world lay comatose, struck down by an eerie plague. They awake to carry out a common mission; the complete annihilation of the adult human race. A vicious killing spree ensues, with zombie-like children on the hunt. The Bonus features includes audio commentary by director Hal Masonberg as well as some insightful deleted scenes
PULSE *** Imagine our wireless technologies made a connection to a world beyond our own. Imagine that world used that technology as a doorway into ours. Now, imagine the connection we made can't be shut down. When you turn on your cell phone or log on to your e-mail, they'll get in, you'll be infected and they'll be able to take from you what they don't have anymore - life. Starring Kristen Bell ("Veronica Mars"), Christina Milian ("Love Don't Cost A Thing") and Ian Somerhalder ("Lost"), and directed by Jim Sonzero. In the past few years, movies based on Japanese horror films have captured the imaginations of American filmgoers. The Bonus features include director's commentary, and inserts on 'Creating the Fear', 'Making Pulse', 'The Visual Effects; and a doccie on Pulse and the Paranormal. Go behind the sceens
RED EYE *** From director Wes Craven (the "Scream" franchise) comes a suspense thriller at 30,000 feet. Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) hates to fly, but the terror that awaits her on the night flight to Miami has nothing to do with a fear of flying. Features: Audio commentary by Wes Craven, making of featurette, a gag reel, Wes Craven: A New Kind of Thriller Go behind the scenes
THE RING TWO **** Be prepared to be scared too death with this terrifying sequel. Horror buffs will delight in this brilliant adaptation and first rate sequel. There are some truly scary moments that will have you on and off the edge of your seat.Features: The Making of Ring 2; deleted and alternate scenes Go behind the scenes
THE RUINS ***** A group of friends whose leisurely Mexican holiday takes a turn for the worse when they, along with a fellow tourist embark on a remote archaeological dig in the jungle, where something evil lives among the ruins. Bonus Features: Commentary by director Carter Smith and editor Jeff Betancourt, deleted scenes, 'Making The Ruins', 'Creeping Death' and 'Building the Ruins'.
SILENT HILL **** (Two disc edition)A totally insane journey into a nightmarish hell. In Gans' ghostly realm, bloody and grotesque ghouls torture a troubled mother who is in search of her daughter and gets lost in the crazy, surreal madness. For director Christophe Gans (Brotherhood of the Wolf), the appeal of adapting the video game Silent Hill lay in its otherworldliness, its mixture of horror, sci-fi and drama elements, all the while refusing to succumb to the rules of any one genre. Go behind the scenes
SKELETON KEY **** Set largely in the dark atmospheric backwoods just outside of New Orleans, "The Skeleton Key" stars Hudson as Caroline, a live-in nurse hired to care for an elderly woman's (Gena Rowlands) ailing husband (John Hurt) in their home...a foreboding and decrepit mansion in the Louisiana delta. Intrigued by the enigmatic couple, their mysterious and secretive ways and their rambling house, Caroline beings to explore the old mansion. Armed with a skeleton key that unlocks every door, she discovers a hidden attic room that holds a deadly and terrifying secret. "I wanted to write a distinctly American, non-traditional ghost story," says screenwriter Ehren Kruger, who penned the hit thriller The Ring. Go behind the scenes
SPIRAL ***** A frightening psychological thriller that will have you glued to the screen. It is set in Portland, a solitary city where a lonely man can lose himself, insulated beneath the cold, and the clouds, and the rain. Mason (Joel David Moore) is just such a man. A gifted artist, Mason is never-the-less neurotic and reclusive, living a life of anonymity, working from a drab cubicle in a florescent-lit phone bank, repeating the same meaningless conversation with faceless strangers ad nauseam. But as Mason's defenses lower, and the man inside is revealed, there may be something behind the surface darker than anyone expected. For not everything that is hidden should be found, and not every love is meant to be. And you can't paint over your past... Go behind the scenes
THE VILLAGE ***** Shaymalan wickedly seduces us with a clever plot and fascinating story that draws us into what we think we know, and gives us what we least expect. We explore a secluded and secretive world where 'Those we don't speak of' are feared and red is a bad colour. A world where there are secrets in every corner. Shyamalan takes you on a journey to explore how fear can affect a community. The features include fantastic behind the scenes featurette and one of Shayamalan's first short films. Go behind the scenes