Thursday, 6 December 2012

Greg Klymkiw's SAVAGE 7 - THE BEST HORROR, SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY FILMS of 2012 (in glorious alphabetical order)

Greg Klymkiw's SAVAGE 7 - THE BEST HORROR, SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY FILMS of 2012 (in glorious alphabetical order)
American Mary **** (2012)
dir. Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska
American Mary is a dazzlingly audacious sophomore effort from the Vancouver-based twisted twin sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska. It's essentially a rape-revenge fantasy involving a young surgeon who becomes involved in the dark underground world of body modification. As her butchery improves with each subject, she is eventually ready to ply her skill upon her abuser, a senior surgeon whose air of respectability as a healer and academic is the weapon he uses to commit sexual violence. Watch out! Someone's gonna pay. Big time. It's Tod Browning meets early David Cronenberg with a decidedly feminist and feminine slant, as well as a genuine respect, understanding and compassion for those who MUST be different.

Beyond The Black Rainbow (2012) **** dir. Panos Cosmatos
Beyond The Black Rainbow is a 70s/80s-style "head" film that has "cult" emblazoned upon its celluloid forehead. Blessed with a cool score/soundscape as well as an imaginative production design, the movie is replete with a delicious combination of creepy psychiatric experimentation sequences, dollops of shockingly grotesque bloodletting and several dreamscape montages that are trippy to say the least. For me, I got way more bang for my buck out of this modestly budgeted SF-Horror whacko-fest than Sir Ridley's plodding mess Prometheus. I suspect, that like most cult items, Cosmatos's juicy mind-fuck might take some shelf life for the devotion his movie deserves to be fully discovered. In the meantime, fire up a fat doobie and enjoy!

The Chernobyl Diaries (2012) dir. Bradley Parker ***
Young Americans in Ukraine indulge themselves in a bit of extreme tourism and visit the abandoned city overlooking the site of the tragic Chornobyl nuclear meltdown. Things get a bit more extreme than anyone bargained for. Wandering through the deserted disaster area, weird noises puncture the eerie silence and eventually La Turistas are besieged by hungry, radiation-crazed bears, dogs, wolves and ceolocanth-piranha-like fish. When their tour guide's van won't start, darkness descends upon the city. It appears there are other creatures to contend with. As they must, and because it's a horror film, our motley crew ventures into the darkness of the city. Where there is radiation, there will be MUTANTS!!! Where there are mutants, carnage will follow.

The Cabin in the Woods (2012) dir. Drew Goddard ***1/2
The Cabin in the Woods is a genre-geek's wet-dream, so set a spell, take a load off and leave your brain home. You won't need any grey matter for The Cabin in the Woods anyway. As moronic, derivative and plot-hole-ridden as the picture is, there are enough genuine surprises and a couple of truly breathtakingly inventive horror set pieces, that by the end, you'll be giddily satisfied. Five college kids - two hunks, two babes and one doper dweeb - hop into an RV and head into back country. Upon reaching their destination, they engage in the usual shenanigans that Hollywood-types assume young people do and before you can say: "Sam Raimi", a whole mess of slavering, rotting, bloodthirsty undead come crawling out of the soil. Thankfully what awaits is a whole lot more horrifying.

Citadel (2012) ****
dir. Ciaran Foy
Citadel is, first and foremost, a film about crashing, numbing, unrelenting fear. It is a palpable fear that's brought on when the film's young protagonist watches - not once, but twice - as those he loves are brutalized and/or snatched away from him. His fear intensifies so unremittingly, with such grim realism, that we're placed directly in the eye of the storm that is his constant state of terror. Even scarier is his struggle to instil enough courage to face the evil. Director Foy jangles our nerves with the panache of a master. His movie will scare the living bejesus out of you. The mise-en-scene is dazzling and the tale is rooted in both a humanity and reality that will smack close to home for many. Its dystopian world of fear, crime, poverty, filth and despair are enough to chill you to the bone, but we're not let off that easy. There is, you see, an infection. Oh yes, an infection, and one that leads to a heart-stopping, scream-inducing, drawer-filling and flat-out dizzying, jack-hammeringly appalling climax of pure, sickening, unadulterated terror.

John Carter (2012) dir. Andrew Stanton ***1/2
When I do the math that counts, I add up the following John Carter attributes:
A handsome, stalwart hunk hero. A major league babe. Noble allies for the hunkster and babe to right wrongs. Great villains. An overall mise-en-scene that captures the SPIRIT of the late, great, original author Edgar Rice Burroughs ("Tarzan of the Apes") whose book ("Princess of Mars") the film is based upon. Eye-popping special effects (that work just as well in 2-D as they do in 3-D, the latter process being one I normally can't stand). Cool aliens. Cool sets. Cool spaceships. Monsters. Yes, monsters. Cool monsters, at that. An astounding slaves-in-an-arena-fighting-aforementioned-monsters scene. A rip-snorting battle sequence. Have I mentioned the babe, yet? The sum total of the above is that director Andrew (Finding Nemo, WALL-E) Stanton's big screen version of Burroughs's first John Carter novel is a total blast.

[REC]3: Genesis (2012) dir. Paco Plaza ***1/2
Buoyed by a clutch of terrific acting, superb effects and some delicious shocks, [Rec3] delivers the goods and then some. Most of all, though, what sells [Rec]3 is the notion that Hell hath no fury like a woman whose fairy-tale wedding is transformed into a Grimm Brothers fairy tale. Her white dress spattered with blood, her gamin visage transformed from joy to almost malevolent strictures, her train torn away to reveal her hot gams and armed with one motherfucker of a chainsaw, one only wonders who in their right mind would not be thrilled at the site of this sexy senorita cutting, slashing and maiming her way through one living dead wedding guest after another?