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HORROR

Trench 11 (2017)

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The air is moving.
Fritz left a door open somewhere.

Did the creators of “Trench 11” know that the film “Overlord” is going to be released this autumn? Or did they want to beat film studio “The Asylum” and be the first one to deliver a low-budget horror in which American and English soldiers face German zombies? The biggest difference with “Overlord” is the world war they’ve chosen. “Overlord” is about American marines after D-day in the 2nd World War, while “Trench 11” is situated during the 1st World War. So no Nazi Germany.

No magic tricks from the CGI department.

And another difference is the footage. Just look at the trailer of “Overlord” and you’ll easily notice that there’s a difference in the budget for the department “Special Effects” and “Computer Graphics”. Film producer “Carousel Pictures” doesn’t seem to have a CGI department. And in terms of special effects, it’s not all high-tech what you’ll see. It’s limited to practical effects (though excellent ones) and stop-motion techniques.

Fancy a spaghetti Bolognaise? Watch this movie.

In a strict sense, this isn’t really about zombies. You can call it chemical experiments that went out of hand. Somewhat like what happened in “Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies” where a chemical product for artificial snow was the cause of all the misery. What Lt. Berton (Rossifson of DonaldSutherland) and the group of American soldiers and English officers encounter in the underground tunnels of a giant German bunker in the forests of Argonne, are infected guinea pigs. Test subjects who underwent some kind of medical experiments, after which they changed into ruthless savages whose bodies are stuffed with wriggling spaghetti. A type of parasite that infects the frontal lobe of the human brain, causing the victim to lose his personality and no longer knowing the difference between right and wrong. The result is a few bloody confrontations with somewhat deliciously gross images.

Exciting and funny at the same time.

Maybe the bloody scenes look a bit cheap and old-fashioned (even though I like to see a bursting skull from time to time), yet they managed to create a threatening atmosphere. Of course, the location is something that’ll take care of that. Underground tunnels are suitable to provide dark, claustrophobic images. A creepy labyrinth full of corridors where you can encounter an insane mutation at every corner. So the tension is certainly present. And humor is also present at certain times. Even though I think this was not done on purpose. Like this conversation, for example:

How do I know I’m not infected?
What are the symptoms?
Begins with fever. You become increasingly violent.
How do you feel?
I feel like blowing up something.
That is a symptom

Who’s more nuts? Reiner or Pronger?

Unfortunately, the characters are a bit clichéd. You have another know-it-all, authoritarian superior (Ted Atherton) who doesn’t tolerate contradiction and keeps coming up with excuses or pronounces threatening language when exercising his authority. They are accompanied by a trio of seasoned American soldiers goosed up on adrenalin. While the English officers bring out an authentic English teapot, these gentlemen sniff a line of coke (or something similar) to enter the battlefield fearlessly and more alertly. The most colorful and atypical figure here is Sgt. Pronger (Jeff Strome). That facial expression shows how insane this war has made him. And then you have the German sadistic officer Reiner (Robert Stadlober) who is a fervent supporter of chemical warfare. A bit similar to Dr. Maru from “Wonder woman” or Red Skull against who Captain America fought. But Reiner is less machiavellistic.

It’s not an extraordinary horror. But it’s not bad either.

Trench 11” won’t become an instant classic in Horror Land. But you can say a lot of positive things about it. Admittedly, some of the actors aren’t particularly overwhelming. And at times there’s silliness and there are some improbabilities (but most horror movies have that). I found the statement of Capt. Cooper (Luke Humprey) about the entire US Army (“Whatever Jennings is doing down here is important enough to secure the full cooperation of the American army. How else could he get a whole division down her?”) a bit strange. I suppose that a division from the American army consists of more than three soldiers. But despite these hiccups, I thought this war/horror film quite successful.

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

 

 

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HORROR

Longlegs: An Atmospherically Distressing Exploration of Evil

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Longlegs [credit: neon]

Longlegs has been the talk of the town with early screening reactions terming it as “the scariest movie of the decade”, which not only raises eyebrows but also significantly raises expectations. Neon is backing it with a strong marketing campaign that has got many horror fans extremely excited about it. Oz Perkins’ latest horror feature stars Maika Monroe, Nicolas Cage, Blair Underwood and Alicia Witt.

 

The official synopsis says “In pursuit of a serial killer, an FBI agent uncovers a series of occult clues that she must solve to end his terrifying killing spree.” Maika Monroe plays Lee Harker, the FBI agent on the hunt for Longlegs, described as highly intuitive and sensitive, while Nic Cage who also produces the movie, plays the horrifying serial killer. Perkins sets the standard right off the bat with the very first scene of the movie, which proves to be just an appetizer for what’s to come.

 

Longlegs [credit: neon]

The movie is divided into 3 parts that act as the standard three acts in a feature. The first two acts are heavily focused on Lee as we get to know her and follow the FBI’s pursuit of a serial killer on a spree. Lee is a single child, lives alone in a cabin in the woods, and is highly intuitive, maybe even psychic. She is able to decode the clues left behind by Longlegs at the locations of the murders. Her performance is restrained yet penetrative and often symbolizes how the viewer feels while watching Longlegs.

 

Nicolas Cage is horrifyingly creepy as our serial killer. He is the best horror villain since Bill Skarsgaard’s Pennywise in my opinion. His screen time is limited but, highly impactful. The makeup and costume design deserves a lot of credit for his extremely gross appearance and at times you won’t be able to recognize that it’s Cage under that wig. He has a certain mannerism that is extremely distressing and just his words are enough to scare the hell out of you. Perkins manages to get the best out of both his leads, while the supporting cast is decent as well.

 

When it comes to the visuals, this is a very aesthetically strong film. Perkins manages to create atmospheric tension and fear with constantly changing aspect ratios and his color grading choices which are supported by a crisp sound design. Where he falls short is the writing. The movie is too slow at times which causes it to lose its intensity. Some of the dialogues also feel very generic or amateur, with jokes that feel abrupt and unnecessary.

Longlegs [credit: neon]

The movie also slips into multiple genres, most of which are intentional but do not necessarily work. It is a horror movie at the outset but also a serial killer crime drama, an investigative thriller with shades of noir and supernatural. The writing really falls off a cliff in the third act, with a twist that makes sense, but massively underwhelmes. That said, the way it explores evil is intriguing and offers a lot of food for thought. I would suggest going into this movie without any knowledge, the lesser you know the better.

 

Longlegs may not be the scariest movie of the decade but has more than enough to crawl under your skin and deliver pulsating chills. It has strong lead performances, effective jumpscares, and a beautifully unnerving aesthetic and works best when it explores evil and focuses on its characters. Horror fans should definitely experience this suffocating and haunting ride. Perkins’ latest feature is his best so far, but that said, it gets buried under its immense expectations.

Longlegs will be released in cinemas on July 12.

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The Exorcism | Official Trailer

A troubled actor begins to unravel while shooting a horror film. His estranged daughter wonders if he’s slipping back into his past addictions or if there’s something more sinister at play.

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Genre:

Horror, Thriller

Release Date:

June 7, 2024

Director:

Joshua John Miller

Cast:

Russell Crowe, Sam Worthington, Samantha Mathis

Plot Summary:

A troubled actor begins to unravel while shooting a horror film. His estranged daughter wonders if he’s slipping back into his past addictions or if there’s something more sinister at play.

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HORROR

Trap | Official Trailer

A father and teen daughter attend a pop concert, where they realize they’re at the center of a dark and sinister event.

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Genre:

Crime, Horror, Mystery

Release Date:

August 9, 2024

Director:

M. Night Shyamalan

Cast:

Josh Hartnett, Hayley Mills, Marnie McPhail

Plot Summary:

A father and teen daughter attend a pop concert, where they realize they’re at the center of a dark and sinister event.

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