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In the Earth Review | Sundance Film Festival

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Ben Wheatley returns to form in a sci-fi horror about a deadly virus that’s ravaged the earth. If you saw Songbird– another film made during the pandemic about a virus- you might be a little put off but Wheatley has managed to make a film that is very intriguing, and it goes back to the sort of tone and style that Wheatley fans really love. After a very big misfire with last year’s Rebecca adaptation, it seems that In the Earth is definitely a return to form for Wheatley.

Dr. Martin Lowery, played by Joel Fry has to embark on a journey through the virus-ridden world to reach a research hub hidden deep in the Arboreal Forest. He’s not alone as he’s guided by park scout Alma (Ellora Torchia), however things take a much darker turn when they encounter Zach- played remarkably by Reece Shearsmith. They don’t know much about Zach and his intentions aren’t immediately clear to them but soon they begin to get a scared.

Wheatley has created an absolutely bonkers, loud, crazy, flashy film that goes completely nuts at times but I really liked it. I wasn’t a fan of his other loud, flashy film High Rise back in 2014 to the point that I didn’t even make it to the end of the film but there was just something about In the Earth that had me captivated. The film had remarkable cinematography and I thought it was really well edited, creating a really unique viewing experience.

In the Earth is a film that’s probably going to be quite divisive. It seems to have two fairly different halves to the film and some people will prefer the first half, others the second. Yet I thought the second half truly embraced the crazy nature of it and went all out and I much preferred that to the slower going first half that was setting up the rest of the film.

My biggest gripe about the film though is that I was never truly invested in the story or the characters. And because of this, the first half just felt a little too slow going to me and I didn’t really care for it too much. However, it was in the second half of the film when the strobe lighting and loud noises came in that completely changed my mind. It’s a film that would be great to see in a cinema with a great surround sound system and there are a few scenes in this film that just look and sound absolutely amazing and it’s totally different to anything else I’ve seen at Sundance so far.

Some might suggest that now isn’t the best time to release a film about a virus but Wheatley argues that he wanted to make a film that was “contextualised in the moment” and to take “the moment that we’re living in and puts it into a genre” and that’s exactly what he’s done as he’s turned a film about a deadly virus into a unnerving horror film.

In the Earth has a really good unnerving synth score from Clint Mansell and Reece Shearsmith gives a great performance as the unhinged Zach and all this, together with the strobe lighting and blaring noises, the film is one crazy psychedelic ride full of colour and clamour.

In the Earth will divide lots of viewers and it’s even divided me too. On the one hand, the plot and the characters were never that engaging but on the other hand as an experience, Wheatley has made a film that you can’t tear your eyes away from, even when it gets particularly gruesome.

★★★☆☆

In the Earth premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in the Premieres section.

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HORROR

Halloween Kills

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Michael Myers terrifies the townsfolk of Haddenfield once again. halloween Kills uses elements from the 1978 original and fuses them with tense, gruesome and gore, it’s BLOODY BRUTAL!!!

In 2018 David Gordon Green’s Halloween, starring icon Jamie Lee Curtis, killed at the box office, earning more than $250 million worldwide, becoming the highest grossing chapter in the four-decade franchise and setting a new record for the biggest opening weekend in history for a horror film starring a woman. 

However that Halloween night when Michael Myers returns isn’t over yet as the movie picks up right where we left off from the last one. Laurie Strode (Curtis), her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and granddaughter Allyson (And Matichak)  have left the masked monster caged and burning in Laurie’s basement, Laurie however is rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries and believes that she’s finally killed her lifelong tormentor. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

But when Michael manages to free himself from Laurie’s trap, his ritual bloodbath resumes. As Laurie fights her pain and prepares to defend herself against him, she inspires all of Haddenfield to rise up against their unstoppable monster. 

The Strode women join a group of other survivors of Michael’s first rampage who decide to take matters into their own hands, forming a vigilante mob that sets out to hunt Michael down, once and for all.

Evil Dies Tonight. 

And speaking of evil, everything about this depiction of Michael is phenomenal. From his onscreen chilling presence, to his mask and the way he commits these brutal murders. Michael’s rampage through Haddenfield is pure carnage, he absolutely demolishes everyone and everything is his path. He’s let loose and becomes an even bigger dangerous threat, which is to be expected from masked killers. 

His kills are inventive and vicious and he’s gone one step ahead with the performance of killing someone as I felt that Michael has some theatricality aspects and truly admires his work by the way he displays their bodies. However I felt that some kills were forgettable due to the fact that we don’t get to care for some characters as by the time they’re in Michael’s line of sight, you know they’re a gonna. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

For fans of horror and violence in movies, there are many spine-chilling moments such as Skull crushing, eye-gouging, gunshots and plenty of bodily horror. 

And if you’re a fan of the original 1978 Halloween film, you’ll be pleased to see many of the actors who were once children, teenagers in the original reprise the same roles in Halloween Kills as adults. It feels so believable and genuine to see the likes of Kyle Richards (Lindsey Wallace ), Nancy Stephens (Marion Chambers) and Charles Cyphers (Sheriff Leigh Brackett) . The film truly pays homage to the original that started it all. many other characters return from the 2018 film and another classic character returning is Tommy Doyle, though recast and now played by Anthony Michael Hall. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

With all these characters the film switches the narrative by focusing in on how the town itself responds and reacts to Michael as the Haddonfield townspeople are fed up and exhausted after 40 years of trauma which was brought on by Michael Myers. We follow groups of unlikely heroes throughout the town armed and ready to take out an unstoppable force of nature by any means necessary. Tommy rallies the whole community to band together. They don’t listen to the Police so this film shows what happens when a town is dissatisfied with a failed system and a useless authority. All hell breaks loose and a mob is formed, this becomes a story that isn’t about Laurie vs Michael, instead about Michael vs Haddonfield itself. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

The movie’s central location takes place within a hospital, we see bodies being swarmed in as a result of Michael. Fear starts growing within the town which unfortunately morphs into panic and eventually utter complete chaos when misinformation and rumours star to spread. I felt that the residents of Haddenfield’s true enemy was their own idiotic decisions, society and rage has made them the monsters. 

Cinematography is certainly elevated this time with unique camera angels showcasing the murders. John Carpenter’s score is beautiful and certainly adds suspense to certain scenes. I also love the film’s nods and nostalgia throughout flashbacks to 1978. 

Overall Halloween Kills is a solid setup and middle chapter of this trilogy. It’s a fun popcorn flick with the right amount of slasher, horror and humour. It also sets into motion what will eventually become Halloween Ends. 

Photo: Blumhouse/Universal

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Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City – Official Trailer

Survivors try to uncover the truth behind the evil Umbrella Corp. while battling bloodthirsty zombies in the wastelands of Raccoon City.



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Genre:

Action, Horror, Mystery

Release Date:

November 24, 2021

Director:

Johannes Roberts

Cast:

Kaya Scodelario, Robbie Amell, Hannah John-Kamen

Plot Summary:

Survivors try to uncover the truth behind the evil Umbrella Corp. while battling bloodthirsty zombies in the wastelands of Raccoon City.

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HORROR

Scream | Official Trailer

A new installment of the ‘Scream’ horror franchise will follow a woman returning to her home town to try to find out who has been committing a series of vicious crimes.



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Genre:

Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Release Date:

January 14, 2022

Director:

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Cast:

Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette

Plot Summary:

A new installment of the ‘Scream’ horror franchise will follow a woman returning to her home town to try to find out who has been committing a series of vicious crimes.

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