This week’s guide of what to watch on Shudder features Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral, zombie sequel [Rec] 2, and Dark Skies…
What to Watch on Shudder: Antiviral
Brandon Cronenberg carries on his father David’s tradition of science fiction/body horror with Antiviral. At times uncomfortable viewing, the film nevertheless compels. Antiviral is about the employee of a clinic which sells injections of viruses harvested from celebrities to their obsessed fans. The premise of the film is fantastic, and so is some celebrity worship to the extreme with an interesting and unusual tangent. The theme and imagery create a distinctive atmosphere. Clinical and dystopian, there is nothing about the film that feels comfortable. Yet it is a great watch. Read a full review of Antiviral here.
What to Watch on Shudder: [Rec] 2
Sequels can be a mixed bag, but [Rec] 2 is certainly one of the better ones. The film picks up straight after the events of the first film, and focuses on a SWAT team and doctor who are sent in the building to retrieve blood samples. The film gives hints to the cause of the outbreak, and offers tension, gore and some great scares. The film is a must-see for fans of the first film, and indeed the zombie sub-genre generally.
What to Watch on Shudder: Dark Skies
Given the premise and advertising, it would be forgivable to think Dark Skies is a homage or a rip off of Hitchcock’s The Birds. Yet the film takes a different tangent. The film is about a suburban family whose lives are disrupted by a series of strange events. Scott Stewart’s film combines science fiction and horror. The film is a little generic; at times it feels as if it could be an episode from The Twilight Zone. Nevertheless, there are a few good scares, and a decent atmosphere prevails. Dark Skies stars Keri Russell and J.K. Simmons.
To find out more and to sign up to Shudder, visit https://www.shudder.com.
Here is what to watch on Shudder this Bank Holiday weekend, featuring The Dead Zone, Let The Right One In, and In The Night…
What to Watch on Shudder: The Dead Zone
The combination of David Cronenberg and Stephen King will surely delight horror fans. Whilst The Dead Zone fits more succinctly into the thriller category than the horror, the film nevertheless has enough to offer those looking for the supernatural. After waking up from a coma, accident victim Johnny discovers he has a psychic ability. Starring Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, and Martin Sheen, the 1983 film still feels resonant today. Cronenberg mixes supernatural activity with a tense drama. As the film builds to its conclusion, the themes feel both universal (asking viewers would they do the same if given Johnny’s ability) and politically contemporary. The Dead Zone does not trade on jump scares. Instead, it opts for an unsettling tone that lingers.
What to Watch on Shudder: Let The Right One In
2008 Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In has become part of the vampire movie canon for good reason. The horror-drama is about a young boy who befriends his neighbour Eli, although she cannot come out to play during the day. The film is about an endearing friendship, albeit one played out through the instrument of vampirism. Director Thomas Alfredson’s film was given an American remake in the form of Let Me In. Those who have not seen the original should rectify this, however, as it is the superior film.
What to Watch on Shudder: In The Night
This 2015 short is a tense little number. Directed by Joshua Erkman, In The Night is about a new mortuary worker asking his more veteran colleague about his strangest experience on the job. The short film is expertly paced, with tension building steadily to its climax. In The Night almost feels like a prelude to a feature-length film, and it a great showcase for writer-director Erkman.
To find out more and to sign up to Shudder, visit https://www.shudder.com.
Horror aficionados, gather round and look at the highlights on horror streaming platform Shudder. Here is what to watch on Shudder this week…
What to Watch on Shudder: Shivers
1975’s Shivers was writer-director David Cronenberg’s first commercial movie. Those who have seen the filmmakers other pictures will recognise some distinctly Cronenbergian motifs in this mid-1970s film. Shivers offers the trademark body horror, as well as the destruction of normal human society. The residents of an apartment block in Canada are infected with a parasite that turns them into sex-crazed fiends, hellbent on converting others. The set up is reminiscent of High-Rise (the book was published the same year as Shivers was released). The film is far superior to the film adaptation released in 2015. Shivers’ cast includes horror royalty Barbara Steele, and was produced by Cronenberg’s fellow Canadian Ivan Reitman (best-known for directing Ghostbusters).
What to Watch on Shudder: We Go On
We Go On is a Shudder exclusive from filmmakers Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton. Despite the platform, We Go On is not a traditional horror; the film is better described as a supernatural drama. Miles, a loner, is paralysed by his fear of dying. He takes out an advert offering $30,000 to anyone who can prove the existence of life after death. Naturally, he receives several responses. The film is worth a watch because of its interesting premise and its rendering of the search of life after death. Those looking for scares galore may be disappointed, however the storytelling intrigues and the feeling of dread is permeable. We Go On‘s cast features Annette O’Toole (aka Lana Lang from Superman III).
What to Watch on Shudder: The Stylist
2016’s The Stylist is a short film from director and co-writer Jill Gevargizian. The film is about a hair stylist waiting for her final client of the day. The less known about the narrative the better. Suffice to say, The Stylist is a macabre little tale. Najarra Townsend is immensely watchable in the short.
This is a new series that features highlights from horror streaming platform Shudder. To find out more about the service and to sign up, visit https://www.shudder.com.
Plenty of trailers this week, with Mortdecai, The Maze Runner, Maps to the Stars and more…
Here is the first trailer for Mortdecai. The film stars Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor. Depp plays Charlie Mortdecai, an art dealer on a mission to recover a stolen painting. The film will be released in January 2015.
The Maze Runner
Above is an introduction to the characters in upcoming action thriller The Maze Runner. Based on the best-selling novel, The Maze Runner is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The film will hit UK screens on 10th October 2014.
Maps to the Stars
David Cronenberg’s latest Maps to the Stars is about the celebrity-obsessed culture. The film features an enviable cast, including Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska. Maps to the Stars will be released in UK cinemas on 26th October 2014.
Love Rosie is a new British comedy starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin. The film focuses on best friends Rosie and Alex who decide to attend university together in the US. Love Rosie is scheduled for release on 22nd October 2014.
Planes 2: Fire and Rescue
Planes 2: Fire and Rescue is out in cinemas now. The above video shows how to draw protagonist Dusty. No matter how good the instruction, mine would still turn out looking nothing like that. Although I did draw a good Mrs Potts once.
Well this looks unsettling. Supernatural thriller Horns stars Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple and Max Minghella. The film hits UK cinemas on 29th October 2014, just in time for Halloween.
Issues with pacing and an uninspiring narrative means that martial arts thriller Dragon fails to pack a punch.
In a small village in 1917 China, Liu Jinxi, a paper maker is a bystander in a local store when two gangsters come in an attempt to rob the shopkeeper. Liu Jinxi intervenes to protect the shopkeeper and his wife. The resulting investigation reveals things about Liu Jinxi’s past that he would rather forget…
The premise of Peter Chan’s Dragon is remarkably similar to David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. The setting and circumstances are different, but otherwise Dragon is very reminiscent of Cronenberg’s film.
Dragon, however, suffers from poor pacing. The film takes a while to get going, and when it does it fails to build sufficiently to the conclusion. The climax is a let down, even with a tepid build up.
The mystery aspect of Dragon works quite well. The ambiguity is effective until everything is unravelled in one short scene. Motivations of the investigator are played up, and then forgotten until the very end. This element needed a bit more depth. Moreover, there is a lack of character development which makes it difficult for viewers to care much about the fate of the main characters. The antagonist is rather a caricature.
The action sequences in Dragon are well choreographed. Production design is good, as is the cinematography with some nice shots. The reenactment of events and slow-motion replays are redolent of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Homes films. There is not really a need to show every bit of graphic violence, but the film persists with this. This results in some inauthentic-looking CGI effects, which takes viewers out of the action.
Some well-choreographed fight scenes are not enough to save Dragon. The film ultimately needed more originality to its plot and more of a rhythm in terms of pacing.
Brandon Cronenberg carries on his father David’s tradition of science fiction/body horror with Antiviral. At times uncomfortable viewing, the film nevertheless compels.
Syd Marsh works in a clinic which sells injections of viruses harvested from sick celebrities to obsessed fans. Syd also supplies vials of these to pirate groups, smuggling out the infections in his own body. When he becomes infected with the virus that has debilitated superstar Hannah Geist, Syd becomes a wanted commodity…
The premise of Antiviral, which was written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg, is great. The film takes celebrity worship to the extreme with an interesting and unusual tangent. The film does not seek to make a strong point or complex allegory with its theme. There is no deeper ponderance on celebrity culture than what is on the surface. However, this does not matter as Antiviral in finely executed.
Antiviral works as a science fiction/body horror piece. Taking cues from his father, Brandon Cronenberg has created an uneasiness that is protracted. The theme and imagery create a distinctive atmosphere. Clinical and dystopian, there is nothing about the film that feels comfortable. The at direction is a powerful force in Antiviral. The imagery displayed is sometimes difficult to look at. The film combines the visceral with the clinical. Cronenberg’s film is certainly not recommended for those with a fear of needles.
Casting in the film is on point. Caleb Landry Jones appears completely authentic as protagonist Syd March. He really does look sick as the film progresses, which is also thanks to the make up and effects. Sarah Gadon looks every inch the celebrity as the much desired Hannah Geist.
Antiviral is a promising debut feature from Brandon Cronenberg. Fans of his father’s work should approve.
Antiviral is being screened at the London Film Festival in October 2012.
This week has seen the release of the first trailer for new Bond movie Skyfall and the teaser for Anchorman 2. Also featured are The Campaign, Killer Joe and Cosmopolis.
Well isn’t this exciting? Albeit with less of the unreserved glamour of the Roger Moore days, Bond is back in what’s looks to be another frenetic adventure. The tube train excerpt is sure to strike fear in the heart of any London commuter. Quantum of Solace was a bit disappointing, but hopefully director Sam Mendes will return Daniel Craig’s Bond to the form of Casino Royale. Skyfall is released on 26th October 2012.
A belated sequel to a much-loved film is always tricky. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy was a fantastic film, so the idea of a sequel is received with equal parts glee and skepticism. This teaser reveals nothing really about the film itself, but it is great to see Will Ferrell reunited with Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell and David Koechner. Hopefully that hot piece Baxter will also return for the sequel.
Before Anchorman 2 is released, here is another slice of Will Ferrell. The Campaign is a new comedy starring Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Jason Sudeikis. Ferrell’s line during the trash talking sequence alone makes me want to go and see this film. The Campaign is out on 28th September 2012.
This looks like it will be a combination of tense and absurd. William Friedkin directs Killer Joe, based on a play by Tracy Letts. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch and Juno Temple. Killer Joe is released in cinemas on 29th June 2012.
David Cronenberg’s last film, A Dangerous Method, was a letdown. From this brief teaser, Cosmopolis immediately looks inherently more Cronenberg, which is definitely a good thing. Starring Robert Pattinson, Paul Giamatti, Samantha Morton and Juliette Binoche, Cosmopolis is released on 15th June 2012.
David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method is a competently-produced drama which should engage audiences for the most part. Momentum and intrigue peter off in the final third, but the film is an interesting watch overall.
Sabina Spielrein, a young Russian lady, is committed to the care of psychoanalyst Dr Carl Jung after suffering from manic episodes. Jung tries to treat his patient using Freud’s methods, enlisting the revered doctor’s opinion on the case. As Jung and Spielrein grow closer, the pchoanalist’s relationship with mentor Freud becomes strained…
A Dangerous Method explores a fascinating period in the history of psychology. Cronenberg’s film could have been more rooted in historical fact, and covered the main thinkers of the era. Instead, A Dangerous Method is more of a personal story, concentrating on Jung and his relationship with others. It is better for taking this option; the film shows a fallibility and humanness to the esteemed psychoanalyst.
The film begins at a good pace and captures the audience’s interest with the burgeoning relationship between Jung and his patient. The final third of the film loses its way a little, ending on more of a whimper than a bang. The issues of race and religion are highlighted a number of times throughout the film. Nonetheless, the lasting impression is of a narrative focused upon the power of intellectual discourse and the implications of difficult choices.
Michael Fassbender is superb as ever as Jung. Viggo Mortensen also delivers a strong performance as Freud. Keira Knightley is almost unwatchable at the beginning of A Dangerous Method, with her over-the-top mannerisms and suspect accent. Her performance is a lot better once the madness in her character subsides.
A Dangerous Method is flawed, but should be commended in illustrating what is essentially a series of intellectual discussions in a manner which makes the characters most human.
A Dangerous Method is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2011.
Here is the trailer for David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, an adaptation of Christopher Hampton’s play about the relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. The film, starring Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Vincent Cassel, due for release in the UK on 10th February 2012.