Film Review: Lords of Chaos

Director and co-writer Jonas Åkerlund’s Lords of Chaos is grimly entertaining in spite of its flaws. 

Euronymous wants to put Norwegian black metal on the map. His quest for success comes at a price however, as he and other members of the band find out…

Based on the book of the same name, Lords of Chaos is a rough biopic of Mayhem’s Euronymous. With the subtitle ‘based on truth and lies’, screenwriters Åkerlund and Dennis Magnusson make it clear that this is not exactly an accurate account. Instead, the writers fill the gaps as they see fit. The result is picture that aims for extremes yet is often amusing. 

Where Lords of Chaos stumbles is its failure to add detail to the unfolding action. The news reports indicate what a big story the church burnings was at the time (for those unaware), yet the film lacks any sort of timeline. Viewers do not have a clear context of Mayhem’s rise in relation to the criminal activity, and their corresponding level of fame. Perhaps the director wanted to distance the narrative from facts, but the result is less than satisfying. 

The most appealing aspect of the film is that Åkerlund does not take his subject matter too seriously. He astutely juxtaposes the band’s desire to be menacing with the comfortable, middle class backgrounds. Rather than princes of darkness, the band are depicted as rebels against their ordinary home lives. Moreover, the portrayal of protagonist Euronymous is most engaging. For a portion of the film, it is unclear whether he is a great showman, a smart publicist, or a believer in what he is espousing. As the film progresses, this becomes clear, setting up a distinction between him and Varg. 

Lords of Chaos is incredibly gruesome in parts. The film is not for the easily disturbed, with some very gory sequences, as well as abject depictions throughout. Rory Culkin delivers a good performance as Euronymous; believable as both the showman and the calculating entrepreneur. Emory Cohen is a little too unsettling as Varg. It may have worked better if this his disturbing nature was revealed gradually rather than from the outset. Besides the setting, the film does not feel particularly Norwegian, due in part to the American accents. 

A biopic with a horror slant, Lords of Chaos is an engaging film, in spite of some hard to swallow scenes. 

Previews: Hellboy Trailer, Pain and Glory, More!

A profusion of films in this week’s preview of coming attractions, including the new Hellboy trailer, Pain and Glory, Mid90s and more…

Hellboy Trailer

Above is the brand new Hellboy trailer. The film is set in England, where the title character has to take on an ancient sorceress. Hellboy stars David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae Kim, and Sasha Lane. The film hits UK screens on 11th April 2019.

Pain and Glory Trailer

Pain and Glory is the latest film from Pedro Almodóvar. The veteran filmmaker’s latest is about a film director in decline as he experiences a number of encounters from his past. With a cast that includes Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, Pain and Glory will be released in UK cinemas on 23rd August 2019.

Little Trailer

Here is the trailer for Little. The film is a reversal of the Big/13 Going on 30 bodyswap comedy, with the adult being the one who returns to childhood. Little is based on an idea by Marsai Martin, who stars alongside Regina Hall and Issa Rae. The film is directed by Tina Gordon, with a screenplay by Tracy Oliver and Gordon. Little is out at UK cinemas on 12th April 2019.

Rocketman Trailer

Taron Egerton plays Elton John in this new Rocketman trailer. Directed by Dexter Fletcher, the film is a biopic of the legendary singer. Egerton has recorded some of Elton John’s most famous songs for the film, which counts John among the executive producers. Rocketman will hit UK cinemas in May 2019.

Mid90s Trailer

Here is the trailer for Jonah Hill’s directorial debut Mid90s. Hill also wrote the film, which is a coming of age tale about a young boy in 1990s Los Angeles. The film stars Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston, and Lucas Hedges. Mid90s will be released on UK screens on 12th April 2019.

The Curse of La Llorona Poster

The Curse of La Llorona is a new horror about a weeping woman caught between heaven and hell. The film counts James Wan among its producers, and is the directorial debut of Michael Chaves. The Curse of La Llorona is set for release on 3rd May 2019.

Lords of Chaos Trailer

Lords of Chaos has been getting rave reviews, as well as some notoriety for how graphic it is. The film tells the semi-true story of the birth of Norwegian black metal with the band Mayhem. Starring Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, and Sky Ferreira, Lords of Chaos will hit UK screens on 29th March 2019.

Under the Silver Lake Trailer

Under The Silver Lake is the new film from writer-director David Robert Mitchell (It Follows). The film stars Andrew Garfield and Riley Keough. The film is a neo-noir about a man who discovers a mysterious woman swimming in his apartment complex’s pool. Under the Silver Lake will be released at cinemas and on Mubi from 15th March 2019.

Film Review: Scream 4

Another month, another belated sequel to a popular franchise. Thankfully Scream 4 is one of the better of these types of film; it works well as a sequel as well as a stand-alone movie.

Ten years after the Woodsboro massacre, Sidney Prescott returns to the small town to promote her book. Her arrival coincides with the murders of two high school students, not unlike the ones that had taken place previously and replicated in the Stab movies. It seems the killer is back, and after Sidney and her friends once again…

Scream 4 is an enjoyable episode in the horror series. Fans of the franchise should be pleased with this most recent installment. There is a period midway through the film when momentum starts to wane, but the film recovers before too long. The film certainly works more so than Scream 3. Although there are ridiculous incidents in this movie, it flows better than its predecessor.

Scream and its successors were never the scariest of horror films. Scream 4 follows suit; there are a few jumpy moments, but the film could never be classified as terrifying. Instead, the film relies on humour and mystery to maintain audience interest. Given that it is the fourth film in the series, it is not made clear which of the original cast members will survive, if any. Furthermore, the identity of Ghostface remains a mystery, with director Wes Craven offering a number of likely suspects.

Scream 4 works so well because it never forgets that it is a belated sequel. Like the other films in the series, it plays with horror conventions, never missing an opportunity to reference them. Writer Kevin Williamson litters the film with mentions of genre films, updating to make light of the plethora of horror remakes that have been produced in the intervening period between the last Scream movie. The opening sequence is exemplary, depicting just how self-reflexive the series has become. Characters in the film discuss how meta events are; taking the joke to the nth degree.

Performances are good all round, with Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette reprising their familiar roles. Emma Roberts is convincing as Jill, but Hayden Panettiere is less believable as best friend Kirby. Rory Culkin is well cast in the Randy-esque role of Charlie.

Although the deaths are not particularly imaginative, the humour and self-reference sufficiently entertain. Scream 4 is a well-constructed and enjoyable movie, given that it is the fourth in a series.