So, as you know, I have this perchant for nasty little movies that I like watching late at night, and one that I have discovered recently is a little little known Aussie gem from 2009/ 2010 called The Loved Ones.
Lola is a bit of a social misfit. She is also the unpopular one at school, so when she finally plucks up the courage to ask the guy she fancies to their end of school prom, inevitably he turns her down.
Brent has his own issues - he was partly responsible for his dad's death in a car accident - and besides, he's going out with one of the hottest girls in school and already taking her to the dance.
Unfortunately, as is often the case in such movies, Lola is a bit of a nutcase. Alone out in the wild, taking some time out for a bit of manly brooding and a crafty smoke, Brent suddenly finds himself being attacked and subdued and when he wakes up, he is being held prisoner - by Lola and her dad.
If Brent won't take her to prom, she'll bring him to her own prom.
Though dancing is the last thing on her mind...
What follows next is what can only be described as 'torture porn' as Lola begins mentally and physically abusing Brent, along with assistance by her father. Though not as extreme as some films that I have seen, nonetheless there are more than a few bits that make for uncomfortable viewing in this rather stylish and often fun horror thriller.
A side-plot featuring Brent's best friend and his own date with the school goth never really goes anywhere other than providing a little bit of light entertainment and comic relief, but overall, this is a pretty neat film with one or two clever twists and the kind of dark humour that Australians seem to do so well. 4/5
The other film I've been watching is Contracted, Phase 2.
Following on from the first film, this time we follow Riley - the guy who had unprotected sex with Sam, the infected girl, towards the end of the first film.
Following her subsequent death -spoilers - Riley goes to get himself checked out by his brother-in-law, a doctor to make sure he hasn't contracted anything himself. Despite being given a clean bill of health, he still begins to panic - especially after extracting one of Sam's finger nails from underneath his skin where she scratched his back during sex back in the first film.
Much as in Contracted, we see his condition gradually worsening, but this time we we also get another person's perspective thrown into the mix as we follow a police officer trying to track down the person who started off the virus in the first place.
This sub-plot is one that is only ever partially explored and that is one of the main downfalls of this sequel. For when the movie finally ends, even during the end-credits sequences, we, the viewer, are still left with more questions than answers.
I liked this film and it has some very nice uncomfortable - and often very nasty - scenes including one (spoilers again) that sees Riley pissing blood, but the problem is it all feels a bit too much like what has come before. It is more of a traditional zombie film than the first one with reports of the outbreak spreading across the city whereas the first film offered, at least in my opinion, something a little different.
Inevitably it was always going to be difficult to repeat the success of the first film but, for me, I don't think this sequel really works and it all ends up being a little disappointing.
Which is a shame because I had such high hopes for this!
The critical response means we probably won't get a third instalment, and hence any real kind of answers, and they is both a good thing and a bad thing.
Rec 4 suffered from trying to go on too long (3 was good, 4 just felt pointless) and probably it is a good thing that the Contracted series ends here - but I still out have liked a few more answers. 3/5
One thing I am looking forward to is the imminent release of my friend, Kathy Denver's debut book.
Ever since discovering the likes of Christina Engela and Christopher Burch's The Icarus Void, I've been looking out for more bold, new reads and from the looks of it, Kathy Denver's book, The Guardians, looks like it might well fit the bill.
More fantasy than horror, here is the blurb:
"Eli a warrior witch, faces off against a race of entites known as the D'thseh, whose intent is to feed of the pain and misery they inflict on non-magical humans.
When a member of his coven is brutally murdered, Eli and his friends must prepare themselves for a battle like no other they have faced before.
With the resurfacing of the Dark Ones, a faction of witches that practice dark magic, Eli must not only face the on coming storm he must also face the demons of his covens past.
One they may not survive."
If you want to check it out, the Amazon link is here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Guardians-Forest-Ancestors-K-Denver-ebook/dp/B01FPOYSR6?ie=UTF8&ref_=cm_sw_r_cp_udp_api_2kmoxb8WZ04QT
And you can find her release party, being held this weekend, here:
Feel free to stop by and meet the author...you might even win some prizes!!
Until next time, ciao...