Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Mandy

mandy

Where: Limited Release in Cinemas, also available On Demand
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Andrea Riseborough
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Vomit Incidence: Minor blood spewing, also cheddar

A couple living an idyllic life in an isolated woodland cabin run into a bunch of drug-addled cult members. Things do not end well. For anyone.

This film is bonkers, seriously bonkers but utterly mesmerising. There’s plenty of gore for horror fans (chainsaws all over the place), plenty of innovative and gorgeous cinematography choices for film fans and plenty of scenery chewing for Nicolas Cage fans. The plot might be a bit thin (it’s your standard revenge story with added artwank) but in the end that doesn’t really matter. Who wouldn’t watch a movie where Cage gets to forge his own death-axe? I mean c’mon.

Although the overall visual style of the movie is the real star, the cast do their best to weird you the fuck out with their seriously creepy characters. Special mention to Andrea Riseborough as Mandy. She might not make it to the end of the film but her haunting presence continues to be felt until the credits roll. Linus Roache also has a lot of fun as cult leader Jeremiah (clearly some sort of American Idol reject gone bad). I also let out a little cheer when Cage detours off to see Bill Duke (MAC!!!) to  get his crossbow back for reasons (yes, this makes no sense, but who cares, it’s Mac from Predator!).

The vomiting is relatively minor for this genre of film. There’s some blood-spewing when people are being stabbed/decapitated/gouged etc but the main offence comes from a TV advert. Yup, you read that right. After the titular character is offed in unpleasant fashion (NOT a spoiler – it’s a revenge movie) Cage wanders back into his house and on the TV there is THE MOST REVOLTING AD FOR CHEESE YOU WILL EVER SEE. You may never eat cheese again after this. Well I did, but that’s only because I would literally cease to exist without cheese, it’s my main food group.

chddar

Say cheese!

Overall an entertainingly bloody revenge horror, clearly destined for cult status with a slightly more understated performance from Cage than we’re used to (last 30 minutes notwithstanding), this is deserving of a space on any horror or film fan’s watch list. Just not one for fans of macaroni cheese.

 

Film rating: 7/10 (points deducted for cheese-abuse and unnecessary horn).

NB OCD: 5/10 – HOW DARE YOU DO THAT TO CHEESE!?

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Annihilation (2018)

annihil

Director: Alex Garland
Starring: Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac
Vomit Incidence: Two – bloody and noisy

After her soldier husband returns from a secret mission near to death a biologist signs up for a dangerous foray into an unstable environmental anomaly hoping to find answers which could save him.

OK, first things first, A LOT has been said about this film only getting a Netflix release in the UK, rather than a cinema one as in the US. So bloody what? Some of us much prefer the comfort of our own sofas and relish the lack of human contact we normally would have to endure on a trip to the cinema. Yay for Netflix I say!

But is it any good? Actually it really is. Not that I was too worried, Alex Garland has a pretty decent track record and Natalie Portman is usually a good indicator of quality material (Thor 2 notwithstanding). The film is part sci-fi, part horror and features all female leads which is fantastic to see, even if one of them seems to have overdosed on mood-stabilisers for some reason.

annihil2

Gritty female Ghostbusters reboot gets the go-ahead.

I can’t divulge too many plot details for fear of spoiling it for you but if you’re of a nervous disposition then you may want to hide behind a cushion when the bear turns up (another benefit of Netflix film releases – can’t really hide behind cushions in the cinema). You also might want to have the headache tablets ready for the end of the film, it is truly beautiful but utterly mind-boggling.

Emetophobes be warned, the vomiting occurs within the first 30 minutes of the film. Watch out for Oscar Isaac after he has a drink of water and the Natalie Portman waking up from her sedation. You have been warned. Also if you’re not a big fan of wiggly viscera and people with half a face, this may not be the ideal movie for you.

Vomiting and migraines aside, this is an imaginative and thoughtful sci-fi movie and the visuals are absolutely stunning. The ending might be a little confusing and leave us with more questions than answers but then sometimes that can be a good thing. More films from Mr Garland please – whatever format they are released in they are first class.

 

Film rating: 8/10 (loses a point for a slow first 20 minutes)

NB OCD: 5/10 – Vomiting is bad enough but bloody vomit – that’s just plain unnecessary. 

 

 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – Veronica (2017)

MV5BMzYyZjYyOWMtMjJjMS00NjQ1LWE3MzAtMWE1NGUxNjQ4OGQ3XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjUxMjc1OTM@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,909_AL_

Director: Paco Plaza
Starring: Sandra Escacena, Bruna Gonzalez, Claudia Placer, Ivan Chavero
Vomit incidence: One, minor

A teenage girl already charged with looking after her three younger siblings makes life infinitely worse for herself when she attempts to contact her dead father via Ouija board. During a solar eclipse. Duh.

You can probably tell from the above précis that I have seen A LOT of films where someone (usually a teenage girl) thinks that contacting dead people using a glass and some cardboard is a great idea. It honestly never is.

This Spanish horror film, despite the marketing campaign suggesting that people have been so terrified they have had to switch off, really isn’t scary at all. The cast is uniformly excellent (especially the young siblings) and the ideas are solid but there’s nothing here we haven’t seen before. OK, there’s the solar eclipse angle but, apart from providing some initial spookiness, this is never really explored. Even ‘Sister Death’ the obligatory blind psychic nun (every movie should have one) doesn’t really have much input.

vero

Malevolent spirits can be picky eaters 

The very minor vomit incidence occurs when the malevolent spirit decides that Veronica shouldn’t be eating meatballs. Sadly this is one of the better scenes so you will either have to steel yourself or miss out. Sorry guys but I survived it, you will too.

I know I’ve been a bit churlish about Veronica in this review but it’s not a bad movie. The spirit is suitably menacing and the actors do a great job of making you care; you really do feel for Veronica by the end. But if you’re looking for a scary movie you’re probably best off watching The Ritual instead. Sorry Vero.

 

Film rating: 7/10 – lose one point for allowing a four year old with the attention span of a lettuce to draw the all-important protection symbols on the walls.

NB OCD: 2/10 – Unpleasant but endurable tomato sauce regurgitation

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – No One Lives

no one lives

Director: Ryuhei Kitamura
Starring: Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens
Vomit Incidence: One, relatively unpleasant

After a chance encounter  in a diner, a gang of criminals kidnap a wealthy couple looking to rob/murder/whatever them. Things do not go as planned.

I love this Luke Evans film. I don’t care that it has a crappy Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB score, it’s great. Unashamedly grisly (woodchipper alert!) with a psycho you can really root for, what more could any horror fan want?

The first time I watched this I was expecting your usual revenge flick – man’s girlfriend is killed by baddies, man righteously kills baddies in ingenious ways. WRONG. The twist here is unexpected and turns it into much more of an interesting proposition. If it weren’t for the vomiting (see below) and the need for a few more bad guys to off, this would be in my top 20 easy. It even bucks the trend and has a good ending – in a horror film?! A rare thing indeed.

noonelives

Do NOT upset Welsh people.

Sooo for those of you who need to fast-forward pukey bits, there’s only one here but it’s one of those annoying ones with not much warning – just have your fingers on the FF/Mute button when two bad guys go to see what happened to their hostages and find the dead girl with her hair/scarf (can’t tell, too much blood) casually draped over her neck. You have been warned.

Puking aside, this is a great little horror film with a fab central performance from Luke Evans which really should have spawned some sort of franchise which I, personally, would have watched the shit out of.

 

Film Rating: 8/10 – gore galore

NB OCD: 5/10 not completely necessary and definitely unpleasant upchucking

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – The Ritual (2017)

theritual
Director:David Bruckner
Starring: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, Sam Troughton, a weird-ass CGI monster

Vomit Incidence: Implied rather than on screen

After the death of a close friend a group of British blokes go on a bonding trip camping in deepest, darkest Sweden. When an injury forces them to detour through a scary forest (dumbasses) the friends begin to suspect that they are being hunted. Hilarity and high-jinks (gruesome deaths) ensue.

This British horror movie was released in the UK last year and is now out here on DVD whereas everywhere else gets it for free on Netflix – bah! Netflix gripes aside though, this is a decent British horror movie (we do occasionally make them) and despite the initial setup being similar to another great Brit horror – The Descent, it soon makes its own mark and by the end of the movie has gone commendably bonkers.

ritual2

Rafe was relieved when he realised he wasn’t just making the bloke version of The Descent

There are more than a few genuine scares to be had and the director makes the most of the eerie forest setting (in the process probably putting people off visiting Sweden for life) and the cast freak out convincingly with only a few of the more annoying British script issues in evidence (thankfully I don’t recall this word ‘wanker’ making its unwelcome way into this film). I know some people took issue with the CGI monster but it’s used sparingly and when finally revealed is convincingly batshit insane. I for one do not want to meet the frankly damaged designer who came up with that one.

Said CGI creature has a habit of impaling people on spiky trees and it’s this habit which engenders the only semi-vomit incidence in the film as the characters wander across one of their mates with his insides on the outside. If you need to mute/switch off then best do so just after the first friend has been dragged off into the forest. You have been warned.

There are many, many awful horror films out there on Netflix and DVD, thankfully this isn’t one of them. It’s amusing in places, hellishly bonkers in others and the tension is ratcheted up nicely throughout. A solid watch for a Friday evening.

 

Film Rating: 7/10 – extra point for imaginative (and bonkers) monster design

NB OCD: 2/10 for implied multiple vomiters

 

Sick Sense Reviews

Sick Sense Reviews – The Open House (2018)

MV5BNjc4MmM5MzMtNjBmNy00YzFiLWE0NTUtZDcyZjE5NmQ0Yjc4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTEzNzczMA@@._V1_

Directors: Matt Angel, Suzanne Coote
Starring: Dylan Minnette, Piercey Dalton
Vomit Incidence: Minor but unnecessary and unpleasant

After his father is killed in a car accident Logan and his mother hit financial difficulties and a relative offers them her holiday home to stay in while she tries to sell it. The catch is that they have to make themselves scarce once a week when there’s an open house. Hence the title of the movie, clever, huh?

Well no, not really, clever is one thing this truly awful movie is not. The premise isn’t bad – someone gets in during an ‘open house’ and doesn’t leave, but the story makes no sense, there is zero tension and even after the end credits roll (if you lasted that long, sadly I did) you will not have any of your questions answered. Who gets in? Why do they stay? Why are the estate agents so shifty? Why do we even care etc etc…

The vomiting (when Logan goes for a run, for those of you who need to mute the sound/fast-forward/stab yourself in the eyes with forks) does nothing for the movie, except for allowing Logan to bump into the weirdo old lady who supposedly lives next door (does she? Who knows?).

All in all this really is one of the worst movies I have seen on Netflix (and that is quite some feat considering I watched ‘Nails’ the other day). Avoid at all costs.

 

Film Rating: 1/10 (for a decent premise)

NB OCD: 3/10 mild, unnecessary vomiting