Review: The Woman In Black (2012)

The Woman In Black is the latest release in Hammer’s modern revival, coming hot on the heels of less-than-stellar fare Wake Wood, Let Me In and The Resident. Loosely adapted from Susan Hill’s novel of the same name by up-and-coming screenwriter Jane Goldman, The Woman In Black attempts to reclaim the spark that’s been missing from modern day horror productions through an eerie atmosphere and slow-burning minimalism.

Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe), a solicitor and father, is sent to a secluded village on the East Coast of England to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased Continue reading “Review: The Woman In Black (2012)”

Worst Ten Films Of 2011

Looking down at my worst of 2011 list it seems I managed to avoid many of this year’s cinematic duds, but let me tell you that having to sit through the animation atrocity that was Mars Needs Moms, the ice cold Chalet Girl and Dream House, the horror-thriller no-one wanted to be associated with, was more than enough to see me through.

The films I’ve chosen – and believe me when I say it was a very easy process – are what I believe to represent the most reprobate films I saw Continue reading “Worst Ten Films Of 2011”

DVD Releases: July 4, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

Director: George Nolfi

Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt and Florence Kastriner

Drive Angry

Director: Patrick Lussier

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Amber Heard and William Fichtner

Hall Pass

Director: Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly

Starring: Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis and Christina Applegate

The Resident

Director: Antti Jokinen

Starring: Hilary Swank, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Christopher Lee

Anuvahood

Director: Adam Deacon and Daniel Toland

Starring: Adam Deacon, Femi Oyeniran and Ollie Barbieri

Norwegian Wood

Director: Anh Hung Tran

Starring: Rinko Kikuchi, Ken’ichi Matsuyama and Kiko Mizuhara

Review: The Resident (2011)

The Resident, a home invasion thriller directed by Antti Jokinen, is Hammer second shot at commercial horror after the marginally successful Let Me In.

The film centers on Juliet (Hillary Swank), a doctor who, after a messy break-up with her boyfriend (Lee Pace), rents a spacious apartment in Brooklyn, subsequently finding herself beset on all sides by a mysterious, unseen force of evil.

Jokinen’s direction, from the offset, is shaky as he tries to build quiet suspense and an eerie atmosphere on the shoddy premise and haphazard script. That said, he does make effective use of CCTV security footage captured on motion-sensitive cameras, using them to instill some low-key terror. The problem is he’s too timid to take it anywhere.

What works, is the fine fine examples of Hammer’s classic horror film aesthetic embedded within the action; from ripe dialogue, and enthusiastic cast to fog-thick atmosphere and some tense camera-work. It’s a breath of fresh air to see these techniques being used once again, it’s just a shame so see them go wasted.

In terms of casting, Swank and Jeffrey Dean Morgan both bring adequate shading to their respective characters, delivering equally respectable performances. Neither of then, however, feel comfortable enough with the source material to truly captivate us, and make us sympathise with their characters.

Sadly, Christopher Lee – in his first Hammer film for close to three decades – is shamefully wasted as August, who immediately – despite his limited screen time – brings a smidgen of credibility to the film.

The Resident is not outright awful, but it’s nothing more than a routine Hammer horror film that fails to create any atmosphere around its premise.