Posted on by Pazuzu Iscariot
The UK horror scene has had a resurgence in popularity in the recent years after a prolonged nap time after the death of Hammer Horror, with some quality horror making an appearance in the last couple of decades. Many of the UK's progressive horror directors are unafraid to put a new twist on age old horror themes and often add a little bit of the British dry-wit making ironic comedy out of torturous circumstances whilst others are determined to keep the horror spirit alive making movies simply to chill the spine, combined with an often unabashed splattering of gore, cockney accents, an unfuckwithable bad attitude and a calculated and satirical humor, British horror manages to deliver a fresh perspective on the horror genre.
Mum and Dad is a sickening and satirical look at the concept of the nuclear family from director Steven Sheil. Mum and Dad are psychopathic parents living at the bottom of a runway at Heathrow Airport intent on satisfying their twisted needs and lifestyle on the numerous bounties that being close to the airport brings. One such commodity that they are interested in is young immigrants who they torture into submission and perversely care for in their unique parental fashion. Lena is one such airport worker that is adopted into the family unit and the movie revolves around her desperate attempt to divorce her new parents. Mum and Dad is a torture-pornish exploitation flick with a distinctive British flavour and a truly depraved yet darkly humorous undertone.
With a star studded comedy cast, including the likes of Danny Dyer and Tim McInnerny, Severance is a very tongue-in-cheek horror with the charms of a British team building exercise and the horror of the mentioned team builders being stalked by deranged psychopathic war-crazed murderers. Severance sees the sales team employed by Palisade Defence (a multi-national arms company) go on a bonding mission to the middle of nowhere in Eastern Europe where the clash of personalities soon becomes second on the list of important things to manage as keeping psycho killers at bay becomes first. Typically slasherish yet typically British.
Eden Lake is a nasty little horror movie from James Watkins cashing in on the "youth is out of control" fad sweeping Britain. This is a serious movie with the sole intention of disturbing the viewer, a job which it quite successfully manages to do. A young couple's romantic camping vacation is ruined by a group of unruly youths who are willing to take vengeance to its extremes when confronted about their loutish behaviour. Soon the lovers are in more trouble than they can sanely handle and soon Jenny (Kelly Reilly) soon resorts to violence to escape the terror teens and their slap happy attitude towards life. Eden Lake draws to a close in a way that only horror fans could appreciate and leaves you with the sense that it won't be all alright.
London is decimated by a virulent pandemic turning the inhabitants into flesh hungry, ravenous ghouls. 28 Days Later follows a few survivors in their quest to reach safety within an army blockade in Manchester. Unfortunately when they get there they realise that "The Rage" virus is just exacerbating already present human instincts and that being with other survivors isn't necessarily the safest place. 28 Days Later is often coined a Zombie flick and it does build upon and enhance a number of zombie ideologies but the disease ridden aren't especially undead. This is definitely a ground breaking movie with a significant British shadow of darkness making this a claustrophobic horror in an agoraphobic setting.
Cradle of Fear is a low-budget yet mind-blowingly splatterific set of four related stories concerning those who have had an encounter with an insane hypnotist with a penchant for child killing. Each story is distinctly different apart from copious amounts of tits and gore and are tied together by the aforementioned child-killer. Even with the minimal investment in the production, the movie still comes off like Creepshow on angel dust and will satisfy the fans of independent gore indubitably. With the first story starring the horror goddess Emily Booth giving birth to a mutant spider baby, what's not to love about Cradle of Fear.
Lurking in the labyrinth of train tunnels, sewer systems and service tunnels is a deformed and mentally incapacitated mutant man whose research into child birth can be hazardous for anyone straying into his domain late at night. Kate (Franka Potente) is one such drunken strayer and must escape the maze or become food for the creep. Creep is an innovative representation of the one-on-one slasher sub-genre mixed with a bit of a creature feature and dusted with the hollow earth theory. The movie successfully creates an edge-of-the seat atmosphere and enough blood to make the shocks worth the wait, the actor's performances are exemplary and the movie ends with a subtle irony that fits the 360th degree in a well rounded Brit-flick.
Managing to give a revitalising and fresh look at the werewolf genre whilst still staying true to traditional horror, Dog Soldiers follows a crew of British soldiers on a routine training mission gone wrong in the Scottish highlands. The plot, and a passing zoologist, soon leads the unit to an old house far from civilization where they must survive the night whilst ravenous beasts bury bones and leave poop in the garden. Unfortunately for our heroes the lycanthrope cult is a bit of a heritage in these parts of Scotland and their zoologist saviour may not have been entirely honest with them about her preferred drinking buddies.
The director of Dog Soldiers, Neil Marshall, also brought forth The Descent where a group of extreme sport loving ladies decide that hardcore caving is the ideal activity to honour their dead friends. Unfortunately for the intrepid adventurers the caves they choose are home to some nasty monsters and soon the expedition becomes a little more extreme than they had planned for. The Descent is set in the ideal location to provide numerous frights and successfully engages the viewer in the characters as they are killed off. The happy ending is soon quashed as the tripped out realisation of the true events are revealed making for an ending that you would only see in a horror movie.
Shrooms is an Irish/Danish co-productions set in Ireland following American Tara, her student friends and their Irish friends on a hunt for magic mushrooms. An unfortunate mix up with deathcap mushrooms leaves Tara in a bad-tripping situation where her vivid hallucinations reveal the deaths of her friends at the hands of an unknown executioner. Her hallucinations soon manifest themselves in reality and one by one the friends are released from their drug induced crazyness by the sweet sickle of Death. In a typical American slasher kind of way, Shrooms twists at the end creating some rationality for the drug influenced goings on and leaves itself open for a sequel.
The Last Horror Movie is a British horror movie (not to be confused with the American The Last Horror Film... confused yet?) which innovatively takes a look at the work of crazed serial killer Max Parry through his own eyes. The premise is that Max recruits his victims by recording his antics over a video before returning it to Blockbuster and then waits to see who hires it. The idea is that the watcher is our maniacs next victim but the illusion fails to have the desired effect if being watched on a recently shrink wrapped DVD. The movie asks a lot of questions to the viewer about what they get out of horror movies and can make them unsure about their own motives for wanting a bit of splatter on the screen (especially if they have just got back from Ireland).
This feature was posted on by Pazuzu Iscariot and filed under British Horror Movies
Actors: David Dyer, Tim McInnerny, Laura Harris, Toby Stephens, John Frankish
Running Time: 96 minutes
Rating: R (Restricted)
Title: Mum & Dad (2008) Blu-ray
Director: Steven Sheil
Actors: Perry Benson, Dido Miles
Running Time: 84 minutes
Title: Dog Soldiers
Director: Neil Marshall
Actors: Sean Pertwee, Kevin McKidd, Liam Cunningham, Emma Cleasby, Thomas Lockyer
Running Time: 105 minutes
Rating: R (Restricted)
Title: 28 Days Later [Blu-ray]
Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Alex Garland
Producers: Andrew Macdonald, Robert How
Actors: Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Alex Palmer, Bindu De Stoppani
Running Time: 113 minutes
Rating: R (Restricted)