Zach Galligan Joins Hatchet 3 – Slasher villain Victor Crowley has a new nemesis in the third installment in the Hatchet series – actor Zach Galligan has officially joined the cast.
The actor, best known for his work in Gremlins and Gremlins 2, will tackle the role of Sheriff Fowler in the upcoming feature. He’ll join Danielle Harris, Kane Hodder, and Derek Mears in the BJ McDonnell-directed film. McDonnell takes over for Adam Green, who is handling screenwriting and producer duties on this outing.
Trailer for Among the Sleep takes survival horror to new territory – survival horror videogames have been around for years now, but this new title from Krillbite Studios brings an interesting new twist to the formula: the main character is a two year old child.
After years of playing as well-armed cops, teenage girls with cameras, and unarmed amnesiacs (the brilliant Amnesia: The Dark Descent), gamers will finally get to experience playing someone truly defenseless – a toddler -- while they run from supernatural forces.
Check out the trailer and official synopsis below – our early impression is that the game looks sort of like Paranormal Activity 2 from the baby’s perspective. Expect Among the Sleep to debut sometime in 2013.
In Among the Sleep you take on the role of a young child. You have yet to develop a full sense of reality, making you weak and susceptible to the horrifying creatures inhabiting your nightmares. One particular night a dramatic event occurs, forcing you to flee from your home and enter a surreal world. Only accompanied by Teddy, you must overcome many hardships to stay alive and find a way home.
Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno reveals its plot – Last column, I posted a news bit about one of Eli Roth’s upcoming horror projects, a film entitled The Green Inferno. I was pretty excited just by the title, since it was reminiscent of the classic Italian cannibal films of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s – particularly Cannibal Holocaust.
There were no plot details at the time, but new details have been revealed – and yes, The Green Inferno is indeed a modern day cannibal flick. Here’s the brief description:
The film "follows an idealistic student and a group of naive do-gooders who are captured by cannibalistic Indios after their plane crash lands in the Peruvian jungle."
This sounds like something Umberto Lenzi or Ruggero Deodato would have come up with in the subgenre’s heyday. Let’s hope Roth delivers the gore and that there’s a place for Italian horror film legend John Morghen to die horribly in the film.
Howard Ford preps Indelible – If you haven’t seen Jon and Howard Ford’s African-set zombie flick The Dead, allow me to recommend it. It’s sort of like Resident Evil 5 in game form, only without all the stupid T-virus/Umbrella Corp. hokum that makes those games so absurd.
Anyway, Howard Ford is finally back with a new film project – a supernatural thriller entitled Indelible. While the director is playing secretive with the details, he does offer up this tantalizing nugget: “Indelible will not be just any supernatural thriller in the way some think a film like this will play out. When they get to the end of this movie, audiences will not only have felt tension and fear, but I want it to drive thoughts in a way that will hit hard in the heard and stay there long after the credits roll.”
Ford intends to shoot the film solo, starting this September. Brother Jon will be on hand, though – serving as cinematographer on the project.
Both conventional wisdom and the law of averages dictate that all good things must come to an end, and so it has apparently come to pass for French horror cinema. After a several year run of titles like Martyrs and Inside, the country has slowed its genre output – and what’s come out recently has more in common with something like Frontier(s) than High Tension. Such is the case with Franck Richard’s 2010 film, The Pack.
A young girl (Emilie Dequenne) traveling alone picks up a hitchhiker named Max (Benjamin Biolay) as she makes her way across the mostly deserted countryside. After stopping at a rundown roadside bar – and being accosted by a group of bikers – Max disappears. Rather than go about her business, our heroine decides to investigate where her companion has gotten off too – and soon discovers an unpleasant truth.
Richard’s film starts out interestingly enough. There’s an instant familiarity to the story when Charlotte stops to pick up Max, but like Laugier’s Martyrs, The Pack is simply toying with our narrative expectations. This isn’t a Gallic take on The Hitcher, but instead a mish-mash of ideas culled from other, better, films with a healthy dollop of golems to try and keep it on track.
Unfortunately, Richard – who also wrote the screenplay – doesn’t really have much to say. That mish-mash of borrowed ideas isn’t a joke – it’s as if Richard sat down and watched every popular horror film of the past decade and decided which elements were worth borrowing and which to jettison. Those keeping score will notice nods to films like Martyrs, Inside (the evil La Spack seems to be cut from similar cloth as Beatrice Dalle’s The Woman), the roadside gone wrong of Frontier(s), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (there’s a great scene of La Spack slamming a metal sliding door closed that’s instantly recognizable to fans) and countless other little “homages.” The film even brings along High Tension’s Philippe Nahon in hopes of upping its genre cred.
I’m not opposed to films that pay respect to their inspirations – as long as they bring something satisfying of their own to the table. This is where The Pack ultimately falls short. After subverting our expectations through these familiar early scenes, Richard’s big revelations are utterly underwhelming and more than a little nonsensical.
I don’t want to say too much about the film’s ultimate revelations, not because they’re major spoilers, but for fear of coloring the viewer’s reaction in an unfair way. In a different film, with a more consistent screenplay, the menace Charlotte must face in The Pack could be quite compelling. The problem with Richard’s handling of the material is that it doesn’t feel like an organic outgrowth of the story that comes before it. Instead, it all feels tacked on and forced and out of left field.
Some of the best horror films present implausible situations and creatures, but they work for willing audiences because they present a universe that may only resemble ours in the most superficial ways, but one that has a well-defined set of rules. There’s no room for coincidence in narrative storytelling even if it does happen constantly in real life. The Pack doesn’t seem concerned with this and throws at least two unexplained events into the mix that don’t really make sense according to the rules of the world the film has established. Why do these creatures attack and kill one helpless victim and not another? Is it luck or something else entirely? If it’s the latter, that’s acceptable – but the film never bothers to explain the reason why this event happens. If a writer is unwilling to explain the rules of his fictional universe, it’s hard for an audience to stay invested. That happens in The Pack more often than it should.
The shame of it all is that Richard’s cast is good. Yolande Moreau makes a compelling villain as La Spack and a great foil to Dequenne’s young, punk rock heroine. Philippe Nahon is always a treat to watch and manages to again steal every scene he’s in (his t-shirt, long featured in a popular Internet meme, is even funnier given who his character is and his age). Too bad all of this is wasted by a script that never really seems to know where it’s going. I’d have rather watched a traditional slasher film that marched through the requisite plot points in a by-the-numbers fashion than watch this narrative tease me before falling apart completely.
Aside from the performances, the film also offers up some impressive practical FX work. The Pack isn’t as bloody as most of the new wave French horror films that have come before it, but when it goes for the gross-out, it goes hard and generally delivers. Too bad this level of care wasn’t applied to the story…
If forced to describe The Pack in a word, that word would be disappointing. I’ve been a champion of the modern French horror film for the past few years, citing the gallic gorefests as some of the most inventive horror cinema being made anywhere – including here in America. The output has certainly slowed down over the past few years (mostly because Hollywood has been big on trying to poach French talent for its own projects), but I held out hope that a new group of filmmakers would pick up the gauntlet and continue the trend started just a few short years ago. That could still happen, but films like The Pack are certainly not inspiring a lot of hope.
Horror on the Horizon
Theatrical pickings are once again slim for horror fans. June 1st sees the long-awaited arrival of Piranha 3DD, John Gulager's sequel to Alex Aja's surprise hit of a few years ago. The killer fish are back and hungry for more half-naked women in the sequel, which moves to a water park. Catch it in select theaters or on VOD starting tomorrow. The only other thing that comes even remotely close being horror and getting a mainstream wide release is Ridley Scott’s Prometheus on Friday the 8th. While not a straight horror film, it does look to have some horrific moments based on the 8 million trailers and clips they’ve released – and we’re all pretty excited about it anyway.
The pickings are every bit as slim on DVD – which is unusual. About the only noteworthy major release is Criterion’s version of Shallow Grave, but again – not really a horror movie. There’s also the DVD debut of Vincent D’onofrio’s strange horror musical hybrid Don’t Go in the Woods. Guess this is a good two weeks to catch up on the backlog of things to watch – or actually go outside.