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The Wailing (aka 곡성, , Gokseong): when a remote Korean village sees a spate of mysterious infections and violent murders all fingers point to an outsider from Japan that has recently moved to the area. This starts off as a darkly funny black comedy for the first 30 mins or so – that isn’t above fart jokes – but it slowly pivots 180-degrees into an intense, slow-burning, atmospheric supernatural mystery. The films doesn’t limit itself to one particular horror genre either; crossing possession (difficult to watch seizures) with slasher gore, demons, ghosts, and hints of zombies. One of the film’s climaxes involves a claustrophobic cutting together of three separate scenes involving two nauseating pagan rituals and a girl being exorcised; which reaches sustained levels of doom that are rarely seen. At around the 2 hour mark it does start to feel like a long film, however, the multi-layered ending that keeps folding in on itself is extremely satisfying, serving up a superbly tense and sustained showdown, with the kind skin crawling creepiness that Hollywood just can’t zero in on. There are also some very strong performances in the lead (a flawed bumbling cop), his daughter, and the entertaining shaman – who all shine in their roles. My only real fault of the film is that western – or even non-Korean – audiences will probably want to Google the film to the pick up on a lot of the significant cultural details that add to the film’s intricate plot – although it does still make plenty sense watching it cold. Very few films reach the sustained intensity of The Wailing; only the claustrophobia of Kill List, and the violent madness of something like Cold Fish come to mind. Chalk it up as another film which proves that Korea has one of the strongest film industries in the world.

Score: 7.5/10

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It Follows Car Wheelchair Tarantino Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Daniel Zovatto, Jake Weary, Bailey Spry, Debbie Williams, Ruby Harris, Leisa Pulido, Ele Bardha

It Follows: after sleeping with her new boyfriend a teen picks up a curse where a shape-shifting demon will always follow her, at walking pace, until it kills her or she bangs the curse in to someone else (an STD – Sexually Transmitted Demon – if you will). It sounds like an average idea for a horror film, but the execution is outstanding: taking this one simple (but powerful) idea and drawing tension, scares, and thrills from it. Like all of the best horror pictures it  also works as a thinking film, steeped in subtext and wide open to interpretation and analysis. It lets the audience consider how they would handle It – would you try to outrun it, or it pass on, or just kill yourself?!?! Shunning almost everything that makes modern horrors lazy, it boasts a nostalgic ‘classic’ suburban horror setting where people used landlines, CRT TVs, Polaroids, and eerie synth dominated the score (although they could just be modern hipsters?) Other than a couple of early ‘cattle prod’ moments, the thrills come from the atmosphere and suspense of ‘It’ – and the zombie-like relentless shuffle towards the camera. In saying that, the film could have done with a few more ‘chase’ scenes or false demons walking around; if only to capitalise on the eerie vibe sustained by the director. Also, “It” is not always following, which is weird – it’s apparently scared of water & hospitals, or just hangs around on rooftops or at the back of cinemas when it can’t be assed pursuing. The direction is very strong: solid camerawork, paired with the perfectly captured suburban and run-down areas of Detroit – which all come together to give the film an authenticity. If it wasn’t for a few flashes of gore and gratui-tits this could be the scariest PG movie ever made. IT Follows is nothing short of a miracle given the state of modern horror – Insidious 9, Paranormal Inactivity 13, Texas Chainsaw 17 – it’s genuinely atmospheric & scary, avoids cheap shocks, and lingers with you long after.

Score: 8/10

My solution: fly to another country, bang a young hooker, she passes it on almost immediately, and the curse will keep going back to said prostitute every time the unlucky john dies.

ABCs of Death Blood Baby Blocks Letters Logo

The ABCs of Death: Horror and Horror-Comedy anthology consisting of 26 short films from different directors, including some of the best and most notorious in the genre. The brief is simple; small budget, unlimited imagination, and be as anarchic, ambitious and outrageous as you can. Although there are a couple of stinkers, on-the-whole there are a lot of interesting, fun, and exciting segments in here; and hopefully it will be a gateway into world cinema, as the ‘foreign’ shorts are generally a cut above in terms of story and execution.

Score: 7.5/10

ABCs of Death Youngbuck Pedophile Archery Hunting Antlers Deer

Apocalypse (Nacho Vigalondo): Some great use of black humour and physical effects. Great opener. 8/10

Bigfoot (Adrian Garcia Bogliano): Babysitting done right. Bogyman style Mexican ‘Snowman’. 8/10

Cycle (Ernesto Diaz Espinoza): Mini Triangle/Timecrimes style horror. Garden hoez! 7/10

Dogfight (Marcel Sarmiento): Best animal acting I’ve ever seen. Good mini plot & twist. 8/10

Exterminate (Angela Bettis): A campaign of terror from a spider. Too CGI reliant, but good fapping humour. 5/10

Fart (Noboru Iguchi): Some classic Japanese madness; schoolgirl lesbians overdosing on their teacher’s farts. 7/10

ABCs of Death Toilet Claymation Killer Toilet

Gravity (Andrew Traucki): POV death by drowning. First stinker on the reel. 2/10

Hydro-Electric Diffusion (Thomas Malling): Steampunk Nazi Stripper Cat in XXX Loony Toons. 5/10

Ingrown (Jorge Michel Grau): Bathtubs, needles, scratching, vomit. Proper nasty & hard-hitting. 9/10

Jidai-geki (Yûdai Yamaguchi): Seppuku gone wrong. Very funny and awesome gore / FX. 8/10

Klutz (Anders Morgenthaler): Animation of a poop that just wont flush. One of the tamer segments. 6/10

Libido (Timo Tjahjanto): Very dark Mortal Kombat style masturbation competition. Unsettling and provocative. 9/10

Miscarriage (Ti West): Not scary, not well made, one cheap shock. Worst thing on the reel. 1/10

ABCs of Death Ingrown Bathtub Scratching Needle Murder

Nuptials (Banjong Pisanthanakun): Laugh out loud marriage proposal with a parrot. Charming and witty. 9/10

Orgasm (Bruno Forzani / Héléne Cattet): Feels more experimental and artistic-based than horror/gore. 4/10

Pressure (Simon Rumley): A prostitute doing a ‘crush film’ to pay the bills. Poignant and harrowing. 8/10

Quack (Adam Wingard / Simon Barrett): Too meta! A segment featuring the directors talking about their segment. Zzzzz 5/10

Removed (Srđan Spasojević): Surreal skit about a man being hacked to bits for his celluloid skin. Gross FX, potty mouth! 6/10

Speed (Jake West): Babes in the Desert trying to avoid death. Attitude, sass, style and striking visuals. 8/10

Toilet (Lee Hardcastle): A kid’s irrational fear of toilet training. Claymation madness! 9/10

ABCs of Death Libido Jacking it pedophilia impalement

Unearthed (Ben Wheatley): POV Vampire Vs Angry Mob. One of the slicker and better made efforts. 8/10

Vagitus (Kaare Andrews): Big action featuring a baby-eating robot and fertility. Slick CGI. 9/10

WTF! (Jon Schnepp): Another Meta segment, but genuinely WTF. Zombie clowns, pervy animation, hippy visuals & bloody babes. 6/10

XXL (Xavier Gens): Plight of a fat woman in today’s image-obsessed world. Repulsive SFX, hard-hitting story. 8/10

Youngbuck (Jason Eisener): a paedophile teaches a kid to hunt. 1980s montage style, mental, absurd, and great fun. 9/10

Zetsumetsu (Yoshihiro Nishimura): most outrageous segment; a topless Nazi babe with a big penis fights a girl firing veg from her lady garden. 9/11 depicted on tits; 3/11 (Fukushima disaster) on buttocks. Sex, violence, lesbians, and a fittingly OTT finale. 7/10

AVERAGE SCORE: 6.8/10