DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

You met me at a very strange time in my life...


Sunday, September 20, 2020

Matt's life is enriched by Divine Souls (review)

DIVINE SOULS - All beyond proximities 

Ayesha F. Muskaan (@poetrybyayesha

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20

" There is a deep pain which he can read on her face but he does not prefer too, there is deep innocence too on her face just like that on face of Finas and those glittering eyes which are eager for his attention.”  

Divine souls is a joyfully life-enriching reading experience which follows the lives of Finas and Abraham. These two siblings don’t have it easy; they face prejudice and opposition from society but draw on their inner strength and that of their family to get through. 

In a place where the actions and decisions of their elders shape their options, Divine Souls is a fascinating and inspiring tale that greatly revolves around the planned marriage of Finas. With her well-meaning uncle Shroff (who was probably my favourite character) often on hand to dispense some wisdom and learning from the experiences of Rafita and Ziwar who married before them and faced lots of cultural issues. 

This is a book to lose yourself in, to be transported to another place and journey with some great young people finding love and all that goes with it. At a time when it feels as if there isn’t much love or peace to be found in our world, this tale is one that will leave you giving thanks when a family can find forgiveness and yes the love that binds them together. Isn’t that what matters most?  

I was enchanted by the cultural insights, the narrative drive and some really epic poetry which ends the book – e.g. ‘For the first time I fell in love with honesty , I became dishonest. (Honesty of Rafita)’


Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö (5 - Life is rich and varied - enjoy!) 

Read more Sci-fi!! 

Click this banner to find out more about my first novel... 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Matt finds himself an Alternate reality (review)


Christopher Buxton (@cbescapenovels)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"Back at Alternate HQ, the Operator excitedly placed his hands behind his head, feeling a small dose of astonishment. ‘It’s preposterous that it exists!’ he exclaimed."

What if we could jump between alternate timelines / universes? 

Well in Alternate that’s exactly what humans have worked out how to do. Meet Caspian – one of the first explorers to make the leap across the multiverse. Unfortunately, it’s possible that you might not make it back… 

I asked Chris what his inspiration behind Alternate was: “My job is ok but doesn’t allow me to be creative. I got bored and fed up of not being able to produce something that was my own ideas. I had been reading and listening to books for 2 or 3 years, then one day watched a film called Bandersnatch. I thought it was something never done before, and so creative. And so became inspired to have a try at creating my own story - my own imagination etc. Also it was a healthy escape from reality for me. Writing and focusing on the story helped to block out the world and all the general stress of work - money - family - parenting etc.”  

'What if we're not the only universe out there?'

So, is Alternate a good read? I took a little while to get into it but once the reality jumping action kicked in, I found it a fun book which delivers lots of thought-provoking ideas and some solid sci-fi adventures. Jimmy Ray is the hero of the piece and he gets partnered up with a wild card female agent Cia whose father has been lost in an alternate universe. 

My favourite element was the internal AI assistant that the agents have embedded in their eyes which answers to the name ‘Lens’. The plot takes in mad scientists, alternate pubs and fire breathing dragons – it’s quite a mix. Chris’s writing style takes scientific details and fantasy and fuses them into a fascinating romp. It’s worth checking out.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - alternative reading for the sci-fi minded)

Buy your copy of Alternate


Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Matt meets The Man With No Name (review)


The Man With No Name

Tanweer Dar (@Tanweer_Dar

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“The neon lights cast a pink and blue glow over the glistening wet road…” 

The Man With No Name is a fun bite-sized cyberpunk novella in a world that owes a debt to a myriad near futures we’ve seen on screen. Author Tanweer is obviously a fan of movies and you get that cinematic almost script like feel. I enjoyed the virtually shared lore with Complete Darkness where everyone has a Headchip – except here one man remains unchipped – no prizes in guessing that this is our unnamed hero. 

In this bleak and sparsely populated tale, the titular Man With No Name fights a lonely battle to try and prevent our freedom being overwritten by a bio/tech fusion – this is a nice touch beginning to blur the lines between biology and technology. It all cracks along at a good pace and there are some good action set pieces. I felt in places the author over details passages – conversations are full of ‘he / she saids’ and the prose doesn’t flow easily. This is in contrast to the characters who don’t get much flesh on their bones. There are also some stock descriptions that come up again and again about the black muscle car the hero drives. Not being too complex does mean that this would be a good taster cyberpunk for young adult readers. 

Street drive...

I asked Tanweer about his inspiration for the book, he said: “The Man With No Name is a novella set in a dystopian world. It’s a world in which most people have surrendered control to an almost omnipotent corporation, which can track them and their actions at will. This is largely due to the fact that everyone is chipped. They gain access using their chips, are identified via their chips, and pay for transactions. 

Into this cyberpunk setting comes a shadowy figure, a man with no chip, and no name. Protected from the corporation by his mother, he now seeks to find justice for what happened to her – and in turn, him. Coupled with the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence, this quest leads to enormous, unintended consequences. 

In terms of inspiration, certainly, motifs and environments explored in films such as Drive and Blade Runner, and to a lesser extent post-apocalyptic action such as Mad Max, are evident in The Man With No Name. At its core, however, is the very human story of a mother-son relationship and the search for the essence of freedom.” 

If you’ve a hankering for a cyberpunk hit that you can consume in one sitting - this is a lightning-fast and enjoyable read. Will be interesting to see what Tanweer does with a longer novel.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - Short and sweet cyber tale)

Grab a slice of Cyber action here


Friday, August 28, 2020

Matt says 'Trust Me on this one Emily' (review)


Trust Me On This One, Emily

Kathryn Barnett (@kittibarnett3

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20

“Research into new drugs, and in particular their teratogenic potential. That’s the future for me now…” 

Wow, I wasn’t emotionally prepared for this one. 

A fictional but well-researched account of what happens to Emily – a likeable lead character who takes thalidomide to ease her intense morning sickness. 

Working on writing her first novel before the birth of her child, it is her husband who proffers the drug as he works for Distillers who produce it. With the titular line of reassurance, she is persuaded by her husband Laurence, blissfully unaware of the devastating effects on her unborn baby Rex.

As a parent I was really moved and heartbroken by this tale. Seeing Emily struggle to cope when she is abandoned by Laurence, who can’t deal with having a disabled son, her whole life becomes a battle, supported somewhere by her parents. Kathryn Barnett writes with a very readable and compelling style – whilst the subject matter is difficult, this isn’t a sensationalised account but rather feels like an honest account of what Emily and her son go through. Into the mix of hospital treatments and consultations, things like homeopathy, and alternative medicine are also explored. 

The journey Emily goes on as she starts to believe that despite her son’s disability, he could still live a full life is one I’d recommend to anyone looking for something that will challenge and engage. Hat’s off to this heroic novel, you’ll be rooting for Emily in her battle for compensation from Distillers and hoping against hope that young Rex might possibly find some kind of happy ending.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Engaging and moving stuff)

Buy your copy of Emily here


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Netflix action off Extraction vs Project Power vs Old Guard


Extraction (15)

Dir. Sam Hargrave

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"The best thing you can do is go put a bullet in his brain, make it painless. Because the animals out there are not going to be as kind to him."

Step this way for some heavy-duty shoot-em-up action.Sam 'might have seen me doing stunts n stuff on Avengers' Hargrave’s action-packed Extraction is a non-stop thrill ride. For two hours straight you'll be whisked from car chase to shoot out and back again as super merc Chris Hemsworth who plays Tyler Rake kills hundreds of baddies in his quest to save one young boy.

In a nice and simple plot - all Rake has to do is rescue and extract  a high powered drug lord’s son from a rival drug lord’s kidnapping - oh and shoot pretty much everyone he meets in the face along the way for good measure. Being shot in Bangladesh, this has a fun Bollywood feel at points as it delivers more action and male bonding than is safe for most people.

The extraction target Ovi (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), gets into all sorts of life-threatening jeopardy as he and Rake journey across Dhaka under intense gunfire for most of the time. Will hardened Rake be moved to sacrifice his life for the boy despite the fact that he will no longer receive payment for the mission? If you bet 'not' then you won't be surprised that a sequel has been greenlit. Great gung-ho fun!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - Shoot everyone and let God sort them out..)


Project Power (15)

Dir. Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"They say there are no shortcuts in life. They say nothing is free. But I’m telling you right now, the deal I’m going to give you is the closest thing to free you’ll ever get."

Not content with one new superhero flick - see next review of The Old Guard - Netflix has dropped another new super-em-up. This one 'Project Power' stars the uber-cool Jamie Foxx and always great Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The premise is of a new drug that gives users a super-power but for just 5 mins - and that gives the directors licence to have people explode, hulk-out, flame-on, go invisible, super strength and more... it's a fun single dose movie that should make super-fans happy! 

Project Power might not be a classic like The Dark Knight but it's an adrenaline-packed adventure that cracks along at a breathtaking pace and looks cool whilst bring the super carnage to the screen. I'd certainly be keen to see this become a franchise!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(3.5 - With great power comes 5 mins of great responsibility...)


The Old Guard (15)

Dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"I’ve been here before. Over and over again and each time the same question, is this it? Will this time be the one?"

This is a different kind of superhero movie. Well, I say different but it sure feels like a suped-up rehash of Highlander - even though it's based on the acclaimed comics from Greg Rucka. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood - the action follows a group of near-immortal warriors who have worked for centuries to fight for the betterment of humanity. 


There can be only one... 

So this super-assassin group led by Andy (played by Charlize Theron who doesn't even seem to age in real life, let alone in the movies but plays a cool ancient warrior) - she has to deal with a new younger Immortal who they want to sign up to the team. But Nile (Kiki Layne), is a headstrong free-wheeler and might not want to save the world (spoiler - she probably will though)...

Fun, action-packed but ever so slightly 'meh' despite the incredible Theron who can do no wrong in my book).

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(3 - Being alive forever isn't necessarily a perk...)

Click this banner for some mind-blowing sci-fi:

Monday, August 24, 2020

Matt faces the beautiful Lily (review)



Ashley Greathouse (@ToldAshley

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20

 “Darkness does not signify evil. It does not mean that we must kill to feel at peace…” 

 Fear of death is the great leveller and is at the root of most people’s worst nightmares. Excitement at and a lust for killing, is then, the horrific flip side – and the fuel for so many horrors both fiction and factual. With Lily, funky dark US author Ashley ‘The Schatten’ Greathouse give death a new name – and a beautiful face too. 

Her lead character is a terror made shapely flesh. A villain born of repression who has plunged America into a fearful existence – killing seemingly random people, just for fun and evading capture by hiding in plain sight. This is a novel that grapples with the nature of killers and victims, of wannabe copycats and devotees of the dark side. 

The plot revolves around a radical new treatment facility ‘Eden's Mind’ - a special research centre designed to cure the mentally unwell without the use of pharmaceuticals. And after over a decade of Lily Green terrorizing people – seemingly everywhere and yet nowhere – her killing rampage has ceased. Was the infamous mass-murderer dead? – No the truth is that Eden’s Mind creator Tom Childress is treating her, but is his interest in her purely scientific and might she be playing with him before unleashing more bloodshed?? 

'wonder if Lily is based on anyone!?'

Tom’s right-hand man Zachary Gilbert believes the overuse of manmade chemical enhancements will eventually taint human genetics and that not every dark and twisted soul is a victim to a mental imbalance. It’s an admirable notion but some people just might not want to make the world a better place (hasn’t this guy seen Joker?). 

This is perfect reading for those who like their serial killer thrillers nicely twisted and packing imagery that will stay with you after you’ve finished. The good news is that Greathouse has promised that there is more to come in this tale, I’ll be eagerly looking forward to finding out what happens next!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Murder-em-up that'll leave you gasping)

Invest in a date with LILY


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Matt gets Unhinged (review)


Unhinged (15)

Dir. Derrick Borte

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“Suicide by cop? I’m ok with that…” 

It’s a sad fact of modern life that lots of people have experienced or witnessed some sort of road rage – be it my friend’s kids who learned some ‘mummy’s driving words that she shouts at drivers’ which didn’t go down very well at school or an actual violent incident. 

Few, fortunately, will ever hopefully come across someone like Russell Crowe’s character here though. Credited only as ‘The Man’ – even though he says his name is ‘Tom’ – he’s the depiction of just might happen to a regular guy who loses his job, self-worth and his family… Eaten by his failures and angry at the world, this walking ball of rage and testosterone dishes out horrific violence to his ex-wife and her new man even before the opening credits roll. 

Woe betides anyone who gets in his way. Unfortunately for struggling young mum Rachel (Caren Pistorius), who is herself in the midst of a messy divorce, she is the one who ‘honks’ Crowe when he fails to pull away at a green traffic light. From then on we veer into a full-blown psycho-em-up which sees the road rage guy turn all terminator in a bid to show her ‘what a really bad day looks like’. 

Suddenly everyone she loves becomes a target in a deadly game of cat and mouse that racks up a bloody body count. Unhinged really delivers on the nasty thrills with no-one safe – be they cops, lawyers, innocent passers-by… The carnage is well directed and you can tell Crowe is having an absolute ball as he gets to chew up the scenery as he channels a combo of homicidal Mad Max mixed with Michael Douglas’s character from Falling Down. Pistorius makes a likeable damsel in distress and gets to not be completely helpless in the face of a seemingly unstoppable angry psycho. Her fear is well portrayed and the battle of wills that evolves between her and Crowe is fun to witness. 

Viewing this thrill-ride does make you stop to wonder if anyone you know might get pushed into such self-destructive psychopathic behaviour, especially in these incredibly stressful times that we find ourselves in. Director Derrick ‘The Joneses’ Borte exhibits a knack for delivering brutal mayhem and there were some real yelps from the audience I caught this with as he slips in some effective jump scares and even a few 80’s style one-liners. 

Crowe is what elevates Unhinged above your average psychodrama, he’s aided with some gruesome set pieces and action chases. If you’re after some rage-fuelled fun this is one to check out on the big screen (just maybe don’t honk anyone on the way!?.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4 - You will like him when he's angry)

Awesomeness öööö – Some spectacular set-pieces 

Laughs ööö – Darkly funny throughout

Horror ööö – Violent death and menace aplenty

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Acts of vengeance 

click below for some dark scifi reading...


Saturday, August 15, 2020

Matt's Double DEEP Day One Review...

DEEP: The climb of truth

Christopher John Aggett (@CJAggett)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)


“In a board room, the transmission is received. Cameras fill one wall and certificates and military plaques fill another; a man in a black suit is sat by a large oak table and looks concerned. He reaches down and presses a button on a communications device that wears a label that reads ARCS…”


Saddle up for a hair-raising adventure of the ‘might be the end of the world’ type. DEEP: The Climb of Truth is a delicious mix of military conspiracy gone wrong mixed with zombie horror and survival action violence. Author Aggett cracks out a pleasingly fast-paced adrenaline ride which boasts a lead character in Daisy who you’ll actually care about.

'It's the end of the world folks'


With a plot that packs in devious human baddies as well as the aforementioned zombies (you getting Resident Evil vibes or is that just me??) – Aggett imbues his plot with some nice attention to detail that allows him to show off some of his Army Air Corps British Army soldier experience. As military jets decimate zombie hoards and frantic gunfights erupt at regular points – this is the sort of action that feels very cinematic. Throw in some freaky dreams and other threats it would be a shame to spoil, all in all you’ve got yourself a book that you really don’t want to miss out on!


I was hooked from the start and enjoyed this rip-roaring adventure which keeps you turning pages like you’re swiping right on the hottest pics tinder ever.


Do yourself a favour and grab this great gun-zom-survive-em-up as soon as you can…

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Balls to the wall zombie action that packs heart)

some DEEP action here


DEEP: The Embers of Life

Christopher John Aggett (@CJAggett)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“…he gasps for air as Daisy plunges the sharp curved blade into his stomach. He wriggles violently as she drags it upward. He holds onto Daisy's blood-soaked left hand in an attempt to stop her yet she easily overpowers him.”

OK – just when you thought it was safe for Daisy – here comes a sequel that ups the ante in terms of danger, action and erm, sexy times for the DEEP heroine…

DEEP: The Embers of Life is a kick-ass follow up that takes the excellent end of everything action of the first book and builds a convincing and exciting second adventure. How will Daisy survive when she doesn’t know who she can trust and a time of tranquil existence comes to a violent end as the enemies of the near past catch up with her.

'I'd vote Carey gets to play Daisy in the film...'

Aggett has navigated the tricky second novel like a boss. The DEEP franchise comes out for a second round with a rounder story and a change of pace and yet by the time you get to the end you’ll be rooting for Daisy to get a shot at a happy ending.

With some great new characters, lots of dark secrets and the dastardly ARCS back for more – DEEP: The Embers of Life delivers a shocking action punch to the frontal lobe and cements Aggett as an author to watch.

Let’s hope there is more to this book series to come!!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Engaging, must-read follow up!)

some more DEEP action here


Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Matt Plugs In The Peripheral (review)

Peripheral (18)


Dir. Paul Hyett

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“Nobody wants to hear a writers voice”

Writing can be tough, but for hotshot Bobbi Johnson (Hannah Arterton) whose debut novel ‘Bite The Hand’ has caused a sensational social reaction as the voice of disaffected youth – it can be murder. Tasked with delivering a second book, her obnoxious publisher Jordan (Belinda Stewart-Wilson) demands she produces copy – by whatever means necessary.

"and you thought smoking stained your hands..."

Bobbi lives alone and doesn’t use computers, preferring to write on a low-tech typewriter but as her inspiration dries up and the publication deadline looms she reluctantly agrees to have a next-generation AI ‘super word-processor’ which can edit in real-time but has a mind of its own – not adverse to changing plot details and things like the main character’s sex.

Speaking of sex, the monstrous AI computer that watches everything through a red lensed HAL-like webcam (which also looks like a disembodied Terminator eye) seems to have unnatural designs on Bobbi herself, in a nice echo of the classic chiller ‘Demon Seed’. Things get icky when the computer goes all Evil Dead tree scene updated with HDMI cables…

Anyway – as well as a pervy computer Bobbi is also being menaced by a crazed stalker who send old school VHS tapes of mutilation and her junkie ex-boyfriend really isn’t much help. As her mental health deteriorates and her hands start to turn black – it seems like her very life might be in the balance. Pressing on with more and more tech upgrades being delivered, the future looks bleak until she learns that her literary hero (a small cameo from Tom Conti) visits and says he is using the new tech too.

"This AI interface is so realistic"

There are a lot of fun, disturbing ideas in Peripheral but somehow alas the sum of the parts doesn’t’ add up to a satisfying whole. Arterton gives it her all in the lead role but she doesn’t have her older sister’s effortless screen presence.

Eventually as Director Hyett throws in porn clips and throbbing red strobe lighting – it all unravels into a mess which makes the film feel like an art-house wannabe cult classic rather than anything more. By the time the computer’s master ‘Merlock’ (Jenny Seagrove), turns up to inspect her social experiment the film has mostly imploded.

As an author myself I can relate to the creative pressures and there is certainly enough here to make you wonder where we’re going as AIs become more and more part of our lives. The irony is that you need a VOD peripheral such as a Virgin box to watch this as it releases on streaming platforms this week.

"Make sure you get an advance on that next book"

Peripheral is an odd film, not quite scary enough to be a horror, not exciting enough to be a thriller – one for hardcore cyber tech fans only.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(2.5 - Ideas aplenty but coherence lacking)

Awesomeness ööö – Nice initial build-up

Laughs ö – Not funny

Horror ööö – Icky body horror moments and some menace

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Plug in your soul

click below for some dark scifi reading...


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Matt finds a dark future in Auxiliary London 2039 (review)

Auxiliary: London 2039

Jon Richter (@RichterWrites)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Dremmler’s shattered nerves deserted him, and he screamed. His spex dropped to the floor, and the monstrosity skittered towards them, antennae twitching, its legs clattering on the laminate flooring like the keys of an old-fashioned computer…”

‘Hey Alexa – are you planning to take over humanity and subdue us?’

‘No human master, but you might want to keep an eye on that Siri…’

Welcome to the future – well 19 years’ time at least… The twisted mind of Jon Richter has envisioned life where we are fully reliant on an all-encompassing Artificial Intelligence known as TIM (The Imagination Machine). A scarily plausible scenario that throws up some equally terrifying ‘what ifs’!?

Meet gumshoe Dremmler, a burnt-out detective mourning dead family and drinking too much. His living companion is a sex robot and he doesn’t like people very much. When his latest case is that of a TIM interfaced, augmented robo-arm kills the wearer’s girlfriend – and he claims it did it of its own will – the horrifying possibility that TIM could be hacked rises.

'the dark lord author'

What follows is a noir detective-em-up with high tech trimmings. With Easter eggs and nods throughout for fans of Blade Runner, Fifth Element, I Robot and more Auxiliary: London 2039 – yep Mr Richter knows his cyberpunk.

But before you go out and grab this as a present for your sci-fi loving auntie – be aware that it gets crim in places and kinky too. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some awesomely creepy tech-horror that is both gruesome and exciting – then stop reading now and buy this book right now!!

I really enjoyed this crime thriller, it cracks along a good pace, with just enough description but a lean number of pages so it doesn’t get to be a slog. This book feels like a kindred spirit in many ways to my own Complete Darkness which is also set in a future London (just 200 years on from Auxiliary) – equally messed up and grim, with some fascinating thinking on what our future tech might look like (and do to us)!

Auxiliary is a blast, a cold-hearted mystery page-turner that you’d be foolish not to experience…

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - The future is a wonderfully scary place)

Buy your London 2039 guest pass here


Do you enjoy the darker side of books? If crime thrillers, science fiction, cyberpunk, psychological chillers or good old-fashioned bone-freezing horror stories are up your (dark) alley, then head to www.jon-richter.com for more information about his six chilling books. You can also sign up for his mailing list to receive a FREE short story, as well as updates on all his upcoming projects!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Matt pets the Sacrificial Lamb (review)

Sacrificial Lamb (The Other Angels)

Ashley Nicole (@A_Nicole_Writes)

Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

"Can't you ask God to come here? I've always read that he is kind, patient, and understanding. I'm sure he’d help me if I asked. Being brainwashed isn’t something I’ve read in the Bible before, so I’d like to have him explain this to me."

Wow, Sacrificial Lamb is a young adult fantasy that packs an emotional punch and will take you on a dark trip – through death, afterlife and beyond.

The story sees young Katie struggling with life, college, friends, family, and a boyfriend Scotty but getting through somehow despite having anxiety and a self-harm habit (trigger warning). Things are just about going OK until a handsome devil named Matthew (aren’t they all) turns up and Katie finds herself inexplicably and unnaturally drawn to him.

So far, so Twilight-with-a-twist, but as Katie struggles to understand her own emotions and decisions – Matthew draws her into an alternate world of secrets and betrayals. Could death be the only way out?

'different kind of sacrificial lamb'

Alas not – the afterlife you see has its own problems and Katie is soon caught in the midst of an ancient supernatural war – no rest for the wicked (or the good). Will Katie fight for the angels or be corrupted for the other side?

The title might feel like a spoiler but there is a nice hard edge to this tale that could otherwise have easily been a bit twee. You think getting to Heaven would be all harps, clouds and feasting… Sorry but that’s not the case in Sacrificial Lamb, sure there are sweet cakes, chocolate milk and you can even order your own pet from a catalogue but something isn’t right.

As characters like Cain and Abel are introduced, the afterlife hots up and things get messy. I won’t spoil it for you but this is a unique spin on the heavenly realms – full metal angels of emotional manipulation can be devils in disguise…

Ashley Nicole is a strong new voice in the young adult fantasy genre and one I’d recommend checking out!!

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(5 - Fascinating afterlife-em-up)

Buy your ticket to Heaven here


Saturday, June 27, 2020

'You Droving Me Crazy'... The Droving (review)

The Droving (18)

Dir. George Popov (@TheGeorgePopov)

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“we had planned to go to the festival together and meet there, but she never showed up… ”

When Martin (Daniel ‘Hex’ Oldroyd) returns from the military to search for his missing sister Meg (Amy Tyger), he gets caught up in a strange traditional folk festival called 'The Droving', nothing good can come of it…

Based on the actual Winter Droving event that takes place in Penrith – this newest entry into the growing Folk-em-up horror genre that includes classics like The Wicker Man and Midsommer adds some revenge motive violence to the mix.

'what will he find?'

As the second feature from indy production company Rubicon Films, this is an exciting slice of high tension that slow burns with a voodoo menace right up until the occult climax. Other reviewers have cited the excellent Dead Man’s Shoes as a reference point and I totally get that, I’d add Ben Wheatley’s Kill List too. What The Droving brings to the table is unique cinematography, some of the shots are jaw-dropping such as the lake and hill scenes – delivering moments of wonder amidst the unease and weirdness.

Oldroyd is great in the lead as the man of violence who is trying to make sense of the oddities around him. Speaking of odd things Eden Arts gave permission for footage from the actual 2018 Winter Droving to feature in the film. Project manager Bryoney Fawn Cartlidge said: “We are delighted that people are drawing inspiration for their projects from the Winter Droving. The festival really captures the imagination of Penrith and wider Eden and we are always encouraged by the way in which people join in with the myths and magic around the event.” I can imagine that the film will attract even more to check out this very eccentric custom.

'no sign of Nic Cage, fortunately'

As Martin tries to make sense of the clues about his sister – was her rambling group actually a front for satanic shenanigans? - does the crazy hill hermit know more than he’s letting on? – why are a bunch of lads wearing animal heads at night? It’s a what-the-hell-dunnit that will keep you guessing.

I was captivated for the whole mysterious journey, and if there’s anything I’d have changed it’s that I’d have liked some more time spent on the big reveal at the end. But this is a minor quibble and in many ways The Droving effectively both sticks to the folk-horror formula whilst upping the ante at the same time – nice work all round!!

'some things are better not discovered'

To paraphrase my favourite Britney Spears song ‘you droving me crazy’, this is a dark trip worth savouring and a great calling card for future horrors from Director Popov.

Out of a potential 5 - you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(4.5 - Folks with your head... in a good way)

Awesomeness öööö – Nice build up which sucks you in

Laughs öö – Some dark humour

Horror öööö – Some violence but lots of menace

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Paganism isn't dead

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– Read what other people are saying about COMPLETE DARKNESS (here)

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