DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Darkmatters Review: Hereditary

Hereditary (15)

Dir. Ari Aster

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@cleric20)

“You didn't kill her. She isn't gone...”

Kiss goodbye to your nerves, Hereditary is the new horror movie on the block that brings classy and truly unsettling viewing back with a bang. This might only be rated 15 but do not underestimate the sheer evil contained and the mind-bending freakery it unleashed.

"Not a feel good experience"

Refreshingly well-acted – the entire cast are terrific - but Toni Collette absolutely owns this slow burning spook-em-up which rarely resorts to jump scares. First time director Ari Aster ratchets up the tension and paranoia, taking mental illness and mixing it with the paranormal occult world.

This isn’t a film for the faint heart – decapitations, human sacrifice and horrific mutilations are weaved into a grieve laden tale of a dysfunctional family that is being torn apart by forces beyond their control.

By the time the end credits roll it’s likely you won’t even know quite how you actually feel about the film. It’s certainly really well made, the cinematography is gorgeous even when the subject matter is grim. What sets Hereditary apart from the quick jump standard horror efforts is the voodoo like creeping dread that it builds up. The scenery plays a part – in almost every shot there are things half seen, like the woods that surround the family home the shadows look sinister, the dark corners of the rooms hide possible specters. Even the strong gross out moments which are likely to burn into your mind are handled well.

As the plot get more grim, the subtlety starts to slip and so by the end we’re in full on Rosemary’s Baby 2.0 territory. Sure Hereditary references many other horror movies such as The Exorcist, Lake Mungo and The Last Exorcism but it does manage to carve out its own niche.

Everything is machine tooled to unnerve, even the architecture is purposefully ‘wrong’ – which reminded me somewhat of The Shining. There is a haunting score and an effectively upsetting use of sounds such as a once innocent clicking of the tongue.

Circling around troubled mother Annie (Collette) are her family who include long suffering husband Steve (Gabriel Byrne), Eldest son Peter (Alex Wolff), young daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro) and recently deceased grandma Ellen who doesn’t seem to want to rest in peace.

As a Christian I found the occult theology interesting in it’s anti-religious messaging, the plot of Hereditary fully encompasses spiritualism and doesn’t seem interested in providing a force of good to balance the scales.

Hereditary is a remarkable debut horror film from an obviously talented director but it might just be too disturbing for many.

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


(4 - Stunningly evil masterclass in horrror)

Awesomeness öööö  – Deep set chills

Laughs öö  – A little dark humour

Horror ööööö – Very grim and upsetting

Spiritual Enlightenment NONE - Negatives vibes only

Friday, June 01, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story (12a)

Dir. Ron Howard

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Never tell me the odds…”

I was going to start this review with a pun but I thought about it and just couldn’t bring myself to stoop Solo…

*dust weeds tumble past*

"Inter-species bromance"

So – here it is then, another spin-off prequel from the Star Wars universe. Telling the tale of young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), years before the scruffy nerf-herder / smuggler helped a young Jedi and the rebellion take on the Empire.

After a troubled gestation, with directors changing and rumours of on-set dissatisfaction – the result is actually a fun heist romp, albeit a lesser ‘Star Wars’ film.

The Disney approved team certainly work hard to tick all the fanboy requirements… Ever wondered why Han shot first in A New Hope? Did he really make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs? How did he meet his furry pal Chewbacca? All these and more are answered which helps make up for the fact that there’s no real peril due to it not being a spoiler to know that Han doesn’t die in this one!?

"someone call for baddies?"

Star of the film though is the young Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) who is superb in channelling the cheeky swagger that Billy Dee Williams rocked in The Empire Strikes Back. There are some fin new characters on hand too such as Han’s childhood sweetheart, Qi'Ra (Emilia ‘Game of Thrones’ Clarke), shady leader of a thief gang Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and his crew who include four armed alien Rio (Jon Favreau), and tough gal Val (Thandie Newton).

The big baddies here though are the crime syndicate Crimson Dawn whose boss is Dryden Vos (a nicely creepy turn from Paul Bettany). Along the way there are some exciting heists but very little actual plot so it leaves you feeling a little short changed and wondering why it played it all so safe.

"She'll make mark 2 past lightspeed" 

The special effects are up to scratch which is a bonus, especially cool is Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s L3-37 robot co-pilot who hangs out with Lando. She brings both humour and a fun spin on feminist rights transposed to droids – who she battles to free from oppression.

In the end the Solo should please Star Wars aficionados – and I count myself in that group as I sleep with a model of the Millennium Falcon on my bedside table and called my firstborn son Luke so every night I can say 'LUKE, I AM YOUR FATHER' – but it doesn’t do much for the next ‘main’ entry in the franchise.... so let's see where they go next with the whole spin off thing.

"A new form of girl power"

Overall though about his own film Han himself might be tempted to say: “I have an good feeling about this.”

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


(3.5 - Star Wars'y fun that ticks the boxes)

Awesomeness öööö  – Gets good in places

Laughs ööö  – Intergalactic mirth

Horror öö – Not too grim

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Be careful of who you trust