DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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

Read my novel: Complete Darkness

Listen to the PODCAST I co-host: Hosts in the Shell

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Midsommar freakout review

Midsommar (18)

Dir. Ari Aster

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“Yeah, it’s sort of a crazy festival. It only happens every ninety years. Special ceremonies and drinking and dressing up.”

Here’s a very different tale of trauma and terror. Director Ari ‘Hereditary’ Aster is back on a mission to put the ‘cult’ in ‘cult classic’. Midsommar sees a young couple and their pals travel to Sweden to visit a fabled mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre series of events.

Not at all your average horror film – this doesn’t deal in jump scares, it is a slow burn tale that amps up existential dread as the level of peril rises.

"what's the worst that could happen?"

Florence ‘Lady Macbeth’ Pugh is incredible in the lead as Dani, she provides the beating heart for the film and keeps the audience emotionally invested when things get nasty (and they really do). The rest of the cast are good too including dodgy boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor), his nihilistic pal Mark (Will Poulter) and creepy Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) who is the one who invites them to the ceremonial solstice celebration.

The cinematography is stunning mixing the intensely graphic gore and disturbingly grotesque scenes with wonder-inducing sun filled Swedish scenery evoking a floral, weirdly beautiful nightmare world.

Aster’s direction and attention to detail are excellent – little touches can make a potentially ‘normal’ situation immediately eerie. It might be a long film, but you can’t look away for a moment. The script and character development bring deep psychological undercurrents and it pays more than surface level reverence to issues including grief, loss and trust.

"Audience screening reactions were mixed"

The horror elements are balanced with some really funny scenes which work as safety values when as the tension gets dangerously high. This certainly won’t be for everyone, it has a deeply nasty core, violent scenes, the weirdest sex scene of recent years and many disturbing themes. Think carefully and pack a very open mind if you want to test yourself with this sun-drenched nightmare.

As the friends find themselves in increasingly traumatic situations (some of which are likely to stay with you long after the credits roll) the audience I watched this with were noticeably unnerved - quite a number of people walked out of the screening.

"blood runes"

The moral of the story is probably to beware wacky named religious groups who claim to want to bring you peace.

For a mind-stretching freakout, there’s nothing quite like Midsommar.

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


(4 - Slow escalating sun-drenched dread is served)

Awesomeness öööö – Scenes that will burn into your mind

Laughs ööö – Really funny/weird in places

Horror öööö – Gruesome

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - Not your average religious festival

Yesterday Beatles-em-up Review

Yesterday (12a)

Dir. Danny Boyle

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“No one’s ever written this many great songs. How do you do it?”

When you absolutely must have a feel-good romantic comedy – Richard ‘Love Actually’ Curtis is your man – here he teams up with director Danny ‘Trainspotting’ Boyle to bring a musical spin to the well-worn boy / girl formula.

The plot sees struggling musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) whose lack of success is making him think he should just give up. The only people who seem to support his dreams are his childhood friend Nick (Harry Michell) and loyal manager Ellie (Lily James).

Jack’s world is rocked one night when a freak occurrence sees the whole world ‘lose’ memories of things like cigarettes and more importantly the band ‘The Beatles’… He gets hit by a bus and wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed so quickly sets about claiming their music as his own.

"rock star lovers?"

On the back of some of the best tunes the world has ever known Jack quickly becomes a massive star, but the price of fame is that he risks losing Ellie’s as yet unrequited love. Does getting to mix with the likes of Ed Sheeran (who delivers a nice cameo) and find worldwide fame make up for forsaking his true love?

Patel whose acting chops were cut in EastEnders is extremely likeable and can carry a tune which helps. Lily James is great as the girl next door high-school teacher and the two have winning chemistry which is essential to the love story at the heart of this slightly odd tale.

Sure, it gets gooey but it’s handled with Curtis’s stylish crowd-pleasing charm and Boyle directs with a confident hand even if there isn’t much room for him to dazzle with is trademark flair.

A mild element of peril is introduced as it appears that someone might be on to his plagiarism – will Jack be exposed as the sham that he is or can he find a way to pull off his superstar status and maybe win the heart of the girl too?

"famous pals"

Yesterday’s masterstroke however is the tunes of The Beatles – they are so good that even as the predictable plot unfolds the sheer genius of the songs keeps you going. There’s enough humour and well observed notes on fame and heartbreak to make this a worthwhile investment of time.

Smash hits and love – they say all you need is love but why not have both!?

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


(3 - Nonsense but fun Beatles-em-up)

Awesomeness ööö – The songs shine

Laughs ööö – Plenty of fun

Horror ö – Nothing to report

Spiritual Enlightenment ö - Plagiarism isn't all it's cracked up to be...

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Arrow Video FrightFest Brings a Feast of Terror

Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 announces 20th year record-breaking line-up

Dario Argento, The Soska Sisters and Matt Adcock to attend...

The UK’s biggest and boldest horror and fantasy film festival is celebrating its 20th bloody year.

Since 2000 it has made its indelible mark, not only on the ever-burgeoning horror community but also on the UK genre landscape as a whole. The internationally renowned event leads the way in attesting to the versatility of the genre, its reinvention and its growing importance in the cultural landscape and this year is no exception.

'A Good Woman Is Hard To Find"

Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 is back at two of the funkiest cinemas in London - the Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema from Aug 22 - Aug 26. Hosting a record-breaking seventy-eight films, embracing fourteen countries and spanning six continents, this year’s five-day fear-a-thon includes 20 World, 20 International / European and 28 UK Premieres.

This year’s festivities begin with the UK premiere of Ant Timpson’s deviously edgy stunner COME TO DADDY, starring Elijah Wood and reaches its bloody conclusion with the World premiere of Abner Pastoll’s superbly crafted crime story, A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND. Other main screen international attractions include producer Guillermo del Toro and director André Øvredal’s SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, producer Sam Raimi and director Alexandre Aja’s gruesome ‘gator yarn CRAWL


In a first for FrightFest, there will be a special preview of MAN OF MEDAN, the first game in The Dark Pictures anthology. This will be followed by a Q&A session with the key development talent behind the game. The much anticipated interactive narrative horror adventure, developed by Supermassive Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe, brings supernatural horror on board a ghost-ship adrift in the South Pacific. It is set to be released for PlayStation 4 and other platforms Aug 30, 2019.

'Interactive death'

Festival co-director Alan Jones, said today: “Over the last two decades we have tirelessly introduced our committed audiences to every trend, every new talent and every innovation that has put horror back in the collective cinephile conscious. Even after 20 years. FrightFest’s August event remains a key destination to see the latest genre movies in the manner for which they were made - on the Big Screen surrounded by fellow fear-mongers. Remember, it’s our party and we’ll scream if we want to!”

This year’s guest list, special events and the Short Film Showcase entries will all be announced in the coming weeks.

'Sneak peek - one of the possible collectable cards'

Those who attend will also get a one of a limited edition art card range inspired by the forthcoming dark-edged novel COMPLETE DARKNESS by Matt Adcock... More on that soon!?

Festival passes will go on sale Sat 6 July at noon and will only be available to buy online: http://www.frightfest.co.uk/tickets.html

Single tickets will go on sale on Sat 20 July from 9 am.

For full programme details: http://www.frightfest.co.uk/