Category Archives: VODzilla.co

Lost in Space (Stephen Hopkins, 1998)

In April 1998, Lost in Space was the movie to finally end Titanic’s 15-week-long hold on the first-place position at the US box office. 20 years on from its theatrical release, the most enduring cultural impact of this wannabe blockbuster take on the TV series is as a footnote in the story of another film. Is this lack of a substantial legacy fair? With a new Netflix series reviving the Lost in Space brand, does the 1998 version deserve a second look? Is it due a reappraisal and cult following?

In short: no…

Full review for VODzilla.co

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The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola, 2017)

Thomas P. Cullinan’s 1966 Southern Gothic novel A Painted Devil was previously brought to the screen, under the title of The Beguiled, by director Don Siegel in 1971. An American Civil War-set tale of an injured union soldier taking refuge in a Virginian girls’ school, Siegel’s version was led by regular collaborator Clint Eastwood. For Sofia Coppola’s stab at the material, although Colin Farrell is top-billed as the stranger sowing seeds of mistrust, things are determinedly more female-focused…

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Walking Out (Alex Smith/Andrew J. Smith, 2017)

Walking Out is a two-hander between a father and son pair, but the real star is the Montana landscape. Co-writers and directors (and real-life brothers) Alex and Andrew Smith capture the breathtaking beauty of the mountains in winter in a fashion that would surely satisfy the Montana tourism board, were it not for the fact this is also a harrowing tale of survival, after a run-in with a bear leads to a string of disasters for its protagonists. This is less The Revenant, though, and more The Reverence, as a deep respect for both nature and nurture proves vital to making it out alive…

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The Open House (Matt Angel/Suzanne Coote, 2018)

Horror movies are popular for first time filmmakers for many reasons. One is that the genre is well suited to low budgets; in many of the best horrors, a little goes a long way. Another reason may be that horror, particularly via sub-genres like the slasher or home invasion thriller, is more prone to template-based filmmaking than most other genres. If you’re just looking to show that you can write and direct something, anything, it’s ostensibly easier to produce a horror movie that hits expected genre beats than it is to, say, write a comedy that actually makes people laugh.

Bringing to the screen a horror movie that simply resembles a horror movie seems to have been the sole mission statement behind The Open House, the feature debut of directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote. It’s a Netflix Original without an ounce of originality…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Nicolas Pesce talks ‘The Eyes of My Mother’

Following the premiere of his directorial debut, The Eyes of My Mother, at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, young filmmaker Nicolas Pesce has fast become a rising star in the world of horror cinema. He’s already wrapped his next feature, Piercing, which stars Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Abbott and is based on a novel by Ryû Murakami, the author behind the story of Takashi Miike’s Audition. And, at the time of writing, Pesce has just been tapped to direct and rewrite a reboot of The Grudge/Ju-on for Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures.

A fondness for Asian horror comes up in our discussion with Pesce about The Eyes of My Mother, which is now available on VOD in the UK. The film follows the unsettling actions of a young, lonely woman consumed by dark desires, triggered by both a childhood tragedy and memories of her mother, a former surgeon who taught her daughter to be unfazed by death.

We sit down to talk working with Borderline Films (Martha Marcy May Marlene, Simon Killer), southern gothic classic The Night of the Hunter as a key influence (spoilers for that 1955 film ahead), The Eyes of My Mother’s black-and-white aesthetic, and how he wanted to make viewers scare themselves…

Full interview for VODzilla.co

Before I Fall (Ry Russo-Young, 2017)

Though its origins lie in a YA novel by Lauren Oliver, Before I Fall, in film form, can’t help but recall Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day in its tale of someone forced to live the same day over and over again. That said, the story of Ry Russo-Young’s movie – her five-years-later follow-up to Nobody Walks – has a little more in common with a more recent example of the repeating-day narrative: Doug Liman’s Edge of Tomorrow (or whatever we’re calling that film these days).

While not a sci-fi feature, Before I Fall shares with Edge of Tomorrow the concept of a time loop being kicked off by its protagonist’s death. Once they realise what’s going on, both films concern the central figure trying to right a wrong to prevent both their own demise and, if not immediately, due to their own personal baggage, some other major event from taking place…

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American Gods – Episode 8

Considering their show is so much about taking a leap of faith, it’s appropriate that Bryan Fuller and Michael Green took their own one in ending the first season of American Gods on a cliffhanger before they even knew for certain that a second season was to be greenlit (spoiler: it has been). It’s a pretty satisfying one, too, thanks to the quality of the rest of the episode. Some non-book readers may be wondering when the heck anyone is going to get to Wisconsin, but, for the most part, viewers will have their faith rewarded…

Full review for VODzilla.co