Tag Archives: Netflix Originals

Matt Palmer talks ‘Calibre’, elevated genre and releasing an indie thriller on Netflix

If Calibre’s plot of two life-long friends fighting for their lives in an isolated country setting after a hunting trip gone wrong might seem a little familiar, the nuances to how the plot escalates are anything but. The debut feature from writer-director Matt Palmer, the Scottish Highlands-based thriller stars Jack Lowden and Martin McCann, and is one of the most scarily tense films – that’s not explicitly a horror movie – that we’ve seen for quite some time. (You can read our review of the movie here.)

Ahead of its global launch on Netflix this weekend, we spoke to Palmer at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, where the movie premiered, before winning the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film – the first Netflix Original to win this prestigious prize. We talk about the influence of Deliverance and Wake in Fright, discussions of ‘elevated genre’, rising star Jack Lowden (Dunkirk), and the benefits of Netflix distributing the film…

Full interview for VODzilla.co

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Calibre (Matt Palmer, 2018)

Writer-director Matt Palmer delivers an exciting and unbearably tense calling card with debut feature Calibre, a Scottish thriller influenced by the likes of Deliverance, Wake in Fright and Southern Comfort

Full review for VODzilla.co

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

Tramps (Adam Leon, 2016)

Back in 2012, American director Adam Leon made his feature debut with Gimme the Loot, which concerned two graffiti artists looking to tag an iconic landmark as revenge against a rival gang, but needing to raise $500 prior to pulling off their grand scheme. A shaggy two-hander caper that was short and sweet, Gimme the Loot was a film that thrived on the chemistry of its two young leads and an evocation of a side of New York City rarely given much attention in contemporary cinema. It recalled much of the spirit of early Richard Linklater and lighter Jean-Luc Godard fare, as well as the humanist, music-heavy films of the late Jonathan Demme, the latter of whom lent the US release of Gimme the Loot a “Jonathan Demme Presents” credit to help it out.

A few years on, Leon is back with Tramps, under the Netflix Originals banner, which concerns a very different pair of young protagonists, but is a film of a similar mould – a romp through upstate and city-based New York that’s thin on narrative, but high on energy. The caper plot this time around involves a briefcase swap deal that goes wrong, the full specifics of which are so vague as to be inconsequential; Tramps is more about the mischief of the matter than the danger. One’s mileage may vary as to how important that lack of, uh, importance is, but details such as what’s actually in the briefcase, or where it’s from, are besides the point for the tone Leon (who co-wrote the film) is going for…

Full review for VODzilla.co

The Discovery (Charlie McDowell, 2017)

Off the back of his generally well-received feature debut, 2014’s The One I Love, writer-director Charlie McDowell obtained full support from Netflix for his follow-up film. The Discovery (co-written with Justin Lader) is similarly concerned with sci-fi flirtations for a high-concept premise, although the tonal register is much less preppy than The One I Love, which was infused with a comedic streak alongside its darker explorations. The Discovery is dour for almost all of its running time, and the disappointing thing to, er, discover by its end is that it’s not really worth trudging through…

Full review for VODzilla.co