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Good Collection Of Minor Horror Films
on May 2, 2013
All three are a cut above 'B' movies, some more than others. Phantoms is an adaptation of a very good Dean Koontz novel with an 'A' cast including Ben Affleck and the legendary Peter O'toole. If you've read the book then it will mean much more to you than having to stand on it's own two legs. The screenplay relies heavily upon the reader knowing the novel and that works against it as a stand alone film. If you haven't read it you will have the impression that something is slightly askew and you're not being told everything and that Peter O'toole is slumming...but still you'll find excellent production values with a bang up ending and more than competent turns by every actor involved. For the price it's worth the collection by itself to get the blu-ray transfer of this film(which looks and sounds very good indeed). If by chance you have read the book then this movie is kick ass!!!
Venom is an atmospheric little teen horror flick with the likes of Jonathan Jackson and Agnes Bruckner involved in Voodoo curses in the Lousiana bayous. It's tight and nerve wracking and the kids milk all the poison out of the plot they can. It works and actually of the three films is the most coherent by itself. If you're a fan of Voodoo flicks and teen slasher horror flicks in general and not, I repeat, NOT a member of AAA, then you'll love this foray into deep dark goings on. (you'll have to see to get that little attempt at humor).
Finally there is Darkness starring a great cast in a Spanish international production of a ultimately muddled yet eerily disturbing mash up of current horror trends. Having the cast really saves this film but the Director is to be commended for an attempt that just falls a hair short. Not because it isn't totally tense and frightening but because there isn't anything new here you haven't seen before. However it held my interest until the very end. Anna Paquin (True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse) plays the teen thrust into the new surroundings who begins to suspect evil is afoot but it is her brother Paul (Stephan Enquist in his very first role with no previous experience at age 9) who sets the tone for the first half of this family returning to its rotten roots tale of demonic something or other (literally since I could never quite figure out what the spell being cast is to accomplish) and he does an absolutely outstanding job of acting. The great Italian actor Giancarlo Giannini plays the Grandfather to great effect and the parents (Lena Olin and Iain Glen) give concise acting lessons in cause and effect of evil's influence along with Fele Martinez as Anna's boyfriend and Fermi Reixach as the Architect. Wonderfully filmed and truly frightening at times (especially when the children are just standing around in the darkness)still it loses it's focus at the end and takes the easy way out. Up til then it's modern Gothic at its best.
Gore is mostly absent from these horror films (well perhaps a teeny tiny bit in Phantoms and quite a bit in Venom now that I think about it) and Darkness and Phantoms rely more on monsters and mayhem for their thrills. So as I said...none of these movies is a 'B' film and only fall a hair short of being outstanding 'A' horror films. The blu-ray transfers are clean and crisp in picture and audio (albiet no frills included) and at this price for all three that's a bargain even the Devil couldn't pass up!