"Death has come to your little town, sheriff.”

Blog of the Dead: Film4 FrightFest 2013 Day 3: R.I.P.D., Frankenstein’s Army & More

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Bound in human flesh. Inked in blood. Written on a Mac. Blog of the Dead is starting to get tired, but still wants more. Live for Films is at Film4 FrightFest 2013.

Yesterday was fantastic. After a slow start, I ended up seeing what may end up being my three favourite films of the festival back to back: Hatchet 3, Haunter and V/H/S 2. Today was a miserable day outside, but in the Empire Leicester Square it was warm and dry, with screams of pain and terror softly ringing through the foyer.

On the to watch pile today was: The Hypnotist, which is a bit of an unknown quantity; Frankenstein’s Army, which I’m really excited about – the creature effects look amazing, video documentary Rewind This!, which I’ve been looking forward to; and R.I.P.D. 3D which everyone but me seems to be dreading. Let’s hit PLAY.

THE HYPNOTIST

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Grow out your beard, don your biggest jumper and put on some sensible boots – we’re off to Sweden for a thrilling slice of Nordic noir.

Cop, Joona Linna, is on the trail of a serial murderer who has just offed a whole family. The boy, Josef, barely survives and Linna fears his sister, who is missing, is next. Annoyingly, Josef is in a coma so Linna calls in Erik Bark, a hypnotist with a very particular specialty – acute trauma, he can hypnotise the answers out of people even when they’re not conscious.

When the killer finds out he goes after the hypnotist’s family next, abducting his son. Shit just got personal. Erik and Linna team-up to hunt down the killer and get Erik’s boy back before he dies. He is, of course, a haemophiliac who needs his medication. At least he wasn’t a bloody diabetic, I guess – so, so played out.

The Hypnotist isn’t anything amazing or special, but it’s a competent crime drama. The kind of thing the Swedes now seem able to casually knockout in their lunch hour. Performances are top notch all the way ’round, but they can’t mask a series of contrivances and obviously important things that should be done or said straight away, that are left until the final act.

3 stars out of 5

The Hypnotist does not currently have a UK release date..

 

FRANKENSTEIN’S ARMY

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Russian soldiers behind enemy lines in World War 2 receive a distress call from some comrades in trouble. They hotfoot it to a mining village in the middle of nowhere, only to find themselves trapped and surrounded by a battalion of cybernetic Nazi monstrosities. A descendant of Victor Von Frankenstein has been fusing soldiers with machinery and weapons to create a hideous army that are heroes stand very little hope of escaping unscathed.

Mystifyingly shot in a found footage style, Frankenstein’s Army is really just all about the creatures: bizarre and nightmarish constructions that would make Clive Barker shit himself. The story runs out of steam quickly and is devolves to sneaking and running around Frankenstein’s workshop while the monsters periodically pop out far too quickly. Those beasties are also a bit over-used and begin to be played for laughs, which is a shame and a waste.

A ghost train film with great sets and goose-stepping ghouls, but little else.

2 stars out of 5

Frankenstein’s Army is released on DVD on the 30th of September.

 

REWIND THIS!

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Rewind This! is a documentary about video cassette: the rise, the fall and the recent resurgence of the format. Interspersed with the history are interviews with collectors, clips from some weird and often hilarious straight-to-video gems, adverts for decks and chats with filmmakers and actors that made their names of the back of the advent of the video tape.

Loving, nostalgic, inspirational and jealousy-inducing, Rewind This! fast forwards by in a flurry of charming interviewees and exciting delves into dusty crates that could contain VHS gold, but are more likely to be full of copies of Titanic. Some of the collections displayed are awe inducing and if you’re not a collector already, this film could convert you. Or just make you green with envy at some of these film fans’ astounding set ups.

4 stars out of 5

Rewind This! does not currently have a UK release date.

 

R.I.P.D. 3D

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I’ve been assuring myself that this was not going to be as bad as everyone’s been making out for awhile now. I’ve either brainwashed myself successfully, or it’s actually alright.

Ryan Reynolds gets betrayed and bumped off by his dirty cop partner, Kevin Bacon. Reynolds finds himself whisked off to a curiously any-mention-of-God-or-heaven-or-hell-avoiding afterlife. He doesn’t get to play the harp on a cloud though, he’s recruited into the Rest In Peace Department – ghost cops who are tasked with making sure bad spirits (“deado’s”) leave all us living folk alone.

Reynolds is partnered up with a sheriff from Wild Western times, played by Jeff Bridges, and the pair go back down to the land of the living to crack a case that fortuitously all relates back to Reynolds’s murder.

It’s nowhere near as funny as it thinks it is, but there are laughs, and they’re mostly all courtesy of Bridges’ cowboy with an ankles fetish, and the fact that to everyone else Reynold’s and Bridges look like an old Chinese guy and a hot blonde. It’s a joke that never gets old, but does make you wish they’d done the whole movie that way.

The deado’s could use another render and the 3D really shows them up, but the chemistry between Reynolds and Bridges is fun and Bacon is suitably villainous. I miss Evil Bacon. Man, the last half of Hollow Man was great. And, it sounds petty, but every other shot seems to start or end with a crash zoom, or whip pan, accompanied by an annoying little sound effect. It’s distracting and border line maddening after an hour.

Not a disaster, but no great shakes – R.I.P.D. is disposable and instantly forgettable, but still a bit fun and a bit weird. In a good way.

3 stars out of 5

R.I.P.D. 3D is released in the UK on the 20th of September.

 

Next time on Blog of the Dead: Day 4 – Sunday. A day where nothing has immediately jumped out at me as a must-see, but I have heard rumblings about Dark Tourist and The Desert, and after the sizzle reel he showed before Hatchet 3 yesterday night, I wouldn’t mind checking out the three episodes of Adam Green’s horror sitcom Holliston.