Howl (2015)

Director: Paul Hyett

Writer: Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler (Screenplay)

Starring: Ed Speleers, Holly Weston, Shauna Macdonald, Elliot Cowan, Amit Shah, Sam Gittins, Rosie Day

 

Plot: When passengers on a train are attacked by a creature, they must band together in order to survive until morning.


Tagline – Last train. Full moon. All change.

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable Werewolf Film

 

Story: Howl starts as train conductor Joe (Speleers) is forced into another shift, the graveyard shift on the train across country, the train has the normal passengers, the businesswoman Kate (Macdonald), the student, the couple returning home, the rebel and Joe’s love interest coffee server Ellen (Weston).

When the train breaks down in the middle of the countryside, Joe must take charge and keep the passengers safe after the driver does missing. The passengers soon learn they are under attack from creatures in the night and must work together to survive the impending threat.

 

Thoughts on Howl

 

Characters – Joe is the train conductor, he has just completed a long shift and is forced int going on the late shift because of his lack of tickets, he tries to be fair on his passengers taking the abuse, he is trying to get a date with Ellen the drinks vender, once the train gets stuck, he must lead the passengers in a battle to survive against the unknown creatures. Ellen is the drinks vender, studying for a better career and offers up an easy love interest for Joe, while being the only one that can offer medical attention during the attack. Kate is the professional businesswoman on the train, often looking down on the rest of the passengers while offering help to one of the other passengers. When we look at the rest of the passengers we get the usual mix for any horror film which adds to who we know will get picked off when.

PerformancesEd Speleers in the leading role is good as the reluctant hero that must keep his passengers safe, we can see his frustration with his job and his reluctant side of following through with saving them. Holly Weston does offer the love interest well and to be fair to most of the cast they all know where they stand in the film making the most of their moments to shine.

StoryThe story here is quite simple, it follows a group of survivors that must battle against unknown creatures in an attempt survive the night. We get the unlikely group of people that must work together which has always worked well for the genre. The creatures put us into a world where the characters would have never seen or dealt with werewolves which has been an issue in horror before, but for this is fine as they must learn how to deal with the creatures. The film doesn’t offer any crazy twists along the way and by keeping things simple we can enjoy.

HorrorThe horror in the film comes from the different moments against the creatures, we start off seeing small part before getting a full reveal which is always wonderful.

SettingsThe film is set on a couple of train carriages in the middle of the night, this puts our characters in an isolated location where they must figure out how to survive until daytime being safer inside than outside.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are good, we get practical ones which show how unique the creatures look and when it comes to the attacks wounds come off realistic too.


Scene of the Movie –
The first attack on the train when they thought they were safe.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Kate the character jumps around in style too often, not the actresses fault it is the characters decision making process.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable werewolf movie that can be enjoyed by all the fans of the genre, it keeps everything contained which does help give us all we want.

 

Overall: Contain werewolf movie.

Rating

 

 

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Don’t Knock Twice (2017)

Director: Caradog W James

Writer: Mark Huckerby, Nick Ostler (Screenplay)

Starring: Katee Sackhoff, Lucy Boynton, Richard Mylan, Nick Moran, Pascale Wilson

 

Plot: A mother desperate to reconnect with her troubled daughter becomes embroiled in the urban legend of a demonic witch.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Horror

 

Story: Don’t Knock Twice starts as Jess (Sackhoff) is desperate to reconnect with her daughter Chloe (Boynton) who she left at a children’s school/home years before. Chloe not wanting to return home finds herself involved in an urban legend game with a friend about knocking on a mysterious door.

Soon after Chloe’s friend vanishes (we do see what happens to him but she doesn’t) leaving Chloe only have one place to turn to as a ghost figure starts to haunt her, Chloe must go home to her mother. With the mother and daughter trying to rebuild their relationship, Jess must face the demons off her past which led to her giving up Chloe but together they must face the unknown enemy haunting them both.

 

Thoughts on Don’t Knock Twice

 

Characters – Jess is the damaged mother that has made mistakes in her past which has caused her to give up her child, cleaned up and back on the right path she offers a home to her daughter again but finds herself needing to battle an evil spirit out for vengeance against her daughter. Chloe is the daughter of Jess, raised in a home very insecure with commitment issues, she finds herself targeted by a spirit which has a connection to her past. Boardman is the cop who led the investigation to what happened with the ghost figure.

PerformanceKatee Sackhoff is somewhat of a favourite in the geek community for her work in sci-fi but over the recent years she has stepped into horror effortlessly and stands out as a great lead and this is no different. Lucy Boynton, we saw make a splash last year with Sing Street enters into horror here and she is good through the film even if the character feels slightly flat. Nick Moran as the detective is a character we would have liked more from but he does well with what he had to do.

StoryThe story side is split into too, the first is showing the difficult side of parenting, the sacrifice the mother must make to overcome her personal demons to make sure she is safe but we follow the rebuilding process which is an important stage of this film. the horror side of the story is one of my favourite, it follows a ghost haunting that leads to our character needing to solve a case to be free of the hauntings, while not everything is explained as smoothly as it could have been it does work watching it all unfold. The mix of the two stories does work to show how the relationship between mother and daughter though strained needs to remain strong.

HorrorThe horror used throughout is mostly jump scares but not false jump scares, this is a good thing because too many would ruin the film. a lot of the film is also well built up moments of horror.

SettingsThe everyday settings for the film show us just what could happen to non-believers suddenly when they stumble into urban legend.

Special EffectsThe effects being used through the film are all good, we get a mix of practical and what feels like CGI to create the ghost figure haunting the family.

Scene of the Movie – The first kill on the laptop, mostly because it is a surprise.

That Moment that annoyed me – One twist too many.

Final ThoughtsThis was a good horror, it does create a good ghost investigation film but tries too hard to shock us with twists.

 

Overall: Good late night horror experience.

Rating