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Featured critic review

Hell or High Water Review

Hell or High Water 2016 Reviewed by Mark McPherson

Hell or High Water takes a simple story of robbing banks and turns into one of the most complex, thoughtful and charismatic neo-westerns of the decade. Every scene is brimming with Texas charm, be they filled with top-rate actors, impressive supporting characters or just gorgeous landscapes. It’s the type of picture that begs a second viewing, a closer examination and heaps of praise for making a heist picture more deep than it has any right to be. ... Read full review »

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Featured Member Review

Frankenstein: Day of the Beast Online DVD Rental

Frankenstein: Day of the Beast (2011) Reviewed by: NP

You rated this film: 5

Spoilers follow ...

This is a very interesting rearrangement of the Frankenstein story which manages to create something refreshingly new from the old myth. We begin with Felix (Frank Warpeha) bringing home his new wife, Safi (Ruth Terefe) to his isolated home in the middle of the woods, which he shares with his sister Agatha (Ticia Martyr) and blind father (Bruce Spielbauer). Secreted nearby, The Monster (Tim Krueger) seems set to learn English from French Safi’s English lessons – but things never get that far, and he isn’t much ... see more interested anyway. He is after only one thing, and everyone else he meets, he kills. He has a predilection for pulling out people’s intestines. Victor Frankenstein (Adam Stephenson) and his new wife Elizabeth (Michelle Shields) are being guarded by seven heavily armed men. Where and when this happens in regard to earlier events is not clear. The creature, whose creation is told briefly in flashback, is somewhere out in the surrounding woods. Restructuring the story into what is really a series of ‘boo!’ moments has its merits, with the creature hunting the men who are, in turn, hunting the creature. Pretty soon, these guards are fighting amongst themselves anyway, echoing the behaviour of Robert Walton’s crew in the novel. There’s a new development here: the Monster can regenerate himself. He literally cannot die. Vaguely resembling a bulkier, pulpier version of the fiend seen in Toho’s ‘Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)’, he is something more than human. One scene, which is (I imagine) unintentionally enduring, is when its severed hand assumes a life of its own for a scene. The idea was never going to succeed visually on such a small budget! {SPOILER} “I opened the door to something unspeakable,” admits Frankenstein. He certainly suffers in this story, but is hard to sympathise with – The Monster too has not a modicum of pathos. That is saved for poor Elizabeth, with whom The Monster wishes to mate. In a series of twists at the end, it seems such a thing is possible. Shields is excellent throughout, emerging as the central character. I really enjoyed this. The locations are excellent – all long shadows, crispy snow and skeletal trees. What it might lack in polish is made up for in the respect shown for the story, and a cast and crew who invest in it a genuine sincerity. A genuinely fine independent adaption.

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