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I finally got round to watching The Last House on Cemetery Lane today, and I am glad I did, because I found it to be a wonderful film – not only eerie and creepy, but also beautifully written and directed.

The Last House on Cemetery Lane was released March 2015 (yes, I am late to the game for a review, but after watching it, I felt compelled to) and was written, produced and directed by Andrew Jones. It stars Lee Bane (of Robert and A Haunting at the Rectory) and Georgina Blackledge (of Project Kronos and Sync).

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Above, actor Lee Bane

The film focuses on a writer, John Davies, who rents an old manor house in Wales in order to find some peace and quiet whilst he finishes writing a piece he is working on. The story then lends itself to supernatural events, for while Davies spends his days and nights trying to write his horror screenplay, creepy things begin happening to him whilst staying at the old place he is renting. An unseen resident, renting the rooms upstairs already gives the central character a sense of unease, however there are more disturbing aspects to the story, which unfold as Davies begins to learn about the history of the place he is staying.

On paper, the story looks like a traditional haunted house story, but what I love about The Last House on Cemetery Lane is how unique it is. There are certainly frightening moments, scenes which made me jump, but the true horror of the story for me lies in the unravelling of the minds of those effected by the haunting. Lee Bane’s portrayal of Davies really brings the film to another level, in my opinion. The depth and transformation of his character was amazing.

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The cast really bring the story to life, and Andrew Jones (director) has really achieved something great here. The film does not rely on terrific special effects or unbelievable depictions, but instead is a slow, subtle, character-driven piece. When watching it, I could almost imagine it being delivered beautifully on stage, in theatre.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Last House on Cemetery Lane. All of the cast lend something special to the story, and the supernatural aspects were so realistic, giving the film an all too-real quality.

I recommend this movie if you enjoy subtle, creepy ghost stories that get under your skin. Once you reach the end and watch the unexpected twist unfold, I am sure that, like me, you will want to watch it all over again.

Superb effort 5/5

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ROBERT – FILM REVIEW

MOST FANS OF THE HORROR GENRE will know who you are talking about when you say the names Chucky and Annabelle. These infamous characters that have so quickly become favourites amongst the fans are well known and loved, and are very much part of horror culture.

When I heard that director Andrew Jones was releasing a horror film and that the central character was an evil doll, my curiosity was piqued. I wondered how a writer and director would create a film like this in a way that sets it apart from the aforementioned titles. When I watched Robert, I was impressed – and here is why.

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Above, director Andrew Jones

Robert is different. Whereas the villain (an immensely creepy doll) of the movie is obviously very central to the film, what strikes me about Robert is how the cast carry the story: It is the pressure, stress and fear that the family experience that actually drags you in and keeps you captivated. Their authentic response to the terror in which they find themselves is the most impressive part of the movie. This film is, essentially, the disintegration of a family when they find themselves victim to an outside force. This is where the true horror lies.

Essentially, it is Robert the doll that unleashes his horror upon a family who are at the receiving end of his torments, but the strength of this film lies not just in the creepiness of the haunted doll itself, but in the way in which the disintegrating family cope with such a horrific presence in their life.

Robert is not a film laden with special effects, gory make-up and dramatic music, instead it is a story that succeeds because of its quiet, subtle nature. So little is seen of the doll in action in the films 90 minutes, yet his presence is felt in every scene because of the sheer atmosphere and impressive acting of the cast.

If you are a horror fan that will only be pleased with special effects and fast paced action, then perhaps Robert is not for you. In this film, the drama, psychology and experiences of a modern family are just as relevant as the doll itself. If quiet, insidious and subtle creepiness is more your thing, then I recommend this film highly.

I rate Robert 4/5.

To buy or rent Robert, click HERE.


No One Gets Out Alive – Book Review

ADAMBOOK

If you’ve never read a novel by Adam Nevill before, I want to start this review by telling you two things: 1) You’re missing out, and 2) Start with this latest offering – No One Gets Out Alive.

I have read all of Nevill’s horror novels, and I have been impressed with each. Compared often to other legendary horror masters, Adam has even been labelled as Britain’s answer to Stephen King. When I picked up my copy of No One Gets Out Alive, I was surprised by the size of the book. This story spans itself over 600 pages, and I hoped the story would grip me like his earlier work had, to ensure I’d stay for the entire journey. I needn’t have worried: Nevill delivered.

No One Gets Out Alive is scary. It’s not often I can say that about a book, because I’ve been reading horror novels since I was a child, and it really does take a lot to lift me from my comfort zone and unnerve me. It takes a lot to scare me, yet this is exactly what Nevill achieved in this gritty, dark, and foreboding tale. I am not lying or exaggerating when I say that I had several nightmares whilst reading this horrific treasure.

Adam Nevill

The author seems to have the ability to take gritty reality and shape it into something sinister and otherworldly. The story follows Stephanie, who, in desperation, hires a room in a less than desirable location. The landlord appears crazy, the property seems inhabited by something inhuman, and disembodied voices haunt the neglected hallways at night. All of this alone creates the ingredients for a scary story, but Nevill takes it further, exploring the psychological and emotional darkness that haunts our central character as she tries to survive the reality in which she finds herself.

The book was brilliantly written. If any author is on his way to becoming a master of dark fiction, Adam Nevill is the one. He has a way of lifting his readers from the safety of their living room sofa into hell itself.

I highly recommend this creepy and unsettling new release from Adam Nevill.

5/5 RATING

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NOS4R2, by Joe Hill

I didn’t get round to reading this book until quite some time after its initial release. I knew I was going to read it at some point; I’d read Joe Hill’s previous novels and was impressed with each of them – Heart Shaped Box in particular.

I read it last week, and despite its chunky size (this story comes in at over 700 pages in length), it didn’t take me long to work my way through the novel. In fact, its novelty chapter style, coupled with the shifting narratives, kept me hooked, and I found myself moving rapidly through the adventure.

Is it a horror? Yes. When I first read the synopsis, I wondered what type of story it would be. Christmasland? Children enjoying the festive season? Bicycles that can magically transport you to other towns? It all sounded strange, and not typical horror material. I was wrong. NOS4R2 is scary. I had several eerie and uneasy dreams during the period I was reading the book. NOS4R2 takes Christmas, family, childhood, and rips the magic away until you’re left with death, destruction and a broken heart. So, if you like your scary novels to be creepy and unsettling, this is for you.

I won’t add spoilers here, I don’t believe in giving anything away in a review. I simply want to express my love of this monster of a book. Joe Hill has certainly earned his right to be classed as a brilliant and unique voice in literature. The book takes the reader from the comfort of home – right into the horror of the story. Hill has a way of making the story feel all too real – which isn’t a good thing when you’re reading alone at night.

So, do I recommend this latest release from Hill? Absolutely. I was disappointed to finish, I had become so fully engrossed in the world he had created. The story is perfectly executed, extremely scary – and beautifully written.

This one definitely gets a high rating. 5/5.

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Book Review: What Dwells Within by Jayne Harris and D.J Weatherer

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If you have an interest in the paranormal, then you will not be disappointed by this upcoming book release, from Haunted Dolls founder, Jayne Harris, and horror author D.J Weatherer.

Focusing specifically on haunted objects, possession and spirit attachment, this book details the many cases that paranormal expert Harris has come across in her many years of studying this fascinating subject.

As the founder of the extremely popular group Haunted Dolls, Harris has spent much of her time (since her late teens) exploring haunted items, and has been investigating objects given to her from people the world over, from frightened owners who didn’t know where else to turn to for help.

Harris, who has studied Criminology, Psychology and Counselling, has also undertaken courses in Demonology as well as a recognised qualification in Paranormal Investigation. Her breadth of knowledge is obvious when one reads What Dwells Within, because within the pages readers can recognise her focus, passion, seriousness and critical evaluation of the haunted cases that she has been involved in. Her devotion to the subject shines in the narrative of this release.

What can one expect in What Dwells Within? Packed within this paranormal release, is everything that a paranormal enthusiast will enjoy: Case studies, explorations of theories, as well as an FAQ in which those who wish to study this subject for themselves can glean some valuable advice.

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Above, author and paranormal expert Jayne Harris

This book is not only enjoyable to read, it is also immeasurably important as a tool for those who wish to immerse themselves in this area of paranormal research.

Whether you are looking for a creepy read (there are case detailed in this book that I found particularly creepy) or whether you want to use this as a starting point for your own studies, What Dwells Within is a book that covers it all. I don’t believe any paranormal enthusiast will be disappointed.

D.J Weatherer’s skill in detailing and excavating the world of Harris’ paranormal studies should not be ignored here; it is a story he unfolds with precision, passion and respect. I personally found his written word enjoyable, interesting and beautifully described.

I highly recommend this upcoming release. I rate What Dwells Within 5/5.

Thank you to Jayne Harris and D.J Weatherer for their advanced review copy.

LINKS:

Haunted Dolls

D.J Weatherer

What Dwells Within – Amazon


ANNABELLE: The New Chucky?

Annabelle movie poster Annabelle Trailer & Poster: Before The Conjuring Began

So, I went to the cinema this weekend and I watched new horror release, Annabelle, which is the prequel to The Conjuring.

Being a fan of all things horror, I was excited about this release. I’d really enjoyed The Conjuring and so I had high hopes for this movie.

I wasn’t disappointed. I think it delivered.

Annabelle is the first of three spin-offs about the Warrens’ cases that are being made in addition to the upcoming sequel, The Conjuring 2.

Set around the story of a collectable doll being given as a gift to an expectant mother, Annabelle certainly is creepy to look at. Giving Chucky a run for his money, I’d say that Annabelle does her job well at unnerving the viewer. The doll does not speak, is not animated, but the creaky movements produced just out of view of the camera, the odd places the doll randomly turns up, and the disconcerting way that odd things keep happening around the doll, really sets the viewer on edge.

I liked the way in which the story sets about explaining how this inanimate object has become seemingly possessed by evil, and the background to the story is just as unnerving as the possessed doll itself.

I liked it just as much as The Conjuring, although perhaps it is not even fair to compare it – they are two separate stories, with two separate casts. The only factor in common is that the stories come from the work of well-known demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren.

So, I do recommend viewing this. If you enjoy supernatural horror, I think you will like it. I’m now looking forward to The Conjuring 2!

Annabelle RATING: 5/5

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THE DEVIL’S BUSINESS

DEVILS BUSINESS

This film isn’t a new release (September 2012) but it is new to me. I watched this for the first time several nights ago, and I am not ashamed to admit I can’t get the story out of my head.

As somebody who absolutely adores the horror genre, I find it hard to find new horror movies or books that unsettle me, or scare me. I have watched and read so many that it is simply hard to find anything that really gets under my skin. The Devil’s Business, however, succeeded in doing this.

I don’t believe in spoiling a story (what’s the point?) but to give you an idea, the film revolves around two men who are hired to kill somebody in an isolated home. Their time waiting in hiding in this home is where the film captures the creepy atmosphere so chillingly. Over the course of the evening, we see these two male characters explore their experiences, history, fears and hopes, all the while battling against an impending sense of evil and doom. Is there something evil lurking in shadows of the house? Are they being watched? Is there more to this dodgy job than first meets the eye?

This film captures everything I love about horror – you don’t need gore, or heavy special effects: you need good story, and good acting, and The Devil’s Business oozes this. The dark suggestion that something evil is watching them, the idea that they are really the hunted, not the hunter, really brings about some amazing turns and unexpected moments through the movie.

It is very character driven, dark, creepy and suggestive. I found it absolutely enthralling, and will gladly be watching it again in the future.

5 out of 5: Go watch!

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FILM REVIEW: ARE YOU THERE?

Today I watched new DVD release “Are You There?”

I was quite excited about seeing this low-budget horror, because it appeared to contain all the elements that I like in a scary movie: Ouija Boards, demons, hauntings etc. It seemed to have all the right ingredients. I wasn’t put off by the low budget either – I don’t think money, or lack of it, represents the talents behind a movie. To put it bluntly- give me a good story and good actors, I don’t care about budget.

So, with an open mind I watched this film. It is about a group of teenagers who take part in a séance, and end up contacting a demonic entity called ZOZO. This demon apparently makes contact and stalks the group, causing one fatality and several psychological scars in a few of the group. Apparently it is based on a true story.

I was disappointed. I didn’t find the film itself particularly atmospheric or scary. I didn’t feel there was enough tension to deliver a scare.

The cast wasn’t impressive, although there was a couple of good talents amongst the cast. Overall, none were outstanding in their delivery.

I felt the story as a whole was a bit flimsy. I didn’t feel excited or invested about the situation the characters found themselves in.

I want to say something good about this film. I guess the best thing about it is the references to true-life accounts and experiences with the demon Zozo. That was at least eerie enough to grab my attention and make me want to look further into this mythical figure.

If you like a good horror, I can’t recommend this, but we are all different – my opinion is just that: My own. You may see it differently. If you do give it a go, I hope you come away happier than I did.

1/5 stars.

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