Tag Archives: TV

Gorestunbury

wreck season 2 2024

WRECK – SERIES 2

4 Stars  2024/274m

Directors: Louis Paxton, Chris Baugh / Writer: Ryan J. Brown, Ellie Kenderick / Cast: Oscar Kennedy, Thaddea Graham, Jodie Tyack, Harriet Webb, Peter Claffey, Miya Ocego, Alice Nokes, Amber Grappy, Warren James Dunning,  Niamh Walsh, Greg Austin, Joseph Arkley, Alan Dale, Orlando Newman, Anthony Rickman, Buck Braithwaite, Sam Buttery, Carolyn Bracken, Shaheen Jafargholi.

Body Count: 25

Laughter Lines: “She’s the worst person I’ve ever met – and I went to stage school.”


Gonna be honest, I didn’t expect there to be a second series of Wreck, the BBCs LGBTQ-peppered horror comedy series which, initially, skewered cruise ship culture for laughs and scares. For all its in-jokes (both horror and homo), nobody else seemed to be talking about it. The good news is that it must’ve done something right, because here we are again – and it’s even better than before.

After escaping The Sacramentum, pals-by-trauma Jamie and Vivian find exposing parent company Velorum for their Elite Hunting-esque set up impossible. The company either pays off potential witnesses or disposes of them – a fate which quickly befalls a number of the surviving crew members.

wreck series 2 2024 main cast

Meanwhile, in the beautiful woods of Slovenia (been there, it is that lush), a Velorum-backed hippie festival, Exodum, is about to launch. Headed up by the company owner’s daughter Devon (see Laughter Lines), it seems nothing has changed and bright young things who came to work there find themselves put aside for the killing pleasures of rich clientele.

Jamie and Vivian, along with the ever-loveable Cormac and Rosie, Lauren, and a reluctant Sophia (until her friends are murdered) meet up with inside-man Ben to try and save themselves from a pair of duck-masked killers, one of whom possesses Jason-like invulnerability. Also in attendance? Jamie’s ‘dead’ sister, Pippa, who makes it clear she and something of a resistance network are already on the case and intend to stick it to Velorum, with a little help from an unlikely source.

wreck series 2 2024

I watched Wreck S2 in the same week that I was involved in a conversation that mourned Scream‘s recent reluctance to raise the stakes and kill its darlings, something that is not a problem for Ryan J. Brown; characters we liked and even loved are not spared the business end of a blade this time, which adds an emotional weight to proceedings, rather than just bussing in a new serving of clueless schmucks as knife fodder. Look out for the scene with the heavy oak door and the pitchfork – sad, brutal, daring. It pays off.

Beyond the sad though, Wreck wrecks me with its humour. Sharp, cutting dialogue flies off the screen at locomotive pace (“despite the sensible shoes, I’m not a fur trader”) and the light disdain for festival culture (“this is some white people shiiit”) is endlessly amusing. The reassembly of the quirky, diverse group of underdog heroes is where it scores most impressively though, drawing out their likeable all-for-one qualities, albeit mocked by the bad guys, and keeping us rooting for them right to the end.

wreck series 2

Season 3 don’t wait too long!

Blurb-of-interest: Alan Dale was in Houseboat Horror.

You can’t choose your family. But you can kill them.

slasher flesh & blood 2021

SLASHER: FLESH & BLOOD

1.5 Stars  2021/367m

Director: Adam MacDonald / Created by: Aaron Martin / Cast: Rachael Crawford, Sabrina Grdevich, Chris Jacot, Paula Brancati, Alex Ozerov, AJ Simmons, Sydney Meyer, Breton Lalama, Corteon Moore, Jeananne Goossen, Patrice Goodman, Nataliya Rodina, David Cronenberg.

Body Count: 15

Laughter Lines: “A series of games – a competition – each of you will be knocked out one by one.”


Saw meets Succession for the fourth series of the Canadian anthology universe where the only people who exist are hateful narcissists. Seriously, Aaron Martin, would it hurt to make a few of them not assholes? I thought residents of Canada had form for being too nice.

Patriarch of the Galloway family, David Cronenberg, decides to opt out of life – literally. He’s committing assisted suicide, but not before instructing his greedy family that only one of them can have his fortune, and to win it they just have to play a few games. Last one standing wins gazillions. So they gather at his island mansion for the weekend where they argue, deceive, and are hunted down by a top-hat-and-plague-masked killer who has some creative demises in store.

Add to this, kidnapped grandson Vincent reappears after 25 years, igniting more suspicion. His uneasy twin, Theo, has the hots for the housekeeper’s daughter, Liv, who is timely informed that she’s actually part of the bloodline and thus eligible for the prize. Closet gay Seamus and his happy-hippie wife Christy are struggling with their weird adopted daughter, Aphra. New trophy wife of the head of the clan, Grace, just wants the best for their son, Jayden. Non-binary O’Keeffe doesn’t really want to be there.

slasher flesh & blood 2021

And then there’s Florence. To conjure up an image of Florence, think of the campest, most pantomime witch character you can, squawky shrill voice right out of The Wizard of Oz included. Amplify that a hundred or so times, and you might have her. A role so beyond the realms of credibility, it’s no wonder Sabrina Grdevich goes to town, chewing up the scenery with her demented antics, kind of like an evil Moira Rose, just falling shy of threatening: “I’ll get you, and your little dog too!”

So it goes, the loser of each test is eliminated by the agile killer, and sometimes one another in a Bay of Blood-esque desperation for survival and riches, while the blackest of black secrets are revealed through flashbacks, painting just about everyone as the nastiest kind of nasty. Perhaps only Christy and O’Keeffe are likeable by comparison, but meet sticky ends nonetheless. Gruesome denouements include being fed into a giant woodchipper, limbs ripped off, acid injection, and one poor person has their face eaten. A decent midpoint twist right out of Orphan and the killer’s identity being an unexpected outcome do little to swim against the tide.

slasher flesh & blood 2021

I don’t understand this series; it seems firmly rooted in the sport of horrible people being killed horribly for horrible reasons. There’s nobody to root for. But will I watch the next season? Probs.

Blurbs-of-interest: Cast members Jacot and Brancati were in the previous three seasons; Patrice Goodman was in Solstice; Alex Ozerov was in The Dark Stranger; Corteon Moore was in the Terror Train remake; David Cronenberg had a cameo in Jason X.

Doll Domination

chucky season 2 2022

CHUCKY – SEASON 2

2.5 Stars  2022/381m

Directors: Jeff Renfroe, Samir Rehem, Don Mancini, Leslie Libman, John Hyams / Writers: Don Mancini, Kim Garland, Rachael Paradis, Mallory Westfall, Nick Zigler, Alex Delyle, Isabella Gutierrez, Amanda Blanchard / Cast: Zackary Arthur, Bjorgvin Arnarson, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Brad Dourif, Devon Sawa, Fiona Dourif, Jennifer Tilly, Bella Higginbotham, Rosemary Dunsmore, Lachlan Watson, Alex Vincent, Christine Elise, Andrea Carter, Lara Jean Chorostecki, Meg Tilly, Barbara Alyn Woods, Carina Battrick, Billy Boyd.

Body Count: 15

Laughter Lines: “You’re worried about me? There’s a corpse in the closet and a killer doll on the loose – I’m worried about me.”


Given the ajar ending of Season 1it was pretty clear that we’d be coming back to the valley of the dolls, which rapidly ties up how things were left off, with Andy in the truck o’ Good Guy Dolls, at (doll) Tiffany’s gunpoint. He succeeds in driving it over a cliff and everybody thinks the nightmare is over.

Several months later, Jake and Devon have been fostered by other families far apart, while Lexy is attending therapy at the behest of her politically-thirsty mom and liberally popping pills to get through each day. When the three of them reunite on Halloween, Chucky reappears to finish them off and ends up detonating a bomb that kills Jake’s pre-teen foster brother. Naturally blamed and written off as problem kids, the trio are packed off to the Catholic School of the Incarnate Lord – Charles Lee Ray’s boyhood residence – ruled by the rather dogmatic Father Bryce (Devon Sawa, but reportedly no relation to either of his earlier characters).

chucky season 2 2022

Bad kids galore should provide a buffet of meat for Chucky to torment, a la the military academy seen way back in Child’s Play 3, but instead Season 2 embarks on a rather restrained path, with the few remaining dolls being quickly dealt with and, in one case, deprogrammed and turned into a Good Good Guy, who Jake quickly believes, along with new team member, Nadine.

Meanwhile, Tiffany struggles to prop up her Jennifer Tilly identity, and, when non-binary twins Glen and Glenda arrive for a visit, they’re accompanied by Jennifer’s real-life sister Meg, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, Sutton Stracke, and a mysterious butler. The episode openly excludes the other narrative entirely, functioning as a bizarre farce that ends with quad-amputee Nica being liberated, while Chucky ‘presents’ to the audience. It’s a weird bump in the road, exploiting Tilly’s comedic muscle, but sadly really sucks you out of the flow, reminding me of a review I saw way back when that posited the series has become a bit of an in-joke that only Tilly and Don Mancini are in on.

chucky season 2 2022

Things eventually realign: Kyle and Andy return, the priests and nuns finally face up to the reality of Chucky, the kids fall out, make up, fall out, make up, and then it kinda stops with one episode to go. In the finale, we leap another few months forward, to Christmas, back in Hackensack, where the final Chucky doll makes a play for the kids one last time, and Tiffany, now wanted for murder, tries to get her mitts on a new doll to transfer herself into.

Where the movies had slowed to an instalment every few years, the demands of a 10-part series and all of the criss-crossing storylines built up over thirty-plus years becomes an entanglement difficult to write itself out of. Consequently, the result is choppy and peppered with ideas and concepts seen in earlier movies as various character motivations collide. Dare I say, Mancini might need to kill some of his darlings for the next season to up the stakes.

chucky season 2 2022

Blurbs-of-interest: Dourif’s other slasher film credits include Color of NightTraumaUrban LegendChain LetterDead Scared, Rob Zombie’s Halloween and its sequel; Jennifer Tilly was also in The Caretaker and Far From Home; Devon Sawa was Alex in Final Destination; Meg Tilly was in Psycho II.

PLL: The Coincidencening

pretty little liars original sin 2022

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS: ORIGINAL SIN

3 Stars  2022/498m

“The past doesn’t lie.”

Created by: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Lindsay Calhoon Bring / Cast: Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Zaria, Malia Pyles, Maia Reficco, Mallory Bechtel, Carson Rowland, Alex Aliono, Jordan Gonzalez, Derek Klena, Ben Cook, Sharon Leal, Elena Goode, Lea Salonga, Zakiya Young, Eric Johnson, Kate Jennings Grant.

Body Count: 9

Laughter Lines: “To paraphrase Heathers, our teen-angst has now has a body count.”


I watched precisely one episode of the original Pretty Little Liars series, realised it was going to drag out its one-note premise way past its welcome and find a way to screw you over to force multiple seasons.

Upon hearing that a (second?) spin-off series was opting for a straight-up revenge slasher tale over an I-can-do-it 10-episode season, I took a dip.

With title fonts clearly designed to conjure up memories of Friday the 13th, and screen prompts in the Halloween font, telling us what day we’re on, it’s clear from the off somebody involved was penning a love letter to the golden age of dead teenager stalk n’ slash.

pretty little liars original sin 2022

On New Year’s Eve 1999, a dishevelled teenage girl staggers into a rave, begging for help from a quintet of prissy prom queens, who tell her she’s on her own. As the clock is about to strike twelve, the girl leaps from the rafters to her death at their feet.

Leaping forward to 2022, all five women still live in the town of Millwood. All five women have one child apiece. All of these children are girls in the same grade. Of these kids, once-popular-but-now-pregnant Imogen had a major falling out with her best friend, Karen, who, when visiting one night to reclaim clothes Imogen borrowed, hands her mom a flyer for the 1999 NYE party that was taped to their door. The girls subsequently find Imogen’s mom has slashed her wrists in the bath and painted the letter ‘A’ in blood on the tiles.

A few months later, a more-pregnant Imogen is now living with Tabby and her mom (another member of the ’99 clique). They, along with ballerina Faran, be-ankle-monitored Noa, and shy nerd Mouse, receive detention for a series of strikes at Karen, who is the 1D bitch. The quintet become fast friends in their plot to take revenge against Karen, which starts a chain reaction of events that leads to the girl falling to her death during a school dance. Deja vu all over again.

pretty little liars original sin 2022

The five girls each find themselves tormented by texts from ‘A’, who swears them to silence. Imogen saw a masked loon push Karen to her death but the girl’s father is the local sheriff and blames the five of them for driving her to suicide. Her identical twin sister, Kelly, meanwhile, makes moves to step into Karen’s shoes, socially and… uh… ballerina-ally.

Mucho Nancy Drewing occurs – road trips to an institution, exploring old houses, befriending a guy who lives on an abandoned train… Despite leaving the gate with bloody intentions, the body count soon grinds to a halt after a scant three murders, despite there being a buffet of asshole jocks to pick from, the moms, various staff members at the school… A side-mystery around two rapes comes into play, which the girls manage to use to defend themselves when the bully-hating killer comes-a-callin’.

Film geek Tabby talks in movie metaphors for most of her scenes, even presenting a class project on slasher movie conventions that goes into gender issues of the genre, which is interesting when she comes to making a flipped version of the Psycho shower scene, but given this speech and all her talk around the male gaze, to then forge ahead and adhere to so many cliches around women in horror displays the operational limitations – such as blaming the death of a girl on a group of girls, and them tormenting other girls on the back of it. Why couldn’t one of the kids been a boy? Why couldn’t a few of them be older or younger to mix it up a bit? Hell, just give us Handsome Little Liars, where a group of teen boys are hunted in payment for the death of another boy.

pretty little liars original sin 2022

Bailee Madison, who handled final girl duties in The Strangers: Prey at Night, as Imogen, gets to scrap with the killer at the end in a good-but-is-it-too-late fight scene that highlights how sorely lacking this level of action horror has been over the preceding nine episodes. In this sense, the propositions of the first episode feel like broken promises, especially as things end with the door thrown wide open for another round, though not before an all-too-cosy scene in which all of the remaining principle characters sit around and count their blessings, getting back together, going to rehab, moving back from the city. Hallmark has a lot to answer for.

An okay show, wrapped up too swiftly, but it settled for merely flirting with slasher movie conventions rather than fully embracing them.

Below Duck

wreck 2022

WRECK

3.5 Stars  2022/272m

Director: Chris Baugh / Writers: Ryan J. Brown & Ibrahim Salawu / Cast: Oscar Kennedy, Thaddea Graham, Harriet Webb, Louis Boyer, Peter Claffey, Anthony Rickman, Warren James Dunning, Miya Ocego, Alice Nokes, Amber Grappy, James Phoon, Ali Hardiman, Ramanique Ahluwalia, Donald Sage Mackay.

Body Count: 5

Laughter Lines: “The fraternisation clause – you penis flytraps have blown it.”


A few years back my parents reached the age where they traded in package holidays for cruises, and so I’ve been regaled by many-a-tale of room upgrades, rough seas, singers I assumed had died years ago, and what sounds like a median patron age of 69. Hearing this, I wondered how it would be if a psycho blew a fuse and decided to start hunting victims aboard. And here we are! Steer carefully around some spoilers!

A spectacular opening serves us the usual babe-in-peril scenario, with a young woman chased through a series of corridors by a maniac …dressed as a duck! Girls Nite Out eat your heart out. A rapid chase eventually shows our fleeing victim is aboard a huge floating hotel at sea. When cornered, rather than suffer being stabbed, she flips off the killer and throws herself overboard.

wreck 2022 duck killer

Some time later, her younger brother, Jamie Walsh (a thoughtfully named combo of Ms Curtis and Elm Street 2‘s Jesse) signs up as a sort of all-jobs lackie, taking the identity of lovelorn Cormac who, unknown to Jamie, has also decided to come along, to win back his girlfriend Rosie. While Jamie works shit jobs and befriends sarcastic Vivian, he looks for clues as to Pippa’s disappearance, knowing there’s more to it than the official explanation offered by the cruise line.

When his initial suspect also meets the business end of the duck’s knife and is thrown into a pool, Jamie confides in Vivian his true reason for being there and the two play detective, with some help from cabin-bound Cormac, and fellow crewmember Olly.

wreck 2022 thaddea graham oscar kennedy

After the slasher-heavy first episode (of six), Wreck sets a new course for a while, focusing in on the drug racket aboard the ship, with employees smuggling and dealing to colleagues and guests alike. Jamie suspects one of the officers but keeps getting stonewalled. Meanwhile, Vivian falls into an awkward relationship with first class rich girl, Lily.

Crew disappearances continue, explained away by the no-nonsense chief officer, Karen, who has no problem threatening jobs when the questions get too close to a possible cover up. Come the penultimate episode, the duck has all but been forgotten and Wreck becomes a kind of Hostel-at-sea, as it transpires first class guests have, as part of their package, the ability to pick and choose a low-rung crewmember to hunt in a number of scenarios in hidden parts of the ship – the officers and purser all oversee it, the low-hanging fruit in the crew are purely expendable.

wreck 2022 danny

Despite this swerve from slasher shenanigans, Wreck‘s most appealing elements lie in character and witty dialogue, both of which are top drawer, with a pair of LGBTQ leads, where their sexualities are largely incidental in the grand scheme of things, allowing for Vivian to quip “A lesbian with a powertool – how original!” during a climactic fight scene.

The body count remains low and things end with a find-out-in-the-second-series revelation that, honestly, I saw coming to an extent, but it also saddles the whole thing with a slight sense of incompletion… but I’d love to spend more time in the company of these characters so it’s not worth getting irked by.

1 2 3 11