Tag Archives: slasher

Schrei Zwei

dead island school's out ii 2001

DEAD ISLAND: SCHOOL’S OUT II

2.5 Stars  2001/95m

Director: Robert Sigl / Writer: Kai Meyer / Cast: Katharina Wackernagel, Barnaby Metschurat, Anna Kanis, Luise Bähr, Alexandra Finder, Annette Kreft, Karin Giegerich, Nezâ Selbuz, Susanne Berckhemer, Friederike Kempter.

Body Count: 7


A TV sequel to 1999’s German TV Euro-Scream sleeper, School’s Out, where a scissor-wielding harlequin hunted a string of school friends.

In the follow up, heroine Nina (Wackernagel) is now residing at a clinic on a small island, once home to a convent until the nuns up and vanished one day. Something about a murdered baby. Sacrifice. Jealousy. Revenge. The subtitles were live translated from the German audio so it’s not clear. At one point somebody apparently exclaimed: “The cake itself carried away with it!”

In the now, Nina’s boyfriend Niklas sneaks on to the island alongside a visiting doctor, there to oversee and report back on the questionable methods of therapy employed by the wheelchair-bound professor who runs the place.

Before long, someone in a veiled nun’s habit starts killing everyone: A girl is chased into a bog and sinks, a couple of others meet the business end of a harpoon, and most others die off camera. Tame stuff, but with some nice aesthetic flourishes here and there and a fun locus with the abandoned fortress on the edge of a cliff.

I wasn’t particularly clear on the killer’s motive, but the attempts to hide their identity are also curiously absent. Expect a sort of Murder She Wrote: Teen Jessica’s Adventures and you’ll picture it. About as good as the first one. Take that as you will.

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.

Less is more

vengeance part 2 bloodlines 2022

VENGEANCE PART 2: BLOODLINES

2.5 Stars  2022/108m

“Legends are worth dying for. Family is worth killing for.”

Director/Writer: Jason Brooks / Cast: C.J. Graham, Thom Mathews, Darcy DeMoss, Kelly Tappan, Sanae Loutsis, Morgen Johnson, Jason Brooks, Tom McLoughlin, Rob Mello, Tamara Glynn, Richie Ramone.

Body Count: 36


A follow-up to the 2019 fan filmBloodlines brings back the sisters Jarvis, still looking for their pop, while Elias Voorhees spurns Jason on to keep killing, well, everybody.

Meanwhile, a couple of devotees (including Jason Lives director McLoughlin) abduct the younger sister for… why? I don’t know, I was having a hard time decrypting what was going on in this one. Anyway, Tommy turns up, possibly running straight from or to the set of Never Hike Alone 2, and everybody fights.

Also back for more is Darcy DeMoss, who apparently survived having her head smushed into the wall of an RV, as part of a bachelorette party that’s caught up in a traffic jam that Jason crashes, tearing up dozens, dozens, of schmucks by smashing their heads in doors, throwing spears, machetes, using drumsticks, his bare hands etc, etc.

Amusing and well done as some of these kills are, like before, they just go way too far in both number and violent excess, with heaps of nameless characters running around the woods before they’re disembowelled with little to no suspense. Dare I say it gets… boring?

Another actress from a Halloween sequel rocks up and I lived up to my psychic destiny be saying aloud a second before she did when asked: “You grew up here, didn’t you?”; “No, I grew up in Haddonfield.” Word for word. Then she dies, obvs. And one of the Ramones is here!?

But at least these guys are doing something. Part 3 awaited.

Blurbs-of-interest: Rob Mello was also in both Happy Death Day films; Darcy DeMoss was also in Return to Horror High; Tamara Glynn was in Halloween 5; Thom Mathews was also in Final Summer.

Nottie Knocks

natty knocks 2023

NATTY KNOCKS

1.5 Stars  2023/95m

Director: Dwight Little / Writer: Benjamin Olson

Cast: Bill Moseley, Charlotte Fountain-Jardim, Thomas Robie, Noen Perez, Danielle Harris, Channah Zeitung, Robert Englund, Amit Sarin, Jason James Richter, Will Murden.

Body Count: 5


Dwight Little turned out what’s commonly regarded as one of the better Halloween sequels with 1988’s The Return of Michael Myers, and then the following year a slasher version of The Phantom of the Opera. So when you see his name alongside actors Danielle Harris, Bill Moseley, and crucially Robert Englund, you’d be forgiven for expecting something pretty damn special.

Alas, Natty Knocks is an endurance test from start to finish.

At Halloween, 1976, a group of angry housewives decide to take revenge on the titular local B-movie actress and town ho, who’s bedded all of their husbands and, they believe, practices witchcraft. As she burns in a shed, she screams that she’ll be back for revenge.

natty knocks 2023

47 years later – finally, not a multiple of five! – hard-up teens stealing copper to hawk for cash inadvertently spy a man ragging on a teenage girl through a window. When the girl is reported missing, they second guess their initial assumption of a domestic, but don’t want top get themselves in trouble. Eventually, teen babysitter Britt learns of this and goes to the cops. But the cop that she goes to is the assailant, who spends his time watching Natty’s movies projected on to a sheet.

After an hour, during which there’s only been one kill, things start to happen, but it’s so muddled and rudderless it’s almost impossible to tell what’s going on. Characters who previously seemed to have only the most vague connections to others are revealed to live with them, there’s a demon that appears behind doors, some people are abducted and forced to watch the B-movies. Why? I dunno, some possession thing so she can return to life. It really wasn’t clear.

natty knocks 2023 robert englund

With a victim count of just three, there are around 6-7 characters milling around at the end, and no real sense of closure to anything. So much time is spent around this bizarre copper-theft plan, that there’s almost no time remaining when the main act should be in full swing, and things fizzle out disappointingly.

A waste of talent.

Blurbs-of-interest: Both Englund and Harris are in Urban Legend together, and both Harris and Moseley are in Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet together; Englund played Freddy Krueger in eight Elm Street movies, and is also in HeartstopperBehind the MaskHatchet, and The Phantom of the Opera. Danielle Harris was also in Camp DreadChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2The Town That Dreaded SundownSee No Evil 2Hatchet‘s 2-4, and four different Halloween instalments. Moseley was also in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Texas Chainsaw 3DHome Sick, and Silent Night Deadly Night 3.

[INSERT CARVING JOKE]

thanksgiving 2023 eli roth poster

THANKSGIVING

4 Stars  2023/18/106m

“There will be no leftovers.”

Director/Writer: Eli Roth / Writer: Jeff Rendell / Cast: Patrick Dempsey, Nell Verlaque, Rick Hoffman, Jalen Thomas Brooks, Milo Manheim, Addison Rae, Tomaso Sanelli, Gabriel Davenport, Jenna Warren, Karen Cliche, Joe Delfin, Amanda Barker, Tim Dillon.

Body Count: 12


Being from a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s a little alien to me, pieced together from Saved by the Bell holiday specials, Friends episodes, tales of brawling families and, finally, Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving slasher feature, which comes a whopping sixteen years after the mock trailer he created for Grindhouse (and which, let’s be honest, was the best thing about that project).

Thanksgiving has been a curiously overlooked public holiday in the slasher cannon, with, by my count, only 1980’s Home Sweet Home and 83’s Blood Rage making any ado about it – though I remember someone telling me about a film called ‘Thankskilling’, but maybe that was bullshit.

Roth has always been a bit hit and miss for me, but he shines here, revelling in the nostalgic echoes of early 80s every-holiday-is-a-kill-fest template, and having a bloody good time with it. Emphasis on bloody. He described the movie as a 2023 reboot of what that old trailer would’ve been for, allowing freedom to explore more contemporary themes. Namely: Black Friday.

thanksgiving 2023

Shit a brick and fuck me with it, is the scene that starts this movie accurate? Greedy small town store owner Thomas Wright (the always fun Hoffman) decides to open his joint for the Black Friday madness on Thanksgiving, rather than at midnight, and give away a free waffle iron to the first 100 customers. Crowds gather and get impatient: pushing, shoving, swearing.

When Wright’s daughter Jessica lets five of her friends in through the employee entrance and a couple of them mock those waiting from inside the store, a crush ensues, resulting in shattered glass as hordes of selfish lunatics flood in. Three people die in the madness, including store manager Mitch’s wife (a Gina Gershon cameo).

thanksgiving 2023

One year later (of course), Jessica’s boyfriend Bobby, whose pitching career was ruined by an injury sustained in the carnage, returns after a year ghosting the others, but she’s now going out with the slightly sketchy Ryan (My Bloody Valentine love triangle sighted off the bow) and the six friends involved begin to receive vaguely threatening Insta messages from ‘John Carver’, the town’s Pilgrim figurehead, which coincide with locals who were involved in the riot being offed by an axe-swinging wacko in a mass-produced John Carver mask.

While Jess worries, local Sheriff (Dempsey) leads the charge to locate the killer, and the classless idiots who trampled over dying people for reduced housewares continue to get attacked with electric knives, table top power saws and, in the most ‘ouch’ moment from the concept trailer, a cheerleader on a trampoline bounces down on to a blade that pierces through beneath her.

thanksgiving 2023

Elsewhere, some good chase scenes play out that bring back sweet memories of Prom Night, one of which wrings a great deal of tension in its simplicity, and things culminate in a Happy Birthday to Me-recalling Thanksgiving dinner, with the surviving targets confronted by their sins, and ‘dinner’ is served.

Roth crams a lot into Thanksgiving, recreating almost all of the scenes from his trailer, dropping some subtle clues as to the killer’s identity here and there, and offing people in gruesome ways: One poor uninvolved schmuck is skewered through the head by a parade float, a scene which also recalls Sarah Michelle Gellar seeing the Fisherman everywhere in I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Just a fun slasher movie from start to finish (although the tagline more of a mission statement than a fact).

thanksgiving 2023

Blurbs-of-interest: Canadian mini-icon Lynne Griffin appears as Grandma in the first scene, having been in the original Black Christmas and also Curtains back in the day. Patrick Dempsey was in Scream 3.

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