The Road (2009) Film Review


There has been some kind of nuclear incident (it’s not explained in too much detail) and the world is dying. Man (Viggo Mortensen) is walking with Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) heading south, hoping to find warmth and food as the nuclear winter continues to descend on them. The world is grey and horrible, everything is dead, there are no animals, no living plants, and the few survivors will do anything to survive.

Depressing? Well yes, very much so. The film has captured the dark and awful tones of the novel by Cormac McCarthy, and show a man who still has some hope for his son’s ultimate survival, against all the odds and perhaps even against any sense. The film does have an odd thing going for it, and that it is the soundtrack; by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, the music gives a strange and mysterious sense of hope. This juxtaposition shouldn’t work, yet it is perfect.


ParaNorman (2012) Film Review


Norman is an odd boy. He sees the dead everywhere he goes (not just people, dead animals too) and can interact with them. His family wants him to be normal and kids at school tease him relentlessly. Then his uncle, Mr Prenderghast, passes away, and passes on the responsibility of reading from a book to please a dead witch and ensure that the dead don’t rise again. But it’s not that easy.

This is a great kids film. Probably a bit scary for little kids, but heaps of fun. The characters are well created on the whole (although, as with most kids films, there really is not much in the way of female role models… a put-upon mother, a stupid and a bit slutty teenage sister, a nerd with thick glasses and braces, a stupid cop and that’s just about it) and the story flows well. I love it when I’m watching a film like this and it turns things on its head – when the zombies hit town, the townsfolk have seen enough films to know what to do to killer zombies. Only these guys aren’t killers. It’s great.

ParaNorman was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature and a BAFTA for Best Animated Film.

Let Me In (2010) Film Review


A man is taken to a hospital after a car accident and is suspected to be responsible for a recent series of murders. However, he is unable to be identified as he has poured acid across his head and shoulders, causing serious burns. Two weeks previously, we meet, Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a 12-year-old boy. He is bullied at school and struggling to come to terms with the divorce of his religious mother and absent father. At night, he sneaks out to play in the courtyard of his building, and one night, there is a girl his own age there. Despite her warning that they cannot be friends, a friendship is formed. What Owen is unaware of is that Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a vampire and her guardian is the man who appeared in the hospital, who has been killing to provide her with blood.

This is how horror is done. Slow, intense music (often during scenes that prove to be benign) that had me twisting with anxious anticipating. What’s more, it’s not a cheesy shlock horror – in fact, the horrible bullying scenes were far more difficult to watch than the violent attacks. Let Me In is a remake of Let The Right One In, a Swedish film. It’s always a bit of a risk watching Hollywood remakes. Not that they are necessarily worse (although The Vanishing, the Hollywood version of Dutch film Spoorloos, had an awful Hollywood ending), but they may just be identical, as I recently discovered with The Departed (adaptation of Infernal Affairs). I don’t think that I could get through Let The Right One In if it is anywhere near as intense as this flick. Incidentally, how good is Chloe Grace Moretz? She seems to be making a lot of awesome films at the moment. I’m hoping her career continues as strongly in the future.