Strange Nature

A guest review by Spencer Hackett


Environmental horror meets body horror this time with Strange Nature. Not got much idea about this other than it claims to be “The first film to expose unsolved wildlife deformity outbreaks and where they may lead” according to IMDB. I’m pretty sure that isn’t true, I’ve seen plenty of mutant fish/mutant beastly eat people films, but perhaps it isn’t going to go that way. It’s directed by James Ojala, who started out doing effects for Troma, then has done makeup on Thor and X Men and that sort of stuff, so I’m expecting some good gore. This is his feature film debut and doesn’t appear mad high on the budget scales. Lisa Sheridan is the lead role of Kim Sweet, along with a relatively unknown supporting cast. And you know the drill, spoilers ahead, so jump to the little paragraph at the bottom for my overall thoughts.

I like these retro type titles, very John Carpenter. Although why are some letters bigger than others, that “I” is massive. Oh is it to do with the abnormalities in the fishes and stuff, clever…

NEWS MONTAGE, love a news montage.

Based on a true story my ass.

Did she just tell her son to suck it…

That dogs not making it, bet you now. Also who calls a dog kinky.

God I hate this child.

Not more children…

Dogs pregnant, those puppies are doomed.

Oooooo hand impalement.

Oh my god it’s Kid Rock!!!!

I have nothing to say…


I love that the frogs are clearly stock footage.

I don’t think the primary school science teacher is the best authority to warn about fucked up frogs. (Note to self, fucked up frogs is a great band name)

That scene didn’t need a fade to black.

So the Mom was a pop star, and she doesn’t like it, does this mean we get a big sing off moment at the end? (Ed’s note – hopefully)

Ok, so what happened when she was a pop star, people don’t just hate you for being a pop star, so she must be a cock.

I still have nothing


I think this is the most detestable kid since that one from The Strain, who was just a more irritating, twelvie version of Carl from WD. I think Stranger Things has spoilt us with great child actors.

This ambience is a loop, I just heard it end and start again. Crickets giving the game away.

Oh yeah forgot the grandad was ill.

If they keep doing the POV monster I’m going to be forced to presume it’s just a perv with a camera attacking people, and that’s disappointing.

Put your eyebrows down grandad your freaking me out. (That’s in the film not real life, my grandad is not in the room).

Can we have a name for the deformed girl, it feels a bit horrendous that’s she’s just the deformed girl so far.

Those are tan lines, that may be drawn on, as they’re darker at the line than anywhere else.

Well furries was the last thing I expected to turn up here…

Kid Rock’s back, and he hates the disabled, probably like the real Kid Rock.

Is this a city? This looks more like a town, does it have a cathedral? Also this is going all Jaws, including the mayor refusing to stop people going in the water. (They even just acknowledged it)

This pop career thing is one of the strangest sub plots I’ve seen, rivals Night of the Bloody Apes wrestling plot.

The ambience loop is back, same one from last time.

That is not newsprint, that’s printer print.

That is a weirdly dark dining situation. I’ve seen more light in power cut scenes in films than round this dinner table, God’s sake.

Spam, yummy.

This lighting is really disparate between these angles.

Telling my depressing life story to school teachers is really what gets me going aswell…

Those are some seriously CGI Flies.

Oh it’s a Lovecraftian fish person, although I’m not sure if it was real, cus she woke up. (Post watch edit: this wasn’t cleared up, I’m none the wiser)

Dark Corners of the Earth
Yes! Another chance to reference Dark Corners of the Earth – Ed


This has cranked up out of nowhere. Told you the puppies were doomed. That kid went into the water for no reason, he’s doomed too.

That snail drawing has more detail than necessary. That’s not science fiction, that’s science FACT!!!!

Get fucked Kid Rock.

This guy has really sweaty nips, it’s a little strange.

Kid Rock just did the Age Of Barbarian face, it was so spot on.

Fish baby. It’s unnerving, I think cus it’s making proper baby noises, not monster noises, they’ve actually dealt with this fairly well I think, it’s made me a bit sad.

I wish the snails had Muppet Babies not parasite babies.

How many people in this town were pregnant? It’s only small and there are two babies born and one on the way. Wait is that another one, there really must be something in the water…

To be honest the little shit kid beating up the shitter kids with his rucksack was pretty cool.

Now she’s up the duff aswell, now I understand why she nobbed the teacher, because plot reasons.

Ew heck. Wait a minute is that dog wood panelled inside?

That transition…

Kid Rock is an effective scumbag I must say, that may be that he only turns up to be a scumbag and then disappears again.

Well that came out of nowhere.

This randomly got really dark.

It’s literally too dark to see the monster, I’m at full brightness and I can just see vague fur.

That kids very chill about multiple homicides.

How many shotgun shells does she have?

This dog/wolf monster is ripping off The Thing big time (Carpenter’s, not the big rock guy)

Has the kid got a cold in this scene? Most definitely, it’s how I’ve sounded all week.

Do people still fist bump? (Ed – Wait. I still do. Does that mean I’m no longer cool? My assistant Janice is supposed to keep me up to date with things like this. Janice? JANIIIICE? WHERE ARE YOU?)

The hats not part of the baby kiddo, it can’t be your favourite part.

Well that was a cheesy ass ending, but in a good way.

I’ll be honest I quite enjoyed that, it’s not going to win any Oscars anytime soon but I was never bored. I do think it’s an acquired taste, not being the most exciting, action packed film in the world, and not being that tense either. But I found the characters interesting enough and the make up effects were pretty decent once the more horror elements did kick in. I think as far as low budget debuts go, this was pretty good. I’ve certainly seen far far worse films (check out my Death Kiss review if you haven’t already). I think this has that thing of being made with enough care and passion for film that it buys it a lot of good will. I will say don’t watch it for any sort of environmental warning, you’ve seen it before. It feels like the sort of vague connection to current affairs a biology teacher would use to have a lesson off and leave students in front of a film, but that’s about it. Overall it’s a recommend from me, mainly for horror fans who won’t mind the obvious low budget and slower pace.







Dead House

Dead House Poster
Dead House Poster

This wine glugs. A good sign. Have to say, I’ve been looking forward to getting a screener of this one. Just seen the name around and fancied it.

Greg Wallace
Greg Wallace is in a bad mood

Dude. You just flicked past Turtles. I pray you get your comeuppance.

That Rugged comic looks a bit like Crossed. I wonder if it’s supposed to be a version of it.

Emo kid has a local accent. He said “munny”.

Younger kid is old enough to play in his own room by himself.

Professor Dad has a very odd delivery. Like he’s reading from a script. I don’t think this film is the one I’d been hearing about.

Does Professor Dad really keep zombies in his basement? I take work home with me, but that’s taking it too far.

Italian Killer is like a younger, more deranged, Italian Werner Herzog (sober edit – he really wasn’t, but hell…). Love Herzog, both for the films and the mythos he’s built around himself. His cameos in Rick and Morty and Parks and Recreations are brilliant. And the collapse scene in Nosferatu is one of the most haunting things ever.

Pretentious kid spouting about GTA on the PSP. It wasn’t written to help understand violence. There’s no overarching polemic, it’s just about blowing things up.

Professor Dad wouldn’t be put of place in Doctors. As I’m off work today, I’ve had the joys of daytime TV. Which reminds me. Why did nobody tell me that Dion Dublin was on Homes Under the Hammer?

Dion Dublin
Never played for a team I like, but legend nonetheless (not just because he smacked Robbie Savage)

This film is the first I’ve seen since the start of Corking Movies that actually harms the pizza industry.

Is that kid the ghost kid from House on Elm Lake?

Greg Wallace’s tattoo is like the talisman from the board game of the same name.

Ooh, just remembered. Whoever did the audio rocks. When they are loading guns earlier, the clunks and clicks were beautifully crisp.

Do people playing villains like this ever struggle. Playing someone this vile can’t be easy, and, I think, if you’re playing the victim, you’d have to trust the aggressor. And sadly, you can tell they’re not intimidated by the aggressors (and Testemento does play a decent nutcase).

I think with the home invasion genre, foreign language films have an advantage. The language barrier causes the viewer to be isolated from the killer. I think having too clean a film quality has a negative effect too. Look at the scene in Henry. It feels real because it’s filmed on a camcorder. This doesn’t have any of the alienation. We’re too obviously in a fiction and this genre needs that not to be the case.

The gore is better than I’ve seen for a while.

I think the internet has taken some of the mystique away from this sort of film. For example, when I was young, the story was that the hillbillies in Deliverance were real mountain men and security guards were on set with guns in case they got carried away. IMDB says otherwise.

There seems to be very little in the way of security at this facility.

“Here we are at Suarez’s house.” Are they looking to get bitten?

Suarez
A goalmouth scramble featuring Suarez

Back to the security thing. I suppose RE2 was just as bad. There’s a huge facility just sitting under a police station. You’d think these things would be in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by barbed wire and stuff.

Are we going to get a zombie flesh eaters ending? Hopefully a zombie fighting a shark too.

It’s Nemesis! My RE2 reference counts! I loved RE2.

 

Nemesis
Wasn’t half as tough when you had the infinite rocket launcher.

That’s some good head stoving.

Jesus. Are these special forces guys doing an homage to Resident Evil with this acting?

We did get the Zombie Flesh Eaters ending.

Is the film a metaphor for how America turned the UK into a base for its nuclear weapons? As a lot of anime did (sober edit – I appear to have just stopped mid sentence here. I was rather drunk though).

 

Atlantic Rim 2 – A Drunken Review

The Japanese Atlantic Rim 2 Poster rocks. Might have to buy another Gundam kit…

Atlantic Rim 2 – A Drunk Review

In a massive break from tradition, I’m starting this review on the same page as another. It’s because I’ve nearly reached the end of the pad.

Already I’m surprised by the production values here. Asylum films have a certain reputation.

I recognise that guy who looks like Sir Clive Sinclair (and before you say, no. It’s not Sir Clive Sinclair).

Sinclair C5
Sir Clive Sinclair, without whom there’d be no C5

Wait. Did he say he was from the Tactical Insecurity Division? If so, are they hiring? I’d fit right in.

I think one of the problems when you’re doing a film with such a large scope on such a small budget is that you have no real footprint. There’s a huge creature stomping round Miami, but it’s as if it’s not really there. With the spread of information the way it is these days, the world would be in chaos within minutes. I’m sure readers will remember how quickly the terrible events of 9/11 unfolded before us. Social media and global interactivity have multiplied a millionfold since then.

Seeing a military type telling his partner to take the kids and leave reminds me of the book ‘The Death of Grass’. It would be difficult to keep the possibility of danger from people you know, impossible to keep it from loved ones.

Tough bald military guy looks a bit like Carl Ikeme, the Wolves goalkeeper who is currently battling leukemia. His charity can be found here – https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/cureleukaemia/ikeme

Carl Ikeme
#teamkemes

“I can only write so much code.” Same here. Me too. See the Corking Movies mobile index here http://www.corkingmovies.com/learning-area/

Wait. Do they have a software QA here?

Scientist guy looks a bit like Karl Urban. Lot of look-a-likes here (and regular readers will know we thrive on those).

Quality wise, this is about even with a Stargate spinoff or something, which, from Asylum is not bad. There seems to be a genuine desire to make a film here, rather than some of the stuff I’ve seen by them and that goes a long way. Look at Crystal Skulls. That was someone who wanted money and nothing else and it shows.

The robots look a bit Tau (look, I’ve admitted to being a geek here before). Quite like the design.

Tau
“Nerrrrrrdddddsssss”

No way is she old enough to be her mom. Bit like Marty McFly and his dad.

“It’s a lot bigger than I thought.” It’s quite tragic saying “That’s what she said” when everyone else in the house has gone to bed (well, my son’s hamsters, Maya and Freya, are still awake – I can here the wheel. We got them today and they’re a bit shy).

Videogames have taught me you need flamethrowers here.

Seriously, is that guy Karl Urban’s brother? I believe he has one… Not Keith Urban though.

We’ve veered into Starship Troopers here. Love that film. Casper van Dien is not the greatest of actors in it, but he fits.

“Where did you learn to shoot like that?” “I’m from New York.” New York, where, this very morning, they tightened gun ownership laws for domestic abusers. Tempted to wake my partner up to celebrate this. Brilliant result.

Have to say, I’ve seen worse films made with bigger budgets and bigger names.

The arse end of this wine is tannin-y.

We’ll that was a sudden death.

Whoever put the soundtrack together just sneaked in an effect from the 1953 War of the Worlds movie. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

Don’t know that it’s not a little sexist that the surviving female pilots are locked away for the finale, leaving two dudes to take over.

Sure I recognise other woman in the command center.

Sober edit – I fell asleep drunk here as the credits rolled (plus it was about 4am), so no further notes… Just checked though, and the catering was by Impeccable Taste/John Woodward