Saturday 26 February 2011

DVD Reviews

Terror Trap
Starring: David James Elliott, Jeff Fahey, Michael Madsen
Director: Dan Garcia
Anchor Bay Entertainment

Available from Monday 28th February - £15.99 (DVD)
Review by Kelly Prior

Get this in the E14 Store for £7.99

A couple who have marriage problems are stranded on a highway in the middle of nowhere, while attempting to have a romantic vacation. A creepy and pretty darn dodgy looking police officer convinces the pair that their best option would be to stay in a motel for the night. Cue creepy, run-down motel, run by a creepy, run-down guy. At this point, most people would be ringing a taxi, but no, they fall for it hook, line and sinker. Of course, this motel is not your every day travel inn. It’s home to some sick guys who murder their guests in snuff films and live shows. The next hour sees these two running for their lives, trying to escape becoming victims of the Terror Trap.

This film is a remarkably tense thriller. Let’s face it, the plot has been seen before, but Terror Trap is definitely up there with the most intense. The masked men inspire fear and panic every time they appear on screen, and the setting is reminiscent of Psycho, with quite a few parallels.

The acting is spectacular, don’t get me wrong, but some of the scenes seem a bit pointless. The couple have a thousand arguments throughout the film, and this does start to get tedious. There is a great deal more depth in this film, which makes it more believable, which is good, but a bit duller, which is bad.

We see this film advertised and we immediately think “generic torture movie.” However, if this is what you are expecting, think again. There is very little gore and the death scenes are toned down and almost censored. Then, after a massive and quite impressive build up of tension, the ending just doesn’t satisfy. We expect a blood bath, and this film simply does not deliver. Michael Madsen and Jeff Fahey lead a truly tremendous cast on a roller coaster ride...but, inevitably, everyone is left disappointed with the ending.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Soft-core torture.
Sex/Nudity: Lots of naked girls.
Swearing: Lots of swearing.
Summary: If looking for a psychological thriller, you will surely enjoy this little gem...if you’re looking for a hardcore torture film, you will be disappointed. 7/10
Starring: Seo Young-hee, Ji Sung-won
Director: Jang Cheol-Su
Optimum Home Entertainment

Available from Monday 28th February – £15.99 (DVD) & £19.99 (Blu-Ray)
Review by Rob Wade

Get this in the E14 Store for £9.99 on DVD and £12.93 on Blu-ray

After being forced to take a vacation from her hectic professional life for slapping a colleague (I’m not kidding), Hae-Won returns to her childhood home. However, she soon finds that her oldest (and presumably only) friend, Bok-Nam, is being treated like shit by the locals. Cuckolded by her husband, violated by local men, disrespected by the women, it’s only a matter of time before it all kicks off. The tipping point comes when she suspects that her daughter is being abused. After pleading with Hae-Won to take her daughter, Bok-Nam attempts to run away. What follows is Bok-Nam going fucking berserk when her daughter is killed and the locals band together to attempt to stitch her up.

One thing has to be said for this movie: it’s really good at building sympathy for the focal female character in the story. From one scene, where she is being raped by her husband’s brother, to being beaten by her husband, you can see that her life is pretty shockingly shit. More so still when her husband sends for a hooker regularly, and it’s suggested that her husband is also abusing her daughter. Moreover, you find yourself completely despising the locals of the village, who lie and cheat in order to protect their families.

However, the same cannot be said for the character development in general. The first character you are introduced to is Hae-Won, the city slicker who returns to the island. However, after ten minutes you find yourself hating her guts. She’s abusive to others, an alcoholic and a complete tool to boot. Although it doesn’t quite go as far as feeling like she deserves abuse from the locals, which would come but for some opportune timing on Bok-Nam’s part, it certainly doesn’t endear her to you.

The sad thing is that the movie’s main focus is that Bok-Nam finally snaps, and takes out her anger on the locals. The problem is that the whole process of her going from putting up with it to going sickle-happy lasts all of about forty-five seconds. If everyone went that crazy just from harvesting a significant number of potatoes, the farming industry would be up shit creek sans paddle.

One of the things I liked about this movie, however, was that it didn’t rely on the key character going psycho at night time, and overuse the darkness as an artistic tool. What happens instead is that all the murders happen in daytime while the men are on the mainland, meaning that there are no over-dramatic stalking scenes. What you get in place of that is a woman going mental in broad daylight and stabbing pretty much anyone who’s ever so much as looked at her the wrong way.

Another plus is the resolution to the revenge story. Without going into too much detail, the way it goes is very cleverly done indeed, with the story leading you to believe one conclusion and then sends you off in a completely different direction when you think the film’s over and done with. And will make you think of the recorder in a completely different way. The ending is interesting, and brings the film around full circle, and goes some way to redeeming Hae-Won as anything other than a complete tool, albeit with a pang of sadness at the way the story concludes proper.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Violence: Off screen beatings, on-screen murders, including a man getting his head cut off in graphic detail. Stabbings, drownings, she does it all.
Sex/Nudity: The focal character gets shagged, and you see her tits. The two lead female characters bathe together, but you don’t see anything. Oral sex (viewed from the back) which makes a hooker gag. A girl suggestively sucks a guy’s finger. Implied paedophilia.
Swearing: A few uses of ‘fuck’.
Summary: Nothing particularly intelligent or deep, just a good old-fashioned revenge story, which is pretty enjoyable if a little uncomfortable at times. Worth a rent. 6/10
Brain Dead
Starring: Joshua Benton, Sarah Grant Brendecke, David Crane
Director: Kevin S. Tenney

Available Now - £15.99 (DVD)
Review by Brad Harmer

Get this in the E14 Store for £9.99

A small meteorite falls to earth and hits a small town fisherman. As his friend tries to help him, the meteorite dissolves into an alien life form which seeps into Bill's brain, turning him into a zombie. Bill's eyes then open and he attacks, ripping his friend’s brain from his skull and devouring it. A short while later a local forest ranger finds the remains and investigates, leading to an encounter with the zombie, but before she can shoot him, a monstrous, humanoid creature attacks her and devours her brain. Then a bunch of people hide in a house and fight zombies.

Within the first ten minutes of Brain Dead, there’s been hardcore, splatterpunk, gross-out gore and some full frontal female nudity. Oh, yeah, it know what sort of movie it is, and it’s not ashamed. I like that in a movie. Unfortunately, after that it fails to really capitalise on its potential. By the half hour mark we’re dealing with bland, annoying clichés, and it runs out of steam well before the end.

Brain Dead is far from badly made, you understand, but it is uninspired and there’s just nothing here to lift it above the crowd. It’s a good bad movie, though, and would make great post-pub entertainment if you have plenty of gore and zombie loving buddies.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Frequent, bloody, gory and hyperviolent.
Sex/Nudity: Full female nudity and lesbians.
Swearing: Frequent. And it features the word “cuntbiscuit”. I like that and am going to use it more often in conversation.
Summary: Worth a look for low-budget horror fans, but most can take a pass. 6/10


Betrayed and butchered... But vengeance will be theirs.

Enter the stunning fantasy world of Mid-Heaven in the magical action epic from the team behind the spectacular The Warrior. Featuring some of the most jaw-dropping kung fu action captured on film, Demon Empire is a visual treat and includes incredible designs by the Academy Award-winning team behind Kurosawa's Ran, Hero and House of Flying Daggers.

In the limbo world between Heaven and Earth, a fearsome demon lord readies his unholy forces for the time when the gates to the human realm will be shattered. As the prophesised hour draws near, the demon hordes hunt a beautiful angel who has the power to prevent their destiny from being fulfilled. Only a wandering human warrior (Jung Woo-sung - The Good, The Bad, The Weird), who's become trapped in Mid-Heaven, and his magical demon-killing sword stand in their way.

Thanks to our friends at Metrodome, we've got three copies of Rise of the Demon Empire on DVD to give away! For your chance of winning, send your name and full postal address to before midday on Saturday 5th March, making sure to put "Rise of the Demon Empire" as the subject. The first three entries out of the electronic hat after the competition closes will receive a free copy!

Don't forget to put "Rise of the Demon Empire" in the subject line. Incorrectly labelled or blank entries will be discarded.

Get this in the E14 Store for £11.99

Entries limited to one per household. Offer open only to postal addresses in the UK and Ireland.

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