HorrorSquad papabear Scott Weinberg is currently at the Toronto International Film Festival getting an early perusal of all kinds of films the rest will have to wait months to see. And to make the wait even worse, it seemed best to bring over a few excerpts from Weinberg's FEARnet reviews of three highly anticipated genre films.
Daybreakers, Directed by the Spierig Brothers, 2009
In other words, if Undead showed you that the filmmakers grew up on great, gory zombie flicks and starry-eyed sci-fi invasions, then Daybreakers indicates that they also really dug John Carpenter, Richard Matheson, Raymond Chandler, and Philip K. Dick. (The eye-dazzling city-scapes found here show a lot of Blade Runner-ish influences, and that's only one of the surface touches.) It's a rock-solid afternoon matinee sort of movie, packed as it is with so many disparate genre influences, not to mention a fine Ethan Hawke performance (as Dalton), and a truly fun turn by Willem Defoe as a vamp-hunter with a big secret. Best of all, everyone from the stars and the directors down to the set designers seem to approach Daybreakers with a cock-eyed grin, but the flick also takes it own universe just seriously enough.
Read his full thoughts here. strong>[REC] 2, Directed by Jamue Balaguero and Paco Plaza, 2009
Co-directed by the two guys who delivered the first [REC] (that'd be Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero), [REC] 2 seems fully intent on being an unapologetically slick '80s-style sequel. And by that I mean this: Part 2 picks up 'one second' after the original leaves off, it takes great pains to give its established fans precisely what they want, and then it goes off in a few (very cool) directions that you probably weren't expecting. So, sure, it's not brain surgery, but I say it's always cause for smiles when a horror sequel is delivered with care, craftsmanship, and lots of crazy carnage.
Read his full thoughts here.
Solomon Kane, Directed by Michael J. Basset, 2009
Mounting any sort of "medieval" action epic must be a really daunting task. First off, it's a period piece (obviously), which means you have to buy a lot of swords, costumes, and horses. Then you face the problem that plagued flicks as varied as The 13th Warrior, In the Name of the King, Pathfinder, Outlander, etc, and that problem is this: Laughability. By that I mean it's really easy to look silly in this sub-genre if you're not firing on all cylinders. I do not offer this early set-up to imply that Michael J. Bassett's Solomon Kane is the second coming of John Boorman's Excalibur (clearly it is not), but merely to indicate that ... holy moley, this movie is a whole lot more "polished" than one has any right to expect from a medieval action flick. Let alone one that's also got one foot planted firmly in the world of crazy occult-style horror.
Read his full thoughts here.