CREEP (2014) AND CREEP 2 (2017). A DOUBLE BILL OF HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

CREEP (2014) AND CREEP 2 (2017). DIRECTED BY AND STARRING MARK DUPLASS AND PATRICK BRICE.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I really liked this clever double bill of films, hopefully one day to be a trilogy. The two lads involved, Duplass and Brice, have written, scripted, acted in and directed two really sharp, smart innovative ‘found-footage’ movies, even though the genre has been pretty well exhausted by now and it must be hard to keep coming up with new twists and turns to keep it fresh.

The only negative thing I’ll say about it, and it’s not even really a negative, more of an ‘inevitable,’ is that, once you’ve seen the excellent first movie, you kind of know what’s in store for you with the second, and, I suppose, any third movie the lads get around to making as well. But don’t let that put you off. These films are great fun, and perfect viewing for Halloween.

In the first film, Patrick Brice portrays Aaron, a videographer with not much coming in in the way of jobs and money, who accepts an assignment that offers a videographer just like him a thousand bucks for one day’s work. He travels on the appointed day to an out-of-the-way cabin near some woods and meets Josef, the client, played by Mark Duplass.

So, what exactly does this Josef fella want filmed, then? He tells Aaron a perfectly acceptable and even heart-rending story as to why he wants the younger man to film him as he goes through a Day in his Life.

Josef is good-looking, charismatic, obviously wealthy, well-spoken and doesn’t at all seem like the kind of nut-job who’d go round axe-murdering folks while wearing a full-head wolf mask, hahaha…

Aaron is a little weirded out by Josef’s hands-on touchy-feely-ness and the way Josef thinks they’ve formed a new lifelong friendship, but, hey, some guys are just full-on like that. Aaron starts filming (anyone for a ‘tubbie,’ lol…?) and clearly thinks that a thousand bucks in the hand for a day’s work is a really good deal by anyone’s standards.

To say that Josef is a ridiculously complex person and that Aaron’s life is in the gravest danger is something of an understatement. Is any word that ever comes out of Josef’s mouth the truth, or is he just a pathological liar through-and-through?

He makes Aaron jump through hoops during their day together, holding the money out to him as a sort of carrot, and, by the end of their time together, Aaron is traumatised enough never to want to see Josef again, but no spoilers, right…?

In the sequel, Josef is up to his old tricks again. This time, it’s a fed-up, lonely YouTuber with a failing web series called ENCOUNTERS to her name who falls under his spell. Desiree Akhavan plays Sara, beautiful but pissed off with the way her life and her web series are going.

ENCOUNTERS sees her talking to various eccentric users of Craigslist, a massive American classified ads website. It’s a terrific idea, but obviously there are just so many people out there trying to make a name for themselves on the Internet that her own efforts are, quite simply, swamped under all the other bazillions of available shows.

When Josef, now calling himself ‘Aaron,’ by the way, tells her what kind of documentary he wants her to help him film, Sara is thrilled. This ‘encounter’ could be the one that finally gets her noticed as a YouTuber. She starts the cameras rolling, and keeps them rolling all day, despite Josef’s attempts to scare her, spook her and even get her to leave.

Is Josef not ‘into her’ because he prefers men to women, as you might have concluded yourself by now, or because she’s not as easily shaken up as Aaron was? There’s a desperation about Sara that Aaron didn’t seem to possess, down on his luck as he was, and you get this feeling that there’s literally nothing she won’t do for (a) a man she fancies, and (b) for her web series. Will she be a match for the sick-in-the-head Josef, or will she end up just another page in his diary…?

Watch out for Mark Duplass’s willy, it could go off, lol. I love the way that Josef seems almost miffed and unsettled by the fact that Sara doesn’t mind at all getting naked in turn. If he’s doing the nudity thing to shock his guest, he might just have picked on the wrong person…

I’m still laughing about the ‘tubbie’ thing from the first film. These two lads are terrific film-makers. I cannot wait for the third film in this trilogy, and for whatever plot twists and turns they’ll come up with next. There’s only one way I can end this double review, repetitive as it may seem. Anyone for another ‘tubbie?’ Ah, c’mon, the water’s lovely…!

   AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
 
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
https://www.amazon.com/Thirteen-Stops-Sandra-Harris-ebook/dp/B089DJMH64
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
 https://www.amazon.com/dp/1781994234

BLAIR WITCH. (2016) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

blair-witch-still

BLAIR WITCH. (2016) DIRECTED BY ADAM WINGARD. WRITTEN BY SIMON BARRETT. STARRING JAMES ALLEN MCCUNE, BRANDON SCOTT, CORBIN REID, CALLIE HERNANDEZ, WES ROBINSON AND VALORIE CURRY.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This film follows on from the hugely successful THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT that hit our screens in 1999 and more or less founded the whole ‘found footage’ genre of films. So, next time you slide a horror film into the old DVD machine, only to be confronted by a bunch of four to six annoyingly good-looking college students wearing night vision goggles and running around like mad things filming nothing we can visibly see, well then, you know who’s to blame, lol.

I must admit I get tired of the genre myself sometimes, especially when a film seems to be mostly shot in the greeny night vision that gives everyone alien eyes. I always defend THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, though, whenever people slag it off. I don’t care what its detractors say, it scared the living shite out of me, anyway.

This film here sees Heather Donahue’s brother James going back into the woods with a bunch of his friends, the woods where Heather disappeared twenty years ago, to see if he can find out what happened to his poor missing-presumed-dead sister.

Oh, and of course they’ll be documenting their journey every step of the way with their modern cameras and memory cards and memory sticks, and some eejit’s even come up with the bright idea of letting them bring a drone along as well to take pictures from up over their heads. I would fire that guy if it were up to me, and no, there’s no ‘lol’ this time. I’m deadly serious.

Anyway, d’ye remember Heather? She was the only girl on the original expedition and she was also the one in the much-parodied night vision scene where she was sniffling and snotting and apologising profusely to everyones’ Moms for having gotten everyone on the expedition- herself and two lads- into such a pickle.

I should think so and all, humph. I blame her entirely for what happened to everyone. No real reason but ya gotta blame someone and she’s the only one whose name I remember. Now we can ‘lol,’ lol…!

So, Heather’s brother James brings his three mates Peter, Ashley and Lisa into the super-spooky Black Hills Forest in Maryland for a scout round to see, as we said earlier, if he can find out what happened to Heather twenty years earlier. Can he and his mates succeed where the police failed? Well, I’m sure they’re welcome to try but there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then.

Let’s quickly get the dross out of the way so we can move onto the good stuff and, yes, there is some good stuff. I didn’t like Talia and Lane, especially Lane, who was very off-putting.

These are the two locals who tag along uninvited with James and his mates because they claim to know the area and they have stories about the real so-called Blair Witch, the Elly Kedwards (Kelly Edwards, anyone?) who died in the area at the hands of the gruesome locals back in the day.

The first morning in camp, they wake up surrounded by the freaky folk-art corn-dolly symbols from the original film. Then there’s the usual mad rushing around, with the students trying to leave the woods only to find that the woods won’t let them leave. Time starts to lose all meaning for the campers once the sun literally stops rising and they’re trapped in a permanent state of night. That bit’s good and scary.

Ashley’s foot injury looks like it’s going to be extremely sinister but then it just ‘peters’ out, if you’ll excuse the pun. Her fate and Peter’s are not scary at all. Much more could have been made of these two situations but they were left to go to waste, sadly.

The film doesn’t really start to kick ass until the house, the house that featured in Heather’s found footage and that the police failed utterly to locate themselves, suddenly hoves into view in the middle of the darkest, rainiest, most frightening night of the campers’ lives…

I might actually leave it there because nearly everything that happens from now on is super-scary and it shouldn’t be spoiled for new viewers. I’ll always give a BLAIR WITCH film, be it a follow-up, a sequel or a re-make, at least one chance because the original premise is so strong. BLAIR WITCH definitely deserves at least one viewing. Y’all can make up your own minds as to whether it’s worthy of a re-watch…!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

THE WOODS. (2013) A CREEPY ‘FOUND FOOTAGE’ SASQUATCH MOVIE REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

woods sasquatch rebecca

THE WOODS. (2013) DIRECTED BY MARK BACCI. STARRING REBECCA DAVIS, MARK BACCI, GRAEM BEDDOES, JOHN FITZGERALD AND ALIYAH O’BRIEN.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I would always automatically want to watch a film called ‘THE WOODS,’ because some of my favourite horror films are either set in woods or feature woods heavily in them, like, obviously, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. This film was probably the Mammy and the Daddy of the genre known as ‘found footage,’ even though I’m not sure if it was the very first such film.

Remember when Principal Seymour Skinner from THE SIMPSONS set the kids of Springfield Elementary a film project but he qualified it by saying he didn’t want ‘thirty BLAIR WITCH knock-offs,’ to which the disappointed kids all chorused ‘aaaaaaaaaw…!’

That shows us how often THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT has been copied, aped, imitated, mirrored, emulated, plagiarised and so on, lol. Lisa Simpson herself copies it at one point in another episode of THE SIMPSONS, the one with the chicken bones in the attic when it turns out that Marge’s former high school beau Artie Ziff has been squatting in the Simpsons’ house for some reason.

Lisa does her own version of the famous close-up scene from THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, in which the lead girl in the woolly hat, the Last Girl Standing, incidentally, does her big crying scene to camera.

She’s apologising like mad to everyone and anyone she can think of for getting herself and her fellow campers into the mess they’re in, she’s basically apologising to posterity for her mistakes and she’s got snot and tears racing each other down her face, which is lit from below with a torch, night-vision style. It’s a terrific scene, much parodied.

THE WOODS, not to be confused with the Harlan Coben novel of the same name, is billed as ‘TROLL HUNTER MEETS THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT.’ Now, I’ve never seen TROLL HUNTER but I’m a big fan of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and I thumb my nose jauntily at its critics.

They can go hang for all I’m bothered, lol. And to the people who say it’s not scary, well, I tell them that they must be completely lacking in imagination. Lacking in a soul, even. It scares the Christ outta me, anyway.

I can also tell you unequivocally that THE WOODS is pretty much exactly like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, but with the Sasquatch, or the Bigfoot, as the predator in question. I’ve never really found the Sasquatch terribly threatening as a movie monster but there were a few eerie moments in THE WOODS that made me think about the subject a bit more in-depth.

Like, there was this scene set at the edge of a lake or a stream or something, and suddenly I’m thinking, what if you were standing there at the lakeside all alone, in one of those dense forested areas in Canada or North America or somewhere like that? It’s silent all around you except for the faint rustle of the wind in the treetops or maybe the lonely call of a bird. It’s a completely isolated part of the woods.

You’re standing quietly looking out over the peaceful lake when suddenly you notice a huge shape, bigger than a man, standing across the lake from you amongst the trees, watching you just as quietly…

Your blood freezes over in that way it does and you take a step but then the shape, that hulking figure across the water that you can make out but you can’t tell exactly what it is, all you know is that it’s enormous, takes a step too…?

I think I’d wee myself with sheer terror, excuse my French. This film made me think of the Sasquatch, big enough and strong enough to tear a man to ribbons with his huge bare- but furry- hands, in a whole new creepier light.

Rebecca and Mark are an attractive couple in their thirties. For some reason known to themselves, they’ve decided to go into the titular woods to make a ‘hoax’ Sasquatch film/ documentary.

Why it has to be a hoax film is unclear to me, as they’ve already talked to loads of very convinving locals who’ve assured them that there is, in fact, a murderous Sasquatch up in them there hills. It’s responsible, seemingly, for the deaths of a married couple who went up into the woods with their baby, who was very kindly spared by the possibly maternal Sasquatch.

Anyway, Rebecca and Mark trek up into these fabulously spooky, dense tangly woods, woods that it would be very easy to get lost in, never mind the Bigfoot, to retrace the steps of this unfortunate couple who preceded them.

Very quickly, the couple encounter signs that the so-called ‘mythical’ Sasquatch isn’t a myth at all but a very real danger. A couple of mauled hunters and some blood-stained trees later (Bigfoots, or should that be Bigfeet, mark their territory by daubling tree stalks with blood) and the couple are tearing into each other with fright.

It’s sort of a knee-jerk reaction to take their fear out on each other. People do it all the time in real life. It’s also perfectly normal and natural to apportion blame for the predicament to each other, rightly or wrongly. 

People do that all the time in real life too! Often when we do it, it just means that we’re scared shitless and feel helpless to lift ourselves out of our particular dilemmas, whatever they are. Blaming the other person makes us feel marginally better for a bit.

If I were Mark and Rebecca though, I’d stay together, very close together indeed. Separating, voluntarily or otherwise, while in these accursed woods and being stalked by an unknown and unseen terror, is not a good idea. It might even be the last thing the terrified couple ever do…

The camera is careful to always keep Rebecca’s butt in her tight shorts in view, as well as her nice round boobies in her little vest top. Like two bobbing apples they are…! Director’s got the right idea anyway. Tits and ass are never out of place in a movie like this.

The only thing that’s not believable is the fact that the couple- one of them in particular- seem to survive several days and nights in the woods without food or drink or even shelter. How is that even possible?

And, even though they’ve long lost their tent by the end, why aren’t they at least carrying any backpacks with water and vittles in ’em? Without water and vittles to sustain you and give you energy, why, that Sasquatch, he gon’ have you for breakfast and wipe his butt with whatever’s left…

Other than this piddly beef, though, THE WOODS is a superior found footage film and probably the best one I’ve seen with a Sasquatch in it. Well, it’s the only one I’ve seen with a Sasquatch in it but hey, we won’t split hairs. Sasquatch hairs, lol. We’re amongst friends here.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor