Tag Archives: horror

Film Review: The Grey (2012)

24 Jan

By Ronan

Grr

There must have been a point, probably around the time  that cinematic blight The Phantom Menace was pooped onto our screens, where the once esteemed actor Liam Neeson said, “screw it, I’m just going to do action movies and make millions”. Clash of the Titans, Narnia, Taken, The A-Team and other forgettable outings have reduced him to a handy blockbuster actor. But credit to him, he still manages to add magnetism and actorly resonance to these otherwise superficial roles.  He is, after all, Liam Neeson: Savior of the Irish (Michael Collins) the Scottish (Rob Roy), and the Jewish (Schindler’s List).

The Grey is the latest in Neeson’s roles that revolve around him as a centripetal force, on whom everyone else’s fate hangs. Ottway (Neeson) is a wanderer; heartbroken and suicidal, he finds himself working on an oil-rig in the remote Alaskan wilderness, charged with protecting his co-workers from the roaming wolves that surround the station. A hunter.

Brr

After a plane trip home goes spectacularly awry, he finds himself stranded with the survivors; a disparate collection of rugged outcasts. It soon becomes apparent that no rescue is coming, and this dysfunctional group must rely on each other to survive the blizzard, lack of food and, most alarmingly, the large pack of territorial wolves determinedly whittling down their numbers.

 From this point on Director Joe Carnahan’s The Grey becomes a viscerally intense and bloody film, and a respectable member of the snow-survival genre alongside The Thing, Cliffhanger, Alive and The Shining*. The gray wolves are represented with a primal-fear-producing malevolence; It made me hate wolves a bit.  

grr

It’s like jaws on ice.

The Grey is in many respects standard action film fare, but it stands out from the pack for a number of reasons. While sometimes hamstrung by cliché, the performances from the largely unknown cast are excellent. The roles are well carved out, and give shape and colour to a motley group of men reduced to a struggle to fulfill basic needs. It’s also spectacularly shot; Cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi captures the harshness and serene beauty of the Alaskan wilds marvelously. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of men in this movie; in fact the only the only female exists in flashback. I mention this, because I like women. Nonetheless, this was bloody entertaining. Forget Twilight for your wolf fix, go see The Grey.

*Could we add Home Alone, Empire Strikes Back and Die Hard to this list? Any others?

Three and a half stars.

In Cinemas February 16 (through Icon Distribution)

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SFF 2011: Troll Hunter: The Other Norwegian Wood

12 Jun

By Lukey Folkard, Sydney Film Festival Correspondent

This Norwegian found-footage romp, in the style of Cloverfield and Blair Witch Project, may not be the most important film of the SFF, but there’s a good chance it may be the one of the most fun.

André Øvredal directs this horror-comedy mockumentary about a student film crew, investigating a mysterious bear poacher, Hans (played by controversial Norwegian comedian Otto Jespersen). Hans belongs to the Troll Security Service protecting the unsuspecting public from an ancient and deadly Norse predator.

Combining Norse folklore, spectacular landscapes, dodgy handy-cam and quite decent special effects, fans of the genre will be well satisfied. It’s not going to change the world, but a fun, 100-minute nerd-fest well spent.

See it before the inevitable English remake.

7.5/10


The Troll Hunter is plays again on the Friday 17th June at 8:30pm. Probably Sold-Out.

MIFF review 2010: The Silent House

26 Jul

Looking for trouble

An impressively executed and engaging horror film from South America (shot on a digital SLR, ostensibly in one take on a budget of $6000). Manages to gets you on the jumps, with the tension well setup -our audience was getting very vocal. However it’s not quite creepy enough where it aspires to be, the characters aren’t setup enough for you to actually care about them and the plot and ending are a very muddled and ineffective. A worthy achievement nonetheless. **1/2