REVIEW: THE BOY

CAST

Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead)
Rupert Evans (Hellboy)
James Russell (Forever)
Jim Norton (American History)
Diana Hardcastle (If Only)
Jett Klyne (Beyond)

Greta, a young woman from Montana, escapes an abusive relationship by getting a temporary job as a nanny for the British Heelshire family. Upon arrival in the United Kingdom and the Heelshire residence, Greta introduces herself to Mr. and Mrs. Heelshire before meeting the elderly couple’s young son, Brahms. To Greta’s surprise and amusement, Brahms is a porcelain doll, treated like a living child by his “parents”. The real Brahms perished in a fire back in 1991, at the age of eight. Mrs. Heelshire, referring to the porcelain doll, states that Brahms has met “many nannies”, all of whom were “rejected”. Before the Heelshires leave on holiday, they give Greta a list of rules to follow, warning her that Brahms is not a normal child.Initially, Greta follows a relatively normal routine, choosing to ignore the rules set in place for Brahms. She regularly calls her sister, Sandy, and befriends the Heelshires’ flirtatious grocery boy, Malcolm. Soon after Greta’s refusal to follow Brahms’ rules, strange things begin to happen—a child’s sobs are heard in the hallways, phone calls are cut off and Brahms seems to move on his own, vanishing before reappearing in other sections of the house. Greta finds herself locked in the attic by an unseen force and discovers pictures of the real Brahms playing with a little girl, his childhood friend, Emily. After she is served a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich outside her door, she begins to believe that Brahms’ spirit lives on in the doll. Meanwhile, the Heelshires are seen on a coastline writing a good-bye letter to Brahms and filling their pockets with rocks before committing suicide by drowning.After Greta demonstrates Brahms’ ability to move by himself, Malcolm begins to frequent the house. He informs Greta that the real Brahms was friends with a young girl about his age, who disappeared after a playdate with him in the forest. The girl’s body was later found with her skull crushed. Malcolm warns Greta not to stay in the house, but Greta, having previously suffered a miscarriage, feels obligated to care for Brahms and begins to follow his rules. One evening, Greta discovers her ex-boyfriend Cole playing snooker in the Heelshires’ home. He questions why she has the doll, and wishes to see the real boy. After establishing that there is not a boy, Malcolm arrives while the three of them eat dinner. Malcolm leaves the house but stays in his car in case anything bad happens. During dinner, Cole shows Greta plane tickets and is determined to bring her home, which she refuses to do, making him angry.Greta then goes upstairs to put Brahms in bed, and asks him for help. Later on, Cole becomes even more enraged by the appearance of a message written in blood, as he presumed that Greta wrote it to scare him away. Greta says the doll may have done it, which he does not believe. He then pushes Greta and tries to take the doll, and upon hearing the commotion, Malcolm enters the room and an argument breaks out. Cole then loses his temper and smashes the porcelain doll. Immediately after, the house begins to shake, and the lights flicker. Cole goes to investigate a mirror in the room, when suddenly the mirror smashes open and the real adult and very much alive Brahms crawls through the shattered mirror. It is revealed that he was living within the walls of the house the whole time.Brahms immediately attacks the group, trying to take Greta with him. Then, after overpowering the group, he kills Cole by stabbing him in the neck with a shard of the broken porcelain doll and then chases Greta and Malcolm throughout the house. They eventually escape to the attic where she discovers the room Brahms was living in, with a straw doll on a bed wearing her dress and jewelry, and embodying her image. Greta realizes that Brahms has been alive all along and was the one who was moving the porcelain doll throughout the house, stealing her possessions, and watching her every move. The Heelshires offered Greta (and the nannies before her) as a form of sacrifice to Brahms for “his keeping”. Soon, the chase resumes and they find a little opening that leads outside of the house. Brahms incapacitates Malcolm after hitting him with a bat twice, and Greta escapes through the opening. Brahms is yelling after her saying that he will kill Malcolm if Greta leaves. She immediately returns after realizing that she needs to save Malcolm.She returns, takes a screwdriver out of the cupboard and slips it into the back of her pants pocket. Greta confronts Brahms, telling him that she won’t leave. She then orders Brahms to go to bed, treating him as she would the doll (Brahms is still a feral child in this regard). After Greta tucks him into bed, he asks for a good night kiss, which she begrudgingly accepts. However, when he tries to pull Greta in and make out with her, she changes her mind and stabs him in the stomach with the screwdriver. Still alive, Brahms retaliates by throwing her against a wall and begins to strangle her. Greta then reaches down to the screwdriver (still stuck in his stomach) and twists it in deeper causing him to drop her and presumably die. Afterwards, she escapes, rescuing Malcolm and leaving the Heelshire estate gate open behind her. The film cuts to a scene of the open gate and then to a hand putting the porcelain doll back together, implying that Brahms is still alive. The film ends with a final glimpse of the repaired doll’s face.Definitely exceeded expectations! Started off as another Annabelle type of film but turned into something way more intriguing.

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REVIEW: HELLBOY

CAST

Ron Perlman (13 Sins)
John Hurt (Alien)
Selma Blair (Anger Management)
Rupert Evans (Elfie Hopkins)
Karel Roden (Bulletproof Mink)
Jeffrey Tambor (Transparent)
Doug Jones (The Neighbors)
David Hyde Pierce (Wet Hot American Summer)
Brian Steele (Dylan Dog)

In 1944, with the help of Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin, the Nazis build a dimensional portal off the coast of Scotland and intend to free the Ogdru Jahad—monstrous entities imprisoned in deep space—to aid them in defeating the Allies. Rasputin opens the portal with the aid of his disciples, Ilsa von Haupstein and Obersturmbannführer Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, member of the Thule Society and Adolf Hitler’s top assassin. An Allied team is sent to destroy the portal, guided by a young Trevor Broom, who is well-versed in the occult. The German team is killed and the portal is destroyed—in the process absorbing Rasputin—while Haupstein and Kroenen escape. The Allied team discovers that an infant demon with a right hand of stone came through the portal; they dub him “Hellboy” and Broom adopts him.

Sixty years later, FBI agent John Myers is transferred to the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) at the request of Broom and he meets the adult Hellboy and a psychic, amphibious humanoid named Abe Sapien. He learns that a third BPRD member, Liz Sherman, has recently checked into a mental hospital to protect others from her volatile pyrokinetic abilities. Despite regular visits and coaxing from Hellboy, she is determined not to return. Kroenen and Haupstein resurrect Rasputin in the mountains of Moldova and the three unleash a hellhound known as Sammael. Rasputin imbues Sammael with the power to reincarnate and split his essence, causing two of the creature’s eggs to hatch and mature each time one dies. Rasputin visits Liz as she sleeps, activating her powers and almost destroying the hospital. Myers convinces her to return to the Bureau.

Sammael’s ability to multiply becomes a problem, as Hellboy repeatedly kills it, dozens are born. Concluding the eggs are in the sewer, Hellboy, Abe and several FBI agents go down the sewer to destroy them. Abe is injured while looking for the eggs, Kroenen kills most of the agents. Kroenen, whose mutilated body is run by mechanical parts, shuts himself down, pretending to be defeated. Kroenen’s body is brought to the bureau. FBI Director Tom Manning is angered by Hellboy’s recklessness. Myers takes Liz out for coffee and to talk. Hellboy, jealous, covertly follows them, leaving the bureau unguarded. Kroenen reanimates himself and Rasputin appears at the bureau, confronting Professor Broom. Rasputin offers him a vision of the future, showing Hellboy is the agent that will destroy the world. Broom is stabbed in the neck by Kroenen and dies clutching a rosary.
Manning takes over the B.P.R.D. and locates Rasputin’s mausoleum in an old cemetery outside Moscow, Russia. A team led by Manning and Hellboy enter the mausoleum, but swiftly become separated. Hellboy and Manning find their way to Kroenen’s lair and defeat him. Hellboy reunites with Liz and Myers at Sammael’s new nest, but the creatures overwhelm them. Liz uses her pyrokinetic powers to incinerate the Sammaels and their eggs. Hellboy, Liz and Myers lose consciousness and are captured by Rasputin and Haupstein. Rasputin sucks Liz’s soul out of her body, then tells Hellboy to release the Ogdru Jahad in return for her soul. Hellboy awakens his true power as Anung un Rama, causing his horns to regrow, and begins to release the Ogdru Jahad. Myers breaks out of his restrain, subdues Haupstein, and reminds Hellboy that he can defy his destiny. Remembering his true self and what Bruttenholm brought him up to be, Hellboy breaks his horns, reseals the Ogdru Jahad and stabs Rasputin with one of his broken horns.
Rasputin has been possessed by a creature from the Ogdru Jahad. The tentacled Behemoth bursts out of his body and grows to immense size, killing him and Haupstein. Hellboy allows himself to be swallowed by the beast, then detonates a belt of hand grenades and destroys it from the inside. He whispered something in Liz’s ear and she is revived. When she asks how her soul was returned, Hellboy replies that he threatened the powers that control the other side that if they didn’t let her soul go he would come over there to claim it back “and then they’d be sorry.” Liz and Hellboy share a kiss.This is a seriously awesome movie. The effects amazing,  and the scenes are arranged with the care of a great director and the fast-paced yet somehow somber and dramatic feel of the comic. The film contains many in-jokes that only readers of the comic will get, and actually has the feel of Mignola’s work sprung to life.

31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: ELFIE HOPKINS

CAST

Jaime Winstone (Kidulthood)
Aneurin Barnard (Ironclad)
Rupert Evans (Hellboy)
Kate Magowan (Stardust)
Kimberley Nixon (Black Death)
Gwyneth Keyworth (Misfits)
Will Payne (Fright Night 2)
Steven Mackintosh (Kick-Ass 2)
Ray Winstone (The Departed)

Image result for elfie hopkinsElfie Hopkins tells the story of twenty-two-year-old slacker (Jaime Winstone), a “wanna-be” detective, set in a sleepy hunting village. She is a stoner and an animal lover, and haunted by the death of her mother and surrounded by her broken father and alcoholic step-mother, Elfie seeks solace and inspiration from the old school detectives in The Maltese Falcon and Chinatown. She entertains herself, along with her geeky best friend, Dylan (Aneurin Barnard), by investigating the villagers and upsetting everyone with their imaginative allegations. Elfie’s mundane existence is thrown for a spin with the arrival of a family of trendy city dwellers, the Gammons.
Image result for elfie hopkinsThe Gammons weave tales of adventure and seduce the villagers with offers of exotic hunting holidays around the world. It is not long before the villagers are flying off to the four corners of the world. Elfie, despite her best efforts, is not free to the Gammons’ charms, but soon smells a rat. Elfie and Dylan begin investigating the Gammons’ life. Bloody violence and pandemonium soon starts to rage in the village and it is no longer just the blood of animals. Elfie discovers the villagers are not making those flights and when she finally uncovers the truth, it is darker than she could have ever imagined.Image result for elfie hopkinsThis quirky little British film is as much about the title character coming of age and overcoming the complexes brought on by a fraught family history as it is about horror represented by the seductive evil of the creepy Gammon family who move in to the small village where she lives. Overall a film which I would heartily recommend to a discriminating viewer of horror films who would like to see something a bit more subtle to it.