Blair Witch

Blair Witch

“They will never be able to pull something like that off again”

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If you listened to Episode19 featuring Leyna McKenzie, you may remember our discussions on “The Blair Witch Project” in which we marvelled at the feat accomplished by the film makers by keeping the whole movie a secret. The marketing campaign which seen the viewing public duped into believing that the movie was real, the characters were not actors, but indeed demised documentary filmmakers.

“It’s a once in a generation accomplishment”. The feeling being that in today’s age of Internet social media, news blogs, click bait and instant sharing that a secret marketing plan on the same scale would never be seen successfully again.

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Last night in San Diego, lucky revellers at Comic Con were treated to a screener of “The Woods”. Do you recall that awesome trailer? With the minor key version of ‘Every Breath You Take’ by ‘The Police’? The trailer with the tag lines, “there’s something evil hiding in the woods” and review quotes claiming, “one of the scariest movies ever made”. That movie trailer had peaked my interest and I was on board to have my wits rattled regardless. The woods are a terrifying location for a horror movie, and after the somewhat let down of “The Forrest”, “The Woods” seemed like the movie we all deserve.

Well, Lionsgate and director Adam Wingard have pulled off a massive reveal, catching everyone by surprise and sending the reviewers and bloggers into meltdown. “The Woods” was a working title for an official sequel. The movie is in fact titled, “Blair Witch”. Holy shit! No one knew, bar a small group. Even those within Lionsgate were unaware and we at Scott & Liam vs Evil applaud everyone involved for their effort in keeping this secret. A secret equalling the faked moon landings, the Kennedy assassination or the location of Mewtwo in Pokemon Go!

The movie follows Heather Donahue’s (original Blair Witch Project) brother as he and a group of friends travel into the woods near Burkittsville in search of his long lost sister and that is as much as I want to know about the plot until I see this movie.

The reveal has been exciting. Reading the Twitter reaction through the night has been incredible. The buzz surrounding this release is now huge! I envy every single person in that screener audience at SDCC.

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The only downside to this piece of cinematic history is we have to wait until September 16th before we get “Blair Witch” into a cinema near us. I’ve packed my bag, I have my tent, and I’m keeping a firm hold of my map! I’m ready to head back to Maryland.

For now, we’ll have to make do with the trailer.

Blair Witch in cinemas September 16th.

Stranger Things

In today’s world of remakes and reboots a video lending company can expand to be one of the giants in media publishing and bring us a brand new fresh TV show that is also dripping with nostalgia without feeling forced right? Hey, Stranger Things have happened.

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While reading online that the appearance of this show slipped by a few folks, the trailer seemed to be aimed directly at my peepers. I got it straight away and the artwork for this offering seemed to beckon me in. The font for the title alone making all my brain receptors flash ‘Stephen King’, like a fruit machine hitting the jackpot. The poster put me in mind of great movies such as ‘Star Wars’ and ‘E.T.’, and of course the idea that the story focuses in on young kids on an adventure, well, the ‘Stand By Me’ fanboy inside was going crazy.

15th July 2016, all episodes released at once and binge watching commences. The story centres around two main characters. Will, who disappears in episode one and the subsequent hunt to find him, and Eleven, or ‘Elle’ and the subsequent mission to keep her hidden. Both stories are intertwined beautifully while leading to a joint conclusion with terrific writing seeing the show throughout. The pacing is close to perfect, with each episode not only ending on a cliffhanger, but preceding the fantastic intro sequence, starting on one too.

I had my reservations about Winona Ryder, within the first few episodes, mainly prejudged due to the ‘Family Guy’ skit where they claim she is only good if she’s topless. Jeez, Seth Macfarlane is a bit of a dick. However, she creates a performance worthy of awards. A mother desperately seeking her missing son and prepared to do whatever it takes to find him, even if it entails losing grip on reality.

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These kids, have never known a time without Internet, social media and mobile phones, yet they convey early eighties pre teens magnificently, right down to the dungeons and dragons epic quests. David Harbour puts in an excellent turn as the towns troubled Sherrif, a character that we would all want on our side, but I think it goes without saying, the stand out performance in this show is from future Hollywood A-lister, 12 year old Millie Bobby Brown. With little to no dialogue, Millie, as mysterious girl Eleven, conveys a whole host of dramatic and complex emotions all of which are believable to the audience. You can’t teach that.

Written by the Duffer brothers, whom after this gift will be henceforth referred to as the fantastic Duffer brothers who can do no wrong, we have a whole world brought to life. Each character, wether major or minor is well rounded and believable. Clichéd tropes are avoided and others are given a slight twist, mainly in the case of Steve, the jock love interest for Nancy. While we expect him to be a jerk to allow Nancy to fall for Jonathan, with whom a connection is building, Steve turns it round in the third act by showing he really does care. A believable outcome, but different to what we have seen time and time again.

The nostalgia trip is in the soundtrack, on the walls in movie posters, Jaws, Evil Dead, even The Dark Crystal makes an appearance. It’s in the clothes, the set and the theme. It forges memories, brings forth smells. It generates feelings that don’t over saturate the show nor do they ruin your childhood. It’s eating that long forgotten cereal or candy bar. It’s finding old photographs or long lost mix tapes. It’s faultless.

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Initially my only complaint for this series was that at eight episodes, it’s too short. However, coming out the sublime end sequence, I didn’t feel cheated. I felt a whole range of emotions, but I felt the show had not let me down, and at that short episode number, a whole season rewatch is definitely on the cards at least once.

Has an immaculate 10/10 piece of art been created?
Stranger Things have happened.

Already Dead

“We don’t need them on our streets”, “they don’t live by our rules”, “they’re not like us”

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These are the sort of statements we hear (or read online) on a daily basis in Britain these days. Unnecessary hatred geared towards individuals who’s biggest crime is looking or acting different. Wether that’s the colour of your skin, the religion you practice or the people you are attracted to. Already Dead adds Zombies into the line of unwarranted hate.

In a world where the zombie outbreak has been contained by a medication that will suppress the appetite of the undead, zombies can just get on with the rest of their lives can’t they?

Meet George, a zombie in recovery. He has been one of the living dead for fifteen years, being bitten during the initial outbreak. Our documentary filmmakers are finding out what life is like for a being on ‘Zombenzine’. The performance given by Darren Ruston as ‘George’ is flawless. His delivery in ‘zomb-speak’ is highly comical and pure entertainment and by far the stand out performer in this short mockumentary.

What we see is that behind the upbeat positive mental attitude put forth by George, we have a man alienated from society, living in fear of being harassed and attacked in the street purely for an illness he cannot control. An illness he never asked for. It is in this parallel we can imagine what life must be like for those on the receiving end of bigotry, and after the jokes, we must look to ourselves to find the change needed in society.

Art is a powerful platform for addressing real life problems through different mediums. ‘Already Dead’ highlights these issues through a clever script and on point comical timing from all of the cast. This short film is only fifteen minutes long, but packs a strong message that everyone should hear, and on the surface, it is a hilariously told story full of wit and charm.

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Michael James Dean (writer and director) has done a magnificent job with this short, and managed to elicit an actual laugh out loud moment from this writer who normally internalises his enjoyment while watching movies.

MJD said he did not initially set out to make a statement with this short. They say write about what you know and if you live in 2016, then you know unnecessary hatred of others is out there, but there are also plenty of selfless acts of kindness that go unreported out there too, and good always wins out.

Everarrrggh, sorry. Everyone shoarrgh….should see grah… Already argh Dead. What time is it? Damn, I’ve missed a dose of Zombenzine, Liam’s brains are looking mighty tasty…..aah….tasty…..brains…itchy…tasty.