FEBRUARY 3 ― I don’t know about you, but sometimes my movie-viewing comes in fits and starts. Sometimes I’m in the mood to watch nothing but comedies, sometimes it’s all head scratching and heavy arthouse films and sometimes, like it’s been the case for the past two weeks or so, it’s all genre movies.
At first I felt like watching them just to provide a counterpoint to the more drama-heavy fare I’ve been watching because of the Oscar season.
But sometimes when you get into a groove it’s pretty hard to stop, and this past week alone I must have watched at least five or six relatively new genre movies.
Along the way I might have to endure stinkers like Slasher.com or Once Upon A Time At Christmas, but when it also means that I get to stumble upon a new film by DTV’s latest rising star Jesse V. Johnson, and be pleasantly surprised by a post-modern Heathers-type teen horror flick, I’d say the rewards are more than worth it.
So here are three more new genre films for you to start your 2018 with.
DTV (which stands for Direct-To-Video) is a relatively new term to replace what was previously known as “straight-to-video” movies. The term clearly explains itself ― the movies are made for the home video market and are not meant for theatrical release, which means that the budgets are also often pretty low.
Director Jesse V. Johnson has slowly been making a name for himself in this genre for a few years now, most notably with The Package and last year’s Savage Dog, but with the arrival of Accident Man, I think he’s finally made a serious calling-card for Hollywood should they need a talented and steady hand to helm an action thriller.
Starring a who’s who of current day DTV action stars like Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, Ray Park and Amy Johnston (of Lady Bloodfight fame), Accident Man plays like an unlikely union between John Wick and Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, because it’s about a firm of assassins and since it’s set in the UK, everyone speaks as if they’re in a Guy Ritchie movie. And it’s quite a riot.
The dialogue is often funny and the fight scenes, while not reaching the classic heights of Isaac Florentine’s Ninja and Undisputed movies, are pretty damn great to watch.
In fact, this could easily play in cinemas and nobody would notice that it’s a DTV movie (if not for the stars, that is), such is the level of professionalism on display here.
A couple of years ago a little horror-comedy called Patchwork by director Tyler MacIntyre, about three young women who go out partying and find themselves Frankensteined together in one body made a quiet splash among horror fans the world over.
Those in the know knew that they had encountered a special kind of horror talent, and eagerly looked forward to his next effort.
Step forward Tragedy Girls, a superbly well put together horror-comedy that not only lampoons the current generation’s obsession with social media and online fame, but also doubles up as something that’s made especially for them.
The story concerns two teenage girls who are obsessed with getting as many people to follow their online show (called Tragedy Girls, of course).
They have worked out that there’s a serial killer on the loose in their hometown and decided to capture him to get him to teach them how to become serial killers so that they can blog about him, kill some people, and pin the crimes on him.
This being a satire, things will go from ridiculous to crazy with each passing minute, and I wouldn’t dare spoil the story’s many delightful twists and turns. Slick, energetic and fun, this one will surprise you.
The Spearhead Effect
The main reason I decided to take a punt on this movie was because I read somewhere that it was produced by Terrence Malick. I didn’t know anything about the story, nor had I ever seen the trailer before.
The result is kind of a mixed bag, if I’m to be really honest. An interesting thesis on vigilantism wrapped around a horror-thriller, the film follows Jake who has resorted to using his blog to highlight police corruption and apathy, which in turn inspired a vigilante movement called “The Pioneers”, where people are taking matters into their own hands and getting criminals off the streets themselves.
When the controversy surrounding Jake starts to become too much, he decides to lay low and shack up with an old buddy, which then leads him into the path of one of these masked vigilante groups.
The whole movie is a constant debate about the moral rights and wrongs of resorting to vigilantism, but save for the pretty gripping final 30 minutes (which was fraught with danger and conspiracy), the film seems to have been caught in a no man’s land, between wanting to be a straightforward thriller and a character-based indie drama.
Interesting, but needs more thrills to really score with genre fans.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.