by Jamie Downes
Director – Christian Alvart
Cast – Renée Zellweger, Ian McShane, Jodelle Ferland
Genre – Psychological Horror
Released – 2009
Synopsis – A social worker’s bond with a young girl has more horrific consequences than she could ever have imagined.
It may be severely lacking in the originality department, but Case 39’s tried-and-tested formula certainly doesn’t prevent the film from dragging you in and holding your attention right until its exhilarating, breathless finale. That it does so despite the orthodox story is testament to the direction and production, not to mention a feather in the cap of the key players in performance; Jodelle Ferland startlingly believable as the sweet, vulnerable girl capable of igniting each and every one of your nightmares. For a horror movie to really hit its mark, it must make you care about those in distress, and Case 39 does so with aplomb, at certain points, even when you know you shouldn’t.
by Jamie Downes
Author – James Herbert
Genre – Horror
Published – 1999
Length – 512 Pages
It takes a lot to viscerally sicken many of us in modern society – our immunity to the reprehensible being one of the sad realities of the morally misguided era we live in – but James Herbert’s Others comes mighty close to doing so. The horribly lurid nature of the tale seems unnatural however, as if the author were straining to manufacture as much shock value as he could muster, more excited by the prospect of reviling his readers than producing an immersive work they might enjoy. In stark contrast to his ageless Magic Cottage – a charming and wonderfully written novel that challenged horror maestro Stephen King with its superb scene-setting, sympathetic characters and immaculately paced unveiling of sinister forces – Others attempts the unashamed, warped explicitness of King in the setting of a bland private detective novel. It fails, despite hinting for at least half of its bulk that something more interesting might be hiding up its sleeve. The twists are few and far between and the transparent narrative chugs amidst a barrage of eager, superfluous description that contrary to the author’s apparent belief, is horrifying not in its content but in its volume. Without any emotional-pull from the characters and no real atmosphere to speak of, by its end, Others comes across as little more than a disgusting perversion with little to justify its vulgarity.
This is a the first paragraph of a review I’ve written for my music zine, A Lonely Ghost Burning. I would be incredibly grateful to anyone who follows the link and checks the site out. I only review music I like, and the styles featured range from alternative to simply beautiful. It’s also a much more professional effort than Cherry Faced Fool.
At times, I Am Not Your Home manages to be just about as wrist-slit raw as it gets. Take the innocuously titled Rose, for example, a track which offers the following insight into a seemingly much-troubled psyche, “I’m wishing myself into car accidents / And I keep praying to Gods that I break my f*****g limbs.” Such moments are where the voice of lead-singer Marie Mayes, sweet enough to break any heart, turns gravelly and venomously purposeful; an unsuppressed release of uncontrollable hurt that no barrier could hope to withhold.
Here is the link to the full review. Again, if you find the time to take a look, I’d be hugely thankful!