Welcome to the banality of evil, Ben Wheatley-style: In his horror comedy SIGHTSEERS, a couple (Alice Lowe and Steve Oram, who also scripted) decides to take a caravan trip across the British Isles. But, really, who could enjoy such marvels as an antique tramway or the pencil museum when such distractions as litterers, rowdy Wiccans, and people who are just better than you keep interfering? There’s only one solution, and it’s one that requires sponges and tons of bleach to clean up after.
Wheatley has a unique way of grounding horror with credible performances and an unassuming shooting style that only accentuates the graphic violence. His hit-man horror film, KILL LIST, made my top ten last year, and SIGHTSEERS continues his streak of riveting an audience with a naturalistic brand of dread. I was happy to meet up with him again to talk about this film — click on the player to hear the show.
The balmy days of February have triggered an uncommon sense of renewal, nowhere more so than in the cinema, where, after a customarily dismal January (we’re looking at you, THE DEVIL INSIDE), there now come glimmers of hope in the entertaining and atmospheric THE WOMAN IN BLACK. Featuring a post-Potter Daniel Radcliffe as an emotionally ravaged lawyer trying to redeem his career in the British countryside, instead discovering a village where children spontaneously take their lives and an isolated mansion houses a malign spirit and a terrible secret, the film’s a refreshing invocation of the classic ghost story, all the better for coming from British horror-home Hammer. beabetterbooktalker.com‘s Andrea Lipinski joins Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons to stir up the spirits and measure the film’s ability to generate scares and creeps. Plus: The gang delivers capsule reviews of CHRONICLE, THE INNKEEPERS, and KILL LIST. Also: What’s coming in theaters and home video.
What starts out as common, garden-variety crime thriller turns… bizarre, and then frightening, in director Ben Wheatley’s twisty new film, KILL LIST. The tale of middle class hit-man Jay (Neil Maskell), who with colleague Gal (Michael Smiley) goes out for one more job and discovers blood oaths, strange rites, and disturbingly grateful targets have been thrown into the bargain, the film allows Wheatley to hook the rough-edged shooting style he explored in his debut effort, DOWN TERRACE, to a world that has room for both examinations of a tempestuous home life and the graphic shocks of classic horror. Think IN BRUGES meets THE WICKER MAN, then forget about all that and prepare to get righteously freaked-out.
Click on the player to hear my interview with Wheatley. UNFORTUNATE TECHNICAL NOTE: Our usual podcast host has started giving us agita, apparently because we are just that popular, so we’ve temporarily switched to another service and had to downgrade our audio quality as a result. We’ll get this snag patched up and be back to the rich, beautiful sound you expect from MMP as soon as possible.