Talking Movies

January 19, 2020

Top 10 Films of 2019

10) Velvet Buzzsaw

Bad art kills people

Bad art reviews kill people

Or maybe it’s both

9) Nomad

Bruce Chatwin: A life

People, places, and writings

By his friend Werner

7) Shaft

Sam L is the man!

Richard Roundtree is the man!

So much fine hokum!

7) Ready or Not

Meet the in-laws, dear

The cost of losing is dear

Fun for all the fam-

6) A Private War

War correspondent

She must seek and speak the truth

A Greek tragedy

5) Free Solo

Alex can’t look down

Cameraman can’t look up

We can’t look away

4) Non-Fiction

Assayas returns

to skewer pretension and

patch some broken hearts

3) The Mule

Clint’s OAP Mule

Safely outruns the police

And  gives them sage words

2) Apollo 11

Just NASA footage

Cinema verite set

to soaring synth score

1) Balloon

Stasi Kretschmann hunts

daring young East Germans bent

on hot air escape

January 15, 2014

Devil’s Due

Horror classic Rosemary’s Baby gets the found footage treatment in Devil’s Due as newlyweds discover something wrong with their pregnancy…


The film opens in faux-sinister fashion as a hand-held camera stalks around a house before climbing up the drainpipe to the bedroom of Samantha (Go On’s Allison Miller). The stalker, however, is her fiancé Zach (Friday Night Light’s Zach Gilford). As Samantha grew up in foster homes, after being cut out of her pregnant mother after a fatal car accident, he is determined to make up for the lack of any recordings of her childhood by documenting simply everything of their married life. On honeymoon in the Dominican Republic they are taken to the world’s best-hidden night-club by a helpful taxi-driver (Roger Payano). But something very odd happens after they pass out from drink… Samantha finds herself pregnant, despite being on the pill, and soon her cheerful OBGYN Dr Ludka (Donna Duplantier) is ominously replaced by Dr Dylan (Robert Aberdeen)…

Devil’s Due has some very nice moments. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett are restrained in introducing the horror. Samantha punches out the windows of a car with super-strength after it almost runs her over in a car-park, but it could be adrenaline. At a pre-natal class she remembers her honeymoon to relax her baby, and all the other mothers writhe in pain as if the child in their womb had just leaped for despair, but it could just be coincidence not the Anti-Christ. And, yes, she wolfs down raw meat in a supermarket, but maybe she renounced her vegetarianism because she had a craving… But then great suspense is wrung from her niece discovering her carving a symbol on the floor and screaming with demonically elongated jaw. After that screenwriter Lindsay Devlin loses her way in the subtlety stakes.

Father Thomas (Sam Anderson, aka Bernard from LOST) has a stroke when Samantha is present at a Church sacrament, some characters wander in almost from another film solely to be killed off in a show-off shot, and Zach discovers the Satanic plot by finally watching the first hours of 8 months’ worth of his own footage. That found footage is then stolen by Satanists, so… how were we looking at it? Who found all of Zach’s footage, and added in security camera feeds, and all the material from the handily bugged McCall home? Did the Satanists compile an elaborate file?? And handily place an off-kilter camera under a bed to perfectly frame a touching moment! It also cannot be ignored that the Satanic symbol for bringing forth the Anti-Christ is the Euro… Make of that what you will: is it an unintentional satiric commentary on American insularity or a pointed shout out for conspiracy theorists?

Devil’s Due is an entertaining low-budget horror, if you’re willing to overlook the farcical flaws in its found footage.


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