Tag Archive: Horror
Directed By: Vincenzo Natali
Starring: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac
What It’s All About:
Clive and Elsa are lovers. They work for a company splicing together DNA of different animals to create hybrids. After the success of an experiement they decide to splice human DNA with that of their new creations against the will of their employers; creating a human like creature that matures at an alarming rate. After moving their creation to a farmhouse in order to keep her existance a secret things become out of hand a Clive and Elsa learn more about the creature and themselves.
The Final Verdict:
Just like the subject matter of the film in question “Splice” is a hybrid that fails to cement a strong basis for what it is trying to achieve. Part moral dilemma, part horror flick the film never quite reaches its true potential, falling short of the great horror film it could have been. The tension rises but never really boils over until the final moments of the film which are great yet it leaves you wondering why the film didn’t pan out like this from the beginning. Entertaining enough, but only worth a rental on a rainy weekend.
Directed By: Joe Chappelle
Starring: Ben Affleck, Peter O’Toole, Rose McGowan, Liev Schreiber
What It’s All About:
Lisa and her sister Jenny are heading to the resort town of Snowfield, Colorado to hit the slopes. They arrive to discover that the town is empty, aside from the dead bodies of their landlady and a local police officer. They join Sheriff Bryce Hammond and his deputies in investigating the town when they uncover the ancient enemy.
The Final Verdict:
Book to movie adaptions are seldom impressive, and Phantoms is no exception to this truth. With obvious ties to other classic horror films as “The Blob” or “The Thing” Joe Chappelle has conjured up a convoluted story that ends up a mess. Sloppy production, lacklustre performance and lacking story. All I can say is “Affleck, you da bomb in Phantoms, yo!”
Directed By: Beck Eisner
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson
What It’s All About:
People in the town of Ogden Marsh are slowly acting a little crazy. It soon becomes apparent that there has been an outbreak in the town and the government has quarantined all the inhabbitants. The movie follows David the local sherrif, his deputy and pregnant wife as they try to discover what is happening and attempt to make it out alive.
The Final Verdict:
While it’s a decent remake of the 70’s classic of the same name, Eisner provides too many of those predictable “he was saved just in time” moments which cause most of the action to blend into a mess. Olyphant really proves that he is one of the hottest actors around at the moment, providing a stellar performance in an otherwise mediocre experience.
Directed By: John Carpenter
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, David Clennon
What It’s All About:
A group of scientists enduring the harsh winter conditions of Antarctica discover an alien life-form that is capable of assimilating any living creature. The “thing” infiltrates the base and minute by minute the surviving crew members fall into a sense of paranoia, wondering who is human and who has been infected.
The Thing is quite possibly the most important Sci-Fi horror film since Alien (1979), seamlessly creating an atmosphere of true terror and paranoia. Kurt Russell truly shines as the leading man, and boasting some truly gory and terrific special effects for it’s day, The Thing is a movie that has stood the test of time.
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao
What It’s All About:
The story follows loan officer Christine Brown (Lohman) who tries to impress her boss and refuses a loan to a sick gypsy woman. The woman places a curse on Christine, that after three days of torment and horror, will then devour her soul to the depths of hell.
Sam Raimi is back to this true form, making horror films that are as easily terrifying as they are laugh out loud funny. Alison and Justin have great on screen chemistry, and with some truly scary moments this is another movie to put along the likes of Raimi’s highly successful Evil Dead movies. Scary, funny and intriguing, Drag Me To Hell should be one to add to your collection if you love over the top, campy horror flicks.
Left 4 Dead 2 is out in Australia, but unfortunately to absolutely absurd censorship laws it was refused classification. The version of the game released here is lacking basically all gore, bodies disappear when they hit the ground, and the melee weapons don’t cause any form of dismemberment. If you are like the majority of the Australian Gaming community you are outraged by this and want to get your hands on an uncensored copy of the game. FEAR NOT! Here are two simple ways to do just that!
1> Open up your browser and go to the following link http://store.steampowered.com/?cc=uk
2> Purchase the game from the UK STEAM store. Input your credit card details and address, make sure you change your country to Australia in this section.
3> Enjoy your uncensored version of Left 4 Dead 2 🙂
For all you Xbox 360 gamers out there, http://www.playasia.com is your friend. The Asia release is region free, and I think the USA version is also.
2008 saw the release of Left 4 Dead, the hectic team based survival horror from Valve, the development team behind the Half-Life series. It had a way to make you rely on your team members for survival like no other game could. A year later the sequel is here, a quick turn around for any sequel in the gaming world, more-so surprising from a developer that is renowned for their lengthy development schedules.
While many fans cried out in a boycott, stating this was more of an expansion back than a full blown sequel, after a few hours with Left 4 Dead 2 it instantly proves itself worthy as a new addition to the franchise as opposed to a glorified expansion pack. Fixing and tweaking many of the first titles downfalls and adding in new components creates a title that is bursting at the seams with rich, zombie slaying gameplay.
For those of you who haven’t had an experience with the first game, Left 4 Dead 2 places you in the middle of a Zombie apocalypse. You fill the role of one of the four survivors who try to blast your way through hordes of “infected” in an attempt to get to the end of the map. This time round the game is set in the southeast regions of America, and the new cast of characters carry humor, charm and wit in spades. Hearing stories about particular Nascar drivers, and stories about hilarious accidents while hundreds of zombies are honing in on your position gives the characters more of the spotlight that the first title was lacking.
The improvements are so rich in-fact you will find going back to the original game is a pure disappointment. L4D2 features five new interesting campaigns, that have you fighting your way through far more invigorating environments than it’s predecessor. The situations you find yourself in simply give you more to do, which keeps things feeling fresh as opposed to run and gun to the safe house feeling the first game tended to have. All five campaigns can also be played in the Versus game mode right off the bat, no waiting around for Valve to release DLC to unlock that ability this time. As a result the game feels like a full package, where the first game tended to feel a little hollow.
L4D2 is team based gameplay at it’s finest. It is paramount to communicate and work together as a team to achieve success, more-so than any other game you’re likely to play this generation. You will need to rely on your team mates to keep you informed of where they are, when finding health, ammo or weapons, or when there is a world of hurt about to come raining down, and you will have to return the favour. The catch is that no level will play the same thanks to Valve’s AI which they call “The Director”. The Director changes up the location of enemies, weapons and difficulty each and every time you play. It manages to encourage repeat play as you will never know exactly how it will pan out, and manages to provide a challenge every time, regardless of your experience and skill.
Difficulty will play a big part in your experience with L4D2 which offers some of the most challenging gameplay you’re likely to see. Normal is a good entry point as you grasp the concept and learn what weapons work in what situations, while Expert requires the very best in reaction time, communication and overall skills. To make it even harder L4D2 introduces realism mode, removing hints and glows on items such as health and weapons from the HUD. This means your communication with your team member needs to be top notch, otherwise you are going to find yourself high and dry and left for dead.
If you are anti-social or just don’t feel like playing online there are Bots included who can go through the five campaigns with you. They also jump in on the action if a player drops out, and while they do make accurate shots and do their best to help out, it’s far more entertaining with with human players. The bots are largely unreliable. There were a few situations where I went down and needed to be revived, the bots came and took out the zombies and then ran away again without helping me up, leaving me there to die. It’s functional, but to play L4D2 as intended you really do need to play with fellow gamers.
If the campaigns aren’t challenging enough for you Versus mode is sure to get the blood pumping. Versus pits four players as “survivors” and another four players control special infected enemies such as Tanks, Boomers etc. With the addition of new Special Infected in Spitters, Jockeys and Chargers, the Versus gameplay is now far more interesting and fleshed out. Spitters have the ability to spit out acid, Jockeys ride the survivors controlling their movements and Chargers are like mini tanks, charging at their enemies and pummeling them. It keeps gameplay varied and with the 4v4 action things can become quite tense and unpredictable.
What makes L4D2 so successful is the tension and overall stress it will cause you. It get’s your heart racing, and you will find your attention fixated on the screen at all times, constantly reassessing the situation and making decisions you hope will pay off. Each campaign features pivotal moments that will stand out in your mind well and truly after you complete them, whether it be frantically filling a car full of gas in Dead Centre, or dealing with the storms and winds in Hard Rain. If you are a fan of the first game, you are going to go ga-ga for L4D2.
It’s not just the new characters, the fantastic and varied environments or gameplay situations that make L4D2 a far better package, it’s the little things that make the game so much more entertaining and varied. A bigger range of guns, the inclusion of explosive and incendiary ammo pickups but most importantly, and the most fun, the inclusion of melee weapons.
That’s right ladies and gents, you can now slice and dice, whack and smack and shred your way through each campaign with a delightful assortment of melee weapons. There are the conventional melee weapons for a horror film setting, there’s the machete and the katana and of course a chainsaw, but then there are some unexpected ones such as a cricket bat (paddle bat for the Yanks) electric guitar or a frying pan. In all there are a number to choose from and you will have a blast regardless of your choice. There is nothing quite like the feeling of facing off a bunch of infected and smashing their heads off with a well timed swing from the old cricket bat, you can’t help but have a smile come across you face, disturbing as that thought may be.
Along with new weapons come new perks as well. Along with your pain-pills and your medipacks you know have access to adrenalin shots which give you that little pick me up when the odds are against you, making you faster and stronger for a short period of time. Add this with the new defibrillator pack to bring slain survivors back from the dead, and you have some great new additions to the gameplay.
Now it’s time to address the heavy censorship applied to the Australian release of the game. Due to the fact that in Australia we don’t have an R18+ rating for video-games, the original cut that rest of the world received was refused classification by the OFLC board. While violence doesn’t make a game, in a game like L4D2 it certainly adds to the authenticity of the situation. The lack of blood, bodies on the floor or dismemberment makes the game really seem lacking. I’d highly advise you to get an uncut version of the game, if you want more info on how to do that, check out my article on this website.
THE FINAL VERDICT:
Despite the quick turn around between releases Left 4 Dead 2 is a far more complete, rich and rewarding gameplay experience, improving in almost every aspect it ventures. This is team based gameplay at it’s finest, and the amount of tension and stress this game can cause you is a true testament to Valve. They have created one thrilling and immersive game here. For those who enjoyed the first game then you will fall in love with the sequel, yet if the first Left 4 Dead didn’t rev your engine, chances are this game will do nothing to change that. Overall, one of the most thrilling games this year.
GAMEPLAY: 9.1/10 – Gameplay has been improved in each and every facet over the original.
GRAPHICS: 8.8/10 – The graphics are fairly decent but it isn’t the greatest looking game on the market. Enemies are detailed and animations are fluent. The daylight environments add a little something that the first game was lacking.
AUDIO: 9.0/10 – The weapons sound full and punchy, the voice acting is top notch, campy but it suits, and differentiating groans from different zombies comes together is a great sound package.
VALUE: 9.2/10 – The AI Director makes each campaign play different each time. Add this to the versus mode and the new scavenger mode and you have a pretty decent bang for buck. Hopes for further campaigns via DLC.
In each and every wave of games that come through on the PC platform, there is always that one, must have game that will have people all over the world buying new systems, just to play the game at full spec. Quake 2 did this, Unreal did this and Crysis is still doing this. In 2006 Monolith’s horror FPS F.E.A.R was that must have game that had people buying more RAM and more graphics grunt than they could afford just to play the game in its full glory. To say F.E.A.R. 2 had a lot to live up to would be the understatement of the year and I’m happy to report it exceeds expectations.
F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin is the sequel fans have been waiting for. It picks up all the pieces from F.E.A.R and runs with them, improving almost every aspect of the game. Visuals are outstanding, AI is still smarter than most, even if it can be a little easy for some. Backed up with a strong narrative, fantastic atmosphere and a decent multiplayer offering, this is truly the horror FPS many have been waiting for.
To read the in depth review, including scores and much more info, please check it out here