Under The Shadow 

A mother and daughter in Tehran are pestered by a djinn which is kind of like a genie in eastern folklore but often gets characterised as a demon. 

Either way, the mother of her young girl is left believing the things her daughter says are happening. 

It’s always refreshing to see a foreign country’s version of the supernatural because you’re not used to the ‘beats’ which you’ve seen time and time again in Hollywood horror. 

The film caught me off guard a couple of times and I’m grateful for that after becoming immune to the standard techniques.
Low key often works the best. 

Ghostbusters (2016) film review 

Director : Paul Feig

Running Time: 2 hours

Cast: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Neil Casey, Andrew Garcia, Charles Dance, Ozzy Osbourne. 

The female cast of the new Ghostbusters, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones plus villian Neil Casey have all been on Saturday Night Live in America. Director of Bridesmaids, Paul Feig, has also shown previous good form in comedy. Rolling all this together should result in a real treat of a comedy movie. Well it does and it doesn’t. The lead cast work really well together and often seem to be holding back smirks from endless improvised takes. That chemistry works well as does the mix of modern yet cartoony retro ghostly effects. Receptionist Chris Hemsworth is entertaining as the possibly over ‘Mr. Bean- stupid’ yet handsome but dumb Kevin. The story follows the essential set up of the first outing with a team of scientists making a breakthrough as spirits are unleashed on New York. Although they dropped the Sigourney Weaver/Rick Moranis plot thread this time around. It’s a fun ride with feisty sassy dialogue between the new team. But what spoilt the overall result for me was the crudeness of humour in an essentially family film. It’s a 12a, which hints at its tone but audiences will inevitably bring along 8 year olds who then have to sit with parents burying their blushes as they are questioned about vaginal jokes and cover their kids eyes and ears as middle fingers fly and category B swear words are shouted. Caution must be taken I feel.
My biggest gripe is that I welcome a cameo or two from the original movie or maybe an in joke here and there but I stopped counting at 12 ‘point at the screen’ moments or line quotes. That self referencing made it feel unsure of itself due to the fan baiting and reminiscing. The film is peppered with call backs even after the end credits roll and the final sequel set up is done. It’s also evidence that McCarthy works better as a team player. 

I would also mention that a couple of ghost scares may give ten year olds or younger nightmares. But I still enjoyed the ride as someone who loved the first movie- not the second. This reminded me of The Frighteners also, which is still good fun. So a better than expected but aimed at a young adult market, rehash of a nostalgic piece of my childhood. 

I’ll happily watch a sequel, but without my son. 
C Whitehouse 2016

Film Review Of : The Conjouring 2: The Enfield Case (2016) 

Director : James Wan 

Running time: 2 hours 14 mins 

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Madison Wolfe, Frances O’Connor, Lauren Esposito, Simon McBurney, Simon Delaney, Franke Potente, 
As a part time paranormal investigator, I had much more of an interest in this Enfield Case as it’s possibly the uk’s best known case. The recent tv three parter with Timothy Spall as intrepid investigator Maurice Grosse reignited people’s fascination with the case of a poltergeist energy which attached itself to one young girl and spoke through her on tape, even though a girls throat is incapable of making such deep tones. It’s a classic piece of evidence. 

To see James Wan deliver this tale had great possibilities for me. But being a horror film lover I also suffer from being too knowing about the music cues and other well trodden clues which ruin most scary movies for me. The first Conjouring was enjoyable to me but I never jumped or really felt uneasy in my seat while most of the audience had a great roller coaster ride. 

So to have The Conjouring 2 give me shivers in a few parts made me love this movie. Sure enough there are some failings such as the Crooked man which seems more Guillermo del toro than J.Wan. but with so many different types of scare tactics, there’s always something coming along which is likely to hit the spot and tap into your fears. The Warrens are back (which to be honest, I didn’t know had any hand in the case) plus the Marilyn Manson looking dude resembling the demon from Insidious albeit dressed as a nun this time. The use of shadow is exemplary and there are at least a couple of scares which I was left gleeful over. There child actors appear wooden a little until you see what the actual children were like in life- odd, out of it, and practically disturbed by events. All the cast do a good job but special merit must go to Simon McBurney as Maurice Grosse in a role which he nails as this unique man. 

There is probably half the movie which you could class as pure Hollywood polish just added to entertain but I was impressed at the details of the case which were implemented especially the neighbours over the road and the police who witnessed activity first hand. 

This is the best ghost story horror I’ve seen in many a year and I’ve watched everyone which I can get my hand on. 

I see this as a classic. 

C Whitehouse (Whitehouse Investigations) 2016