DVD reviews: The Kingdom, Giallo, The Pack, Bloodrayne 3, Evil Rising and Lake Mungo
Summer horror DVD round-up
Forget Hollywood – this month we embark on a European horror odyssey. First up, Lars von Trier's superlative haunted hospital drama The Kingdom (Second Sight ●●●●). Collecting both of his four-part Danish TV series into one boxed set for the first time in the UK, it’s a fantastic package that has much in common with Twin Peaks in terms of surreal style, creepy comedy and kooky characters. However, it ends with many questions left unanswered as a planned third series was never filmed after the unfortunate (unrelated) deaths of several cast members.
A hodge podge homage to the Italian black-gloved serial killer genre he helped to invent, Giallo (Lionsgate ●●●) unfortunately continues to prove Dario Argento hasn’t made a great film since 1987 and the truly amazing Terror at the Opera. France continues its bid to become the continent’s most prolific and gruesome horror destination in The Pack (Icon ●●●), a down and dirty redneck crazies meet subterranean mutant monsters mash-up.
Maverick German director Uwe Boll is back with perhaps his best film yet and the third entry in his vampire videogame adaptation Blood Reich: Bloodrayne 3 (Metrodome ●●). This time our Dhampir heroine is kicking Nazi butt and only Boll would have the balls to include an all too brief vampire-Hitler dream sequence. Boll returns (as producer) with Italian zombie movie Eaters: Rise of the Dead (Chelsea Films ●●●), which has its moments but never quite knows where it’s headed. More undead apocalypse action in World of the Dead: The Zombie Diaries 2 (Metrodome ●●), which goes for the found footage format but offers nothing we haven’t seen before as a small group of squaddies fight their way across a zombie-ravaged Britain. More UK horror, Siren (Matchbox ●●) fortunately isn’t all bikinis and babes as the deceiving cover shot promises, but unfortunately is a ho-hum tale of three friends who run into a Siren (as in Greek mythology, not a police siren …) on an isolated island in the Mediterranean.
Finland’s Evil Rising (Matchbox ●●), aka Sauna, takes us to 1595 as Sweden and Russia mark their new borders after 25 years of war, before they come across a weird village in the middle of a swamp and are haunted by the sins of their past. It meanders along and never really builds on the atmosphere it creates in the first hour, we recommend you check out Christopher Smith’s Black Death for a very similar medieval horror instead.
OK so Lake Mungo (Second Sight ●●●) is Australian, but it was once a British colony so we’ll let it slide as it’s a surprisingly effective and very watchable fake documentary that subtly mixes a family’s grief with supernatural elements.