Horror DVD round-up - February 2014
Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, Nothing Left to Fear, Skinwalkers, In Fear and Kiss of the Damned reviewed
We’ll start our quick run through some recent horror DVD releases with the first flesh eating virus to have its own franchise. Cabin Fever: Patient Zero (Signature) ●● (the third CF movie) is surprisingly entertaining even if the plot doesn’t quite hang together. There’s plenty of gooey skin peeling and melting flesh to keep you amused as four friends head out on a boat trip off the coast of the Dominican Republic and stumble across a secret lab where Sean Astin is being held as a test subject. Scientifically they misuse the term Patient Zero but you should never consult a direct-to-DVD threequel for medical advice.
Nothing Left to Fear (Anchor Bay) ●● is the first film from guitar god Slash’s (Guns n’ Roses) appropriately named Slasher Films. He even contributes to the eerie understated score (co-writing with Nicholas O’Toole). A pastor and his family move to a seemingly idyllic small town before stumbling on ghosts, ancient rites and blood sacrifices. It’s far too slow but the final half hour, once the evil entity escapes, at least offers something new to the genre but it’s a bit too little too late.
The obligatory found footage slot is filled by Skinwalkers (Signatuire) ●● but this time there’s a sci-fi twist. Modern Defense Enterprises dispatch a team of experts to investigate the mysterious vanishing of a young boy at the Skinwalker Ranch. The foolhardy investigators seem to have no concern for their own safety as they come up against monster cats, flashing lights and dead bats. It’s all a bit random and doesn’t really add up to a coherent whole but at least it’s not boring, a trap so many found footage films fall into.
In Fear (Studio Canal) ●●●● feels uncomfortably realistic: there’s no fantastical set up, just a couple driving around, lost, on country back roads. It perfectly captures that feeling of losing control as things get steadily scarier. Unsettling, unnerving, it really gets under your skin, it’s almost brilliant but loses its way in the final act. Minimalist horror with a cast of only three (Iain de Caestecker, Alice Englert and Allen Leech), that yet again proves the genre doesn’t need big budgets just a well executed idea.
Kiss of the Damned (Eureka) ●●● is a sexually charged vampire story charting the relationship between Joséphine de La Baume and her recently turned victim Milo Ventimiglia. However their relationship is thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her impulsive sister Mimi (Roxane Mesquida). Very deliberately evoking European 70s films (such as Daughters of Darkness, The Vampire Lovers and Warhol's Blood For Dracula) all perfectly complimented by Steven Hufsteter’s retro score. Incredibly stylish it’s an assured feature debut from director Xan Cassavetes and it’ll be interesting to see what she does next.