The Babysitter (2017)

I don’t know what I’m more shocked by, Netflix yet again delivering another quality movie or that I liked something directed by McG*

The Babysitter is a fun, fast and ferocious throwback to those classic 80s paranoid  horrors like The ‘Burbs And Fright Night. Scaredy-cat 12 year old Cole (Judah Lewis) is afraid of his own shadow. He gets bullied and is generally a huge wuss.  His Mum and Dad are going away for a dirty weekend leaving him home alone with the titular Babysitter, the impossibly beautiful Bee ( Ash vs. Evil Dead’s Samara Weaving). Cole quickly finds out what really happens when he’s asleep, that Bee is a devil worshipping, human-sacrificing cult leader. Bee and her friends murder a guy to take his blood, Cole rumbles them and all hell breaks loose. Will Bee and her cult sacrifice Cole or will he put up a fight? 

I laughed a lot during The Babysitter, way more than I expected to, most cast members getting at least one great zinger and not to mention the slapstick gore. The cast was chock full of great comedic actors too,  with Bella Thorne, Robbie Amell, Pitch Perfect’s scene stealing Hana Mae Lee and Andrew Bachelor as the cult and Ken Marino and Leslie Bibb as Cole’s parents.
 No jokes fell flat and not much time passed between jokes, striking a great balance between the comedy and horror. 

It’s great to see (what I assume)  is a low-ish budget genre film get such a good push from a service as big as Netflix. I suppose the best thing about their business model is that they don’t really need to worry about the ticket sales. If you subscribe, you get it anyway, letting them take more risks with films like this. Seeing how films like It Follows have gained a cult following because of Netflix and not to mention the juggernaut that is Stranger Things, I think the new wave of retro style horror is going to be about for a while yet. 

You will  have definitely seen films like this before, but I suppose that’s the attraction. The Babysitter is meant to be a throwback to those classics, the synthy score and moody fog and lighting is so evocative of so many older films. Is it derivative? Yeah to an extent. Is it distractingly so? No, not for me. I was happy guessing who would die next and how. I really did appreciate how much splatter and gore we got from McG and his team. 
If you subscribe to Netflix, I definitely think it’s worth a watch, funny, gory, tense and with a genuinely interesting premise, you could do a lot worse. 
The Babysitter is streaming on Netflix now. 



Home Alone

Jennifer’s Body 

The ‘Burbs

Fright Night

*I actually also liked This Means War. 


A Cure For Wellness (2017)

One of 2017’s first big flops, Gore Verbinski’s A Cure For Wellness is a curious thing. I missed it in the cinema, despite really wanting to catch it, it wasn’t on for very long and was pummelled by critics and audiences. Finally today I managed to get around to it and was rather shocked by what I found.

I expected an early 2000’s style, trashy horror thriller, admittedly which I do enjoy, but what I got was something very different. A long, ponderous movie, beautifully shot and enveloped in Benjamin Wallfisch’s stunning score, A Cure For Wellness is actually closer to something by Hitchock. The stunning scenery of Switzerland both complimenting and adding to the terror.

Story-wise I found it very similar to Dracula, just without Vampires. Dane DeHaan’s emotionally damaged Lockhart is caught up in some shady business deals. His employers offer to offload the blame on their CEO Pembroke who has run away to a mysterious health clinic in the Swiss Alps. Once in Switzerland, Lockhart finds the clinic is very strange, like a reverse Shutter Island, everyone is sedate and happy. The creepy Dr Volmer (Jason Isaacs) is far too nice and Hannah (Mia Goth) is the only other young person in the clinic and she is distant, detached and definitely hiding something. One horrible car crash later, Lockhart is trapped in the clinic, no closer to getting Pembroke home and a new mystery unravelling around him.

There is a LOT going on in this film. I mean, the synopsis above is basically just the first act. Verbinski’s non-linear structure and vague style keeps you guessing and hooked despite a two and a half hour runtime. Wellness is not a hard film to keep track of, but it’s constantly teasing reveals and pulling you along sterile corridors and dank old tunnels. The actual look of the film is incredible, reminiscent of Verbinski’s own The Ring mixed with Shutter Island. Just, y’know, without the terrifying ghost girl but with loads of eels instead.

The only quibble I had was Dane DeHaan’s slightly wooden acting. He comes across as Keanu Reeves without the cool, but as the story progressed his bewilderment faded into despair and anger.

I think in time, A Cure for Wellness will end up as a beloved cult classic. It’s got enough depth and mythology to warrant multiple viewings and certainly has the visual flair to hold up in future. The long runtime maybe off putting for some, but watching at home where pause buttons exist gives no excuses. Plus, the third act reveals are satisfying, which makes a difference. So many long, drawn out films splutter out an ending that doesn’t quite work, but Wellness sticks the landing.
Give it a look, if you’re a fan of slow burning, creepy horror especially.


For Fans Of:

Crimson Peak

The Ring

Dracula (1992)

Shutter Island

mother! (2017)

Darren Aronofsky has made possibly the most polarising film of the decade. Mixing psychological horror with heavy handed religious allegories as well as being a satire of fame, mother!  is in my opinion one of the best films of the year. However it is certainly not for everyone, thoroughly dividing audiences and critics alike . I’m going to be discussing the plot frankly and in detail including the ending, so please go and see the film before reading! 


Written and directed by Aronofsky, mother!  has a phenomenonal cast, led by Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem. Their nameless characters reside in a large, curiously shaped house, currently being renovated solely by Lawrence after a fire destroyed it. The chemistry between the two leads is why the film works, if their relationship doesn’t click, the film would simply fall flat. Our leads are a couple, living together alone in a large house in the middle of nowhere. Bardem a writer struggling with his creativity, Lawrence the muse, rebuilding and renovating the house they live in. 

Unexpectedly,  Ed Harris arrives, followed soon after by a mesmerising  Michelle Pfeiffer, a married couple with temptation issues. Outstaying their welcome and acting like they own the place, their two sons arrive soon thereafter, one jealously bludgeoning the other to death. 

It was at this point that I realised one of the influences of the film, which feels odd to write. Darren Aronofsky has essentially retold the bible as a horror movie. Harris and Pfeiffer are Adam and Eve. The sons, played by real life brothers Domhnall and Brian Gleeson: Cain and Abel. Making Bardem’s character God and Lawrence being mother earth. 

Not long after this, Lawrence falls pregnant and Bardem’s new work inspires a legion of new fans and followers, with the tone and style of the film changing as a result. This is Aronofsky’s New Testament section of the film, very different from the first half, complete with a visceral, graphic version of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and a literal take on communion. A warzone of body parts and gore with some of the heaviest and disturbing scenes I’ve ever seen in a mainstream Hollywood movie, that will certainly stick with me for quite a while. 

It’s clear to me that Aronofsky is not just retelling the Bible. That would be an insult to the layers and depths that mother! goes to. Coming across at times like a stage play, the basic setting of this bare house enables us to truly digest the performances and story. I feel and I’m sure I’m not alone on this, that the movie is also a comment on the creative process as well as the cost of fame. In fact, you could ignore all the Biblical references and just view the movie as an allegory of the creative process and it would still be a resounding success. Artists of any kind will know the pains and labours of creating something so personal and then letting it go into the world to be criticised, lauded and for people to feel a connection with it, feeling ownership and entitlement of your work.  Then of course to attempt to start again and repeat the whole process. As Bardem’s Him says near the end, nothing is ever enough. 

I found the cinematography highly original and wholly oppressive, every scene is either of Lawrence’s face, over her shoulder or from her perspective. This really builds a claustrophobic feel, generating an anxious feel and confusing the audience as to the geography of the house. Sometimes feeling that rooms change floors or corridors lead elsewhere. The set design, while bare and bleak, suits the feel of the film. The touches like a bleeding floor and the David Lynch style dreamy shots of something biological within the house starting to turn to ash are the icing on a very bizarre cake. 

You can definitely see the influences of the likes of Polanski and Von Trier as well as riffs on his own earlier work , but mother! never really feels derivative, instead existing in its own grim little bubble. 

Since leaving the cinema and mulling it over, I’ve changed my review score three times. A captivating, visceral and concise piece of art, mother! is certainly an acquired taste,  but will also be talked about for years to come. 

For Fans Of:



Mulholland Drive

Rosemary’s Baby

The Dark Tower (2017)

Stephen King’s epic fantasy series has had a long troubled road to the screen. Going through creative teams such as Abrams/ Lindelof and Ron Howard/ Brian Grazer, eventually landing at the trustworthy hands of Danish director Nikolaj Arcel and Akiva Goldsman. Yes. That Akiva Goldsman. Writer of Batman and Robin. 

Let that sink in. 

They trusted this huge, potential franchise to the guy who wrote all those ice puns and gave Batman a credit card with Forever as the expiry date. 

Tom Taylor plays Jake Chambers, a troubled young boy  having visions of a Gunslinger, Roland Deschain (Idris Elba)  and his battle against the Man in Black (Matthew McConnaughey). The Man in Black wants to destroy The Dark Tower, which protects the multiverse. We never really find out his motivation other than he’s a bit evil. 

Getting critically mauled on its release, I expected very little to enjoy, so imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a fairly enjoyable, sci-fi romp. Landing somewhere between Thor and Masters of the Universe, The Dark Tower is a kind of cheesey, entertaining fantasy/western/pulp/sci-fi film. It’s short, so wastes no time in getting the story going and rarely pauses for breath. It’s also a Stephen King greatest hits collection, with constant references to Shining and people who Shine as well as dropping hints to Cujo, IT and a few other King classics. 

Of course there are some faults. The plot is fairly basic, and quite messy in places, missing out some key details, leaving the audience to try and figure out things for themselves. Oh and McConnaughey sounds overdubbed and slightly louder than everyone else, maybe an Adam Sandler/Little Nicky situation requiring a re-recording. He’s…. not up to his usual standard by the way, sort of flat. I wanted crazy scenery chewing and didn’t get it. Elba is fantastic on the other hand. Deserved much more of a meaty role than he was given. Roland’s scenes on our Keystone Earth were hilarious, Elba’s deadpan delivery was impeccable.

The Dark Tower should have been the next Harry Potter series. Huge scale epic fantasy movies, filled with real stakes and humour. What we get is a canonical sequel to the books that is sort of a remix of the entire series. Now, I’ll admit I haven’t read TDT series yet, but it’s on my to read list. If anything the film has made me want to read them more than ever. 


For Fans of:


Masters of The Universe 



Top 10 Twin Peaks Characters NOT in The Return. 

We’ve all been losing our mind over Twin Peaks: The Return this summer. So, as Mark Frost and David Lynch’s oddessy into terror, hilarity and the surreal heads towards its conclusion, I’m taking a look at some of the best Twin Peaks characters who haven’t returned. 

This is, of course, a personal list, but if you think I’ve missed anyone or you disagree with my reasons, leave me a comment below or find me on twitter! BOB isn’t on the list as despite Frank Silva having died in 1995, his character and likeness have made it onto The Return, similar to Major Briggs, played by the late Don S Davis. 

Obviously this will include spoilers for the original two seasons and Fire Walk With Me

Also. Let’s get some business out of the way, my podcast recently had a Twin Peaks themed episode featuring an in-depth conversation with David Patrick Kelly, who plays Jerry Horne. David even played the Twin Peaks theme on the mandolin to open our interview. It’s truly breathtaking and something I am very proud of . If you use apple devices you can search iTunes for Supernerds UK or if you’re on Android just click here

Let’s Rock. 

10. Catherine Martell 

Piper Laurie’s Catherine Martell was the source of a lot of the soap opera storylines in the original series, shouting abuse at her long suffering husband Pete, conducting shady business deals and having illicit trysts with Benjamin Horne. Well. Until she died. Then there was the reveal that she was actually alive and posing as the secretive Japanese businessman Mr Tojamura. Because of course she was. 

Which leads me nicely to 

9. Pete Martell 

The late Jack Nance, who sadly passed away in 1996 in strange circumstances, fitting of a Twin Peaks storyline, played Pete Martell. Jack was a long time Lynch collaborator, appearing in most of his films, even being the iconic star of Eraserhead. Arguably the show’s everyman and its heart, Pete was the fisherman who found Laura Palmer’s body, in that legendary first scene. 
 “She’s dead, wrapped in plastic!” 

Nance’s offbeat persona gave Pete life and he was a delight to watch. Whether butting up against Catherine, trying to look after Josie Packard or accusing the Log Lady of stealing his car, he always raised a smile. 

8. Josie Packard. 

Sticking with characters associated with the Mill is the beautiful and mysterious (I feel I will need to thesaurus another word for mysterious soon) Josie. The wife of Andrew Martell, Catherine’s dead brother and the heir to his fortune. Romantically involved with town Sheriff Harry S Truman, Josie was often swept up in other people’s greed. She ended up as Catherine’s maid at one point, then was the subject of a business rivalry between the no longer dead Andrew and Thomas Eckhardt. Oh and she was the one who shot Coop in the season one finale. 

Her final fate is pretty terrifying.  Josie, about to be arrested, suddenly stiffens and dies. As Harry cradles her body, Coop sees BOB, appearing from nowhere, taunting him about Jose’s death. Then the Man From Another Place appears, dancing on the bed. Jose’s spirit seemingly ended up trapped in a draw knob, but more likely trapped in The Great Northern Hotel for eternity. 

7.  Donna Hayward 

A curious omission from the new season was Donna Hayward. Laura Palmer’s best friend and James Hurley’s true love, Donna was a key part of the original show. Her father is the town doctor and her involvement with James and Maddy is at the forefront of the season one mystery. Played by Lara Flynn Boyle in the original series, Donna was smoldering intensity buried beneath a small town girl next door. Boyle refused to return for Fire Walk With Me, the role recast with Moira Kelly. I’m not sure whether this show of disloyalty prompted Lynch and Frost to leave the character out this time round or with no real focus on Laura, they simply just didn’t find room for Donna. 

6. Annie Blackburn

Heather Graham’s Annie wasn’t in our beloved Pacific northwest portal to insanity for very long, but she made a big impact. Cooper quickly fell for the lovely Annie, who was as wholesome and optimistic as him. Unfortunately the diabolical Windom Earle decided to insert himself into their relationship and exact his twisted revenge by taking her into the Black Lodge. Despite a time-disjointed Annie appearing to Laura in Fire Walk With Me, I think she’s firmly dead and not returning.

5. Windom Earle

When we’re told Dale Cooper’s former partner has escaped from prison early on in Season two, I don’t think many people would have expected where that would lead us to. Initially appearing as a disguise wearing,  hammy villain, Windom kidnaps Leo Johnson, freshly woken from his comatose state. Clearly relishing his performance, Kenneth Welsh is the villain we didn’t know we  needed, adding urgency and pace to the second season. Windom,  we realise has been driven insane, both with his desire for revenge on Coop and his obsession with the Black Lodge. Meeting a truly awful end at the hands of BOB, I’m fairly certain Windom isn’t coming back, but who knows?! 

4.  Leo Johnson

A terrifying figure in Season one due to his abuse of his wife Shelly and his possible involvement in Laura’s death, Eric Da Re as Leo should have been a huge part of season 2 and beyond. Unfortunately for him, he ends up comatose in a wheelchair wearing a party hat. Later, freshly woken and acting as Windom Earle’s pawn, Leo was last seen in a precarious situation, trapped in a cabin, having to hold a rope with his teeth to stop spiders dropping on his face. Sadly, he’s probably still there. 

3. Dick Tremayne. 

I get that this may not be a great choice for a lot of people, but I truly don’t care. Ian Buchanan as heelish menswear salesman Dick Tremayne was a slimy, awful character and that’s why I loved him. Lucy’s one time love interest and possible father to her unborn child, Tremayne gets a fair amount of screen time in season two and thoroughly chews the scenery. 

His scenes with Andy were pure comedy gold, both of them competing to be the best potential father. At one point the two of them end up looking after an increasingly mischievous child named Nicky, who Dick eventually thinks may be the devil. 

Dick is a hilarious addition to the cast and fits in marvellously, antagonising some of our most  beloved characters. Probably best not to mention Pine Weasels though.

2. The Man From Another Place 

“! kcor s’teL” 

Michael J Anderson’s backwards talking Black Lodge inhabitant is arguably the most iconic Twin Peaks character ever, possibly only topped by a plate of Cherry Pie. 

His appearances were few and far between, but every time he’s on-screen, he’s electric and you just can’t take your eyes off him. His red suit and reversed  dancing were simply unlike anything ever seen before.  Sadly, after Anderson wasnt offered enough money for his liking to return, he decided to slander Lynch with some truly bizarre and libellous claims and was replaced onscreen by a talking, monstrous tree.  

1. Sheriff Harry S Truman 

The town Sheriff, leader of the Bookhouse Boys and Cooper’s new best friend, Sheriff Truman is one of the only characters in the whole of Twin Peaks not to be bizarre or surrreal. A straight laced officer of the law who only has everyone’s best intentions at heart. Michael Ontkean had second billing on the credits too, reflecting his importance to the show. 

Truman’s stoic nature and sly humour endeared him to the audience just as much as it did Cooper. His reaction to Coop disappearing into the trees and the Black Lodge at the end of season 2 finally gave him a “What the hell?” realisation of just how crazy this town really is. 

Michael Ontkean has now retired from acting and lives in Hawaii, clearly preferring the sun and tropical island to the rainy Pacific Northwest. His part was not recast, instead Robert Forster plays Sheriff Frank Truman, Harry’s brother. A welcome addition but not a replacement.


So that’s the list! As I said at the start, leave a comment or tweet me if I missed anyone you would have added. 

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this list please check out my articles on the original series, the feature film Fire Walk With Me and my reviews of Episodes 1&2 and 3&4 of the Twin Peaks: The Return. 

The Mummy (2017)

Shared movie universes are all the rage these days. Well, since Marvel gave themselves a license to print money, anyway. DC Comics,Transformers, the Fox X-Men films and many more are all in development so it’s only natural that Universal Studios who practically invented this concept with their monster movies, back in the 30s and 40s have decided to throw their hat back in the ring.

The first entry in Univeral’s Dark Universe, their new series of shared universe horror films, is The Mummy. Starring Tom Cruise and Sofia Boutella, The Mummy has been savaged by critics and flopped theatrically and I’m not quite sure why. Maybe people expected too much, but I enjoyed The Mummy for what it was, an action packed, horror-tinged adventure film. A mash of genres and full of excitement, even if it never manages to be truly scary, The Mummy nonetheless maintains tension and pulls the viewer along at a fast pace. The film only ever slows down when introducing the shared universe stuff, even then, never becoming boring.

Tom Cruise stars as Nick Morton, a sleazy army officer more concerned with stealing artifacts along with his pal Vail, played by Jurassic World’s Jake Johnson. While attempting to loot a tomb in Iraq, Nick encounters Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) An archaeologist he has some history with and together they accidentally unleash something ancient and evil. Sofia Boutella plays Ahmanet, a vengeful Egyptian Princess sentenced to be mummified alive for murdering her father and his son. Along they way she also tried to summon Set, the God of Death and control the world. Basically, if you’ve seen the Brendan Fraser version, she’s Imhotep and Tom Cruise is Rachel Weisz.

Packed with awesome effects, some big laughs and loads of violence, The Mummy is a great romp. I kept waiting for it to get bad, but it never did. Sure, Cruise is not giving it his best, but it never dips into being unwatchable. If you’re into cheesey horror adventures, you’ll love it. This one has a huge budget and TOM FUCKING CRUISE in it.

One scene that absolutely wowed me was the plane crash, as heavily shown in all of the trailers. What a dizzying, thrilling set piece that is! Breathlessly shot and very tense, it creates a sense of dread and Cruise sells the whole thing. Like a spooky Mission Impossible stunt.

Sadly, I can’t say The Mummy is Oscar worthy or even massively original. In fact you can play “spot the influence” all the way through. Personally, I found a huge John Landis influence, the zombies had a Thriller vibe and the ghostly apparition of a dead friend warning of trouble was straight out of An American Werewolf in London. It had that typically Landis darkly comedic tone all the way though, the main character cursed, yet seeing the funny side. It also felt at times like the Uncharted games, very quippy and dry, with a similar desert setting. Cruise was actually dressed a little like Nathan Drake too.

Cruise himself has had a fair bit of a critical bashing, which is undeserved. The romance angle between Nick and Jenny didn’t fully work, but it fits his character and by the end, everything does make sense. The scenes with Cruise and Jake Johnson were great, Johnson surely has to end up leading his own franchise at some point. He’d make a good Boomerang if they ever do a Superior Foes of Spider-Man movie.

The film looked great, with each setting looking different and reflecting the tone of the scene, kind of how Bond films do it. Or maybe it’s furthering the Uncharted influence and acting like video game levels. I particularly liked the Prodigium headquarters with all the references to other monster films.

Okay, so let’s talk Dark Universe. At the time of writing, The Mummy is getting buried at the box office, surely affecting future creative plans. I hope nothing too drastically, as what is set up here is actually very cool. I also LOVED Russell Crowe as Henry Jekyll and his old pal Eddie Hyde. As a pair of supporting characters Jekyll and Hyde will hopefully pop up in the next Dark Universe film, Bill Condon’s Bride of Frankenstein. Due to open February 2019, staring Javier Bardem and if rumours are to be believed, Angelina Jolie. Everyone’s favourite hat wearer Johnny Depp is the Invisible Man too, but where he will appear isn’t certain. All puns fully intended.

Don’t listen to the critics, judge The Mummy on your own terms. I found a lot to like and was left wanting more from this world. Great action, effects and funny, worth the time of every horror fan. Even if it’s not truly a horror film.
The Mummy is still in cinemas now

For Fans Of :
The Mummy (1999)

An American Werewolf in London

Mission Impossible

The Relic

Split (2017)

M Night Shyamalan’s Split is a remarkable film. A psychological horror – thriller, darkly comic at times and frighteningly intense at others. 

The story of three girls taken captive by a man with multiple personalities, this could have been a torture porn or exploitation film in other hands, but M Night Shymalan raises the tone and crafts something special. Layering flashbacks, subplots and different characters perfectly, Split never loses track of its multiple strands, each one getting it’s time in the light. 

The unsettling opening scene sets the tone for what follows, as we see Dennis, Kevin’s bespectacled, intense personality, systemically take town three girls, whilst remaining so stoic and calm. It’s a frightening statement of intent from a writer director at the top of his game. 

Anya Taylor-Joy, star of 2016’s horror masterpiece The Witch, plays Casey, a withdrawn, damaged girl, who’s deeply upsetting backstory is revealed slowly throughout the film. One of the three girls taken by Kevin, Casey is held prisoner along with Jessica Sula as Marcia and Hayley Lu as Claire, in an unknown location. Taylor-Joy is carving out a career as a modern day horror icon, next appearing in 2018’s X Men horror film The New Mutants as Magik. 

James McAvoy, also formerly an X Man, gives the performances of his career so far here. He plays a man with 23 different identities, each one that were shown is completely distinct. I feel if this wasn’t a horror/thriller, we would be looking at an Oscar nomination for him. From Barry the fashion designer, Hedwig the dopey 9 yer old to Patricia, a stern British woman, McAvoy is unbelievable. Every single personality inside Kevin is fully realised and an individual character in it’s own right. McAvoy really gives a virtuoso performance here, showcasing his talents and proving himself as a top tier talent. What’s more, nothing ever comes across as silly. Even when he’s dressed as a woman, McAvoy commands your attention with his intensity, never appearing anything less than a fully developed character. It’s a stunning achievement. 

The rest of the cast is great too , especially Brad William Henke’s creepy uncle in the flashback scenes and veteran actress Betty Buckley as Dr Fletcher is particularly great. Dr Fletcher’s character drops lots of the information about Kevin’s disorder. Other movies would use her character for exposition dumps and not much else, but Shymalan makes her so compelling and Buckley herself has such a warmth and heart that you can’t help but feel the fear and the compassion yourself.

This being an M Night Shymalan movie, there are two things you’d always expect. One is his gratuitous cameo, and the other is a plot full of twists and turns. Both are present here. Shyamalan’s career renaissance has been impressive thus far, Split only proving his ability to shock and thrill even more. The Sixth Sense was a huge bar to set for himself, so seeing him returning to that level is nice.  It’s difficult to go into detail without spoiling a lot of what makes the movie great. I do feel that while Split’s twists are why it works, that multiple viewings would only improve the film. 

Leaving spoilers out of it, both the ending and credits scene made my jaw drop. A huge talking point for sure and the recently announced sequel sounds very interesting indeed!

Split is a rare thing, a hybrid of genres and influences, ending up as strong as the sum of its parts. Rather like it’s main character. 


For Fans Of: 

Silence of the Lambs


Raising Cain 

10 Cloverfield Lane