Thursday, April 4, 2013


     Well I'm back home and enjoying a little down time after a long and arduous winter North of the 60thparallel. Since getting back I have started back into my writing routine and taken the time to catch up on a few flicks I've been hearing about, but haven't had the time to watch.
     The first film I watched was a flick called Outpost Black Sun. Right from the get go. What a cool title! After all, it conjures up all sorts of thoughts, including remote outposts where bad things happen. Then I read the synopsis and was a little more excited.
     At the end of the second world war a German scientist has invented a machine that turns ordinary Nazi soldiers into immortal beings. Actually the immortal beings are actually Zombies dressed in Nazi uniforms and that conjures up the kid in me. Immediately I thought about the 1977 classic Shock Waves starring veteran horror mainstay Peter Cushing and I remembered how I loved the concept.

     This tale is set in present day and follows Lena (played by Catherine Steadman), an investigator tracking Nazi war criminals who stumbles upon a map that leads her to an unspecified part of Europe. Possibly the Balkans. When she arrives  she finds herself shaken down by local militia and as a result teams up with another sleuth named Wallace (played by Richard Coyle) who is hot on the trail of the scientist who has developed the technology.
     While I was willing to forgive the political correctness of casting a young pretty female in the role of Nazi hunter I could not get past the other flaws this film had. The characters are shallow lacking depth or personality. Even worse, the film really couldn't decide whether it was a horror flick or an action flick.  While I wasn't expecting blockbuster, I would have still liked a good creepshow  that harkened back to that 1974 flick with Nazi Zombies. Outpost Black Sun is actually a sequel to Outpost which was released in 2008 in which a group of mercenaries stumble upon the same Nazi Bunker. I can't give you a fair assessment of that film, but if its anything like the sequel I wouldn't be ordering the box set.  Better yet, pick up a copy of Shock Waves and check out some bitching Nazi Zombies that walk underwater and pop up in the most frightening of places.

     Now on to something a little darker and better acted. The second film I watched was an independent called: We need to talk about Kevin. 
   Well the title pretty much says it all doesn't it? Kevin is the son of Franklin and Eva played by John C Reilly and Tilda Swinton.  In reality, Reilly is really a supporting character, as it is carried by Swinton's character Eva along with outstanding support from Ezra Miller who plays teenage Kevin. 
    As the story unfolds we follow Eva through her solitary torment as she recounts her son's evolving sociopathic personality from a baby to a teenager. Their relationship is combative almost from birth. Though she she tries to connect with her son,he resists becoming increasingly cruel and aggressive. Franklin, Kevin's father, seems oblivious to his son's unusual behavior, until their youngest daughter loses an eye and Kevin shows no remorse.
Tilda Swinton (Eva) with Jasper Newell as (Young Kevin)
    Early on we know that something terrible has happened, but the film takes us in a number of directions through a series of flashbacks that peel back the many layers of dysfunction.
     Swinton carries the role of Eva with little effort and delivers a tortured and melancholy individual that is all too believable. Scorned by townspeople and haunted by memories, she has little to do but immerse herself in a haze of alcohol and prescription drugs.
    In the aftermath of real life school shootings, the most recent being Sandy Hook CT, there is a sinister message in this film that reminds us that such things are not restricted to fiction. It is also a reminder that the victims of such terrible tragedies are also the family of the perpetrator.
     Both Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller give outstanding performances in this film. The overall direction of the film was carried out flawlessly through a series of sequenced redirects.
     It is my understanding that the book, written by Lionel Shriver, is a number of correspondences with her estranged husband about Kevin's actions. I have not read it, but reviews of the 2003 publication are pretty solid. This may have made for a very difficult film adaption, but director screenwriter Lynne Ramsay with Rory Kinnear deliver a powerful adaption of the bestselling novel.     I highly recommend this film, if not for anything, but to watch Swinton deliver the goods. 
MJ Preston is the Author of the Horror Novel: THE EQUINOX
His new novel ACADIA EVENT is forecasted for release in late 
'The Equinox' is a tour de force of brilliant writing, fast-paced action, and gritty characterisation. 
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