“Something in the blood” | 28 Days Later… (2002)

When is a zombie movie not a zombie movie? It’s a question that quite a lot of critics and viewer may have asked themselves when they saw Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later…, released in the UK in October 2002 before opening internationally over the subsequent twelve months (the USA got it in July 2003, Australia ...

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled” | The Usual Suspects (1995)

A group of convicted felons meet each other at a police line-up, and agree to undertake a violent robbery. They then find themselves in the grips of the anonymous gangster Keyzer Söze, and are blackmailed into undertaking a near-suicidal mission. The Usual Suspects is a cleverly constructed puzzle of a film, and as such any ...

“Everyone has a plan until they’ve been hit” | The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)

In 1898 the British government commissioned a railway bridge to be built across Kenya’s Tsavo River. A large crew of African and Indian workers were supervised by the Irish engineer Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson. Over the course of the year, however, one worker after another were taken in the night. Before long the source ...

“Love, actually, is all around” | Love Actually (2004)

‘When I was four,’ said writer/director Richard Curtis, ‘I fell in love with a girl called Jill and then at seven, with a girl called Tracy. I was always very, very liable to fall in love. In my twenties and thirties, I got my heart broken really badly. The three things that matter most to ...

“I’m the guy you buy.” | Michael Clayton (2007)

It starts in the office of an expensive New York law firm, sometime in the middle night. Cleaners are out vacuuming the floors. On the whole the place seems deserted. Then we hear the voice-over. We don’t know who it is. We don’t know what he is talking about. As he rambles on in a ...

“We all must make our little deals with the devil” | Dominion: The Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)

The story of Dominion is one of the stranger ones in modern Hollywood. It’s a film that was made, and then shelved, and then entirely replaced, only to be resurrected and released to film festivals and home video. It is a god-send for film students, since it illustrates beautifully with two complete feature films – ...

“They say this one has a surprise ending” | Unbreakable (2000)

In 1999 audiences worldwide were stunned by a film titled The Sixth Sense. It arrived without fanfare; a sort of mid-list supernatural thriller designed to give audiences something to go to between the big summer blockbusters. Sure it starred Bruce Willis, but it came from an unknown writer-director and featured a relatively unknown supporting cast. ...

“Every time I close my eyes” | Sunshine (2007)

It is fifty years into the future. The Earth’s sun is dying. One human mission to re-ignite the sun’s core has ended in catastrophic failure. A second and final mission is underway: the Icarus II, commanded by a small crew of astronauts and scientists and carrying the largest explosive device ever conceived. This arresting science ...

“The answer was unknowable” | Primer (2004)

Two engineers turned entrepreneurs, Aaron and Abe, attempt to build a machine that can defy gravity. Instead they accidentally build a box which outputs more power than they put into it, and within which time appears to run backwards. When they build a much bigger version of the same box, they are able to climb ...

“We’re being kept here to die” | The Ruins (2008)

Ben Stiller is a noted writer, director and performer of Hollywood comedies, who has headlined such blockbuster hits as There’s Something About Mary (1998), Zoolander (2001) and Tropic Thunder (2008). He is not necessarily the first name to spring to mind when thinking about horror movies, yet in 2008 he and his business partner Stuart ...

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