A group of pre-teens are set to spend the summer of 1979 making a zombie movie (hence the title), but things don't go exactly according to plan after a passing train ("production value!") derails spectacularly and unleashes - something - upon a typically Spielbergian small town. J.J. Abrams, a name synonymous with good storytelling, thrilling action, and teasing intrigue, delves deep into his childhood and serves up an excellent dose of nostalgia. At times the thematic and stylistic nods to Spielberg's earlier work (such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and E.T.) become somewhat overwhelming, the reveal of the big bad beastie isn't quite as thrilling as the tease, and some of the adults' back stories are skimmed over a bit. Nonetheless, these minor quibbles don't spoil a well crafted coming-of-age sci-fi bone-rattler that remembers that plot is key to hooking your audience.
The Inbetweeners Movie:
I was so looking forward to this movie version of the excellent E4 TV series that I probably spoiled my viewing a bit - that's not to say I didn't enjoy it (I thoroughly lapped it up), but it's best for fans to temper their expectations a tad. The four boys have completed their A-Levels and jet off on a sun-sea-sex holiday, and - this being The Inbetweeners - they get into a series of cringe-inducing scrapes and social faux-pas moments. From silly asides to up-front gross-out moments, the flick bounds along at a good lick and provides a satisfying closer to a mini TV phenomena that grew in popularity with every series. Hopefully there'll be an uncut (it was slightly trimmed to gain a 15 rating) and extended version when it hits home video.
A so-called 'hoody horror' starring Michael Fassbender and that guy who played Cooke in the second incarnation of Skins. A young couple head to the titular lake for a romantic time, only to have it spoiled by a gang of feral teenagers raised by vicious parents. As the battle between the out-of-town couple and the teens escalates, so does the intense bleakness. Siding with the theory of nurture, over nature, causeing violent offspring, the hands-off approach and downbeat sensibility will leave viewers rattled. The dark and depressing tone manages to cover over most of the plot holes to make an actually horrific horror movie - one that is all-the-more chilling and important in the wake of the English riots. One thing though, ITV4 showed this (like many other 2.35:1 movies) in a cropped 16x9 presentation - so the framing (specifically designed for 2.35:1) was butchered throughout ... so pay attention ITV4 - show films in their original aspect ratios!