Shocking Saturday: Insensibles (Painless)

Juan Carlos Medina’s French-Spanish mystery-horror takes the audience on a journey through history, with two stories that are both just as sorrowful as they are gripping.

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Insensibles begins with scenes on the brink of the Spanish civil war, various children who are unable to feel pain are rounded up and locked away in Catalonia for the safety of the people and also of themselves. Although incarcerated everyday, the children still show signs of intellect as a professor, Dr. Holzmann, attempts to teach them what pain is so that they do not have to spend the rest of their days locked up. At the same time we are shown a depiction of modern-day, and David, a brilliant neurosurgeon, has just survived a horrific car crash, unfortunately his wife did not. However that is not the worst of his problems as when he is checked over in the emergency room doctors find that he has cancer; and the only way to save his life is to have a bodily donation from one of his birth parents. When it turns out that David was adopted he goes on a mission to find out who his real parents were, various leads explain how they knew his father throughout history and what he became. David may find the answers he is looking for, but will he be happy with them and how do the painless children intertwine into his past.

The crossover storyline really weaves together very well as we dart back and forth between modern-day and the early 20th century. As the film plays out, the part of the plot which is set back in time shows the different war eras of Catalonia, firstly in the Spanish civil war, then in Hitler’s invasion in World War Two and through to the ’60s, we see how the painless children have to cope with these situations; it sort of gave off a darker Forrest Gump feeling with the travelling through history.

This is a film with some rather beautiful scenes at times which do not fail to dazzle, and as we follow David on his journey to discover who his birth parents were, the mood never changes to a dull one. The audience wants to unravel the mystery just as much as David does, and there are twists and turns around every corner that eventually end up with a conclusion. However it is these twists and turns which become the films downfall, they do entertain and make a more interesting story, but in parts it seems the script tries to be too clever in having the characters recite indecipherable messages which can not always be understood. Insensibles will definitely have you watching until the very end, it just needed more of an ending. Sometimes in films questions should be left open for the viewer to interpret themselves, but it is hard to make your own assessment when there seems to be information missing.

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In Insensibles Juan Carlos Medina delivers a violent tale of sorrow which is only let down in its confusing twists and ending.

Tag Line: Pain Is Their Remedy.

Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O) (:-O)

Star Rating: ☆☆☆

Ash vs. The Evil Dead

That’s right, Bruce Campbell, arguably the greatest B-Movie star, is set to reprise his role as Ash Williams and fend off the evil deadites in a battle for earth in a TV series. The Evil Dead first graced our screens in 1981 and went on to spawn two sequels, all of which have become cult favourites. What it was about the films that enticed audiences in was not only the gruesome special effects and that infamous tree scene, but also the main protagonist; the chainsaw-weilding, boom-stick using king of one-liners Ash.

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Thankfully the 10 part series is going to feature Bruce Campbell as the lead role, any other choice probably would have come under fire from fans, and it will show Ash at his boring day-to-day job, telling customers to shop smart at S-Mart. After ignoring his heroic abilities for a while, he decides that it is time he takes on the forces of the necronomicon once again as they threaten to take over the world.

The series is set for a 2015 release and appears to be in good hands as Evil Dead director Sam Raimi is helming the first episode of the series.

Groovy.

Shocking Saturday: Kairo (Pulse)

Japan is well-known for its creepy supernatural horror films, and one in particular that will have you running for the safety of your bed in the dark is the 2001 film Kairo.

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Kairo follows two different stories from the perspectives of citizens in Tokyo, whose lives begin to get entangled with a website that asks if you want to meet a ghost.
First we have three people whose friend has just committed suicide; they are anxious to find out the truth behind his sudden death, and a picture of him standing in his lounge with a ghostlike face in his computer screen only raises more questions.
Then we have Ryosuke who has recently bought a computer, for a reason which he really doesn’t know, and is introduced to the website unknowingly, which depicts people creepily standing, rolling and staring in front of their computers. His new friend Hurue is intrigued by it and asks to view it at his home – it all just seems like a harmless website until mass suicides begin to happen all over the city, figures appear to be there but really aren’t, black masses which whisper “help me” are stained to walls and why are there so many rooms being red taped shut all of a sudden?
The answer is much sinister than you could ever imagine. The ghouls are at work, and they have a plan for all of us.

The Japanese are well-known for their ghostly horror films such as Ringu and Ju-On: The Grudge; they always seem to bring a feeling of unease with them, which has you squirming in your seat at the thought of watching any more of the movie. Kairo is no exception. Although it begins rather slowly, and the acting appears slightly amateurish at times, as the film progresses it sucks you in when you start to discover more about the mysterious occurrences.
At one point, when you first see a spectre, all seems fine, and then suddenly the light lowers and a spine-tingling high-pitched woman’s voice begins to sing over the top of the low-bass pulsing. It not only has the characters screaming on-screen, but also you screaming at them to get out of the room. The music is not the only aspect which creates an uncomfortable atmosphere; the ominous colour scheme that is used makes the audience feel just as dreary as the characters do, and the simple yet scary way that the ghosts are presented, with disturbing movements, adds another layer of discomfort to us.

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Although the main story line is that spirits are crossing back over into our world through means that we would never expect and are subjecting us to a torture worse than death, there is also a secondary storyline throughout film; Kairo tries to teach its audience about the dangers of being lost in technology, and it touches on the themes of being alienated and isolated due to the internet, and that we are never really connecting with each other through using it.

The 2006 American remake called Pulse and starring Kristen Bell and Ian Somerhalder, did bring the simple premise to the screen, however it was simply a horror film rather than one to make you question your time with technological devices.

Through Kairo director Kiyoshi Kurosawa brings a whole new terrifying concept to our thoughts about the afterlife.

Tag Line: Do You Want To Meet A Ghost?

Horror Rating: (:-O) (:-O) (:-O)

Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆