After the death of her cousin Tomoko, reporter Reiko hears stories of a videotape that kills everyone who sees it exactly one week after viewing. At first she discounts the rumours, but when she learns that Tomoko’s friend (who watched the video with her) died at exactly the same time, she begins to investigate. After viewing the tape herself, strange things start happening and so she teams up with her ex-husband to try to stop the death clock that has once again begun ticking.
1998 – Certificate: 15 – Japanese film
6.0 out of 10
Despite being an antisocial loser and having no friends, I recently found myself in possession of a birthday party invitation. Stress! For a start, how does one present one’s self for such a social gathering these days? Formal? Casual but smart? Street smart? Metrosexual urbanite? And as for presents; that’s a total, social minefield. Still, not wanting to waste this once-in-ten-year opportunity to ‘have-a-good-time’ and ‘meet people’, last Saturday found me sitting in the sun in a garden in west London, twerking to ska-punk and reminiscing how when I was 13 I used to know be able to identify every car on the road and every plane in the sky; (a party animal, I know). I also learnt loads about what it’s like to control one of those massive cranes that you see on building sites; met a really famous drummer, (I think it was either Charlie Watts or Tré Cool, but I’m not sure now); knocked a can of cider on the kitchen floor and starred somewhat dumbly at the mess as someone else cleaned it up; drunk an inappropriate mixture of drinks that included cider, port, Buckfast, Midori, vodka and some Lithuanian spirit that tasted a lot like medicine; had a long conversation about Syria; ate some peanuts and samosas, (which were very nice) and talked to someone who’s getting married in six weeks. I probably bored a lot of other people too, but I can’t actually remember much else, but I imagine I wasn’t very interesting or coherent and spoke mostly drunkanise. Finally I left and forgetting that when I’d learnt which way to turn to take me to the train station (which was a two-minute walk away) I’d had the map upside-down, went totally the other way, took two buses and ended up wandering around the empty corridors of Heathrow Airport all night, like an extra from a zombie apocalypse film, before finally getting an entirely empty coach back to Reading at five in the morning; (well it had a driver in it, and me, obviously). I don’t suppose I’ll get another invite to a party anytime soon, but I was glad to have this opportunity to reconfirm that I have no social skills and really shouldn’t drink more than a pint of shandy. And it took me over two days to recover too. Frightening stuff.
This film has a fearsome reputation for being really, really scary. It’s not really. Well a couple of times it was but mostly it wasn’t. It’s more creepy than anything else. The anticipation that something was about to be scary was often more scary than what actually happened; a bit like crossing a busy road. I suppose if you get off on a certain kind of Japanese ghost horror then you’d be more likely to have an underwear malfunction, but not otherwise. The plot’s got something to do with a cursed video and a woman in a well. In many ways it’s as much a whodunit thriller as a horror. If a similar sort of thing happened today, it would end up on YouTube and probably wipe out most of the Earth’s population. Given its video-based story, it hasn’t aged well. Having said all that, it’s actually quite watchable. I guess I just found it a bit of a disappointment after all the hype.
There isn’t a great deal of music in this movie and what there is sounded like it came straight off of “Now That’s What I Call Horror Film Music, Volume 34”. The theme tune (used at the end of the film and on the trailer) is pretty horrific, but not it a good way.
Recommended for vindictive ghosts, journalists and ex-husbands. It’s probably a real nightmare if you’re involved in the manufacture of videos or DVDs, etc; I can imagine something like this would really take the bottom out of the market.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitations.
Top badass moment? I just can’t think of one. Had too much to drink at the party.
Sean Veil (Lee Evans) is an ultra-paranoid murder suspect who films himself around the clock to provide an alibi, in case he’s ever accused of another crime. When the police come calling to investigate a new murder, the one tape that can prove his innocence has mysteriously disappeared. Past and present collide as Sean strives to prove his innocence of this and all the other crimes that have been laid at his door. But the accusations and the tension mount and just when Sean thinks it’s all over, an unexpected twist finds him fighting for his life…
2004 – Certificate: 15 – UK/Irish Film
Rating Details: Strong violence and language
8.0 out of 10
A couple of months ago I started walking into work again, rather than driving. Regularly walking the 2.4 miles each way has turned me into a hyper-fit super-being, but it’s not without its drawbacks. Today I’d like to briefly consider the concept of Pavement Wars. My journey includes a significant section along the Oxford Road in west Reading, where I find myself walking ‘against the tide’, as most people are going in the other direction and into town. I’m used to the barbaric anarchy of rush-hour on the Tube, where a fallen body is considered nothing more than an annoying trip hazard; but I thought out on the open road (well pavement) of the Home Counties, things would be a little different. I thought people would lift their hats in polite greetings as they passed one another, whilst exchanging a few words of small talk, about the weather or cricket scores perhaps? Sadly it’s more like a pedestrianised version of Carmageddon, with the sort of manoeuvring that would lose a driver his or her license in a moment. Seriously, it’s like a war zone out there and I’m not winning. I’ve lost count of the number of time I’ve been forced into walls, bollards and the road, in an effort not to get mowed down by others’ irresponsible walking. But this guy is fighting back! Last Thursday, my path was blocked by two women coming in the other direction. Any decent human being, when walking next to a friend, would make sure they got out of the way if someone was coming in the opposite direction and the two of them were totally occupying the path. But not these two. And they both saw me coming along, I’m quite sure of that. Did they expect me to step out into the road to let them pass, even though I had my back to the traffic? Was I the innocent victim of bitchy office politics, which meant nether of them wanted to walk behind the other, in case this more submissive stance might have some bearing on an inter-departmental power-struggle? Perhaps my “Do You Like Waffles?” t-shirt wasn’t scary enough? Or were they just inconsiderate, stupid, thoughtless, brain-dead bimbos? Who knows? Whatever, this time there was going to be no hanging about waiting between the bollards for them to pass. I braced myself for the inevitable impact, which happened just about here. As we passed my arm briefly collided with the tall blonde’s. I suppose with hindsight it was probably the most exciting sexual caress she’s had for ages, but to me it meant only one thing; at last, I was a true Pavement Warrior! No longer will I cower in shop entrances, between bollards, behind bins or pavement furniture. Reading take note; there’s a new kid on the block, a new kid who’s no longer gonna be pushed around by people who think the sidewalk owes them a living. I’m ready for war. Are they? Given all that, it’s a shame I’m not about to consider a viewing of “Mad Max”.
In a thriller with more twists than a shop full of Curly Wurly bars (or an avenue of Corkscrew Willow if you prefer), comedian Lee Evans convincingly portrays a paranoid and socially inept guy (Sean) who films his every waking (and sleeping) moment. Fortunately, we’re spared most of the more ‘intimate’ moments of his life, but it does make for an original and interesting, although somewhat convoluted movie. I’m a bit stupid so I’m pretty sure I didn’t manage to follow everything, but it was still a really good watch; (despite the overuse of blue filters and a tiny, non-anamorphic 2.35:1 picture). So this probably means it’ll be a good watch next time too, as I still won’t know what’s going on; being an idiot does have its advantages. I did feel sorry for Sean; putting up with dodgy TV reporters, useless and greedy psychologists, a whole population that thought he was a triple murderer and cops that ‘cross the line’, is enough to send anyone a bit round the bend. The amount of plot twists in the last ten minutes are likely to send most viewers a bit round the bend too. His ‘underground house’ was interesting though.
The soundtrack is exactly that. There’re no dumb pop records put into the film to enable some sort of “as featured in” soundtrack to be released. It’s just decent music added into scenes to make them better in that way that only music can.
Recommended for police detectives, the paranoid, the tabloid press, everyone who hates CCTV and any innocents who’ve ever been accused of murder.
No cats, chainsaws or decapitation.
Top badass moment? In a film full of twists and turns, the fact that Sean managed to keep himself together enough to do what he needed to do, qualifies as badass.
Cactus World doesn’t have its own football team, so the population is forced to support England. This has a couple of drawbacks. For a start, England never actually wins anything. (Well that’s not strictly true I know and I was in fact alive when England last won anything, the World Cup in 1966, not that I remember this directly.) This makes for an ultimately depressing experience. Even if it did win something we’d find a good reason to trash the whole adventure and ensure that no one got any credit for the achievement. Secondly, on the odd occasion England win any individual matches, they do so in such a stress-inducing way that it’s been medically proved that it takes three months off the expected life-span of anyone unfortunate enough to witness the event. It’s only a matter of time before the England Football Team has to carry a big health warning on its strip, like cigarettes. Last night’s 3-2 win against Sweden is proof of this. When I watch England I have to drink a bottle of strong cider each time it scores a goal, (plus one to start with to prevent, ahem, dehydration); however, drunkenness is rarely a problem. I like to consider this not as a soft drugs problem, but more as a prescription, a medical thing, to help me deal with big-match stress issues. (Being made of apples, each bottle of cider also provides me with one of my five-a-day portions of fruit and vegetables, which makes it doubly good.)
2010 – Certificate: 18 – USA
Rating Details: Strong sex and sexualised nudity and frequent drug use
There are so many things to hate and despise about this film. I scarcely know where to start listing them. However, it’s also far funnier and better than it sounds like it ought to be. A group of young guys decide to ‘help’ one of their number, Matt, to lose his virginity and to put all the ‘action’ up on YouTube. I did genuinely feel sorry for Matt, even though he was a bit of a twat; but somehow he was a sympathetic enough character that I found myself on his side. In fact, for all their unpleasant traits, most of the characters in this movie are really quite likable, most of the time anyway. The relationships between them and their reactions to what happens feel very natural and help to offset the rest of the nonsense going on. The music works well in the film too, as does the documentary feel.
Recommended for people who aren’t going to get offended by, well, everything in the movie really.
No cats and no decapitations.
Top badass moment? Matt’s friends collecting money so they can pay his favourite porn star, Sunny Leone (who’s a real porn actress and plays herself in the film), to have sex with him. How sweet. True friends like that are hard to come by and are therefore badass.