Amazon has been chugging away for a while now, trying to keep up with the blistering pace of Netflix. It may not be it’s equal yet but there are some different films available which make the streaming platform a viable alternative to the leading stream service. So what exactly is there to be found on Amazon? We take a look down the rabbit hole.
Pressure (Dir. Ron Scalpello, 2015)
After a fault occurs on a pipeline on the sea bed, a team of four are sent down from their ship in a pod to fix the problem. Making the complicated procedure more difficult is an approaching storm that threatens to separate their pod from the ship itself, which would leave the team stranded at the bottom of the ocean with no hope of survival.
Pressure offers a rarely used setting as the film takes place pretty much wholly on the seabed, and inside the diving pod of the team. And as such the running time of the feature must focus on the characters involved in the story and the seemingly inevitable skeletons that are in their closets. Unfortunately, despite the cast involved (Danny Huston, Matthew Goode, and the promising Joe Cole) it’s a fairly drab affair as the slow pacing, and inevitable progression of the story lack excitement or intrigue. The performances of the four leads are good, but not enough to keep Pressure from feeling like the same old against the odds story.
Deathgasm (Dir. Jason Lei Howden, 2015)
In a mundane town in New Zealand, a teenage metal band unwittingly summon an evil entity known as ‘The Blind One’ by means of black magic through some mysterious music written years ago. As they look to escape the boring nature of their lives, and the people who surround them, they’re given more than what they wished for as evil starts to wreak havoc in the town leaving them with no choice but to fight back.
Maybe it’s just me but the only horror films from the land down under that seem to find there way over here in the UK are the gory, blood splattering kind that beat to the same drum as Peter Jackson’s Braindead. Unfortunately few films from anywhere in the world will match the wonderfully mad nature of Peter Jackson’s early work, but Deathgasm certainly gives it a good crack of the whip. There’s plenty a gore to be found in the film with limbs departing the bodies they come from, and sex toys used as weapons, and with this concoction of horror and th absurd comes a few laughs and wicked smiles. If your a fan (or have been) a fan of heavy metal music and culture, and like horror than this is a perfect film for you to watch. It’s easy midnight watching, and though it pales in comparison to films of the same ilk (Braindead, Evil Dead II… & lots of other titles with dead in) it is certainly a worthy addition to the comedy splatter genre.
Wrecked (Dir.Kevin Goetz, Michael Goetz, 2013)
Also known as Scenic Route elsewhere in the world, this film follows lifelong friends Mitchell (Josh Duhamel) and Carter (Dan Fogler), who’ve drifted apart over the years as they travel across America on a road trip. With Mitchell sleeping, Carter decides to take a scenic route through the California desert only for the car to break down in the middle of nowhere. With the duo stranded with no help in sight, they begin to turn on each other as they confront the issues and problems they’ve had with each other over the years.
With a similar scenario to the film Pressure (Lead characters isolated with no help) which I mentioned earlier, I was hoping I didn’t strike out twice. Thankfully Wrecked was more enjoyable than Pressure, despite having half of the cast. The film itself takes place primarily in the California desert with a selection of flashbacks and stories are told and events recounted as the pair confront each others problems. Mitchell is in a challenging marriage and Carter is struggling to grow up and be the person society expects him to be (I know we’ve heard these before), and due to the time away from each other there are plenty of arguments to be had. With the heat of the desert, and lack of supplies to keep them hydrated and healthy, events begin to spiral for the duo. Despite just featuring two cast members, and an empty environment the film motors on nicely without feeling slow, and the performances from Duhamel (why we don’t see more of him I just don’t know) and Fogler are both very good, and play off each other with ease. For a directorial debut the Goetz brothers emphasise the severity of the characters predicament by capturing the remoteness of the terrain brutally well. Even if the characters problems seem trivial, they’re still pretty common, human issues, so it’ll be sure to resonate with someone, somewhere. Wrecked is most certainly worth a watch, and as it’s only 82 minutes long you might as well!
We Are Still Here (Dir. Ted Geoghegan, 2015)
Following the death of their son, Ann and Paul Sachetti (Horror favourite Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) move to a remote house in New England looking to start their life anew. As the couple moves in they begin to experience odd occurrences, as objects move and noises are heard. Ann thinks it’s the spirit of her son Bobby comforting her, but the town has a secret and so does the house that they live in, and it’s a dark one.
Of the films I watched for this edition of Perusing Prime We Are Still Here was the one I enjoyed the most, but it is also the one I found the most frustrating because it could have been so so so much better. As a whole the film is like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde in film form, on the one hand we have the reserved, calculated mastermind Mr. Hyde creating something special, then Mr. Hyde gets in the way and everything goes nuts. By far the best aspects of this film are when it builds mystery and retains tension, utilising camera work that is on par with horror genius James Wan, clever angles and subtle sights create a creepy atmosphere. But after all that good work, they go and show the the thing lurking in the shadows far too soon. It’s a visual cycle it repeats on more than one occasion, but it keeps the story itself fairly contained until the final act when all hell breaks loose. For a horror film that deals with the supernatural, the final act wouldn’t be out of place in an Expendables film as the house comes under siege from outside and within and we get a spectacular bloodbath. We Are Still Here is certainly one for the horror fans, and it’s a damn sight better than half of the mainstream horror films we’ve been subjected to this year at the cinema (I’m looking at you The Forest!)
So that is it from us for this edition of Perusing Prime, we hope we’ve made your choices easier, and inspired you to watch something new, or avoid something disastrous. Until our next volume, adios.
“You’re still here? It’s over! Go home. Go!”