survival horror

Sitting down to write this I recalled the number of times I wrote a lede discussing the glut of zombie stories in the horror genre. So inundated is that sub genre that even our reviews begin to sound rote. It was into this hostile environment that in the States Netflix released the Australian produced zombie flick, Cargo (also known, by me, as “Dad by Dawn”).

Chris Diamantopoulos gets wild in Man Vs.

Soon I'll get to actually reviewing Man Vs., but first, a confession. While others chose to spend their Friday evenings in college during the mid-2000s grooving to Usher (featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris) or The Pussycat Dolls at a house party or bar, this reviewer could frequently be found in the company of good friends and one Les Stroud, a.k.a. “Survivorman.” As such, the antics of Stroud – and his more charismatic (and more British) survivalist compatriot, Bear Grylls – remain a nostalgia-addled guilty pleasure.

The four leads of The Ritual search the woods for answers

The Ritual gets off to as strong of a start as almost any horror flick in recent memory. Just moments after introducing us to a group of five aging college buddies planning a “lads’ trip,” the film plunges two of them into an unbearable, yet utterly plausible nightmare. As the rest of the group waits outside, Luke (Rafe Spall) and Rob (Paul Reid) head into a liquor store to pick up a bottle, only to stumble upon a robbery in progress.

Horror filmmakers have a unique opportunity. Wtih several subgenres at their disposal they have the option to morph any franchise into a completely different experience. However, it can be tricky for a well-established series to step outside of its norm and explore a different area of horror. With risk can come great reward, though, and Johannes Roberts' sequel to 2008's The Strangers is a clear-cut deviation from the home invasion subgenre that introduced us to the three masked psychopaths.

It's been six years since the original "Silent Hill" film hit theaters, a film that at the time I remember thinking was fairly solid. I remember it being visually striking, but falling apart in the end due to a series of bizarrely video-game like info dumps in the third act. Intentional or not, it sort of hobbles a film that otherwise could have ended up being a classic. I remember thinking that if there was one thing I would have liked to see in a sequel it would be a more streamlined story. Well, I've just seen "Silent Hill: Revelation 3D" and can now say, they did not take my advice.

"It's in the Blood" starts with prodigal son October (Sean Elliot, who also cowrote the film) returning home to visit his estranged father Russell, the sheriff of their small town (Lance Henrikson). Neither distance nor time have softened the hard feelings between them, and the pair embark on a hiking trip in the Texas backwoods in a last ditch attempt to repair their relationship. When a freak accident hobbles Russell with a gruesome leg injury, it falls on his son to tend to the damage.

A group of haggard looking nomads shuffle across a half frozen field as grey snow spits out of the overcast sky. Makeshift winter clothes barely conceal the frigid exterior as their breath steams from their panting mouths. Their packs sag with wear and tear rather than from the dearth of survival gear. Each step proves more laborious than the next as they trek across what was once a vibrant, safe country. In the distance they spy an isolated, seemingly abandoned farmhouse and barn. Should they approach? Maybe there is food? Weapons? Supplies? Or worse?

"Amy" hit XBOX Live yesterday. From what I've seen, it's an entire game built around an escort mission where you have to protect a little girl. Mixing stealth with limited, "realistic" combat, all wrapped in a survival horror game's clothing. At only 800 points it might be worth it?

On August 25th, the Nintendo Wii will be getting another dose of grown up horror gaming with the release of Cursed Mountain.