Horror Triple Bill

The good thing about horror films is that they're usually quite short, so with a whole pile of other things vying for my attention, they're the easiest thing to fit in to my busy schedule. Ah, who am I kidding? I'm just getting so old I find myself nodding off in front of the telly if a film goes on too long At least horror films are only about 90 mins and shock me awake every so often. Or at least they should...let's see how these three did in the keep-awake-ometer.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (André Øvredal, 2016) has a tight, intriguing set-up. Father and son morticians (Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch) are asked to do an autopsy on a mysterious corpse found at a crime scene, but as they undertake the procedure, it becomes clear that something rather odd about this particular body. Set predominantly in the morgue, this does good work in the first hour to build an uneasy tension as the body gives up various clues which suggest they would be better off getting the feck outta there! From the radio, we learn that a storm is brewing outside which adds to the sense of claustrophobia, which makes the shocks effective when they come. It's good stuff, although it falters a bit when it decides to explain everything, which somewhat undermines its sense of mystery. Still, Cox and Hirsch are good value and it's a satisfying follow-up to Øvredal's previous Troll Hunter.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Ana Lily Amirpour, 2015) is an interesting spin on the vampire yarn, blending East and West influences to deliver a sort of feminist mash-up of Persepolis and Near Dark. Set in 'Bad Town', a lonely vampire (Shelia Vand) stalks the streets, her black chador capturing perfectly the vampire look (anyone else reminded of No Face from Spirited Away?). It's a stylish affair, with striking B&W photography and some arresting scenes which play with shutter speed to good effect during the attacks. That said, it 's also a meandering, existential piece, so don't be expecting thrills and spills. This is a more seductive, quieter affair, which might suit if you're in the mood for a more thoughtful vampire film. Good soundtrack too.

Pet (Carles Torrens, 2016) stars Dominic Monaghan (remember him?) as Seth, a quiet employee at a pet shelter. But he's also a bit of a creep, as we soon discover when his attempts to chat up a girl progress to kidnapping her and keeping her in a cage. Happens the best of us. But hold on! All is not as it seems......
Sadly, what is as it seems it that this wastes a good set-up with a few twists which are actually increasingly implausible events that stretch credibility well beyond breaking point. By the time we reach the 'shock' ending, you might wonder why you didn't take the dog for a walk instead. This Pet is in dire need of Rescue.

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