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Salvage (2009)



Salvage ReviewReviewed by Gareth Jones

Starring Neve McIntosh, Shaun Dooley, Linzey Cocker

Directed by Lawrence Gough

Produced as one of three films celebrating Liverpool’s title as EU City of Culture 2008, Lawrence Gough’s Salvage was filmed on a shoestring budget using leftover sets from expired British soap opera “Brookside”. The low budget obviously influenced the very intimate nature of this film, and it’s all the better for it.

The plot concerns the residents of a quiet British cul-de-sac whose lives are turned upside down when a shipping container is washed ashore approximately two miles away. In the beginning, we follow teenager Jodie (Linzey Cocker) as her dad takes her to spend Christmas with her estranged mother, Beth (Neve McIntosh). Relations are not good among the family, and Jodie would rather do anything else than visit her mother – an attitude which isn’t helped when she arrives to find Beth having sex with a random guy, Kieran (Shaun Dooley, last known to horror fans as the violent father of Brett in shocker Eden Lake). Jodie storms off to stay at a local friend’s home and Beth follows, attempting to apologise. At this point, the street is flooded with armed soldiers ordering everyone back indoors. When Asian neighbour Mr. Sharma appears from his house with a cleaver, covered in blood and screaming in Hindu, he is abruptly shot dead.

From there, panic and paranoia set in as the housebound residents attempt to make sense of the situation. As is to be expected, the shipping container contained something secret, nasty and very, very dangerous; and everyone soon finds themselves struggling to survive amongst the bloodshed – and a military that may not actually be there to help them escape after all.

The basic feeling of Salvage is that of social realist drama meets Alien – like somebody picked up a vicious creature and dropped it in the middle of a Ken Loach film to do its business, and it’s very effective. As soon as the military arrive, the main focus of the film (surprising considering the opening scenes) switches to Beth and her frantic attempts to get to Jodie and ensure she is safe while neighbours die around her. Trapped along with her is Kieran, a very well developed character who turns out to be not only adulterous, but a good “everyman”. He’s a little weak, but protective. He’s also a sucker for terrorist scaremongering, initially accepting the military cover-up regarding Muslim Extremist activity in the close before forcefully realising that they’re dealing with something very, very different. Every character has flaws but redeems them in a number of ways. In a low-budget, intimate flick such as this, characterisation and performances are key, and Gough and Co. have pretty much nailed it.

For the first two thirds of the film, tension is the number one factor. As our protagonists barricade their doors and windows, not knowing what on Earth is outside (or even inside!), you’ll really start to feel yourself being gripped with fear and anticipation. What is this thing? Where is it? What exactly is it going to do? Moving between houses in the terrace via the roofspaces (and occasionally extremely tense trips outdoors – you just don’t know when Salvage is going to throw the monster at you), our characters get to see the bloody carnage that has been waged all around them.

Unfortunately, the second half is where disappointment sets in with the reveal of the creature itself. It doesn’t ruin the movie by any stretch, but a better creature would really have made this far and away the best monster movie of the year. At least it isn’t CGI, anyway. Once you’ve gotten over your disappointment at what the monster is, there’s still a whole more fun to go with one very effective jump-shock and the death of characters that you didn’t expect (and once again, owing to the amount of care put into characterisation and performances, you didn’t want to see dead). A totally “oh, shit!” scene in the final minutes involving a mobile phone is almost worth the price of admission in itself.

Along the way there’s plenty of violence and mayhem, with frenetic camerawork during the monster attacks actually working to the benefit of the film by not providing too good a look at the mediocre creature. A suitably bleak ending echoing Night of the Living Dead brings things to an emotional close. As mentioned earlier, this is very close to Alien in your backyard and certainly a ton more impressive as a British film than another generic football hooligan or gangster flick.

4 out of 5

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review



Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

Directed by Colin Bemis

Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic


Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

User Rating 3 (1 vote)
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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)



We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View



Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

Directed by Marcel Sarmiento

Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

  • Film


Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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