Julie Graham - 2013 British Academy Scotland Awards held at the Radisson Blu Hotel - Arrivals - United Kingdom - Sunday 17th November 2013
Gritty and claustrophobic, this British horror-thriller holds our interest with well-played characters rather than the wobbly plotting. It's a clever idea for low-budget suspense, because it essentially has just one set. And the premise is unnerving even if we instantly realise its implausibility. Still, once everything is set in motion, the story has no where to go, trapped like the characters themselves on the top floor of a condemned London apartment building.
Aside from the residents of the top floor of this block, everyone else has already been relocated. And after a violent murder in the corridor, these people are ready to get out too. Then one morning sniper fire starts picking them off one by one through the windows. Their phones and internet are down, every way out is blocked, and they have to work out a plan of action. Intriguingly, it's a young woman, Becky (Smith), who rises as the group's leader, tenaciously refusing to give up. Other residents include a local thug (O'Connell), a depressed alcoholic (Tovey), a couple of pensioners (Brown and Baker), a tense mum (Graham) and her teen son (McEntire), and two drug dealers (Elouhabi and Robinson).
As we begin to understand what's happening, there are some massive lapses in logic that continually niggle. The sniper is shooting from one side of the building, so presumably the flats on the other side are safe and undisturbed, and yet everyone remains huddled in the hallway. The building's front door is blocked, but they ignore the fire exit. And how exactly do you block a mobile phone signal at the top of a tall tower in a massive city? Fortunately, the actors make us believe that they aren't worried by these gaping plot holes. Smith is especially good as the feisty Becky, a refreshingly complex female hero who doesn't have to be rescued by the boys. O'Connell adds a few layers to his annoying character, and Tovey is as likeable as ever.
Continue reading: Tower Block Review
Julie Graham Monday 27th August 2012 Film4 Frightfest: Tower Block closing film - Arrivals
This silly little comedy out of the UK offers a simple premise sent against a presumably scandalous backdrop: the world of fetish/S&M clubs. It's all fun and games until Johnny Law comes sniffing around, trying to figure out who's behind the clubs (which meet in secret) and how to prosecute them for, er, something. The government's priggishness seems to revolve around problems with shock treatment being practiced on the slave types. Solution: Hire a young "computer whiz" (in this film, that means a guy who knows how to use a chat room) to "infiltrate" the bondage world and gather evidence against them.
Continue reading: Preaching To The Perverted Review
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