Edinburgh Film Festival 2011/ Take 8

Day 8

King of Devil’s Island (Kongen Av Bastoy) ****

Director Marius Hoist/ 112 mins 

A disturbing, claustrophobic true story, based around the 1915 uprising at a correctional facility on Bastøy Island, Norway. 

 

The story follows the arrival of alleged murderer Erling (Benjamin Helstad) who quickly butts heads with the guards and earns the respect of his fellow inmates. The warden (Stellan Skarsgård) rules over the  prison with an a combination of compassion and discipline. Through a tragic series of events initiated by a sadistic dorm master (Kristoffer Joner) the young men find their voice, overpower their captors and demand to be treated fairly. 

 

The film succeeds in telling this compelling story, mainly through the wonderful acting by not just the Scandinavian veterans, but also the young ensemble cast who give captivating, heart-aching performances.

 

Exemplary cinematography gives the film a stunning haunted look with the  use of  a subdued black, grey and blue colour palette. The script is a little bit uneven during the first act, but manages to find it’s feet once the conflict is throughly established and the final act is just simply breathtaking.

 

King of Devil’s Island is an emotionally touching impressive unforgettable piece of cinema. if only all dramas could be this good.

 

 

Stormhouse *

Director Dan Turner/ 90 mins 

During the Festival, there was a buzz surrounding this film being the next big thing. Could it be another The Descent or is it just another overhyped British film looking to make it’s mark? Sadly the answer is the latter.

 

In 2002 just before the invasion of Iraq, the Military have captured and imprisoned a supernatural entity at a secret underground base. This film covers the final four days of that experiment with Ghost whisperer  Hayley Sands being brought by the Government to make contact with the captured entity. But her arrival triggers a series of events which lead to the entity’s escape, plunging the base into a horrific nightmare. 

 

This attempt at making a decent scary horror film is so offensively misjudged, it is a wonder how the project received funding let alone was made in the first place.  Director Dan Turner takes an intriguing, if unoriginal premise and makes it cheap and exceptionally nasty.

 

It is hard to know where to start. The filmmakers set up rules regarding the ghost, which the change continually throughout the duration. The acting is terrible, the dialogue is laughable and the script is cliched. There is only one decent scare and that is five minutes at the start. The film is badly shot and features the worst dubbing and sound ever in a feature film.

 

A cinematic experience that is truly unforgettable due to how badly the whole package has been put together. A terrifying waste of time and money, which everyone should avoid at all costs.

Reviews by Paul Logan

 

 

 

 

 

 

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