The Blair Witch Project

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It’s been way too long since I wrote a good horror review and in the spirit of the Halloween season, I thought I’d write about one of my favourites, The Blair Witch Project. (This post does contain spoilers so if you don’t want to know about the films, then don’t read – then go watch them and come back!)

In 2017 it’s way too easy to take this film for granted, so I thought I’d school those of you who were too young to appreciate the rise of this film, at the time.

Ahead of its release in October 1999, a website appeared. This in the day when very few families even had a computer, let alone the internet, made for an exciting discovery. The website (which you can still visit today, albeit in a much pared down form) promoted a documentary about 3 film makers whose footage was found after their disappearance in the 1990s. The site took you to another other site that looked like a Burkittsville town site but was in fact part of the original one, which had small videos of interviews with towns people (some of which featured in the film), newspaper articles (fake of course) and allsorts of tidbits to immerse you into the story. I knew the site back to front, and everything was placed in there to lead you to the conclusion that this was a REAL documentary, and the film makers really were missing.

Of course the film came out in America way ahead of the UK, and reports of people having to leave the theatre part way through because of the found-footage style recording making them seasick, spread across the country.

I was sold! Finally seeing this at the cinema was a darn creepy experience but I was so impressed by the film style, of which hadn’t been seen in mainstream cinema before, and was so different from anything else I’d experienced.

The movie contains no score or sound effects. The actors had a basic storyline to follow, but their reactions to the scares they faced were, for the most part, genuine. Myrick and Sanchez, who made the film (and also The Blair Witch Project: Book of Shadows which we won’t mention again, and was more like a Marilyn Manson music video than an actual film) set up speakers in the woods and didn’t tell the actors. When they heard snapping branches, running or children playing around them, their reactions were real. Piles of rocks and twig things in the trees – they had no idea to expect them. They could only assume the sounds were part of the film making process, but in that environment, in the woods in the dark and in a tent – you can imagine how real it all felt. Even when one of the film makers went missing, the others had no clue that was going to happen.

The actual film’s a corker, so if you haven’t seen it and you’re a fan of an indie film, and a found footage one at that, I’d say give it a crack. Then don’t watch the sequel.

Now that’s done, you can move onto the 2016 Blair Witch.

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I was skeptical about this ‘sequel’. As such a fan of the original, I really didn’t want a repeat of Book of Shadows, but I was pleasantly surprised.

This film’s story starts with a guy who turns out to be the brother of Heather, the original film maker from the first film, who went missing. He receives tapes of the house she went missing in and is convinced he sees her reflection in a mirror. So sets up a team to go into the woods, find the house and see if she’s there. Sounds legit.

I won’t go into any more of the storyline, but I will discuss how this movie uplifts the first one. Firstly, obviously there have been changes in technology since the first movie, and changes in found footage style. There is use of a drone camera, head-worn cameras, GPS equipment. There’s an element of sound effects used, where there was none in the first, and you do actually see menacing ‘things’ in this film, where in the first it was mostly left to your imagination.

But at the bare bones of this, the 2016 Blair Witch is still raw, still about the relationship between the people and the woods, and still feeds on the fear of the viewer as well as the actors in it.

There are a few hard to watch parts in this, flashes of the original film and a supernatural element that wasn’t in the first. There’s also a suggestion of time shifting. But all of these just bring the story up to date. You can’t continue a story 20 years later and not expect some changes to be made.

All in all, these two films are great companions. They’re scary, play with your mind a bit and leave you adequately unnerved. And I wouldn’t want anything less.

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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It’s been both a busy and quiet few weeks. As you can see from my blog posts, I’ve been busy writing content, and I have been working alongside a few brands to bring more to you over the next few months.

I’m trying hard to save money at the moment, so I haven’t really been out and about. I did, however, make a little splurge, and pick up an Amazon Echo during their Prime Day, for around half off.

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We use one at work, so I knew I wanted one for my home, and we’ve been using it every day since we received it (it arrived on Same-Day delivery – I love Amazon sometimes!)

We’ve also watched a few movies and TV shows. We’ve just started watching Breaking Bad – only a few episodes in but I’m enjoying it so far. We re-watched The Night Of, which is a fantastic HBO series. There aren’t too many episodes, but they’re riveting.

I also watched a film called Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. It was good whilst we were watching it, but it ended a little abruptly and I couldn’t get on board with the female character. And we finally watched Drive, which again features Ryan Gosling. I can’t get over how much I loved this film. The direction, the music, the acting. So so good. I really must buy it so I can watch it over and over. It was reminiscent of so many things for me – comic book shot framing, Grand Theft Auto, Scarface. I swear I didn’t breathe through the whole of one scene and my hard was thumping in my chest. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d definitely recommend it if you’re a fan of any of those influences.

I’ve also been working on a few creative projects, which may or may not come to fruition. We’ll see, but if they do, I’ll be sure to let you know on here!

I’m also edging ever closer to 1k followers on twitter, and once I do, I’ve planned to hold a giveaway so if that interests you, don’t forget to go and follow me. I’m found at @Shutterbug_Blog.

And I think that’s it for now. Hoping to have a proper life update and news for you soon, so keep ’em peeled!

Secret Cinema: Dirty Dancing

 

Way way back in July, I attended my second Secret Cinema event. This time was to see Dirty Dancing, and continuing my tradition, I vowed not to post a blog about it until Secret Cinema uploaded their video.

Finally, months later they’ve done it! So first of all if you want to watch their video of the event you can see it here:

And if you can watch that all the way to the end and not feel excited and uplifted then you’re dead inside.

The first Secret Cinema experience I’d had was seeing Back to The Future, and that was massively impressive. This was slightly less so, but still awesome.

I don’t know whether it was because I had so much going on in my life, but I didn’t really involve myself in the prep for this event as much as I’d done previously. But I still rocked my costume:

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With all Secret Cinema events, phones and cameras are banned so I didn’t take photos but you can get the atmosphere from the video. Everyone was getting involved with dance classes, volley ball and the talent show. There were different booths and areas to go and visit and characters from the movie were walking around.

The movie was shown and despite the sound not being great everyone was really into it, clapping, whooping, dancing and singing.

It was a great night and I can’t wait to see what else Secret Cinema have planned!

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Bank Holiday Fun-ness!

I love Bank Holidays, but the late August bank holiday is always tinged with a little sadness since it’s the last one before Christmas. For some reason we have a load of bank holidays all shoved together meaning you really miss them when they’re gone.

Thankfully we saw the last of the summer holidays off with a packed weekend of fun stuff.

On Friday evening we packed up our camping chairs and headed off to Waddesdon Manor for an evening of open air cinema. Part of the Luna Cinema festival, they were showing Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, with the manor house as a lovely atmospheric background.

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It was a lovely set up. Small, but cosy. They promised food suppliers but when we got there it was just one pizza stand and a bar opposite. The line for pizza was pretty long. We got our food about 20 mins before the show was due to start, and I knew the people at the end of the line at that point would still be waiting for their food as the movie started. It was lovely to see the film in that setting. The trees surrounding the grounds helped bounce the sound around us, and it made Craig Armstrong’s score all the more stunning.

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As the sun went down it got pretty chilly and we were kind of envious of all those with blankets!

It was a really lovely evening though, and I’d love to come back and have a look around the gardens again. I’ve probably missed the season by now, so maybe next year.

Saturday was relaxed. We did a little shopping we needed to do, after a nice Starbucks breakfast. Then headed home, and watched Aladdin (we’re still working through Disney films to see before we head to Florida) and Hocus Pocus. I’d never seen either of these films before and enjoyed them both!

Sunday we had a nice lie in and then headed off for Sunday lunch with my family. My sister and her family have just returned from an amazing holiday in California and Mexico. It was so exciting to hear all about Disneyland and their resort in Mexico. They also brought back some gifts. They got me a California Adventure You Are Here mug from Starbucks, and a really pretty Disney Swarovski bangle, which I pretty much never want to take off!

Then Sunday evening we headed off to MK11 to see the Hot 8 Brass Band play. We’d seen them before last year in Brighton and were so excited to hear they were playing so close to our home, so snapped up tickets right away.

As well as bumping into a friend I hadn’t seen in ages, the gig was awesome. We danced from start to end, and Hot 8 never fail to put on a show!

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That brings up to Monday. Monday was reserved for catching up on blogging, chores and having a good old relax. There may have been some more Disney films dropped in for good measure!

So despite it being the last bank holiday for a while, it was a pretty good one!

What did you get up to?

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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The weeks have been positively flying by. We’ve been having cold snaps, heatwaves, rain and wind. And all throughout this time I’ve been counting down to my awesome holiday.

At time of writing this it’s 29 days until we fly to Florida, and we’ve been trying to keep ourselves busy in the meantime.

We’ve been visiting friends, buying things we need for our trip, doing lots of planning, and I had a birthday too!

My birthday weekend was great. We went to the cinema twice, saw friends, did some shopping and watched some late-night Olympics.

Our cinema trips were to see Finding Dory in 3D and Suicide Squad in 4DX.

We knew Dory would be awesome, as we love Finding Nemo, and it didn’t disappoint. We really love watching movies in 3D and this film was perfect for that.

We saw Suicide Squad in 4DX. I don’t really know much of the back story for this movie, but I knew the 4DX element would help me to enjoy it even if I wasn’t following the plot. I really really enjoyed this cinema experience. The film was great. Though I lost the plot thread towards the middle, the beginning and end were great. And I know the 4DX experience made it a million times better than if I’d watched it on a standard screen. I’ve only ever seen Jurassic World and this movie in 4DX but I wasn’t disappointed either time. If you’re near Milton Keynes, I’d say make the effort to try it out. It’s worth the little extra cost!

I was also lucky enough to find the camera I have been lusting after for a while. Sony have been having distribution issues on some of their stock since an earthquake in Japan effected manufacture, and I’d been having massive trouble finding the Sony A5000 as a result.

I’d been after the white one, but knew I’d probably have to go for the black one and not be choosy. But G-Man managed to find a white one online and at the price I was happy to pay. I’ve been having great fun playing with it, and especially loving the wi-fi element, meaning I can send an image to my phone with no wires or computer needed. It’s going to be a real asset when we’re away, and I’ll be able to share more photos with friends and family (and YOU!)

I think the next month is going to be tough, trying to hold in my excitement for the trip of a lifetime coming up, but I’ve got some wonderful things coming up before then!

  • Luna Cinema at Waddesdon Manor to watch Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet
  • Hot 8 Brass Band
  • Bank Holiday!
  • My 10 year wedding anniversary
  • An exciting anniversary weekend in London
  • Planning and packing for Florida!!

And all that in just 28 days – I have a feeling it’s going to fly by!

There are a few more exciting things to share too, but all in good time 🙂

I’ve also been looking into books to take away with me. I’m currently re-reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which I’m loving again the second time around. I haven’t read the other two in the series yet, but I’m really looking forward to seeing film of the first book, once it’s out. I also plan on picking up the short story, The Grownup, by Gillian Flynn who wrote Gone Girl. I like the idea of taking short books with me, so I don’t feel like I’m having to dip in and out of the same book throughout the holiday. I often take a lot of books on my Kindle and don’t pick it up once. So I’m back to real books for this vacation!

So that was the past few weeks. Lots happening, and sadly I’m wishing it all away in the excitement for Florida. And before I know it it’ll all be over….. but I know I’m going to have the time of my life!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

this week i have been mostly

Last weekend was Bank Holiday, and in true British style the Monday was grey and rainy. But thankfully I’d gotten all my good stuff done already.

Sunday was Sarah’s Hen party in London, and all us bridesmaids headed to Trafalgar square to meet with some of Sarah’s other friends and family for a day of girly fun. Donning pink feather boas, we hopped onto a London bus for some afternoon tea and sight-seeing.

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Yummy cakes and sandwiches were washed down with prosecco and then tea. We then headed to Shoreditch to Mixology for fun cocktail making – and drinking!

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We had great fun, and it’s awesome to think the wedding is now just days away.

Over the weekend, we watched two really great films. The first was The Gallows, which is a found-footage movie about a school play where one of the actors was accidentally hanged by a prop and then years later the school decide to put the play on again in homage. It’s creepy and very effective.

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The other was 10 Cloverfield Lane. We really enjoyed Cloverfield and were intrigued to watch this new one, which isn’t a sequel but is in a similar vein to the first. Again a very interesting film, and brilliantly acted. If you liked Cloverfield I recommend it!

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The rest of the week was grey and rainy and so so chilly. It felt like autumn had come back – we even had the heating on! But the forecast for next week is warmer and brighter and just in the nick of time because we’re all heading to St Ives on Friday and Saturday to celebrate Sarah and Nick’s wedding. We all can’t wait!

Before that though, Tash, one of the bridesmaids, lands in the UK after being in Thailand since September last year. I cannot wait to see her! It’s been too long but before we know it she’ll be heading back.

Oh one other fun thing – Gary managed to get us tickets to see Bad Company in October. I love classic rock and can’t wait to see them. We’ve been waiting for a UK tour for a while and finally they announced it! I’m gonna get my rock on!

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A List of Good Things (so far!) 2016

This year has started off awesome, with tons of things planned and a good feeling about the year ahead.

With a few things already booked for this year, at the end of last, we’ve topped those off with a few more. No doubt more will happen as we go along, but here’s what I’m excited about so far!:

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  • My awesome friend Sarah is getting married in a couple of months, and I’m lucky enough to be one of her bridesmaids! I’m so excited about the lead up to it, the day and also the week after as most of us will be staying around the area for a little holiday!
  • A couple of weeks later Gary’s cousin gets married, so I get a second wedding to go to, this time as a guest.

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  • Secret Cinema presents Dirty Dancing in July. After going to their Back to The Future screening we knew we wanted to go to another one, and Dirty Dancing seemed like an amazing choice. Great music, great atmosphere and great movie. We can’t wait!
  • In September Gary and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, and to celebrate this in style we’re heading to Orlando for two weeks of sun, Disney and rollercoasters! I’ve never been, but as a mahooosive Disney and Harry Potter fan I’m beside myself with excitement over the parks. Plus we’ll be extending our summer by visiting at the end of September. And no doubt when we come home British winter will be in full swing…..
  • Speaking of Harry Potter:

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We landed some tickets to this Harry Potter play and managed to get them for THIS YEAR. Getting tickets was crazy hard for some unknown reason….. *eyeroll* So in October we’ll be heading off to London for two plays in one day…. intriguing!

  • Also in October, my Mum and Dad celebrate their ruby wedding anniversary and there’s a party to be had!
  • Guy Fawkes night is extra special this year because earlier in the day we will have visited London for Jurassic Park in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. We went to a Pixar show at the Royal Albert Hall and also Back to The Future in Concert last year and really enjoyed them both. Gary loves musical score, and we both love the score from Jurassic Park so it’ll be a treat to see it live! We’re hoping that as we’ll be in London anyway there might be a good local fireworks display to visit afterwards!

And that’s it for the year so far. We’d hoped to Hot Dub Time Machine it again, but the only local-ish gig is whilst we’re in Florida, and we wanted to go to V Festival but the line-up is a bit rubbish. Still I reckon we’ve got a good year to come! And who knows what else will pop up along the way 🙂

It Follows

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I didn’t know what to expect when we started watching It Follows one dark winter evening. As a massive fan of classic horror, I had low expectations for this movie. They tend to steer towards some kind of new innovation, be technology themed or contain lots of gore. I’m down with all but the latter, so I hoped this wouldn’t turn into some kind of zombie-fest.

But It Follows pleasantly surprised me. This is a slow burner of a movie. It’s intelligent and leaves a lot to your imagination, which you’ll probably agree can be the scariest place to be. It starts with the main character, Jay, meeting and dating her new boyfriend. They sleep together and everything seems calm and relaxed on a balmy summer evening. Until he kidnaps her, ties her to a rusty wheelchair takes her to an disused warehouse. Here he explains to her that he has passed on some kind of curse to her, via their sexual encounter. This curse means she is followed where ever she goes by figures that only she and those afflicted can see, and if they get hold of her they’ll kill her. If this happens they will start to follow him again, and so on down the line.

She then has to work out what to do, and whether to sleep with someone else to pass the curse on again, knowing that it’s possible this might kill him. Needless to say she has a few male friends who are willing to take the risk for her. Kind of sweet, kind of sleazy. With the help of her friends, they try and work through this huge turn her life has taken. The movie continues in a swathe of anxiety in dangerous world where anyone she sees could be out to get her.

It’s a whole big thing, and as the viewer you have to be prepared to accept the curse exists. This movie leaves a lot to the imagination, but it can still shock you. It’s so John Carpenter, all the way down to the music. The characters, and their wardrobe, could have been straight out of a 70s flick, and I’m still not sure when it’s set, though will the inclusion of a few bits of technology and shiny cars I’m only to assume it’s set in present day.

The movie moves on slowly, but you don’t need it to go any faster. It’s the classic horror idea of the chased can run away, but the baddy only walks menacingly towards the victim slowly, enough to cause anxiety and concern that they’ll still be able to strike somehow. I love a movie that grabs my attention, and makes me think. This was one of them. Apart from wishing I could still pull off shorts and long socks without looking like mutton dressed as lamb, and wondering where these teenagers are finding the money for pretty pink satin underwear, I found myself thoroughly intrigued by the concept of this film. Plus parts of it were just darn scary!

This is definitely one I’m going to watch again, and if you’re a fan of John Carpenter’s classics, but want to see something new, then this is one for you.

Before Sunrise, Sunset & Midnight

Over the past few weekends we’ve had some time on our hands so decided to watch a series of films that we’ve had for a while but never seen. Gary mentioned them to me a while back, and so I bought him all three for Christmas 2014.

Directed by Richard Linklater (his other movies include Dazed and Confused and School of Rock) Before Sunrise (1995) sees a man and a woman meet, by chance, on a train through Europe. They get chatting and eventually get off the train and spend a magical evening together just talking, before they part, promising that they’ll meet back on that train platform in 6 months.

The dialogue is natural and interesting. Considering the whole film is based upon two people just talking, it’s interesting and has your attention the whole time. You’re invested in these people. Ethan Hawke (Jesse) and Julie Delphy (Celine) are of the time period and perfectly cast. Their chemistry is natural – not too much and not too little. By the end of the movie you know you want more.

Before Sunset (2004) continues the story, the couple meeting once more, in Paris. Jesse has written a book based on their first meeting, and it brings Celine to see him. Very quickly they’re back in their conversational swing and familiar dynamic.

You learn whether they met after 6 months and see how their lives have changed since then.

By the end of this movie I knew I didn’t want to wait another week to see the next, so we put the third and final movie on right away.

Before Midnight (2013) (Spoiler Alert!) sees Jesse and Celine on a writer’s retreat in Greece with their two daughters. After having been together since the end of the last movie their lives and relationship has developed and changed. Their lives have moved from the windswept romantic chance meeting, to a familiar long-term couple who suffer their partner’s idiosyncrasies.

It’s actually difficult to watch in parts and you feel like the romantic travellers you’ve grown to love have been sullied by time. However, this movie is so important to the series for this very reason. No matter how these two argue, how their ‘life baggage’ effects them, how their familiarity with each other has broken down walls or how their personalities can clash, at the end of the day they love each other and are perfect and meant to be.

I was once told, by a very wonderful man, that it’s imperfections that make a person perfect. And this movie illustrates that in a great way.

If you like independent movies, you’re a fan of a different kind of romance film or you love to people watch then I’d recommend these movies to you. Go watch them!

Jurassic World 4DX

Today is Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug’s 6th birthday! Thank you to all those who follow, comment and share. If you’ve been following Shutterbug for all 6 of those years then you deserve a treat today!

On Saturday evening Gary and I headed to the XScape building in Milton Keynes and to the newly refurbished Cineworld cinema.

We were off to see the eagerly anticipated Jurassic World – in 4DX. If you don’t know what 4DX is then I’ll tell you – you watch the movie in 3D where available, on special seats which move appropriately to the movie. There are lights, fog, water, smell and air to experience too. I knew this would be the perfect movie to try out 4DX for the first time, but I was a little nervous for some reason. Probably nervous excitement! Milton Keynes is home to the country’s only 4DX cinema, and we’re very lucky to live on the doorstep.

If you haven’t seen Jurassic World yet or experienced 4DX and don’t want to be spoiled, it’s probably best that you don’t read on. But do come back once you have, and let me know what you thought!

So entering the screen, you could see there were less seats than in a normal cinema screen. In rows of about 8-12 seats, but these were in blocks of 4. The seats are ergonomic and high off the ground, with foot rests. There’s enough space in front of your seat and the one in front that people can walk through your row without you having to get up or move to let them past. On your arm rest there’s a button stating ‘water on’ ‘water off’. I chose to leave water on 😀

The trailers started and I’d hoped we would experience a 4DX trailer to acclimatise us to the feel. And I wasn’t disappointed. Our trailer was for the new Terminator movie, not my cup of tea, but I loved feeling the seats tip forward, side to side, flashes to the sides of the auditorium, air from behind and in front and under the seat by the legs.

I couldn’t wait for the film to start. What surprised me from the beginning was the 4DX experience was all the way through, not just in certain action parts. When you’re introduced to the family at the start it’s snowing and there’s snow on the ground. You feel icy air all around you as if you’re there. The kids get on a boat and your seats move as if you’re on water, with a fresh sea breeze on your face. It’s incredible. Fast moving chases fling you around as if you’re being chased. The island, when you’re first introduced to it SMELLED GOOD. It was like being on the best ride, because it lasted the length of the film. Discussing with Gary, I discovered I experience more, as I was wearing a sleeveless dress so in certain parts I experienced things on my arms and legs that he didn’t. The water parts were fantastic (you don’t get soaked) and you could tell every effect had been thought through to complement the film.

I’ll stop talking 4DX now and talk about the film, but I’m so glad I saw the movie in this way. I genuinely want to experience it again, and it’s worth the extra few pounds.

So the movie; first of all fans of the original score won’t be disappointed. The important themes and phrases are in there and the new score is in keeping with the old, but new enough. During the film there are also massive references to the original movie, in a nostalgic and respectful way, which I really enjoyed.

The movie story and execution is brilliant from start to end, with nothing confusing or irrelevant. There’s masses of product placement but I guess that should be overlooked because of what the film is, you kind of have to expect it. (Starbucks, anyone?)

Most importantly, Jurassic World was in keeping with the other movies. In my opinion it’s up to the standard of the first and is no disappointment. I was fully immersed in this film, whether or not this was due to 4DX, I don’t know. All I’d say is if you don’t know whether to see it – go! See it in 3D or 4DX if you can, but if you liked the original, you’ll love this!

If you’ve seen the movie and/or experienced 4DX I’d love to hear your thoughts!