The Horror Network Vol. 1 Movie Review
Written by Ryan Holloway
Released by Left Films
Directed by Brian Dorton, Joseph Graham, Manuel Marín and Lee Matthews
Written by Douglas Conner, Brian Dorton, Joseph Graham and Manuel Marín
2015, 97 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 24th October 2016
Lots of people
Featuring stalkers, serial killers and deaf schoolgirls, The Horror Network Vol.1 is an attempt at emulating Creepshow or Tales from the Darkside with five stories from up and coming directors.
Horror anthologies can be a lot of fun and the perfect way to indulge our horror loving senses in various dark stories while discovering new talents. Although recent films such as the V/H/S and ABC’s of Death franchises have showcased such things, they can also be hit and miss, but what you don’t want is more misses than hits. This is sadly where The Horror Network comes in.
First up is 3:00am. A woman is alone in her secluded country home and as the phone call with a friend at the top of the story advises, she has been getting calls at 3 am every morning. The story makes strong use of sound to create scares and an eerie atmosphere but what is unclear is whether she is hearing said noises or they are part of the atmosphere for our benefit. They also become increasingly annoying as they are ramped up way beyond the point of distortion. When she once again gets a call consisting of further screeching noises she begins to let her mind play tricks on her... or is it something very real?
It’s not a great opening but that’s OK because we have four more to go...
Edward is a slightly more effective segment, which isn’t saying much, about a psychiatrist in session with his patient, Hal. Hal begins to frighten our doctor friend with some sinister ideas about a split personality; the title is not very subtle here, but it’s an interesting idea and although the script is terrible, the two protagonists do a half decent job with it.
Moving into slightly more cerebral territory is The Quiet. A young deaf girl is on the bus on her way home from school, texting her mum to see if she can pick her up, and things take a dark turn when she gets off the bus hoping to be collected but has left her phone on the seat. She begins to walk home and notices she is being followed by a blue van and, with panic setting in, she flees into the woods. It’s a tale that is sure to scare parents but that’s about it.
Directed by Manuel Marin, Merry Little Christmas is by far the star of this particular show, directed with strong horror sensibilities and an interesting colour palette, the film successfully unsettles with its story of domestic abuse and the lasting effect it can have on a family. With some gruesome scenes and, finally, some great creature effects, the film works well for half of its duration but, as is a symptom of this movie as a whole, quickly becomes diffused and confusing which is a shame because there is promise here.
Last and probably by all means least is The Deviant One, a black and white entry that follows a murdering rapist, well, murdering and raping, with each vile act playing out after a quote from the bible. It’s pointless but probably an apt way to end the film.
Even the most devoted horror fan will find little to satisfy here and it's probably telling that there is no news on a volume 2.
If you happen upon The Horror Network, change channels.