Month: December 2017
What to Watch: The Autopsy of Jane Doe
The corpse of an unidentified woman is found at the scene of a bloody and bizarre homicide. The sheriff finds no signs of forced entry, suggesting that the victims were trying to escape from the residence.
Emma visits her boyfriend, Austin, and his father, Tommy, who is the coroner in their small town. Tommy explains to her that coroners in the past used to tie bells to bodies to make sure they were actually dead, not comatose. The sheriff arrives with the mysterious body, dubbed Jane Doe, and tells Tommy that he needs the cause of death by morning. Austin postpones for a few hours his date with Emma to help Tommy.
Tommy and Austin perform the autopsy on Jane Doe and quickly become confused by what they find. There are no external visible signs of trauma, but her wrist and ankle bones had been shattered. As well, her tongue has been crudely cut out, one of her molars is missing, her lungs are blackened as though she had suffered third degree burns, and her internal organs reveal numerous cuts and scarring. Jimsonweed, a paralyzing agent not native to the area, is found in her stomach. The condition of much of the body suggests that death had just occurred, while cloudiness of the corpse’s eyes suggests that she had been dead for a few days.
Other mysterious events occur. The radio begins to spontaneously change channels, and Austin hears sounds and believes he sees people standing in the morgue’s hallway. He also finds their cat mortally wounded, hiding in an air duct. News reports on the radio state that a severe storm is about to hit the area, but Tommy and Austin decide to stay and finish the autopsy.
Tommy finds the woman’s missing tooth wrapped in a piece of cloth in her stomach. The cloth has Roman numerals and letters as well as an odd diagram. Similar symbols are found on the inside of her skin. The lights in the room suddenly explode. During the confusion, they realize that other corpses in the morgue have gone missing. They decide to leave, but the elevator does not work and a fallen tree is blocking the exit door. An unseen figure attacks Tommy in the bathroom, leaving bruises on his body.
What to Watch: The Girl with All the Gifts
In the near future, humanity has been ravaged by a mysterious fungal disease (a mutation of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis). The afflicted are robbed of all free will and turned into fast, mindless flesh-eaters, referred to as ‘hungries’. Humankind’s only hope is a small group of hybrid, second generation children who crave living flesh but retain the ability to think and learn. The children go to “school” at an army base in the Home Counties, where they are experimented on by Dr. Caroline Caldwell. Helen Justineau is responsible for educating and studying the children. The children are prisoners, but humanized by Helen to the dismay of Sgt. Eddie Parks. Helen treats the children fairly, growing particularly close to a polite, exceptional girl named Melanie. After Melanie reads her own story to Helen, Helen is overcome with emotion and strokes the girl’s head. Parks bursts in and rebukes Helen; he rubs off a “masking gel” on his arm, and then holds the area near a child, evoking a violent, animalistic response which then spreads to the other children
As punishment, that evening Parks leaves Melanie restrained in her wheelchair. Helen visits Melanie in her cell and tries to release her, but Melanie starts snapping and trying to bite Helen. Melanie struggles to restrain herself to impress Helen, but is unable so Helen flees the cell. She drops her blocker lotion by the door, which is discovered later by Dr. Caldwell.
What to Watch: Future Man
Janitor Josh Futturman leads a pretty boring life, spending much of his time playing video games when he’s not working. Things change, though, when he beats a video game that the rest of the world has given up on, thinking it was unbeatable. After he defeats the game, mysterious visitors from the future appear. They put the world in danger, and Josh is the only person who can save it. He assembles a team to assist him as he travels through time, completing various missions as he does whatever he can to try to save Earth from the extraterrestrial visitors.
What to Watch: Centurion
Based on the legend of the Ninth Legion, an army of 3000 unstoppable Roman warriors who vanished without trace, Centurion is the tale of their vicious conflict with a murderous adversary, the Picts.
Beginning in 117 AD, the narrative opens with a Roman soldier fleeing across a snowy landscape, saying:
“My name is Quintus Dias. I am a soldier of Rome, and this is neither the beginning, nor the end of my story.”
The Romans have been unable to fully conquer Britain, meeting the fiercest resistance in the north, reaching a harsh stalemate that’s lasted a gruelling twenty years. The Picts of Alba are engaging in a guerrilla campaignagainst the Roman forts along the Glenblocker line and the Gask Ridge at the southern border of the Scottish Highlands. At the Roman outpost of Pinnata Castra, Pictish warriors led by Vortix and Aeron force surprise and kill the entire garrison, taking only one survivor for questioning, the second-in-command, Centurion Quintus Dias, because he can speak the Pictish tongue. Dias is brought before the Pictish king Gorlacon, who has united the northern tribes. Dias is brutally interrogated, but two weeks later escapes on foot.
However, a messenger dispatched by the fort’s commander has reached Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman governor of Britannia, who wants to obtain favour with the Roman Senate, hoping to secure a transfer back to the comforts of Rome. He dispatches the Ninth Legion, under General Titus Flavius Virilus, to eradicate the Pictish threat and provides him with a female Celtic Brigantian scout called Etain. As the legion marches north it encounters Dias and rescues him from his pursuers, saving his neck just in the nick of time.
The film ends with Quintus Dias adjusting the narrative of the film’s opening line:
“My name is Quintus Dias. I am a fugitive of Rome, and this is neither the beginning, nor the end of my story.”
What to Watch: These Final Hours
A self-obsessed young man makes his way to the party-to-end-all-parties on the last day on Earth, but ends up saving the life of a little girl searching for her father. Their relationship ultimately leads him on the path to redemption.
The film takes place in Perth, and begins ten minutes after an asteroid has collided with earth in the North Atlantic, leaving approximately twelve hours until the subsequent global firestorm reaches Western Australia. James and his lover, Zoe, are having sex for the last time at her beach house, where she reveals that she’s pregnant with James’ child. Wishing to block out all feelings and avoid what’s coming, James berates Zoe for sharing her news and leaves for “the party to end all parties”.
After having his car stolen, he comes across two men who have kidnapped a young girl and are planning to rape her. James kills them, and rescues the girl. The girl, named Rose, explains that she was separated from her father in Malaga en route to her aunt’s house in Roleystone. Without enough petrol, and wishing to get to his party, James instead plans to leave her with his sister and her children. But upon arriving, he finds his sister and her husband dead in the shower, and three crosses marking what appears to be his nieces’ graves, in what is an apparent murder suicide.
Other attempts at locating Rose’s dad, or someone to leave her with, have sobering results, and James eventually heads to the party with Rose in tow. The party is overflowing with people, a game of Russian roulette is being played, and an orgy is going on inside the house. James is noticeably uncomfortable and appears to want to leave. James meets with the host of the party, Freddy, whose sister is James’ girlfriend, Vicki. James leaves Rose in the pool to speak with Vicki. In a reversal of the earlier scene with Zoe, James attempts to share a serious moment with Vicki, only for her to berate him for bringing her down with his news.
Vicki shows James a bunker built underneath Freddy’s garage, which obviously does not have sufficient food, protection, or space for the miraculous survival Vicki envisions. James tells Vicki and Freddy that they’ll all die, even with the bunker. Freddy’s reaction to this statement informs Vicki that her brother had known this all along. James accepts that his death is inevitable and can’t be blocked out, and commits himself to reuniting Rose with her family.
Meanwhile, outside, a drug-affected woman follows Rose, claiming that she is her daughter, Mandy. When James finally comes back outside to find Rose, she is hallucinating and vomiting after being coerced into taking ecstasy pill, with the woman leaning over her. James tries to leave the party with Rose, causing the woman to scream that he is kidnapping her child. Freddy holds James at gunpoint, before Vicki calmly takes the gun and shoots the woman, telling James to go.
James drives Rose to his estranged mother’s house, with whom he reconciles whilst Rose recovers. She gives James petrol and Rose some old clothes, and the pair leave for Rose’s aunt’s house. Upon arrival, nobody seems to be home, but James finds the bodies of Rose’s family, including her father, outside in what seems to be a mass suicide. Although hysterical at the news of her father’s death, Rose insists on seeing him. James comforts her and brings her his body, and they lay him by a pond with flowers as she tells him that her dad wanted them to be together for the end. James then confides in Rose about his relationship with Zoe and her pregnancy, which leads him to realise his love for her. Rose convinces him to make amends with her while he still can. He heeds her advice, and the two share an emotional farewell before James leaves. His car overheats on the highway as the firestorm approaches, and he runs for the rest of the way. He finds Zoe on the beach, watching the approaching firestorm. She is initially hostile towards James, however the two quickly reconcile and confess their mutual love. The pair then embrace, and turn towards the ocean as they are consumed by the firestorm.
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