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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Film Reviews: Breakdown (1997), Deep Rising (1998), The Puppet Masters (1994), and Audition (1999)
Breakdown (1997). Written and directed by Jonathan Mostow. Jeff (Kurt Russell) and Amy Taylor (Kathleen Quinlan) are driving across the USA due to a job move. Their car breaks down, and a seemingly friendly lorry driver offers to give them a lift to a local café. Jeff is reluctant to leave their brand new car, so Amy leaves with the lorry driver. When Amy doesn't return Jeff starts to worry, and flags down a car to take him to the café. Breakdown is a simple and classic story, which keeps you on tenterhooks all the way to the end. Kurt Russell is in fine form as the scared but determined husband, and surrounded by an excellent cast. Hard to go wrong with this if you like drama with a smidge of action. 4/5 (Good)

Deep Rising (1998). Co-written and directed by Stephen Sommers. The story starts with a boat and its crew of three taking a group of mercenaries on an ask-no-questions mission. Meanwhile a cruise ship is sabotaged and left dead in the water, when they unluckily stray across a mysterious and huge sea creature. Deep Rising has the feel of an 80s cheesy film, although the frequent use of CG belies that it isn't (from the 80s at least). The story has no real surprises albeit it has some slight charm with an OK cast. Predator and Alien this isn't, but if you're really stuck for something to watch and fancy an action film it's probably worth a spin. 3/5 (Average)

The Puppet Masters (1994). Directed by Stuart Orme, and loosely based on the novel by Robert A Heinlein. The story starts with the crash of a peculiar meteor in a backwater US town. When a man goes to investigate the crash he is attached by three children that have already been to the site. A hastily recanted TV news story about the meteor crash attracts the interest of a specialist government agency, who go to investigate. The Puppet Masters is a quirky film, at least to begin with. Donald Sutherland plays the head of the specialist government agency, and in the odd start to the film him and his team escape the alien infested town with all the emotion of a visit to the supermarket. The film then becomes more traditional fare, as the agency try to figure out how to destroy the aliens. Like Deep Rising it has an 80s feel to it, despite being mid-90s. Despite the decrease in quirkiness it never quite shrugs it off completely, which gave the film an odd charm, for me at least. Even so, it's still a decidedly average SF action film. 3/5 (Average)

Audition (1999). Directed by Takashi Miike and based on the novel by Ryu Murakami. Shigeharu Aaoyama (Ryo Ishibashi) is a widower with a teenage son who is struggling to meet anyone. His film producer friend suggests holding an audition for a fake role, which will allow Shigeharu to find his ideal woman. 30 women are selected for the audition, but upon reading their profiles Shigeharu is certain who the perfect woman is. A friend warned me not to watch Audition, but I had already started and was determined to see it through to the end. He was right to warn as it covers some unpleasant subjects, such as child abuse and some nasty scenes towards the end. It's hard to fault the film technically as the story is interesting, if inevitably slow at the start. Whether you will enjoy it depends on whether you have a stomach for the nasty bits, and it will need to be a strong stomach. I was left with mixed feelings, and can't really say I enjoyed it as such, but I have gone off horror films. 3/5 (Average)

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Audition is my favourite horror film. It is the only horror film that I've seen that has actually filled me with horror.

It is also the reason why I'm wary of girls these days.</p>


I will never forget the Kirikirikiri...

Although The Grudge (2004) is my all time most frightening film, of recent years at least.

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