Star Wars

A conversation concerning Star Wars between myself and vlogger Will McD. Will is in bold. I thought that this might classify as interesting or amusing. I’ve been wrong before!

I was talking about the background and universe of Star Wars with my girlfriend last night. She said that she’s read a book on it. I said that’s fair enough but I don’t know how the majority of the public get into the films unless they read the book too

I’ve read a load of the books but they were written post films. The films are hardly complicated to follow.

Well, my problem is this: they will jump from planet to planet.
“Here we are in Jawoo, to meet the Plasbian Mukabugu” and you just go, ‘ok, right’.
The planet Jawoo is a bright glowing orange with huge tropical birds and 6 moons. All the inhabitants are humanoids with ostrich heads. My question is…WHY?!

Because it’s Scifi.
If you can follow the universe of GOT i’m sure you’re intelligent enough to be able to follow Star Wars.

There is no explanation for how this world’s unique climate developed, where these people came from, what their general politics and allegiances are.

Because they’re films

They simply seem to be this way because people will say
“that’s cool”

Most people don’t enjoy 20 hour filmic explanation of the evolution of hundreds of different species and habitats.

I know Game of Thrones the tv show doesn’t give much history either but you’ll at least get some aside like “ah, Lord Frey of the crossing, the late Lord Frey my father called him but his castle is the only way to cross the Trident”

It’s a tv show
They tend to go into more depth
Due to the fact they’re so much longer

I can’t understand how you can get into something if it’s just bright lights and pretty colours.
I would enjoy watching a 2 hour film about the history or the culture of Jawoo
My girlfriend said “nobody would watch that, it would be crap”
I would watch it. Then i would understand it.

I can’t understand how you can watch any film without a week long introduction into the lives of all the characters from birth
But that guy who served him in the shop!? Who is he!?!

When it’s set in our world then its no issue. When the world is alien to us then it is an issue.

I feel he’s just been wedged in there without any explanation!?
Who is he!?
Where do his loyalties lie!?

There is a unique culture that is totally “alien” to us and to understand it we need some background
If there isn’t a unique culture then what the hell purpose does it solve to visit this place?
It would make the alien planet just a pretty backdrop and utterly irrelevant
That isn’t good writing, that’s set dressing

I don’t see how you can’t understand it if you’re not given a complete rundown of their economic structure and religious beliefs

At least a hint at it Will. Even Aliens gives more back story. Star Wars’ popularity just baffles me

Have you seen episodes 1 and 2?
That’s why they were so heavily criticised. They spent half the films going on about trade agreements and levies within the different systems and they were fucking boring

Ok Will, you walk into a business meeting
The meeting is held in a large, triangular shaped room
The man you are meeting is wearing just a thong
His secretary comes in wearing full traditional inuit costume
there is a shark, out of water, rolling about in its death throes on the floor in the corner
Do you accept all this and continue with the meeting or do you ask for just a little background?!

Is the meeting a 2 hour long sci fi film?
Besides i wouldn’t need background as it’s on earth
not in space

No, it is an example of curiosity and reasoning. You need some sort of structure. Are you not even a little curious?!

It’s not an alien planet so i would understand it all perfectly

Ok, all of the above but it’s on an alien planet

Well then i’d go to the toilet during all the exposition and guess my way through
I don’t know, i don’t like it when films feel the need to lead me by the hand when it’s not really necessary.

You could probably just assume you’ve wandered onto a star wars set and be done with it!
Its not leading you by the hand, its crafting a story, not just throwing up some pretty lights to distract from the paper thin plot

Surely you can make assumptions from various cues given by the director?
it doesn’t have to be all meticulously explained on screen during a conversation between two characters?

Its not about explaining or me being too stupid to follow it
Its about moving location in the film simply to show an impressive visual.
That isn’t storytelling.

so there’s a spaceship dog fight
its a fast paced action sequence
they fly down to the surface of a planet and past some locals who look shocked
should the film pause and gravitate away from the action to watch one of the locals have a cup of tea with his aunt and describe his entire family history?

ok, what is the purpose of introducing us to this planet and these shocked locals?

Because it’s an action sequence
which tend to be made for spectacle

Are the gravity and physics of this planet different to outer space and therefore affecting the fight?
If not then it is simply set dressing
The audience has gotten bored with outer space so lets jazz it up with a jungle backdrop then perhaps change the wallpaper again to a desert.

Well there would be more obstacles and a different landscape to navigate during the fight yes
But action sequences are mostly set dressing surely?
They are visual, isn’t that the nature of them?

I know, i hate action sequences anyway


But you used the example
My point was when they visit other planets
To talk to people

So your ideal film would just be back story?
Lets not show these massive battles but listen to people talk about them in the past tense?

Yeah i would like that

Hmm then don’t watch films i suppose

To be fair, i don’t like that many films
Top Gun is one of the few action films i like

Well cinema is a visual medium predominantly

I like rich story
Action takes away from that

You don’t care about the action if you don’t care about the characters and their development i agree
but a film has 2 hours to develop a story
so it tends to concentrate on the characters in the main frame. otherwise they don’t get any development and no one cares about your main guys
so you could expand on the whole universe at the expense of damaging your main characters
you hint at things
hint at civilisations as you don’t have time to expand on the whole thing

I agree with you but i don’t think Star Wars does develop anything when they planet hop
i don’t think Star Wars films hint at the civilisations or develop the main characters
maybe because Anakin is a shallow creep
and the old films are typical 80’s action films where “explosion” is a good substitute for story
and i spose you enjoy them for what they are, like Terminator. Then again, Terminator developed a back story

I disagree with your point on the older films
But the newer ones weren’t amazing

To be fair i’ve only seen the old ones once or twice

They do have decent character arcs
thing is they’re so famous and old

Ok, for my final point: Imagine if you were watching Game of Thrones
and in king’s landing Cersei says “i’m going to visit Jon Snow”
in the next scene she appears at the Wall and talks to Jon Snow
Nobody mentions the cold, the massive wall or the dire wolf
they talk about the matter at hand and then go their separate ways
that is what star wars is like to me

Well it’s a film not a 45 hours series

Or they go to see Daenerys
“Is that a dragon? What is the dragon about?”
Shuttup Will! Watch the movie. They don’t have time to explain story to you. Now watch this 6 minute space bike race which will inevitably end in either an unlikely win for the hero or some major trick that has been hinted at several times

I couldn’t possibly watch the space bike race without first viewing a detailed schematic of the workings of said bike and watching a 24 hour biopic on the guy who last cleaned it at the space bike wash!

Trip Advisor review

The Singing Fox, Barlesham

My lady wife and I visited this establishment on our recent trip to the coast. The waiter’s hair was far too long, despite a sign saying “guide dogs welcome” they refused to let Willas the Woldfhound eat at the table, the tap in the gents was too hot, the doors were too heavy, the waitresses hair was too short, we saw neither hide nor hair of a fox, let alone a singing one and when the landlord’s rottweiler played harp it felt as though his heart wasn’t in it. AVOID!

Jupiter Ascending review

Ambitious, visually splendid yet camp and absurdly silly, I spent most of Jupiter Ascending’s lengthy and tedious action scenes wondering quite how Kunis, Tatum, Bean and Redmayne were convinced to sign up.
   I can assume that the Wachowski name was enough alone to secure funding for the film as I can’t believe anybody read the script.
I’m a sci fi fan, i’m a fan of The Matrix, even the ropier parts of the trilogy didn’t overly phase me.

The sad thing is that i was looking forward to Jupiter Ascending, but with it’s cheesy humour, clunky dialogue, strange pacing, violence, partial nudity and the way the film seems at pains to remind us of the gravity of the situation our protagonist finds herself in I cannot think who the movie is aimed at.
   In the end Jupiter Ascending reminds me uncomfortably of some odd concoction between Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Fifth Element and Battlefield Earth.
To summarise; green screens, unexplained tech gadgets and cliches do not a movie make.

Transformers 4 Age Of Extinction review

If you’re a fan of explosions, cliches, brooding and tropes then Transformers 4 Age Of Extinction is for you.
If you are neither a twelve year old boy nor a supportive friend of a cast member then I would probably give it a miss. If the production team hadn’t blown their entire budget on special effects then they could have paid for someone to actually write dialogue, which was in this case presumably penned by a drunk Michael Bay under a pseudonym.
I’m a big fan of Mark Wahlberg and I could believe in him as a Marine style gun slinger, an embattled single father to a far too hot daughter, a parkour expert or perhaps even, in the right circumstances, an impoverished genius engineer but all four is a stretch.
I confess that I haven’t seen the previous films so perhaps I am losing out on a big part of the exposition and the motives behind the multiple battling factions but frankly, after three hours; who gives a shit?

Bates Motel Season 2

I first started watching Bates Motel after seeing a Netflix trailer for it. Vera Famiga caught my eye in The Departed (closely contesting the accolade of favourite film with Top Gun and Heat) and the premise of a Psycho prequel seemed so ludicrous that I felt it deserved a brief watch. I thought I was going to hate Bates Motel. After all, Hitchcock has never done it for me (I’m sorry but “scary” ages badly in my opinion), I loathe remakes and prequels/franchise licencing seems lazy to me.
I love Bates Motel. I feel you need to forget the title and the prequel/spin off mentality and just judge it on it’s own, seeing as it is so far removed from the source material. Sure, it is over the top, convoluted and somehow equally dumb yet it keeps me glued. It’s worth watching for the magnetically creepy chemistry between Norman and Norma.
Bates Motel is no Six Feet Under, Game Of Thrones or even Breaking Bad. I would draw comparisons to Dirty, Sexy, Money if anything, based on the absurd plots, the often entirely superfluous characters and general melodrama. Oh and the return of one of my favourite tropes; the nerdy ugly girl (played by the gorgeous Olivia Cooke) who is actually really a bit of a babe but not a single character on the show recognises it, is just inspired!
In summary, try Bates Motel, you might really like it. Be prepared to attempt to explain and defend it to your friends “well it’s not really Psycho”, “it’s pretty much all new”, or simply “it’s better than it sounds!”.

A People’s Porsche

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I have desired the Porsche 944 since I was five years old. Actually, that’s a lie, I’ve desired a 1986 Porsche 911 Turbo with the massive whale tail in Guards Red wi…oh hang on, I need a cold shower. Anyway, with £3,000 sitting in the bank I plumped for the people’s Porsche. I’ve always admired the sheer unashamed 80’s cool of it, the beige carpet interior, the sharp faux futuristic lines, the Nightrider-esque pop-up headlights.
I’ve been reading up on them for two or three years, online reviews, users guides, wikipedia articles and trawling Autotrader so I know all the good and the bad. I’ve never seen the phrase “bombproof” used so much outside of a Hurtlocker review and apparently the car is fixable by anyone with a basic mechanical knowledge of farm machinery (I am not among that number), however it is still a Porsche and servicing can be (not IS, CAN BE) pricey. I’m 25 years old now and have been driving for 6 of those years, with no claims. I got a price for £450 to insure, which I was pretty pleased with considering that its a 2.5 Litre. So, with a “you only live once” (I won’t be abbreviating that) attitude I got myself a Lux FH. After trading in my Yaris, I had money left over for the insurance, a full tank of petrol and still had change from my savings.
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I’m not particularly fussed by what people think of me, afterall I have been driving a 2002 Toyota Yaris in a nice shade of Parking Dent and Rust for the past two years, however the reactions of peers and coworkers has surprised me. A close friend of mine came for a drive with me and was effusive in his praise, rambling excitedly about the great condition and what a beauty it was. Then, oddly, at a social gathering the following week when asked what he thought he joined and even led the mockery. Yes, mockery. I’ve never batted an eyelid when my friends have bought cars and yet somehow mine became a subject of group discussion.
Despite being the sort of person who spends several hours a day on forums for months researching purchases as mudane as computer graphics cards, my friends seemed to be under the impression that I swanned into a showroom and threw my wallet at the closest thing I could see. Everything from “rustbucket”- it has a galvanised steel body, to “thirsty”- I’ve been getting 33mpg, was slung at it. A work colleague, who drives a five year old Ford Focus said “I’m not daft enough to be lumbered with a huge loan like that”, yet I bought the car outright. Which is odd as his car cost twice as much and a 1.8 Focus returns probably 3mpg more to the gallon. A friend who bought a “designer” hatchback (you know the type), on a five year finance plan called the car “silly” and implied it was part of an early midlife crisis. Yet it cost as much as 8 of her monthly payments and, by my rudimentary maths, would need to cost £1,200 in every service for ten years to be more of a drain on my pocket.
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So perhaps it is jealousy, or if not then my friends feel that far more of my life is their domain than I do of theirs. Regardless, I smile like a Cheshire Cat every time that I step out of my front door or put my right foot down on a straight.
In my next blog I will talk through, in as journalistic a fashion as I can, my early ownership experiences and offer a first review of my new toy.

Rave reviews for Swannui and Cygnus

Just over a month has passed since the release of my debut book Swannui and Cygnus. Here is a selection of reviews

“Oooh he’s very talented” – my mum’s mate, to my mum

“Its a bit deep for me, i didn’t really understand but its very good” – my mum’s workmate

“Quality little reference to Fistful of Colours in there” – my brother

and finally this ringing endorsement:

My dad’s colleague: “It’s very deep and wordy”

Dad “Ah, well it’s nice you bought it”

Colleague “Oh, no i just had a flick through in the shop”

The Guardian was unavailable to comment.

M14 Prerelease

I played Magic for about two years from ages 11-13. It was a simpler time, our decks were basic and built solely from intro decks and a handful of boosters, we perhaps spent £30 on cards. It was a great pastime, huddled around a table in my friend’s mum’s mobile caravan, we laughed, joked and bonded over these little pieces of cardboard. Then we turned 13 and discovered girls, somehow girls didn’t think four boys sitting in an airless sweaty caravan playing with pictures of dragons was cool or sexy. Our weekends evolved subtly from card games to hanging out at skate parks or trying to exploit weaknesses in our parent’s internet filters so that we could eagerly wait ten minutes for a photo of boobs to chug down the dial-up connection.
About two years ago, after ten years of hopelessly trying to understand the female mind and pissing away hundreds of pounds on beer, taxi’s and nightclub entries, myself and my house mate were sitting in one evening and reminiscing. Remember Warhammer? He asked me, I laughed and reeled off a series of anecdotes about that time when this happened, and the time that guy cheated with this. We agreed that we missed pissing about with collectibles and considered starting playing again. Then we remembered the afternoons with our fingers stuck together with superglue, the time our dog ate our tank, when we screwed up the paint job on a model so bad that we had to chuck it. We didn’t know anyone else who would play, games could take hours and prices were daunting. Then it struck us, Magic didn’t need any setup, there was no pinning, no gluing, no heavy boxes to drag about, you simply had a wad of cards wrapped in an old elastic band (I shudder at the thought these days). James rushed into his room and started rustling about, “i think my mum might have chucked them in the move…no…wait…yes!”, i rummaged through my bottom drawer and found a tupperware, covered in dust and forgotten.
In the last two years i’ve played Magic twice a week on average and built several fairly competitive Modern decks. I’d never played in a tournament however, but waking up early on a sunday morning with nothing planned for the day, i thumbed through my Facebook feed and saw that Boundless Realms, my local store, were hosting an M14 prerelease. I’ve been very excited about M14, to the point that i have a booster box preordered, so for £25 with 8 booster packs and a promo Megantic Sliver chucked in, this looked like the perfect way to while away a day. I arrived around ten am and registered with DCi, keen to smash my way up to 924,567th place in the world rankings.
Decks were to be made from the contents of your first 6 boosters, plus any lands required (i excitedly pinched the sexy 8th edition plains in the pool – i say pinched, the other players and owners were bemused at my glee). There were 16 players, with the top 8 winning boosters. Decks were a minimum of 40 cards, so i went with what appeared to be the general consensus of 16 lands, 24 spells. My draw was middling, i had a couple of nice cards but mostly vanilla fare. My rares and mythics were: Devout Invocation, Savage Summoning, Megantic Sliver, Seraph Of The Sword, Tidebinder Mage and Xathrid Necromancer. With nothing of note in Black, no burn in Red and opting against a chancey counter based Blue build, I plumped for White/Green weenie aggro. The Seraph Of The Sword and Devout Invocation had steered me towards white (plus 80% of my builds are white) and i went with green on the strength of drawing 2 giant growth, Manaweft Sliver and Deadly Recluse (probably the most played card at the event).
Round 1 (2-0)
My first opponent was a new player, he had played Duels Of The Planeswalkers for a few weeks so knew the basics and came down to play with his mate. He played White/Green like I did but his inexperience told (he tried to prevent all combat damage on his turn, with an empty board – which I allowed him to rescind) and I won with 28 life in the first game and 24 in the second. We all start somewhere and i was pleased to hear at the end of the tourney that he had claimed his first scalp and finished 15th of 16. The more new players that join the community the better and i was glad that he hadn’t been thoroughly womped and put off.
Round 2 (1-1-Draw)
My second opponent was a seasoned player and did well. The first game finished with a narrow victory to me, i was on 7 life and got the edge through constant attacks with Seraph Of The Sword, her resistance to combat damage and my Giant Growths saw off any defences before eventually overwhelming my opponent. The second game saw me ascend to 24 life and bring him down to 4 with the Seraph and boost combo, along with little gems like Suntail Hawk and Brindle Boar (block him? I’ll sacrifice before damage is dealt). Then he Doomblade’d Seraph. This was a turning point as, at the time, my angel was my only creature in play (having thrown the rest at him every turn to wipe out his defences). Suddenly i had no board, no cards in hand and he enchanted his vanilla black 3/2 with Dark Favor and swung for 6. I drew a forest, my 9th land. He swung for 6 and played another creature. I drew Lay Of The Land. He swung for 8. I drew Serra Angel but it was too late, i blocked his big guy, 2 damage got through. I sat on 2 life, i drew Verdant Haven. We shook hands and laughed, he with relief, I with disbelief. These two games had been exhausting struggles, as we shuffled for our deciding game a judge called 2 minutes. We set up and began, when the timer had gone we were both sat on 19 life, four turns in and with level boards. He told me he was relieved to have taken a draw from me, I agreed, i was ecstatic.
Round 3 (0-2)
This was a humbling, crushing defeat. If i had been in contention for prizes before or deceived myself into thinking that my vanilla weenies were a force to be reckoned with; this shattered any illusions. The first game finished within four minutes. Scavenging Ooze and Woodborn Behemoth took me apart; i pulled out every trick i had, i played Fog, Giant Growth, Savage Summoning into Serra Angel. Nothing i tried paid off, my weenies were just chumps to block the Behemoth and were munched up in death by the Ooze. The second game didn’t go much better, I took him down to 7 life but i had got by every turn on combat tricks, minor life gain and exhausted my hand. Thoroughly outclassed and outmanoeuvred, i realised that setting my sights higher than 8th would be unwise.
Round 4 (2-0)
Still licking my wounds from the previous round and knowing that a defeat here would surely end any hopes of finishing in the prize places, i shuffled up and nervously faced my fourth opponent. In the break between rounds i’d decided to switch out Darksteel Ingot for Rumbling Baloth. The Baloth is vanilla as they come but i’d missed muscle and bodies in my previous game. The Ingot never added to my game, with Manaweft Sliver providing any emergency mana I needed. Playing Red/Black yet lacking low end burn and with just two kill spells, my opponent was always going to struggle. He explained his predicament to me and I sympathised, he’d had a rough draft. I won the first game before he had played a spell and the second saw my Serra Angel with Trollhide smashing face.
Round 5 (1-2)
This was the final round, from my reckoning I was back in contention for prizes but would need at least a draw here to keep clinging in. Game 1 started well for me, playing two Giant Growths on a turn 3 Deadly Recluse attack. My opponent, playing White/Black/Green pulled it back with a few very familiar cards, the same minor life gain that i had fallen back on in countless games brought him back to a respectable position. He brought out Archangel Of Thune, the one card i had been drooling over in the spoilers. On fourteen life each and with Seraph Of The Sword, Manaweft Sliver and two tokens from Hive Stirrings facing Archangel Of Thune, Siege Mastadon and Lifebane Zombie I needed a game winner. I tapped all three slivers for Devout Incantation and overwhelmed him the very next turn. Game 2 started in much the same fashion and i was confidently opening my prize boosters in my mind. Then it all went horribly wrong, Sanguine Bond and minor life gain sapped at me slowly, i was outnumbered on the board and slowly stumbled towards defeat. It was the final game, not only of the round but of the tournament. My record was mixed, my opponent had some great cards and my only hope was a great start and every combat trick i could pull. A judge had begun watching us with mild interest after my crushing angelic assault in game 1 and by the beginning of the final game 3 judges were standing around us; anticipating the tie of the round. We smashed into each other, balanced decks going toe to toe, every point of damage coming at the expense of a valued creature; i pulled every combat trick i had from up my sleeves; Fog, Giant Growth, Celestial Flare buying me a slight advantage. We stood facing each other on turn 8, my opponent on 11 life, i was on 14. Then it happened, Sanguine Bond. He’d already been smashing with his lifelinked Stonehorn Chanter, which had tied up my Seraph Of The Sword for as long as it had been on the battlefield, but as he whittled away my other blockers i was reduced to waiting for a miracle, unable to attack. Archangel Of Thune came in and the pair came in swinging hard, my Seraph blocked the Archangel and i took the unboosted Stonehorn damage. I drew lands and unusuable auras. His minor life gain stung me passively and the judges were theorising possible outcomes, each engrossed in the battle. When he swung with both the rhino and the angel with lifelink and made me lose the life he’d gained i eventually capitulated. My seraph lay down her sword. I extended my hand, we shook, both brimming with nerves and excitement.

My weenies had done their very best and stood their ground against all but the third opponent. With the cards at my disposal i couldn’t imagine a stronger showing and i was proud of how i had played, fully focussed and pulling tricks out of the bag where i would usually have missed a beat. We all stood around the store awaiting the results, read in excruciating ascending order, and then it became clear why the judges had taken such a keen interest in our final game. My opponent finished in 7th, I in 9th. Our third game had been an unintended play off for the final prize places. Our war of attrition, a slow, slogging battle, won on sheer endurance had provided the nerve wracking spectacle befitting of a play off. I learnt a lot by playing with a patchwork deck, compared to my usual mythic playsets, and grew to appreciate why Serra Angel invokes such nostalgia amongst veteran players. Seraph Of The Sword was my pick of the day, a really standout card, prevents enemy lifelink, deathtouch proof and a thorn in the side of a deck without removal. I’ll pick up three more when the set is released.
After five hours of magic and a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in my first ranked tournament i thanked the great staff at Boundless Realms and left with my head held high.

Paranormal Activity 4 Review

Horror films
Ok, firstly, i must admit that i am not a horror movie fan. I do not particularly enjoy them. It may be because they are, on the whole, cheap to produce and cost effective. Production companies simply churn them out, they are the pop music of the movie world. Dozens of ambiguously creepy titled movies with unknown actors and unwritten scripts pop out each month, further diluting the pool. In my experience horror films are more likely to be laughably shit than truly terrifying, with a few notable exceptions. However, i do seem to find myself watching them surprisingly often. Whenever i go to the cinema with a friend “for something to do” and we haven’t researched what is on we always plump for a horror. I think this is because it is easy. When you are confronted with a dozen ubiquitous titles which you do not recognise it is difficult to select a movie, then you see something like “Dead Awakening” and you know what you’re going to get. Such was the case this evening when i saw “Paranormal Activity 4” listed.
I’d seen the original Paranormal Activity and ,i must admit, it creeped me out. It goes alongside The Exorcist and Ring as the scariest film I’ve seen. I think with all three of these movies the thing which makes them frightening is the element of the unknown enemy, the force of supernatural or undying evil which is rarely visible. The first Paranormal Activity is never graphic, it is a film about nothing, right up to the last twenty seconds. Nothing happens, a girl sleepwalks, footprints appear, there are no suspenseful ‘jumpy bits’, the power of the film, the true horror comes from what you can’t see, like “what the fuck just dragged her out of the bed”. The first Paranormal Activity is why i don’t have my legs hanging out of the covers when i sleep and why, if i woke to find a female bedfellow standing over me, motionless, with her head hanging down, i would leap up screaming and relentlessly punch her in the face til i was dragged away for a few years of pillowbiting in ‘D’ wing. It was a true horror film.

Paranormal Activity 4 sucks balls. It really does. There, that’s my review. No need to read further.

Still here? Ok then. Well, for the sake of honesty, i did look away or brace myself a few times in the cinema. PA4 has fallen foul of the horror movie cliche of low static noise, building menacingly into a crescendo and then oh my days its a small child who appears suddenly and the music cuts or jolts with a loud bass note. That’s the thing with PA4, more often than not the jumpy bit is something like a cat or a small child or an ordinary thing that happens to move rapidly into focus, the false alarm occurs far more often than the actual threat. I’m not going to analyse the threadbare plot or rip into the fact that, in order to suspend disbelief, we have to accept that this family has a macbook sat in four different rooms of the house that runs throughout the night and records from its webcam in standby mode because i could go on about how stupid it is for pages and pages. No, instead, I’m just going to be brief. Great horror leaves a mark on you, i checked my corners for weeks after watching Ring, shit horrors make you jump six times because the music screeched up and a child dashed past the camera. That’s why PA4 sucks and PA was awesome, PA never showed you the threat, it was always subtle, creepy and immaterial, an evil so incomprehensibly terrifying that lived beyond our plane of existence; whereas PA4 shows you a child who is more autistic than haunted and then reveals the threat 25 minutes from the end. PA never shows you the demon, the closest thing to an embodiment of the threat we see is at the very end when the girl throws her dead partner at the camera then growls and leaps at it. In PA4 we see a fairly attractive thirty year old brunette prowling around and throwing bodies about, with an occasional demonic face cgi effect. When the protagonist runs out into a garden and turns to see ranks of possessed people and then is set upon by demonface brunette, we find ourselves in a zombie film. I was struck by the sheer ridiculousness of the film, much like in ‘House At The End Of The Street’ when we learn that the handsome young man is the killer, the idea that all of the bumps and jolts are just the result of what are essentially zombies takes any of the remaining edge off. Imagine if, in Jaws, the first scene had been someone swimming up to the great white with a tape measure and going “wow, 35 footer, bet you eat a few humans”, it throws the entire movie into farce. When the credits rolled i laughed a little too loudly.