Review: Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)

SYNOPSIS: A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence. – via IMDB

Alright, so something that I don’t talk about much is the documentaries I watch. Every now and then I am struck by this need and just burn through documentaries like there is no tomorrow and I love them. I love them, but rarely never write about them. I don’t know, it’s pretty hard to write about documentaries. They are the type of things you watch and discuss with people around you, that you go back and forth on. It’s pretty intense.

This is one that I absolutely loved. I really liked the way the documentary was not narrated by a single person. We get snippets of the case, the news, interviews with the accused, their families, the cops, the victims’ families, all of it, and we are left to pretty much form our own opinions on the matter. I really thought this made the documentary a more unique experience. We were essentially elected the jury, to judge these boys accused of a horrendous crime, and we were all left to draw our own conclusions.

And let me tell you, it seems that the conclusions on this case are incredibly divisive. People believe vehemently that these three young guys murdered those boys and should burn in hell, others believe that they were wrongfully convicted. So much raging debate going on about it. I remember coming across this story all those years ago and watching this and being taken in by how bizarre this story was, and is.

Watching this, you get enough information on the case and to watch some of the court proceedings, but I am super grateful to have read Mara Leveritt’s book – all the questions I had before were answered, and it paints a far more complete picture. This documentary shows you two sides, and I liked it for a change not getting the answer, but being allowed to make up my mind.

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is a seriously good piece of work. It is mesmerising and engaging, put together exceptionally well and it is raw, tough and intense. Metallica’s accompanying soundtrack fits like a glove, and I appreciated the clips being used in here showing you the more positive and negative of all sides involved, so nothing ever really felt glorified. I highly recommend this, whether you know the story or not. It’s a fantastic documentary that will keep you hooked from that extremely graphic and heartbreaking opening.

Review: Oldboy (2013)

oldboy 2013 movie poster

“I’ve been thinking about it for the last twenty years.”
– Joe Doucett

SYNOPSIS: Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for twenty years without reason. – via IMDB

Okay, so, unpopular opinion time! I liked this rendition of Oldboy. I have seen the original, but I was not enamoured. True story. I thought this one was pretty entertaining, so I thought that one had to be better (it’s all you ever hear when this comes up), and I did not think this was the case.

Oldboy was relatively well constructed. I thought that Josh Brolin did a good job playing Joe. His transformation was touching. He was such a damned twat in the beginning, I could not stand him. He had nothing good or positive going for him, and I had no pity for him. I just thought him a world class loser. His imprisonment was also quite intense. Initially I was just like oh whatever, but later it became terribly sad.

Joe’s spiral into some insanity was heartbreaking, how the loneliness got to him, brought him to his knees, and how he had to cope. The rat scene (and if you have seen this you will know what I am talking about) was just rough. Sure, there were holes in this film, too (a big one for me – planning his escape for the very day he was going to be let out, anyhow), but if you don’t focus on the issues too much and just watch the movie, the story it tells is quite good.

Anyway, Oldboy definitely has some issues, but it is not the worst thing you will ever watch. I thought it came together well as was a decent watch. Far better than the original, if you ask me :/

Review: The Undoing – Averil Dean

the undoing averil dean cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: On a bitter January evening, three people are found murdered in the isolated Blackbird hotel.

Best friends since childhood, Eric, Rory and Celia have always been inseparable. Together they’ve coped with broken homes and damaged families, clinging to each other as they’ve navigated their tenuous lives. Their bond is potent and passionate—and its intensity can be volatile.

When the trio decides to follow Celia’s dream of buying and renovating the Blackbird, a dilapidated hotel that sits on the perilous cliffs of Jawbone Ridge, new jealousies arise and long-held suspicions start to unravel their relationship. Soon they find themselves pushed to the breaking point, where trust becomes doubt, longing becomes obsession, and someone will commit the ultimate betrayal.

An unflinching story of ambition, desire and envy, The Undoing traces the events leading to that fateful night, revealing the intimate connections, dark secrets and terrible lies that wove them together—and tore them apart.  – via Goodreads

GRADE 8.5Wow. I did not expect to love this one. The write up looked like something I would enjoy, but instead I got to read a book I got sucked into, whose pages reeled me in and held me hostage. I was captivated from the off, and fascinated throughout. The Undoing is a dark tale, a story with substance, with realistic characters who are flawed and broken and oh, so human. I think that the content of the book might make a lot of people uncomfortable, and I think that might affect the ratings, but I liked that Dean went for it and didn’t mess around. It was never really too out there – there was no blood ties, the sex was consensual, but you need to wrap your mind around that concept first. I think a lot of people will be stuck on the step-siblings bit.

The Undoing is a psychological story – don’t expect action, or crazy horror, or something like that. This book is about three friends, their ties, their history, their story, and it is worth every second of your time. The way the book is structured is great, too, where it starts at the end result, after the tragedies, and works its way back. This works wonders for the book because you get the story as it is, and you go back and see how the relationship between Rory, Eric, and Celia came to be, how it had changed over the years, how they all felt about each other. It is incredibly complex, and I felt for these people. They did not have a simple childhood, they were too close and too wound up with one another, I can see how their relationship would progress the way that it did.

The writing made the characters real for me. I ached for them, for their struggle, for how complicated things were for them, it was insane. Because they were all fleshed out so well and had depth, it was easy to get so involved. This is not to say that they were all likable, all the time, because goodness knows they had their moments, but that also made them more realistic people for me. How many people are truly perfect? I found that, at times, the sex would seem like too much, but then, each scene served a purpose.

The side characters, too, brought something to the story. So cold, so calculated. The novel is haunting, demanding your attention and lingering long after the fact. I was enthralled, the book really feels immensely personal. Initially they are just characters, dead people, and when you start uncovering their ties, you are a little confused because, well, Celia and Rory are step-siblings, and Eric is Rory’s best friend, yet Celia is sleeping with them both? So… first they were dead, then she was sleeping with them, then you find out they are all aware of each other and the sexual ties, and have some crazy connection? It starts confusing, no real attachment to anybody or investment in the outcome, how we got there, just a bit of what the hell thrown in, and then it grows into this immensely complex, crushing, beautiful, dark story. The three of them are so wrapped up in each other and their history together that they cocoon themselves away from the rest of the world – nobody else really gets in, and it isn’t healthy.

Small things stuck with me after – the significance of Eric’s tattoos, the friendship between Rory and Eric, how it changed, Celia’s disconnect from the world, her contentment to stay exactly where she was. I don’t want to say too much, but there are little things that are thrown in that resonate. The Undoing is a deeply moving novel – for me, at any rate. I can see that I will go back to read this time and time again because there is so much to it, so much intensity, so much beauty and confusion, obsession and longing, and it all comes together so wonderfully. It is sad, muddled and tangled, but worth every moment. I don’t know – this was totally my type of read: unconventional, twisted, not something that everyone will like, and not afraid to explore some taboo subjects.

Sporadic Scene: True Detective (Season 1×04) – Who Goes There Tracking Shot

Wow. This is one of those incredibly well shot and intense scenes. True Detective is, hands down, one of the best shows I have ever seen, and there was just so much going on there that was right and perfect. Anyway, Cohle and Hart eventually go off the books when they decide that Cohle must try and infiltrate a biker gang he was once undercover in, and in exchange for the co-operation of one of the main members, Cohle needs to help with a hairy situation. Eventually Cohle decides that, no matter what the hell is going down, there are some things that he just needs, and decides to take them. What follows is six minutes of pure epic.

If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at with a picture/gif/video of the scene and an explanation as to why (should you want to include it).