The Acid House (1998)

Starring Stephen McCole, Maurice Roëves, Garry Sweeney, Jenny McCrindle, Simon Weir, Iain Andrew, Kevin McKidd, Michelle Gomez, Gary McCormack, Tam Dean Burn, Alison Peebles, Ewen Bremner, Martin Clunes, Jemma Redgrave, Arlene Cockburn, Jane Stabler

Directed by Paul McGuigan

Expectations: Moderate and curious.


I didn’t know much going into The Acid House, and that was perfect. All I knew was that it had an ugly cover on Netflix, and that the Scottish accents were supposedly so thick that in some screenings it ran with subtitles for those unable to decipher the “English” being spoken. And immediately upon starting The Acid House, I knew exactly what they were talking about. Not the characters mind you, the rumors about it being indecipherable. But like a friend that helps you stagger home from the pub, Netflix was kind enough to provide subtitles on its Instant stream by default, so even Yanks like myself can get the full experience from The Acid House. This worked out great, as honestly I would’ve been lost otherwise.

The Acid House is an anthology film adapting three short stories from the work of Irvine Welsh, author of Trainspotting. So when, just a few minutes in, I thought the film was remarkably similar in tone and style to Trainspotting (a film I saw several times in my teenage years), it all made sense to learn it came from the same brain. But where my memory of Trainspotting tells me that film was shocking, realistic and heartbreaking, The Acid House is shocking, fantastical and hilarious. I loved it, start to finish, but this is definitely not a film for everyone.

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Mini-Review: Dark Nature (2009)

Starring Imogen Toner, Niall Greig Fulton, James Bryce, Vanya Eadie, Joanna Miller, Jane Stabler, Tom Carter

Directed by Marc de Launay

Expectations: Low.


I should have listened. Before watching Dark Nature, I read numerous impressions of the film, trying to see if I should bother with it. Every single one I found was negative. I decided to watch it anyway simply on the basis that it was distributed in America by site-favorite Troma Entertainment. If they’re endorsing it, it has to have some redeeming value for their fans, right? Not the case actually, as the film is almost completely devoid of anything that would set it apart as a film that Troma should release.

The film opens with a lot of promise. A quick prologue shows a man murder his wife, then after showering, he is murdered himself by an unseen assailant. This leads to a very well-shot credits sequence featuring time-lapse and beautifully composed shots of windmills and countryside. It’s a bit slow, but it’s done so well that it gives the impression that the rest of the film will pay off for a patient viewer. Unfortunately, it never does. None of the characters demand attention, as they are all boring and too standard to be worth caring about. As you would expect they are slowly killed off, but even these scenes are boring as there’s very little gore or suspense to get excited about. Overall, the film is just so boring, even at only seventy-two minutes. I can’t imagine too many people extracting much enjoyment from this film. Definitely one to avoid. It is an unfortunate blemish on Troma’s otherwise pleasing track record.

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