DVD Unhappy Birthday

DVD Unhappy Birthday
DVD Unhappy Birthday

Run time: 89 min
Rating: 3.5
Genres: Drama | Horror | Mystery
Director: Mark Harriott, Mike Matthews
Writers: Mark Harriott, Mike Matthews
Stars: David Paisley, Christina De Vallee, Jill Riddiford
Storyline
Set in and around the remote tidal island of Amen, Unhappy Birthday is the fictional story of three outsiders’ battles against the twisted morals of an antiquated community. Inspired by British cult classics such as The Wicker Man and Hammer House of Horror, the film explores the fear of isolation and nature versus nature. A special birthday party becomes a living nightmare for City-dwelling couple Sadie and Rick and their friend Johnny. They visit Corinne, an enigmatic local on the island of Amen, which is accessible only by invite and seemingly impossible to get off. A mysterious family connection with Corinne brings horrific consequences as they find themselves trapped by the tide and at the mercy of the island’s wild nature. Written by Anonymous
Plot Keywords: island, birthday, tide, shower, male nudity
Details:
Country: UK
Release Date: 21 June 2011 (USA)

4 Comments

  1. A low budget film like this gets reviews all over the map, but even great films have critics that didn't like them. The Kid With a Bike got reviews in the papers of 2, 3, 4, and 5 stars. You wonder if they are watching the same movie.

    This is a first effort for writer/directors Mark Harriott and Mike Matthews. They evidently worked hard to present a film with an atmosphere that is really creepy. The music and sound really matched the scenes and keep the tension high.

    The sexual scenes are intense, both heterosexual and homosexual, as Rick (David Paisley) brings his boyfriend Johnny (Jonathan Keane) along with his girlfriend Sadie (Christina De Vallee).

    It had a strange, but no unexpected ending that really drove the insanity home.

    The acting was very good, and it was a compelling story.

  2. As we all know in order for most run-of-the-mill horror films to work the characters have to behave unbelievably stupid. They have to make foolish decisions to advance the agenda of the writer.

    This film takes that meme to new heights of dumbness. Cribbed from The Wicker Man and mixed with the homoerotic earmarks of a David DeCoteau film, Unhappy Birthday fails to raise interest.

    The man-on-man sex scenes, I suppose, are to shock and divert us from the failures of the script. And while the scenes were titillating, actors David Paisley and Jonathan are attractive and capable enough actors, the well-worn story is so painfully predictable. The feeble reason why they come to the island and the ending itself do not add up.

    We know instantly they are in trouble. They do not. We know who is going to be the whack-job instantly. They do not. It's hard to root for people who are mindlessly being lead into a trap.

    Lastly, the lead actress is neither convincing, attractive enough or engaging. The three-way scene between the leads exists only to add running time to this poor film.

  3. Words fail me. This review will not seem to bear any resemblance to the 10 star reviews above; subjective as the world is, this truly was one of the worst films I've had the misfortune to sit through. Are they acting we asked? Is it irony, we wondered? Was it improvisation? No, it is none of these. Hammy acting, a series of unconnected scenes with a 40 minute lead up to nothing and a hideous stereotyped gay man coming across like a mix of that horrid character from Gimme Gimme Gimme and Ian Beale. What I would say is that some of the time lapse photography ain't bad – what I'd also add is if the director (was there one?) wanted to avoid make up on the 'actors', natural as that may be flattering it certainly ain't! Avoid.

  4. It is extremely perplexing to me that a film as good as "Unhappy Birthday" could possibly be running a 2.4 rating on this site. Huh? I personally think it's one of the best small-budget horror films of the last 10 years– dread-filled, well acted, and beautifully shot. I just watched it last night on On Demand and was blown away.

    The only thing I can think of that might explain the low rating is that there is a very frank sexuality to the film, both hetero and homosexual. Maybe that was too much for some folk? For me, it is the rare film where sex is an integral part to the overall story and characters, not just thrown in for titillation (and easier distribution).

    Otherwise, I am at a loss as this is a perfectly awesome little gem of a horror film that is really affecting and haunting.

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