Tales of the Supernatural is a 2014 British horror film. It is a portmanteau and consistsof six short tales. It was written by Steven M. Smith and directed by Steven M. Smith and segments by Daniel Johnson. The cast includes Bruce Payne, Jon Campling and Jon-Paul Gates. It is planned for release in May 2014 on DVD and VOD worldwide through Monarch Films Inc and Greenway Entertainment.
The film consists of six supernatural tales (Disturbance, The Hike, Bryan’s Daughter, The Book, Naked and Paralysis) linked together by a demon who is intent on collecting human souls. Tales of the Supernatural follows “The Demon” (banished to Earth by The Devil) as he performs an unholy ritual that releases the souls of the damned from each story segment. This first film (of 3 planned) has six segments linked together. “The Demon” is torturing a young Priest and extracting the pain of the souls from each segment. The young Priest takes on the pain of the each tortured soul until his bloody demise.
The opening text of the movie shows that the demon must collect 666 different souls before he is allowed to return to hell, not only was this incredibly cheesy but the film only revolves around 6 souls, I didn’t see the point in including this opening text what so ever, it was rather pointless.
With such a low budget to play with, Steven and his crew have done a wonderful job of creating some very nice cinematography in the opening scene here, the film begins with a wonderful pan shot of a church that almost instantly looks like a much larger budget film.
The acting is questionable throughout the opening sequences but the story stands firm. The music compliments the film quite considerably with a nice tempo building soundtrack that echoes the mood and feel of the scenes that are being portrayed. The special effects are by no means a Michael Bay spectacle, more along the lines of a student playing around on After Effects, but for a small budget film this is to be expected. Never the less the reaction acting in regards to the special effects are incredibly poor at times, if a fireball was flying at me I’m sure I would jump out of the way, rather than take a few steps back. This made the scene rather comical instead of tense, it was clear to see who were the more professional actors in the movie.
Jon Campling puts in the only stand out performance of the opening segment with a fantastic portrayal of a demon, the experience of being a death eater on the set of Harry Potter was put to some great use as he very convincingly plays this part and for me personally was the one character who was keeping my DVD player running for the opening quarter of the movie.
The film is split up into 6 different stories each indicating the 6 different souls the demon must collect on his travels.
The Book chapter revolves around an author who has been invited to her publishers office as he loves a story that she has written, he’s intrigued for the book to have its final chapter written and is willing to help. The office scene has a creepy vibe, masked by some loud background music that at times seems to overlap the audio of the characters which is very distracting, for some reason I just can’t get into this section what so ever as my eyes just start to close. The story was almost starting to make sense then goes off on a tangent and just left me confused and quite frankly angry. The only thing keeping my attention is what is going to happen once the 6 stories have been told and how the demon is going to react.
The Book – Poor acting, questionable cinematography with no real hook or intrigue. A nice soundtrack compliments an otherwise poor segment.
Bryans Daughter – Cinematography improved with certain filters setting the right mood, acting is considerably better and there is a nice build up of tension towards the closing of the segment. It was almost reminiscent of a home made version of Paranormal Activity.
The Hike- Nicely shot, good scenery and lighting. Great atmospheric music once again but still a rather dull outing in the woods, I just cannot relate to anything that is happening in any of these segments. There is no emotional connection to any of the characters, I’m routing for the demon to win and to end this movie as soon as possible.
Paralysis – A woman trapped in a womans body suffering from sleep paralysis. Four stories in and I’m still wondering what the whole connection is to the demon. There is a presence around each story and certain events happening but nothing is of any note or high importance. It all feels very rushed which is a real shame. So far this one is my favourite as its nice and simple and the story revolves more around voiceover acting than physical acting. In this segment the voice over acting is actually very convincing. Full credit to the actress involved. A very freddy krueger esque scene involving an attack in someones sleep is probably the highlight of this story for me.
Naked- This entire scene is shot in a psycho esque black and white which adds a certain personality to the chapter. Jon Paul Gates puts in a very interesting performance. I still don’t see the relevance to the comparison between a dream of being naked and a demon collecting souls, tortured souls every single one of them but none of the stories have any deep understanding or explanation, its all very plain, dull and linear. The soundtrack once again saves this section as watching it will no doubt condemn you to hell.
Diary of Disturbance- This segment is shot in a retro style reminiscent of old horror movies but without the…. well horror. God bless sound design as this film is a perfect example of why sound is integral to a storyline.
On this note, please take a look at the trailer, for anyone who gets around to watching this movie you will see the trailer is amazing and is by far the best part of the entire production.
The Jon Campling demon segments are the only portions of the movie which keep you hooked, where he is torturing a young man to suffer the emotional trauma of these collected souls. The opening sequence was so well shot and so beautifully located and since then nothing of any interest has popped up. My hopes were so high upon viewing the opening sequence for them to be crushed 10 minutes later.
The acting is by far some of the worst I have ever seen in places, if not for some wonderful backing music and some moments of true independent film beauty, this film would be getting a solid 0 out of 5 stars. But for Jon’s performance masking over a rocky and quite frankly disjointed storyline and for some small glimpses of hope for this lost cause, the film scrapes the barrel for a positive review.
Full credit to Jon Campling for saving this movie !
£15,000 was spent on this movie, £3000 of that was well spent on the sound design but the remaining £12,000 should of been saved for a much better production. A wonderfully designed DVD cover masks the awful contents within. This kind of movie will no doubt amass a small fan base due to its supernatural theme, we hope and pray the second and third instalments obtain a much higher budget to work with and some deeper screenplays developed. There is potential there, but nothing has been revealed in this first film display.
Back to the Movies gives Tales of the Supernatural a 1 out of 5 review rating and that is being generous.