Thursday, March 8, 2012

Nailbiter (2012)

Fear 3/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 4/5
Creepiness 3/5

Nailbiter is a hearken back to the monster movie. Not the Roger Corman goofy, man in a suit movie mind you, as this one is anything but. Rather, the type of monster film that is actually scary.There is real fear here, one that starts with the threat of mother nature but ends with another. Ironically, it's conceived by mother nature but it is something far more pervasive than a passing storm. And in the center of it all, is an innocent family which is completely undeserving of the brutal horrors it is set to encounter.

Our film begins with an introduction the Maguire family. Mom's a recovering alcoholic, currently caring and providing for her three daughters all of which are fairly close in age. Mom doesn't know how she'll readjust to a new life as dad is coming home soon from an overseas deployment. She's presently lived a life giving off the perception that all is well when in fact she's dealing with personal demons and attending AA meetings. She's anxious to see her husband but afraid of what he might make of his wife who is anything but perfect.

The four set out on a trip into town to pick up dear ol' dad despite news warnings of a strong storm set to roll through. Stopping for gas along the way, the newest deputy in town advises them to take shelter, that this storm is so fast approaching that they won't be able to turn around and make it back home in time. Mom doesn't pay heed to his plea and she sets back out onto the country road. Sure enough, the storm catches up and they're forced off, exiting stage left from the motor vehicle, and running for cover. They soon come upon what appears to be an abandoned house. Mom pries the lock off the basement door and the family promptly makes their way inside.

As the storm passes through, a tree is uprooted and strewn across the basement door, trapping the family inside. Cell phone calls can't be made and a bit of panic sets in. More alarming, are the rustling sounds from upstairs and the strong sense that whatever is above them doesn't want them to leave. Even more troubling, are the strange animal-like noises coming from inside the basement. When one of the daughters tries to climb out through a small block window, she's immediately attacked by some sort of creature. The perceived threat is now actually very real and whatever it is that doesn't want them out really doesn't want them out as the only remaining exit is quickly boarded up.

A little more light is shed on the home and it's inhabitants as the deputy in town surveys the area after the storm and finds the family's abandoned car. He makes his way to the home and knocks on the door, being familiarly greeted by the head of the household. An old woman let's him in and they start a bit of informal chit chat until the deputy turns the subject to the abandoned car and missing family. The woman plays dumb and just when the deputy is about to press a little more, the sheriff shows up to the house and instructs him to go on and keep surveying the area. A chilling scene follows as the old woman talks to the sheriff about the 'nice' family and it's a 'shame' that they'll be disposed of shortly. It is then that we get a glimpse of our monsters, ugly mutant-like creatures that are heavily aroused by the rumblings of another oncoming storm.

Our family in the basement soon comes face to face with the monsters themselves and it's a mad fight for survival to fend off the flesh hungry beasts. A final standoff ensues with the home's inhabitants when they make their way out. And just when they think they're in the clear, a startling realization comes as they see that threat expands well beyond the boarders of the secluded home.

Nailbiter is a unique monster film that does a phenomenal job of balancing the monster that mother nature can be with that which can be very real or physical. The build to the monster's reveal is fantastic, preying on the mind of the viewer with every grunt, rustle and clawing sound which is wonderfully pulled off in the sound design. My only gripe with the film is the soundtrack which is deployed in excess and cuts through some of the atmosphere and tension building moments.

Minor quibbles aside, Nailbiter is everything a solid horror film should be: scary, bloody, and downright horrifying. Keep your peepers peeled for this one.

P.S. What is it about the National Weather Service radio broadcast that is just so damn creepy? Check out the trailer if you have no idea what I'm talking about.

For more information about the film, check out its website:

Cortez the Killer


The Artist Formerly Known as J. Astro said...

Looks awesome, I love extreme weather flicks anyway, AND with monsters. Very effective trailer. Will def see this.

Planet of Terror said...

J, I think this one is right up your alley knowing your love of monster flicks. Keep your eye out for it!