The Playlist

5 Films Of Horror & Madness To Watch If You Love 'The Wicker Man'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • September 24, 2013 3:16 PM
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  • 8 Comments
5 Films To See Before 'The Wicker Man'
No, not the bees. The beloved, now unassailably classic original “The Wicker Man” turns 40 this year, and this week a version dubbed ‘The Final Cut’ makes its way to theaters, with director Robin Hardy’s blessing. If it were any other four-decade-old British horror film getting the same treatment, it would likely be the first chance many of us would have had to see it on the big screen. But “The Wicker Man” has grown in critical esteem and public adoration since its scrappy, perfunctory first run, which means that in recent years its various cuts have been staples on the late-night-horror/Halloween/Midnight Madness circuit. Not that that necessarily makes us less likely to go see this version—as is almost a requisite for a truly cult film, “The Wicker Man” does not just stand up to, it pretty much demands repeated viewing, and yields some new level of WTF delight every time. And with cinematography this evocative and of-its-time and an ending this epic, the bigger the screen, the better.

Karlovy Vary Review: Ben Wheatley's 'A Field In England'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 4, 2013 3:46 PM
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  • 15 Comments
A Field In England
Imagine attempting a super-low-budget, rapidly shot mashup of the melancholic aesthetic of Ingmar Bergman, the comedic sensibility of Mel Brooks and the tonal uneasiness of Lars Von Trier -- you'd probably end up with a complete mess of a film. However, that's not the case for Ben Wheatley, whose willfully abstruse "A Field in England" more or less fits that bill (by way of Samuel Beckett, "The Wicker Man" and Sergio Leone, if you want to fine tune the comparison, but we could probably continue throwing names at it all day and finding most of them stick) and comes out as a totally unique, often brilliant, deliberate partial mess instead. Reteaming the director, who, off the back of his feature triptych of "Down Terrace," "Kill List" and "Sightseers" has become something of an indie phenomenon, with regular writer Amy Jump, the film is the most formally experimental, and probably the least approachable, of the director's titles to date. But it's further proof of Wheatley's singular sensibilities as a filmmaker: the film's dark comedy, occasional gory violence and constant profanity are immediately recognizable as hallmarks, even as the black and white cinematography (often very beautiful), period setting and parable-like feel sees him move into new, uncharted territory.

Watch: New Trailer & Poster Arrive For Ben Wheatley's Trippy 'A Field In England'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • May 21, 2013 8:59 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Many, including ourselves, tipped the latest film from Ben Wheatley, "A Field In England," to pop up somewhere in the Cannes line-up. After all, his reputation's been growing since his first two pictures "Down Terrace" and "Kill List," and "Sightseers" was on the Croisette last year. The film didn't appear in the line-up, but in a way, it didn't need to, because it already has its own plans; rolling out back in the UK in an unprecedented multi-format release that will see it hit cinemas on the same day that it's released on DVD & Blu-Ray, airs on VOD, and even screens on the free Film4 channel.

'Sightseers' Stars Alice Lowe & Steve Oram Talk Murders, The State Of British Comedy Film, And Causing An Outrage

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 29, 2012 10:01 AM
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  • 0 Comments
It might not have been a banner year for comedy movies so far, but there's one shining light arriving this week (for U.K. audiences at least -- American crowds are going to have to wait another few months), in the shape of "Sightseers," the third feature from "Down Terrace" and "Kill List" director Ben Wheatley. Blending the outstanding visuals and unsettling sound of the director's earlier films with a unique pitch-black sensibility, it also sees the arrival of two fully-formed comic talents on the world scene, in the shape of the film's stars and writers, Alice Lowe and Steve Oram.

'Sightseers' Director Ben Wheatley Talks Improvisation & The Influences Of Documentaries On The Film

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 17, 2012 2:59 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Camper van holidays in the north of England and murder do not, traditionally, go hand in hand. But trust Ben Wheatley, the mind behind pitch-black breakthrough films "Down Terrace" and "Kill List," to bring them together for his third feature film, "Sightseers." From a script by British comedians Alice Lowe and Steve Oram (who workshopped the characters on the U.K. circuit for years), and executive produced by Edgar Wright, the film is a darkly funny, curiously moving film that drew rave reviews when it premiered at Cannes (including our own).

Pablo Larrain's 'No' Picked Up For U.S. By Sony Pictures Classics, IFC Nabs Ben Wheatley's 'Sightseers'

  • By Joe Cunningham
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  • May 23, 2012 11:41 AM
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  • 0 Comments
When movies aren’t being watched at the Cannes Film Festival, they’re being purchased, and we’ve got news of a couple that have been picked up for North American distribution.

The Playlist Delves Into The 2011 Brit List, The Best Unmade Screenplays From The U.K.

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • November 10, 2011 10:02 AM
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  • 2 Comments
It's been something of a banner year, both critically and commercially, for British film, with the likes of "The Inbetweeners Movie" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" tearing it up at the box office at home, while pictures like "Kill List," "Attack the Block," "We Need To Talk About Kevin" and "Shame" have won acclaim from critics at home and abroad. But with the changes in the industry coming from the scrapping of national funding body the UK Film Council last summer starting to take effect, we're at something of a pivot point -- the last of the Film Council-funded features are starting to roll out, and it remains to be seen what kind of effect the move of funding to the British Film Institute will have.

'Kill List' Director Ben Wheatley Working On "Cops Versus Monsters" Sci-Fi 'Freak Shift' For 2013

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • September 22, 2011 2:21 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Five Things We Learned From The Fast-Rising British HelmerAfter claiming awards at Fantastic Fest, Raindance, and IFF Boston for his debut feature, “Down Terrace,” U.K. director Ben Wheatley premiered his follow-up at this year’s SXFantastic to similar adulation, and rave reviews. (Read ours here.) Called “Kill List,” the film takes cues from the “kitchen sink crime drama” framework of “Down Terrace,” but ups the ante considerably, particularly in its deeply deranged third act. The Warp Films production was duly acquired by genre label IFC Midnight for a North American release in early 2012.

Empire Big Screen '11: 'Kill List' Helmer Ben Wheatley's Next Is Edgar Wright-Produced 'Sightseers'

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • August 15, 2011 2:41 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Comedy 'I, Macrobane' With Nick Frost Will Follow In 2012Perhaps the biggest homegrown hit of Empire Big Screen over the weekend was Ben Wheatley's "Kill List," a low-budget hitman/horror flick from the director of the excellent, terminally underseen crime film "Down Terrace." More than perhaps any other British film that had footage shown, the clips had people talking for much of the weekend, and director Ben Wheatley hit the event on Saturday, along with stars Neil Maskell and MyAnna Buring, to get the buzz going. If you've read our review from SXSW, you'll know that it's a film worth getting very excited about (it even made one member of The Playlist team physically ill -- in a good way), and it crystallizes Wheatley as a real talent to watch.

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