Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Horrorpalooza of One 2015

So  yeah I watched a lot of horror films last weekend.  I was getting sick, I had a back log, and a couple of days off.  However, now that I am better I think I'll turn the whole thing into an extra postive thing by writing about it.  Also I feel like writing.  It happens.  Sometimes I consume all the things.  Other times I like to produce.  Like now.  So here we go.

Over the couple of days I had off I watched:

Let Us Prey
Among the Living
13 Sins
4 episodes of the 4th season of American Horror Story
both of the Rob Zombie Halloween remakes.

I didn't get around to Found or Jamie Marks is Dead.  Sorry guys.  I'll catch you later.  I may or may not throw Der Samurai into the mix because I watched it at around this time but for now lets work with what we have.

Best in Show:

Let Us Prey.  If the Babadook hadn't come out in 2014 this would be the best horror movie that came out last year.  Sadly the Babadook has it beat.  However, you can't win them all.  That said of the two movies I'd be much more willing to rewatch Let Us Prey.  The thing about the Babadook is that 15 minutes into the movie I would of just fed that fucking kid to the monster and been done with it.  Seriously, that kid had his irritation sensors on overdrive.  Back to Let Us Prey.  I loved it and you should watch it.  It doesn't break a whole lot of new ground but it is very good at what it does.  And the idea of the devil rolling into a small town and turning it upside down is a favorite story of mine.

Some stand out things about this movie:

One: When the devil used his magic it wasn't cheesy.  It had the perfect blend of ritualistc, strange, and yet easy for the audience to understand.  For example there was one point where he was screwing with a wife beater in the next cell.  The devil is talking to the wife beater, and while he's talking he's jamming his thumb in the mortar between an intersection of four bricks.  The effect is extreme tooth pain.  It is a simple action but it works.  There is a lot of stuff like that and the whole thing feels like an exceptionally well written issue of Constantine.  I loved this movie.

Two: Realistic responces.  There comes a certain point in most horror movies where you can't help but think, "Man the main characters must be tired of all this bullshit and yeah this totally happens in Let Us Prey.  The main character cop is stuck behind a desk while all hell is breaking loose and she gripes, "What is wrong with this town?"  It is the perfect response to the situation she was in.

Three: The main character wasn't some useless girl who spent most of the movie running around and screaming helplessly.  This is fine every once in awhile.  For example for both the Halloween movies it is a highly suitable character trait.  For the first movie because the main character was a young girl and for the second because she was mentally broken.  However, in Let Us Prey the main character was a cop, surrounded by cops, the devil, and other various miscreants.  She's also survived a horror movie's worth of trauma earlier in her life.  At no time was she helpless, but at the same time was the movie was very much a horror movie.  I'm not saying that every movie needs to follow this formula but it did help this movie stand out.  Hell it was critical to the plot.  Her hard as nails survivor mentality is what drew the devil out in the first place.

Seriously, I didn't know what to expect from this movie but man was I ever delighted to have seen it.

Moving on.

Among the Living:

I am shocked.  Shocked that this movie wasn't the best of show.  But it wasn't.  This movie is by the director of Inside.  Fucking Inside.  INSIDE which is my favorite horror movie ever hands down.  Like there isn't even a second place, there is just a whole mass of things I really like.  Then there is Inside standing proudly over the rest of them wielding a pair of scissors and cutting down the competition.  So....yeah maybe I was holding up Among the Living to impossible standards but now that I've had a couple of days to think about it, Among the Living is good but it really isn't that great.  See what made Inside good was its laser focus.  You had pregnant woman, you had the woman in black and you had a high stakes cat and mouse game between the two.  The movie had just enough setup to ground you then it was off to the races and it never looked back.  Hope you have a strong stomach and some popcorn cause shit's gonna go down.

Among the Living was a very different movie though.  The plot is that three boys find, while exploring an abandoned movie studio, a car with a woman in the trunk.  After a tense cat and mouse (phrase of the day!) episode they escape end up in their homes where the villain comes and murderers the vast majority of the cast before being brought down.  Yay.  The odd part of Among the Living is that the build up is the best part of the movie.  We get to know the three boys pretty well and there are a lot of compelling details added that never really come into play.  The biggest tough kid who is kinda scary has asthma, the nerdy one is timid but can still hang, and then there is the group's defacto leader and heart who moves the movie along.  The children are interesting.  They are old enough to have characters and they are developed enough so that when two of them are summarily dispatched of  by the movie's monster like they were mere side characters I got more than a little upset.

I am not saying that all three of the kids should of lived through the movie.  By all means kill a couple.  But I would of loved to of seen them come into their own as the adults around them fall one after another to the movie's creature forcing them to fend for themselves in a life or death struggle to save some mystery woman.  I felt that this movie could of done so much more with the characters it took the time to lovingly develop.

Is it a good movie?  Sure, Better than good.  It is a solid 8/10.  It is a damn fine horror movie.  It is beautiful.  The movie's intro is spell binding.  Some of the kills are deeply fucking unsettling.  Ugh.  I liked it a lot.  I just think it could of done more with what it had.  It was as the cusp of greatness the likes of which haven't been seen since Inside yet it drops the ball in the third act.  Funny, Martyrs does the same thing.

 Moving on.

13 Sins is only barely a horror movie.  I liked this movie but it was forgettable.  So forgettable that I initially forgot to add it to the list of things I watched.  Remember that movie The Game with Michael Doughlas?  No?  Well watch that instead because it is better over all.  I liked the movie and it is worth a watch.  13 Sins isn't bad, but there are so many movies that do it better.  Most notably being The Box.  Actually yeah, forget 13 Sins go watch the Box instead then the Game then if you want to see another movie that is similar with a higher body count watch 13 Sins.

Lastly Halloween.

I loved these movies.  There were a late addition to the line up.  I had two other movies I was stoked about all lined up and ready to go and then last minute change of plans.  I mean I met two of the people in the damn movies I might as well watch them.  So yeah love.  Rob Zombie knows how to direct a slick horror film and man those fuckers were long.  For a genera that rarely wanders out of the 90 minute run time both the Halloween movies clock in at 120 minutes assuming you are watching the unrated director's cut which I did because why would I watch any other version.  I watched them both back to back which I think was the right choice.  All in all these movies distilled down everything the slasher genera has gotten right since the 1970's.  It knew the deep down everyone loves an origin story, it knew how to ratchet up tension while still keeping the body count high, something Among the Living failed at.  It knew how to develop characters quickly and make them distinctive so that when they died they weren't just Rozencrantz and Guildensterns waiting for their deaths.  And the deaths were great.  Halloween two especially brought the violence with the main character's initial dream sequence.

I could say more about these movies but it is like three in the morning and I am sleepy so I am going to end here.  YAY!