Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Movies of 2013, Horror, pt3

            This is the most awful part of the horror genre this year.

You're Next, or "Is this supposed to be Funny?  I am not sure I am getting this."
Overall: 4/10
Did the villains draw straws for who got which mask?  Cause one of them is a lamb.  That is not very bad ass.
            This movie has a slightly misleading trailer that if I had been in a better mood I would have been pleased with how it subverted my expectations.
            I can actually see this movie being regarded positively by people.  It has a good pace that establishes its characters well enough, but I just couldn't get into it.
            Since the appeal of this is the subversion of expectations I don't want to spoil anything, if you like slasher movies then you will like this.  I am kind of softening to it a bit as it rolls around in my head.  I doubt I will ever watch it again, but I can imagine myself looking back on this having judged it too harshly, if for no other reason than the hero character is a woman, and she takes actions to further her position in the situation.  The hero actually has agency.  Maybe I will have to take another crack at it.

The Purge, or "That's it?  What was the point of the premise?  This plot has been done a hundred times before."
Overall: 4/10
Also, there is no distinct iconic bad guy in this movie, so emphasizing the masks is a little dishonest.
This isn't "Friday the 13th", which has sort of a recognizable mask centered character.
            This is a basic home invasion movie.  A group of creepy assholes are trying to get in and the residents have to take steps to protect themselves.  This is the same movie as "You're Next" but with the pretense of having social commentary.
            It's social commentary is never explored, nobody talks about how the titular Purge affects the poor and homeless disproportionately, or how the social good of the annual violence mostly has to do with those who can afford to participate killing those who don't have the financial means to defend themselves.  The areas in which that issue is addressed are handled with the subtlety of "Elysium", paper thin and blaringly obvious to the point of being insulting.  But it is not explored or debated.  I can imagine this idea in that hands of a madman like James Gunn, Peter Jackson, or good old Paul Verhoeven, if Paul had done it he would have had live coverage of the murder and chaos coming from street correspondents who are in indestructible witness booths constructed to give on the scene reports, with color commentary for those watching at home and advertising weapons to be used next year, "ooh, look how well the long range rifle works here, but a molotov delivered from an artillery shot of a pitching arm is far more colorful and fun!"  It writes itself and would serve as a final cherry on the sundae of anti-rich science fiction action movies ("RoboCop" "Total Recall" and "Starship Troopers" being logical spiritual predecessors).  What I am saying here is, "Weak execution, needs more dark humor."
            There is also a lag in logic, once the intruders realize that the people in the house have the means to defend themselves with guns and security systems they logically should just fuck off to find easier prey, why risk getting gunned down for the pleasure of killing a stranger?  Also, how did they locate this guy to hunt?  Was he kidnapped?  Well, if that happened before the start of the Purge then that means these guys broke the rules of the Purge and that would give them reason to go after him and the family because they would all go to jail once the events ends... But that side of things is never explained, I just made all that explanation up.  I tied up a plot hole in their movie that required maybe two lines of dialogue to explain.
            This is an interesting premise, but it is not used to any effect, and judging by the sequel trailer they have decided not to bother trying to comment and instead just trying to make the standard lost-in-the-wilderness horror chase movie, except the wilderness is the deserted city... Which makes it look like "Night of the Comet"... a more fun and interesting movie.

MaMa (walked out), or "Startling: The Movie."
Overall: 1/10
And the ghost in it looks really silly.
            Shitty.  This thing could have been good but the laziness of how it executes its scares kill it dead.  Piercing music stings coupled with a scary face on screen shock but they do not scare in an interesting way.  you are not filled with dread, you are filled with tense anticipation for when you will be startled.  It is a shame because the characters in the movie could have been good, the actors are strong and the premise of children trying to acclimate from being in the wilderness is an interesting concept.  From what I hear the ending is bad.  Bad to the point of being insulting.  Fuck this movie.

            If I were to offer some constructive suggestions, I would say use James Watkins who made the very okay "The Woman in Black" which captured its tone easier, and had a better mystery element (even though it ended up not making a lick of sense.  Which would mean taking the writer off the director's seat and that would be complicated.  Andres Muschietti is the prime creator of this thing, and the idea that he would not have the clout to make the final big movie out of it... would be a bad shot against him, and I wonder if the problems I have (since they appear in tons of movies) are not just shoved in by a studio who wants to shock the audience, making it more like the found footage garbage that is still getting churned out.  At least when the tension is broken in "Woman in Black" by a screaming ghost face it had a lot of build up and serves as a starting gun rather than stop sign to action, things heat up when that happens rather than it cutting to something else and leaving that screaming tension hanging.

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