The Eclipse is a horror movie about being an old, as-of-yet unpublished author. Ciarán Hinds (There Will Be Blood, “Rome”) stars as a widower who helps organize a literary festival in Cobh, Ireland. During his hectic week, he sparks a little romance, sees a couple freaky ghosts, beats up Aidan Quinn and grows as a person. Continue reading
Archive for Horror
Nothing about the new werewolf thriller The Wolfman is horrible, and perhaps that is part of the filmmakers’ strategy. Each scene barrels by with such frantic scene that the audience never has the chance to let any acting, ambiance or visuals sink in. You get the impression that everyone involved (except the always-delightful Emily Blunt) was so embarrassed by the project, they were looking to get it over as soon as possible. Continue reading
The Crazies needed a Keanu Reeves type: someone to look worried for minutes on end only to crack a half-smile so easy and reassuring, it could only come from the mouth of a genuine movie star. Timothy Olyphant as sheriff David Dutton is not blessed with this gift. He is stiffer than most of the zombies he battles off. Olyphant belongs in a Michael Mann movie or a shaving commercial. Continue reading
Gory, thoughtful and stylish, Daybreakers, starring Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe is way better than it should be. Even with an inferior second half, the film boasts old-school thrills and a sense of zeitgeist.
Zombieland, the new zombie-comedy by Ruben Fleisher, aims to add deliberate laughs to the zombie corner of the horror universe. Instead of pulling of this tricky balancing act (like Shaun of the Dean or the original Dawn of the Dead), Zombieland feels more like an elaborate video game narrated by the guy from “Scrubs.”
I went to Paranormal Activity, the viral-marketing-fueled no-budget horror splash of the season, on Halloween, and was not disappointed. I was frightened, the audience yelled at the screen and evils were suggested rather than represented.
A friend of mine was incredulous when he heard I had seen Paranormal Activity, as a student of his had described every plot point to him, and had thus ruined any appeal the film had to him. The true appeal of a film like this one, however, does not lie in a nuanced concept or plot arch. Paranormal Activity, shot via faux-home video (like it’s obvious inspiration, The Blair Witch Project), manages to put the audience on edge with small gestures, shadows and powdered hoof prints. Thanks to the film’s concerted effort to appear like file footage rather than a film, such minor hints of evil feel enlarged.
I will also say that I like the recent trend in films like PA (and Hostel) to put entitled, overconfident American males in the axe’s path. The attitudes they represent are terrifying, and do seem to invite evil.
It’s scary to think that the modern zombie cycle, currently moving into the realm of parody with Ruben Fleischer’s hilarious Zombieland, is less than a decade old. Continue reading
Audition, the strange film by Japanese director Takeshi Miike is easily the most layered and original horror film of the 2000s. I have gone on before about the death of slow reveals/measured pacing; one of the reasons I love Audition is that the horror, gore and plot all converge in the final minutes. The first two-thirds of the film moves along as a dark comedy about confusing love and infatuation. By the end, Miike has dragged you through a Tarkowskian wormhole of desire, punishment, perception and decapitation. Continue reading
My good friend, Timothy Parfitt, was very calm when he told me about Drag Me To Hell. See, my tendency is to overwhelm people with my newfound fondness for a movie. I have to tell everyone, “Have you seen Drag Me To Hell? Oh you’ve got to. It’s funny and scary and the main girl really holds it down. It was just such a pleasure to see Sam Raimi return to form after putting in all that time with Spider-Man. The movie – Drag Me To Hell – is the work of a master. It’s like he had all this energy that’d been held back while working for Stan Lee.” Too much, too much. Why do I care so much if they see a good movie? I sound desperate. Timmy wasn’t like that. He said, “It’s good,” like he just took a bite of a tuna sandwich I’d made for him. He didn’t gush, but his opinion was firm. He mentioned some of the things that I later felt: scary, funny, the Mac ad guy was appropriately cast. But it was the minimalism of his recommendation that got me to see it. I need to work on that.