Monday, 10 March 2008

My Week in Film - a horrific week indeed!


Although never intentional, there seems to be a theme to the films I see per week and this week was no exception, it was a horrorfest bridging films old and new. It's also the first in a while where I didn't trek out to the theatre, but that may be from the three days in a row last week culling the competition. Turned out that the only film I was interested of the new releases I had already seen, Continental, un film sans fusil which is my favourite film of 2008 so far.

First up is John Carpenter's The Thing which holds up pretty well considering it is from 1982. A simple yet scary premise with a classic Carpenter score this film was one I could feel nostalgic about even though I was watching it for the first time. It also helped that it starred Kurt Russell and Keith David (Frank from They Live), whom were perfect casting. Very fun scary film, I'm sure I will see it again.

One film I'm surprized I watched, and only did so as it was on my challenge of See the next 5 movies recommended to me regardless of what I think of them was The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974). This film is truly horrific. I would not watch it again and would only think that true horror fans would get something out of it. Also after perusing trivia on the film, including people actually getting hurt (mostly minor injuries), it makes it all the more disturbing and harder to recommend. It was interesting to see in terms of a historical point of view in horror film, there are many moments and ideas that are used in numerous films since the film came out.

After that I completed the 5 films on my 5 recommended films list with the remake: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). I ended up turning this off after 25 minutes. Although I didn't make it through seeing the whole thing, it was fascinating to see the differences between the two films. The original was hard to sit though, but the remake was miserable as the majority of the characters were strongly indifferent. In the first, you care about these unfortunate souls. In the remake, not so much. I think that shows one of the strong shifts in horror film over the years. Instead of an interesting yet unlikely story with a combination of normal and bizarre people, recently what we tend to get is unlikeable characters, be they good or bad in implausible situations.

I do feel that the trend of indifference is growing, but hasn't taken over the genre. This is demonstrated by films such as The Descent, which was a happy surprize of a film. Happy might be pushing it as it is horror after all. I hadn't put much stock in this one, but after a few recommendations from trusted sources I gave it a go and it was worth it. Excellent creation of tension, interesting characters and it was awesome to see women doing extreme activities without it being some kind of 'issue'. They just did it, and it rocked. I also loved how it was a little tongue in cheek in terms of the horror genre and still managed to be scary. A well crafted film.

The last of the scarefest was checking out the Canadian short Madame Tutli-Putli (available for viewing here). Haunting & innovative, this short has it all.

After all the scares I needed a bit of a break and checked out Breaking and Entering. I had no expectations going in beyond hearing some vague but not overwhelming praise. It feels like a combination of 'intersecting lives' and political commentary but I was left feeling like I wanted more. More story, more depth, more chemistry, more of everything or anything. The one think I loved was Juliette Binoche's beautiful Euro-English mish mash dialogue and accent. I love hearing people slip from one languages to another, it always warms my heart.

Next week: Messing with memory - Looking for Alexander, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, The Return, 2046 and various others.


Suzie Ridler said...

That's a lot of disturbing content for sure! I still can't believe you watched TCM, either of them. I haven't been able to bring myself to do that. You're very brave. I thought Descent looked a little too tense to watch but maybe I'll give it a shot.

I'm more old fashioned when it comes to horror, spooky ghosts please!

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I think you would like The Descent Suzie, I thought of you while watching it for sure. It is violent but there is so much more, it's well worth watching.

Suzie Ridler said...

Thank you for letting me know that Shannon! I think I'll pick it up now. I like that there is such a strong female cast. Awesome! You don't see that a lot these days.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy to hear you enjoyed "The Descent". That movie was also a complete surprise for me and more than that, it was the first time in a long time when I actually felt any sort of "fear" while seeing it.

Jamie said...

Wow, horrific indeed! You've confirmed that TCM is not for me. Yay you for completing your challenge - even when it meant foraying into territory like that!

As you know, I was totally surprized by The Descent. I put it on thinking it would be sort of a crappy little distraction and then was like, oh, this is scary! Fun film.

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