Sunday, October 4, 2015

Halloween Mini-Reviews: The Green Inferno and The Possession of Michael King

I'm marathoning everything horror this October. My goal for films are 31 that I've never seen before. Wish me luck!

1) The Green Inferno

College students save an indigenous Peruvian tribe from being bulldozed, but crash their plane and the natives are hungry. I love cannibal movies and I'm really not picky as to the type: serious, campy, gory, etc, but this one didn't wow me. A lot of hype had been built up over the last year due to production company issues and it just didn't deliver enough for me. I genuinely thought there should have been more cannibalism. There was one explicit scene of the tribe butchering a college student and eating him with tons of blood, but after that, it just wasn't featured. There was too much frat boy humor and stupid gags that undermined the horror. I guess it's to be expected form Eli Roth, but I wanted more than diarrhea jokes and cannibals with munchies.

This is clearly an homage to cannibal exploitation films such as Cannibal Holocaust. Roth teased some really disturbing things like subjecting one of the women to female genital mutilation, but doesn't end up delivering. I hate it when horror films want the controversy of a scene with FGM or killing a child without actually going through with it on screen (looking at you, Annabelle). Cannibal Holocaust is also one of the most controversial films because people thought it was real at the time and the inclusion of actual animal deaths. I'm not suggesting Roth should have actually killed anything, but he didn't meet the level of extreme that movies like Cannibal Holocaust set up. The ending was baffling and the opening for a sequel was lazy and random.  Meh.

My rating: 4/10 fishmuffins

2) The Possession of Michael King

A man's wife dies and he blames her psychic who encouraged her to stay home rather than go to Europe on vacation. He decides to disprove the supernatural/religion by calling all the demons he can in as many ways as he can while filming it. The premise is unique and interesting. I appreciated having a skeptical atheist character as the main character of a supernatural horror film. I didn't expect a lot of the different people he saw to call evil into himself like a mild mannered funeral director who drugs him in the middle of a cemetery or a weird couple with a sex dungeon and of course more drugs. These scenes were the most entertaining because you never knew what to expect or if it would work. After a while, he starts to feel actually possessed and goes back to those people for help, who tell him it was all in fun. The film is really about grief taking over his life and isolating himself with his own pain away from his friends and his daughter. His blaming a psychic for his wife's accidental death and holding on tight to that hatred is toxic and pushes everyone away. Shane Jonson made the role believable and sympathetic. He committed in every scene and he carried the movie well.

I like the overall concept. It's well illustrated, but the film loses its way as it goes along. After Michael starts to go crazy/become possessed, more and more of the film falls into tired possession and horror movie tropes. I was hoping it would be a little more like The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh. The dog seen at the beginning of the movie is predictably murdered. The possession actually looks pretty awesome overall, but contortions are never scary to me. It just means someone is flexible. A few of the effects were really bad. Don't focus really close up  on your burst blood vessel eyes when they are clearly contacts that move around. Don't focus close up on a knife that is clearly squirting blood on his torso instead of cutting it. Most of the film was enjoyable and suspenseful. I just wish the last half lived up to the first half.

My rating: 6/10 fishmuffins

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