Thursday, June 2, 2016

Horror Movie Mini-reviews: Kiss of the Damned and Circle

Kiss of the Damned

Paolo is a writer who moved to a remote location in order to focus on his work. He meet Djuna, a recluse with an allergy to sunlight, and they fall in love. After convincing and near death experiences on his part, he convinces her to turn him into a vampire so they can be together forever and then chaos ensues when her little sister Mimi returns from Europe.

Kiss of the Damned doesn't do anything revolutionary in the vampire genre, but it's watchable. It's a typical sexy vampire movie with the same tropes, but there hasn't been many films like this in the last decade targeted towards adults. The romance between Paolo and Djuna was sweet and featured some unexpected moments. I even liked the vampire world beneath our own populated with artists who deny themselves human blood in order to fit in to human society.

The film takes a pretty sharp downturn when Djuna's sister Mimi comes to stay with them. Not only is Roxane Mesquida unconvincing in the role, but the character is simply unlikeable. She seems to be trying way too hard to be evil. Maybe if she had more charisma, she could be the person you love to hate, but she was so bland and annoying. The ending is satisfying after all the chaos she caused. Overall, it's an enjoyable watch that stays in the established tropes of the genre.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins


Fifty random people find themselves in a dark room placed in two circles. If they touch each other, move out of their spot, Every two minutes, a person is killed by a laser in the middle of the room, but the people can vote and whoever gets the most votes dies. All of these different people have to decide who deserves to live.

The concept is intriguing, but the execution leaves something to be desired. The reason for their state is revealed way too early. The horror and mystery are dispelled quickly and it comes off as humorous at times rather than the horror the filmmakers are going for. Even the characters are less and less horrified by the deaths around them. The plot and debates over who should die take on a stereotypical slant with racism and homophobia being brought up as well as whose life has the most value: a child, a pregnant woman, an old person, or a young person. So many of these people came of as caricatures instead of nuanced people. It's obvious that the film is based on Twelve Angry Men, but adding a cast of fifty doesn't allow a lot of time for establishing characters. It was impressive that some tropes were subverted. One of the first people to speak up and organize is that guy in every horror movie that tries to take charge, but he's killed rather quickly. Other tropes were intact and boring.

The main conflict is around if a child or a pregnant woman's life is worth more than everyone else's. One faction fights to have the child and pregnant woman be last to die so one of them can survive. The other faction wants everyone to have a shot at survival. Some noble people sacrifice themselves and the two people being fought over do very little to try to change their fates. The ending is unexpected, but disappointing to be honest. It's worth a watch, but nothing spectacular.

My rating: 2.5/5 fishmuffins

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