Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Horror Movie Mini-Reviews: Intruders and Army of Darkness

* Intruders

Anna takes care of her dying brother in her childhood home. She hasn't left it in years and suffers from acute agoraphobia. When her brother dies, she remains at home much to the disappointment of a group of men set on robbing her. This film had been on my watch list for a while and it didn't disappoint. Intruders has a lot in common with Don't Breathe. Home invasion films are fairly formulaic and both change it up by making the supposed victim into the aggressor in different ways.

Anna at first is meek. She couldn't escape if she wanted to because of the debilitating effects of her agoraphobia. In her panic (and other reasons that become clear later in the film), she doesn't call the police. The three men think she's easy to subdue and terrorize, but she proves to be more than they can handle. The best part of this film is that, unlike Don't Breathe, it's hard to pick a side. At the beginning of the film, it's clear that she is an innocent victim. The men are cruel, misogynistic, and disgusting. They don't get any better throughout the film. Revelations come out about Anna and you feel sympathy towards the men even though they are abhorrent. Both sides are painted in shades of grey with compelling points on either side.

One thing annoyed me. Anna isn't very physically strong. She's good at hiding and attacking in other ways. For some reason, she kept attacking the men that are much larger, stronger, and faster than her and always got her ass handed to her. Why try it multiple times? Get a weapon. Do something sneakier. Other than that, the story goes into some of the most unexpectedly depraved places. I couldn't predict where the story was going to go. If you're tired of the same old home invasion films, definitely give this a try.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

* Army of Darkness

Ash Williams was sucked into a portal at the end of Evil Dead II. Army of Darkness shows that he was dumped into the Middle Ages afflicted by Deadites. With his trusty boomstick and chainsaw hand, he kicks ass, takes names, and kills Deadites. Unfortunately, he's still Ash, so he fucks some stuff up, raising an army of the dead. Will he stay and fight or will he abandon the others in their time of need?

Army of Darkness is my favorite of the Evil Dead trilogy. It may be more comedy than horror, but it's entertaining as hell. The beginning recaps the previous film and I find it hilarious that in each film, Ash's girlfriend is played by a different actress. Ash shines in this film with his usual bravado, arrogance, and carelessness. How he proves himself to the people holding him captive is epic. He battles a Deadite in a water filled bit, using his chainsaw hand and boomstick, then basically enslaves the natives. Setting out to get rid of the Deadite scourge in exchange for passage home, he predictably fucks it all up due to his own arrogance. The army of the dead is amazing with many practical effects and puppets. I love the skeleton playing a bone like a flute when marching to the fight. The final war is awesome and way over the top with explosions, flying Deadites, and Ash's Deadite twin leading the enemy.

Some scenes were a little too slapstick for me like the scene with the tiny Ashes. The horror elements aren't as central as in previous movies, but it's still enjoyable. The ending begs the question why Ash would want to return to his time in the first place. He's a lowly S-Mart worker where everyone thinks he's a bombastic liar and a bore. You'd think he'd love being waited on hand and foot, but he also hates expending effort. I guess we wouldn't have Ash vs. Evil Dead then. This is mandatory viewing if you watch the show. Army of Darkness is a fun action filled horror comedy.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

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