Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Watch-a-Thon Mini Reviews 5

1) ABC's of Death 2 (2014)

So much better than the first installment! This anthology gets away from the weirdness and gross humor of the first and ventures into some real horror. I loved how the titles were showed after the segment instead of before so I went into each one without expectations of any kind. The standouts were: X is for Xylophone, Z is for Zygote, J is for Jesus, S is for Split, and Y is for Youth. X isn't too fancy, but very creepy with an always delightfully deranged Beatrice Dalle. Z is the best by far and was so creepy and involved for such a short film. It starts with a woman pregnant for 13 years and goes from there. J illustrates how hypocritical the religious look when they speak out against gay people in a very cool and creepy way. S is unexpected and filmed in 3 simultaneous points of view. Y is more strange than scary, but depicts the angry fantasies of teenagers very well. I had high hopes for the Soska sisters' T is for Torture Porn. The concept is top notch, but the execution is sloppy and uninspired.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

2) The Possession (2012)

A divorced man tries to make life normal for his two daughters, but one of them becomes obsessed with a box that's more than what it seems. This is a pretty basic possession movie. I like that it moved away from Christian faiths when looking for answers and exorcisms. It also lets go of most of the misogynistic elements I hate in possession films except for the fact that it seems only women are able to open the demon box. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the quintessential sympathetic dad trying to move on after a divorce and you just want to give him a hug. Natasha Calis does well as the possessed child fixated on the box above all else. She gets very scary at moments, but doesn't go over the top. There's a little surprise near the end, but the ending is the basic open for a sequel ending. Ok overall.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

3) Fright Night (1985)

A teenage boy's next door neighbor appears to be a vampire and he struggles to prove it. It's a horror film with suspense, comedy, romance, and real emotion. The romance is a little clunky and unnecessary, but the rest of the film makes up for it. When Peter kills the wolf and he transforms, there is sadness and tenderness there. Chris Sarandon is great as Jerry: evil, suave, manipulative, and sexy. The effects are wonderful, especially the vampire makeup and the wolf transformations. The film feels like a grown up Monster Squad, which was one of the films I was obsessed with as a kid, so the nostalgia takes it to another level for me. It's a great movie all around and it's clear why it's considered a classic.

My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins

4) Thirst (2009)

* spoilers* A Catholic priest wants to save people instead of merely praying for them, so he opts to be part of an experiment with a deadly virus. He is the sole survivor of 500 volunteers. Unfortunately the symptoms of the disease return unless he consumes blood. This is my least favorite Chan Wook Park film. It starts out well and is pretty unique with great cinematography and makeup effects. Unfortunately, it descends into predictable characters, silly visuals, and laughable CGI. It's also pretty misogynistic: the sex scenes where the woman appears uncomfortable or in pain; the only women in the film being two faced, abusive, and manipulative; Tae-ju seems perfectly fine with being abused by her lover and returns to him even after he almost beats her to death; then she turns into an immoral vampire who doesn't agree with his "humane" way of eating and he predictably abuses her some more when she makes her own decisions. Sang-hyun is reluctant and conflicted when he's sexually awakened, but Tae-ju is destructive and revels in it when she is. The film has a beautiful aesthetic, but is at its core disappointing and portrays a dated and disturbing view of women and their sexuality.

My rating: 1/5 fishmuffins

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