Monday, October 12, 2009

Oren Peli is a marketing genius, first of all. The writer/director of Paranormal Activity has implemented several guerilla marketing tactics such as using night vision cameras to record audience reactions for his trailers. Paramount added to the hype by having would-be fans “demand” the movie be screened at their local theater. The movie wrapped 3 years ago but only recently became widely released. The film showed at the 2009 Slamdance Film Festival and audience members were so disturbed that they couldn’t stay for the director’s q&a, scheduled to follow the screening.

The only other movie that I have ever gone into already afraid during the coming attractions was 2008’s The Strangers. At first, the Blair Witch-esque camera shots were enough to make me vomit but that went away after the first few minutes. The film follows, young couple, Katie and Micah (played by Katie Featherston and Micah Stoat; the actors use their real names) and their quest to film the paranormal activity that they’ve been experiencing in their home since Katie moved in. Micah is never without the video camera and sets it up on a tripod every night to film them as they sleep. The viewer starts to dread nighttime, as the anticipation for what might happen becomes greater and greater. This film was obviously shot on a very minimal budget. Peli did a nice job of finding talented and relatable actors, nonetheless. The film also had a couple of nice effects that were probably pretty tough to pull off with such a low budget. Overall, I enjoyed this film. While I am certainly a sucker for gore, nothing scares me more then the anticipation of a fright. I was extremely nervous throughout the entire movie but left wondering if it lived up to all the hype. However, every night since I saw the film I’ve turned out the lights, listened intently to every noise my house is making and then opted to sleep with the hall light on so I guess Peli did his job successfully, after all.

Watch the trailer here:

Monday, September 14, 2009

Women In Horror Month

I have been slack with my postings since school started. I promise to be better. In the meantime, a link provided by my homey, Andrew for your enjoyment.

Monday, August 10, 2009

High Tension, 2003

I have wanted to see this movie since its release and just had the opportunity this weekend. Some may remember that director Alexandre Aja is responsible for the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes. Don’t judge him based on that. Aja both wrote and directed High Tension. It stars Cecile De France as Marie and Maiwenn Le Besco as Alexa. Marie and Alexa are headed to Alexa’s parents’ home for a weekend of studying. Shortly after their arrival the entire family is brutally murdered by an ambiguous male character. Personally, I find the random home invasion scenario to be one of the most frightening. These are the only horror movies that I have ever been unable to watch alone.

Technically, this movie is great all the way around. It’s shot very artfully. One particular scene involves Marie hiding in a closet as Alexa’s mother is murdered on the other side of the doors. As she dies, her body slides slowly down the exterior of the closet door and her eyes stare at Marie through each slat in the door all the way down. It was very Argento-esque and quite a lovely scene in a beautifully creepy way. The acting is fantastic and believable. This is a film that you want to watch again, immediately, to catch all the nuances that you wouldn’t have picked up on the first time.

High Tension has no lack of blood and violence for my fellow gorehounds. My only complaint about this movie is that it was acclaimed for the fact that the female lead is the one stalking the killer rather then the usual vice-versa. However, De France was an extremely masculine choice for casting as Marie and, to me, negated the idea of having the female chase the killer. I would have liked to have seen a big-breasted blonde in this role to truly defy the stereotype and I don’t think it would have taken away from the rest of the story. Then again, I am just partial to big-breasted blondes, in general.

Watch the trailer:

Orphan, 2009

If you go into this movie looking for a true horror film, you will be sorely disappointed. If you go in thinking “thriller”, you’ll more then likely enjoy it. I didn’t really know what to expect and left thinking that it was a good movie that could have been great. Orphan stars Isabelle Fuhrman as 9 year-old Esther that has been adopted by a family who recently lost a baby. Fuhrman has mastered the Evil Kid role. She masterfully plays both evil and innocent in a role reminiscent of Patty McCormack’s Rhonda in The Bad Seed (1956).

Without spoiling the ending, I can say that this movie could have been one that left people talking for years. It could have gotten itself banned in several countries. It could have been a great fucking movie. The ending should have a crossed a line that would shock people and leave them shaking their heads as they left the theater. It seems director, Jaume Collet-Serra, decided to go for more money with bigger audiences rather then truly doing the film justice and making it The Cannibal Holocaust of Evil Kid movies that it could have been. Sadly, it falls into just another mediocre movie with too little blood in the vain of The Good Son (1993).

Watch the trailer:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tokyo Gore Police, 2008

The title coupled with the fact that it stars super-hot, Eihi Shiina from Takashi Miike’s Audition sold me on this film immediately. For my boyfriend it was that “These are the guys that did Meatball Machine!!”, greeted by a blank stare from me. I was, however, very impressed to see that director, Yoshihiro Nishimura, also did the special f/x and collaborated on the screenplay. Part Sci-Fi, part Kung Fu with over-the top-gore is the best way I can think to describe Tokyo Gore Police. I read another review that described the film as “Cronenberg inspired, live-action Manga” which I think is pretty accurate.

Tokyo Gore Police takes place in the future when the police force has been privatized. The police are hunting the “Engineers”, a group infected with a key-shaped tumor that gives them the ability to fuse amputated limbs with weaponry (which, in futuristic Tokyo, also includes wild animals??). Ruka (Shiina) is the star police officer of her force. In her hunt for the engineers, Ruka uncovers secrets about her deceased father and, shockingly, discovers the privatized police force to be corrupt!

Gorehounds will be underwhelmed by the Itchy-and-Scratchy-esque blood sprays and the overuse of CGI gore but will certainly not be able to complain about a lack of such scenes. The strange mutant creatures throughout the film are very well conceptualized and the make up is great. It’s definitely not a “scary” movie but it is very fun and anyone into Sci-Fi or Horror will appreciate it.

Watch the trailer here: