What I'm Watching: October, 2009
This is a regular feature I plan to do on occasion. Since not every horror movie deserves a spot on this site, and I do watch a lot of them, I'd like to at least highlight some other movies that cross my desk from time to time, things that might be of interest to the readers.
I'm currently watching (Literally, I paused the DVD to type this up) Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell. Raimi is a veteran of the horror genre, one of the great old ones, and this is a true return to form after getting distracted with the Spider-Man movies for awhile. Alison Lohman is so likable and gorgeous in this movie, that you can't help but root for her. The movie has some classic scares, both the genuinely frightening kind, the ickily disguting kind, and the loud noise making you jump out of your seat kind. Raimi is a master at these films, and he knows exactly how to draw out tension and the perfect moment to spirng his trap. The audience can see these moments coming, and Sam can pace out that scare at the precise right time that it still gets you. You know it's coming, and just when you can't take the wait anymore, it hits you. The movie is far from perfect though, and some of the scares come off really cheesy, rather than scary. Usually when CGI enters into the mix. The CGI looking out of place and fake doesn't help any. However, this is a Sam Raimi film, and you almost expect a little cheese, and that's ok. It just felt so out of place, both in the look of the effects and the overall tone of the film, that there were moments where I was pulled out of the movie. Overall, an enjoyable gem that harkens back to older times and is one of the better horror movies of the past decade, even if it is flawed. The DVD is a bit light, sadly. Oh, and this movie really gets to me because it plays with the simplest thing that is the easiest way to freak me out; creeping shadows. *shudder* Raimi knows just how to play with half-seen imagery, just the right sounds (or lack thereof), to really draw a person to the edge of their seat.
Also, earlier this week I watched Trick 'R Treat, which I've made mention to a few times. I really enjoyed this one, too. Like Drag, it harkens back to an earlier style of movie. Whereas that film was shooting more for classic horror stylings, this one goes more for the anthology genre from such films as Creepshow, and Tales from the Darkside. The film is a bit uneven, and I wish it had been longer to give characters more time to develop and shine, but on the whole, it's pretty good. It has a few creepy moments, and nothing that's outright scary, but it's a solid anthology movie with Halloween themes, telling stories around the traditions and tropes of the holiday. While I would have liked some more real scares packed in, I can't complain about what I got. It's a shame this movie took so long to come out, since the two years of anticipation may have built up unreachable expectations, as well. I'm sure this film will grow on me over time. The cast was good almost all around, giving solid performances, and the writing was pretty sharp, and delivered a number of laughs keeping the tone light. It's an intricate movie, with every segment weaving in and out of every other one, and each one unfolded a wider picture of Halloween in this sleepy midwestern town. A great way to tell all these stories and still have it seem like a cohesive whole. Sadly, if the Drag Me to Hell DVD was light? This one is practically floating. I would have loved some bonus features beyond the short that was included, especially with all the time the movie took to come out. It practically screams 'special edition coming soon!' to me. However, since the movie probably needs support, because it struggled so long to even get this out the gate, I'll more than happily pay now to encourage a better version down the line.
Later today, I'll be catching the sixth of the Saw films, which started off brilliantly with an amazing little independent film that has a lot of flaws but deserves some slack for being a first time film from it's creators. Sadly, the more recent ones have not lived up to that greatness, but the overall tapestry of the story still intrigues me, and I go to each one every premiere. My local theatre recently shut down, but I'm not letting that stop me. Even though they've tended to be disappointing lately, I still enjoy my yearly Saw tradition.
That's about all on the slate for the moment. The next full review should be done soon, so keep your eyes peeled to the reviews section of the site, and right here for my usual ramblings.