What I'm Watching: September, 2011
Helloooo horrorheads! It's been an...interesting day. Had some weird issues that threatened to interfere with Trisk, but everything worked out instamagically and seems to be ok. Fingers crossed. Nothing *major* but it could've been.
But enough of that boring stuff, I've got a huge pile of stuff to talk about since I've been lazy about it all, so let's get to it.
I caught on the Scifi Channel a pretty cheesy movie called Ghost Voyage. I sat down to watch it because the plot sounded moderately interesting, had an ok cast, and reminded me a LOT of a play I was in back in high school. I don't know if I'm just good at these things, the plot was obvious, or being in that play helped telegraph the ending a mile away, but the Big Twist was pretty damned obvious. But there's only so many outcomes you can get from a plot that has seven or so people waking up on a ship with no clue how they got there. This was...ok. Based on what you typically find on Scifi, it was watchable. It was entertaining enough. Antonio Sabato Jr...when did he become such a terrible actor? Or was he just off his game here? If this comes up on a channel surf, there are worse things you can watch for sure, but it's not an immediate running away either. This definitely qualifies is the random crap I watched award for the month.
On a more deliberate note, I bought the DVD for the movie so many people are buzzing about, Troll Hunter. Or Trollhunter. I'm not sure which way that should go. But whichever it is, this is one of my fave 'found footage' movies. It's not quite as solid as Paranormal Activity, but it's probably a lot more fun. The movie is about a group of college students who stumble upon the actual existence of trolls in Norway when they find the eponymous Trollhunter, and follow him around to get the real story. it's very well done, very well thought out, and uses a ton of troll lore to weave a nice modern tale that really works. The effects are good, although the trolls look a bit silly at times. But that's by design and how they wanted them to look, like they're straight out of old images we're familiar with, or at least I am, and natives are I'm sure. The familiarity works, but the look feels wonky at the same time. But it's pretty much their intention, so that's ok. My biggest complaint is the same with many found footage movies. The movie just STOPS. There's no real resolution. The video tape runs out, the batteries go dead, the people with the camera die...they all kinda end that way, don't they? That's where PA succeeds, it actually feels like a whole story. But still, the journey of Troll Hunter is good, and the joy of spending so much time seeing unfamiliar and beautiful lands of Norway was a treat in and of itself. I do note that I watched the English dubbed version, and that took a little away from the movie for me, things were just a little off. I have my reasons, and now that I'm familiar with the movie, I am definitely giving it another look with Norwegian and subtitles, because the movie was decent enough to warrant that.
Next up is a new movie from a master of the classics, John Carpenter. He has so many cult hits under his belt, but a few clunkers as well. So, where does The Ward fall in? I lean more towards cult, but not so much a hit, or a classic. But it's not a clunker at all. It tells the story of a young woman committed to an asylum after burning down a farm, in the 1960s. Once there, she discovers things are most strange indeed, and when people start to go missing, she's torn between figuring things out and escaping before she's next. The resolution to the mystery is pretty damned satisfying, in my opinion. It's an underused idea, well executed, and holds up to a repeat viewing or two. Again, the cast is pretty good, and keeps you intrigued. There's a few flaws, some logic trip ups, and some poor acting in some cases, but for the most part, I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. It flitted in and out of theatres, and went almost completely unnoticed by everyone. But it is definitely worth seeing. My biggest complaint is, once again! The ending. Those things trip up SO many filmmakers, and they pushed things just that one tiny scene too far, which is a shame. Still, 99% of a good movie is better than most.
Much in the vein of Kick-Ass and Defendor comes Super! Another movie where a regular guy decides to take matters into his own hands, dress up in bright colours, and get his face punched in before he fights crime successfully. And this one is just WEIRD. It gets uncomfortable at times, and not quite in good ways. I coulda done without the tentacle porn on the tv, and the uncomfortable seduction and forcing of herself onto the hero by Ellen Page's character. But there's still some good bits here, and it's fun most of the time. I still prefer the other two movies more than this one, and Rainn Wilson is a lot of fun as Frank, and Kevin Bacon is AWESOME as the villain of the piece, but give me Defendor any day. That one wins the gold, Kick-Ass takes the silver, and Super wins the bronze, which is still something to be proud of. This movie might grow on me over time.
And in the theatres, I caught up with Guillermo Del Toro's latest, Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, the story (And remake of an old tv movie) about a girl who moves into a big, spooky house with her father, and discover the existence of tiny little terrors that don't like the light, and want the girl. It was nice to see Katie Holmes showing up in a movie again, as the girl's 'stepmother' figure, and making her sympathetic. This movie was pretty decent, but not great. There are larger gaps in logic than in even other movies I've already talked about in this post, and the girl's acting isn't great. It has some freaky moments, but never quite gets *scary*. Part of that is because they show the creatures a little bit TOO much. We get too many looks at them, too close, and too often. And since they're tiny little gremlins, they're almost silly to look at too closely. And it doesn't help that Del Toro likes a lot of whimsy in his creepy horror, and it's a little too harmful to the atmosphere here. I'd almost say the recent Doctor Who I watched captured the feeling this movie wanted better, that feeling of being trapped in a large house with creepy creatures chasing endlessly after you...yeah, Who wins this round. But this still was not a BAD movie. I enjoyed it. It just never quite lived up to its own hype, or what it even thought it wanted to be. But Del Toro still knows his stuff, and this is a very well made movie, even if the tone was a bit disjointed. I'd still say catch it on DVD, if not the theatre.
And since this is getting long, I am going to save my television thoughts for a later post, and lump those in with stuff about the new season about to kick off next week. Lots of genre stuff this year!