What I'm Watching: Pretty Dead
Hey! It's a new post, yay!
I am SO behind on these, and movies just keep on coming. I don't wanna deny you all my delicious thoughts, and want to try and catch up.
Like this movie, Pretty Dead? I watched it back in January. Eek.
But oh man, did I enjoy it!
It's quite possibly one of the best found footage movies I've seen this year, aside from Mr. Jones. And I think I liked the story here more, and preferred the use of the found footage tropes more over in Jones.
In short, a young med student, Regina, is out partying one night, and after a bad experience with drugs gets a terrible infection because drugs aren't exactly regulated. Everything seems fine, given that she's got a bit of a nasty thing in her, but it soon becomes clear that all is not well.
Regina can't sleep, she heals rapidly, and develops a craving for meat like she never ate before. Oh yes, horror fans can maybe start to notice some traits here.
She occasionally blacks out, attacks people, and things just get steadily worse, until she is taken away to a hospital to see if they have any luck diagnosing her.
I love love love that this is told from a medical student's perspective. It really gives some weight to the science of what's going on, and helps make it all the more real, and make it seem natural that she'd be curious and scientific about this strange thing happening to her, rather than the usual excuse of just doing it for kicks.
You really feel for her charatcer as she struggles to maintain her humanity, as the infection gains more and more control over her. It is a great mixture of the parasite/possession genres with the zombie undertones.
I really don't want to call this a zombie movie, even though the hallmarks are there. If I must, it's clearly closer to the 'rage zombie' side of the horror family tree.
The biggest shame is that the cause for all this, the cordyceps fungus that causes 'zombie insects' in nature, kinda hit a saturation point in pop culture and the collective consciousness of our media. If this movie existed in a vaccuum, it would be a great, refreshing, unique idea. Sadly, with other things like "The Last of Us" and their clickers using a very similar idea, it kinda gets lost in the crowd. Which is a shame, because the story is well told, with a great lead you feel for, like I said.
Still, having the real world basis for this makes it just that much more terrifying. Which is naturally why everyone's using it right now, right? I don't believe anyone copied anyone else, but we all saw those documentaries and videos online at the same time, so naturally everyone went, "NEW ZOMBIE MOVIE IDEA!"
The ending did leave me a little cold though, at first. As is usual with horror, it is so easy to drop the ball in those last few minutes, and this one literally lost me in the last five seconds. It didn't really end, so much as stop, as these sorts of flicks tend to do. I know I make a lot of the same complaints about found footage movies, but they are almost universal problems of the style, and more people need to avoid them, not embrace them.
But, the more I thought about the ending, the more I've become okay with it, and the commentary definitely helped me once it was couched in what sort of terms the makers of Pretty Dead wanted to end the movie with. This is the outbreak origin story, the movie we rarely get to see, and it ends at the point where so many others begin, and we've SEEN that movie over and over again. And that's fair. And I can live with that. It just threw me the first time I saw it.
So, in short, I give Pretty Dead a high reccomendation, even if the acting isn't great, even if the ending was abrupt. But we've almost come to expect that from these movies, and since you've been warned, you might get more enjoyment out of it than I. For a no-budget, found footage take on zombies, with a new(ish) twist, it's a pretty unique thing to watch. Although less unique than it wishes it was, which is a shame.