The Neon Demon (2016)

This is a very strange film but one which I enjoyed immensely, although  I’m not entirely sure I could tell you exactly why. It’s slow and colourful and quiet and odd and just too damn classy looking for it not to be engaging.

29068860222_9aab351e4e_k.jpgGranted I imagine a lot of people will just see it as a large amount of faceless, soulless, pretty people wandering their empty heads around L.A. whilst getting up to some, frankly, weird shit. With no real point and no real conclusion. Like watching more than ten minutes of Terence Malik’s Knight of Cups whilst having a bath, in a hat, with the lights off… basically a stupid thing to do.

The Neon Demon on the other hand had me enthralled and mesmerised by its scapes of colour and sound, empty and vacuous yet interesting; I wanted to know where this was all going. Honestly, I did not see it going that way! No spoilers here but it’s pretty freakin’ weird.

Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort – Film (2014)

SPOILER WARNING

This film isn’t very good.

There, I said it.

No point beating around the bush or going round the houses on this one; it was very good. Not sure really why I thought it might have been but you’ve got to give these things a chance, haven’t you?

I had read that the Wrong Turn series of films was worth a look; with a large fan base and a certain panache that implied a sense of worth to their watching. Unfortunately, I feel I was a little short changed at least by this SIXTH instalment of the franchise, if it can be called that. Those Transformer films are franchise, this just seems like an excuse to get creative with the fake blood, squishy, squashy sound effects and naked girls.

For what it’s worth the ‘story’ revolves around a bunch of American twenty-somethings who purposely go to what looks like, even from the outset, a mental asylum in the middle of nowhere and out of reach of those blooming mobile phones the kids insist on having with them at every turn. Cue obligatory look at phone and annoyance at it’s lack of signal (I’m pretty sure that scene was in here but I may be confusing it with every other ‘lost in the middle of nowhere’ horror. Actually, who cares? It’s definatley in there).

Anywho, this huge ‘spa resort’ (hence the title) in the middle of the American outback which one of the group has inherited or it’s owned by his family or some such. He, by the way is inexplicably a ex-Wall Street trader although I couldn’t quite get why or even what that was mentioned for other than for a little back story, Basil Exposition kind of thing. Even more strange than that though was one of the female characters, who had an unnecessarily active interest in… Yep, you guessed it. Antiques!

Oh yes, this girl could spot a Royal Doulton from an Armitage Shanks any day of the week and as luck would have the spa/mental asylum was chock fill with the shit, thus enabling a nice segue scene involving her trying to stuff up her handbag with china trinkets moving into her and her boyfriend discovering the ancient ritual sexy chamber under the West Wing. At which point the two of them forget completely about the bone china upstairs in favour of getting naked on the massively weird/creepy/get-the-hell-out-of-there subterranean sex-n-death room.

The ‘spa’, coz that’s what it is, is run by two characters who are ‘family’ and from here on in there ensues equal helpings of blood splatter, naked flesh, sex, death, bad acting, drug taking and badly advised pagan-y ritual. There’s also some incestuous redneck family members roaming the local woods killin’ folk and looking like Chunk from The Goonies.

It was all very horror by numbers on the cheap and looking cheap.

It just wasn’t very good… sorry.

Exorcist Georgetown Steps

The Exorcist 3 – Film (1990)

On the back of a recommendation (of sorts) from the Kermode Uncut blog I decided to watch The Exorcist 3, a film based on the book by William Peter Blatty called Legion and also directed by the author. Being the author of the original film it seemed like it must be better than The Exorcist 2 (the rule being never to watch a film that scores less then 5/10 on IMDb, in almost all cases this has been a very good barometer for crapness).

Anywho, the third instalment in the Exorcist series was quite a surprise to me in that it was actually quite good. The plot which focuses on a police officer investigating a serial murder case in Georgetown and seemingly being carried out by the deceased Gemini Killer. There is of course possession, demons and decapitations.

The film felt modern although made in 1989, there was nothing that looked to date the film and detract from the narrative. For the most part the script and the interaction between Kinderman and Father Dyer was sharp and witty, showing the clear friendship of these two main characters. The flow though was quite slow and ponderous, taking its time to build to the climax and the inevitable battle of good and evil.

Despite the horrific nature of the crimes committed during the film there was pretty no gore, no blood and no gratuitousness, everything being described rather than scene which is generally much more effective and shocking.

The first and second acts for me were the better portions of the film, once we moved into the climax, the act of exorcism, it seemed to borrow a lot that was obviously the core of the first film but without the feeling of a battle taking place and no sense that the outcome wasn’t always known before hand; it didn’t provide the level of jeopardy the first did.

Having said that it’s worth a watch for the script (most of it at least) and the cathartic process of ridding your mind of the sequel!

I Saw The Devil – Film (2010)

I Saw The Devil is an Asian drama, thriller, horror by Kim Jee-Woon and I thought it was fantastic.

The film was a gruelling experience to say the least but one that is definitely worth it once you get the third act and the finale.

It reminded me of Seven in terms of the serial killer plot and how that was also quite a grim watch in terms of its unrelenting tone. I Saw The Devil though was much darker with Min-sik Choi playing a horrible character and one which you want to see get his comeupance. His evil deeds are unrelenting, vicious and pretty sick whilst playing the public face of this character is one of a calm nature but with an ever present, underlying social pathic bent. The school scene in particular is one that will unnerve; you know the man and his juxtapostion with the innocent children is unsettling to say the least.

Definitely one I would recommend but I’m not sure if I would watch again just for the sheer endurance involved but you will know that when you do finally get to the finale it will have been worthwhile.

We Are What We Are – Film (2013)

Seems that We Are What We Are was universally acclaimed on IMDb although Rotten Tomatoes have it at a high 87% which is probably we I lean towards in terms of rating. This is a quiet, moody film. Some might even say ‘arty’ with slow shots, wide open spaces, tableau framing and that kind of thing. The story of a family with an ancestral hunger for flesh.

I have to say that I really like it. Whilst it wasn’t a splatter fest like Grave or quiet-quiet-loud jump extravaganza like Insidious it had a very enticing nature which unfolded slowly, gracefully and to what I thought was a surprising conclusion. There are a few scenes that were shocking and a little sick (as in belly sickness) which were effective.

This man is eating a burger, a meat burger. He craves the meaty product, the cooked flesh.

This man is eating a burger, a meat burger. He craves the meaty product, the cooked flesh.

It’s always good when you watch a trailer for a film and then the film itself based on that trailer and are not disappointed. I would definitely recommend this.

Suspiria definitely has ballet in it.

Suspiria – Film (1977)

7.4!? Out of 10… Really? Well, yes it seems so according to the online movie Bible that is IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076786/. Directed by the master of Giallo Dario Argento.

Personally, I couldn’t see what all the fuss was about to be honest. Maybe it’s because the film is now over 30 years old and I expect something slightly less hammy, less cheesy, bit more polished. It did remind me of those ‘classic’ Hammer Horror films with Christopher Lee in terms of the strangely bad acting and thick, oozy, bright red blood. Of course, I may have missed the point altogether and that it was ahead of its time. Having said all that I was intrigued enough to watch it all the way through from the initial and quite sudden, graphic death scene through to the somewhat abrupt ending.

Suspiria definitely has ballet in it.

Suspiria definitely has ballet in it.

It did have some creepy parts, it was sinister in nature; the old woman was menacing and there was a strange air of 1970s weirdness about it. Was it scary…? Not really but hey what do I know. You’ve always got to watch the classics, right?