My favourite movie I have seen thus far this year is Xavier Gen’s 2011 film, The Divide. It is raw, gritty and painful to watch. You leave the film uncomfortable and uneasy about the material depicted. Much like the ending of Stephen King’s the Mist, you are not quite sure about what just happened. After this most recent uneasiness I experienced after viewing The Divide, I felt the need to re-watch Mr. Gen’s other epic tale, Frontier(s). If you were expecting me to say Hitman, I fear you are misguided, because even Timothy Olyphant could not save that train wreck of a film. No, unfortunately Mr. Gen’s attempt at a “Hollywood” film blockbuster was muddled and more of a flop that belongs on the raspberry list. Rather than dwell about the non-successful films my favourite new French filmmaker has made, let us conclude that Hitman was an outlier in his growing resume of great films to his name.
The notoriety of Frontier(s) was built up in 2007 when the film was deemed too violent for an R rating and was removed from the After Dark Horror Fest. This publicity is the best kind a horror film creator can ask for, as a buzz that is generated surrounding the film was depicted as too graphic and disturbing to even be viewed. Of course this does nothing but excite avid horror movie fans to do whatever they can to get a copy of the film. However, this technique is only successful when the hype is worthy of the film produced. Unfortunately the resulting high expectations were almost an impossibility.
In the not too distant future where political turmoil in France dominates and groups of thugs and gangs run the streets. When one group of thieves flees Paris to lay low in a quaint little inn outside of the big city, hoping to have some fun and wet their “whistles” for a few days before re-grouping, the group finds that they are in bigger trouble than they could have ever imagined. While I do not think that Frontier(s) is the strongest film in this new surge of French exploitative films to make its way onto the small screen, I will argue that the film is wonderfully strange and eerie tale that draws you into the strange world of a group of French neo-nazi cannibalistic hillbillies.
The story is simple and easy to follow, even for those who detest the idea of reading subtitles. There is not a lot more going on in the film other than watching crazy and sadistic Neo-Nazi Frenchmen attempt to re-populate the Earth in their own image. The film is no more graphic than Haute Tension or Inside, but what it successfully is, is an enjoyable and well depicted torture porn film. This label may seem strange for some because the film does not dwell on torture and gore; and it is not sensationalized in a traditional way that torture porn typically is. But with the successful usage of tension building in conjunction with intermittent graphic content, the film is effective at maintaining excitement and mystery. It is weird, graphic and intriguing. Plus it has pigs.
Time destroys everything
In 2002, the Cannes film festival had a controversial film about the sequence of events that occur after a woman is brutally raped compete. Irreversible was shot in reverse chronological order, and ultimately emphasizes the revenge of the event that occurs earlier in the night. By beginning with the vengeance of the assault, we are forced to think about the implications of what has transpired.
I get excited about films that use reverse chronological order as a technique to depict the content of the film. When used properly, this order of events ends up altering our emotions regarding a typically universal subject matter, and engages us to think differently about the content. Most notably my favourite movie to do so is 21 Grams, a film that came out in 2000 directed by Alejandro Gonzalez and depicts 3 different character stories that intertwine with each other.
When I first watched Irréversible years ago, I was excited about this technique used. One problem that can occur as a result of the reverse chronological sequence is that a film may start off very strong and generates a swift hard punch, but by the end of the film (or the beginning of the sequence), there is not a lot of tension or surprise. Irréversible skirts around the tension, and I do think it generally trickles off by the end of the film. That being said, I do think the plot line is simple and is presented in a pleasing manor and is genreally enjoyable.
The film is not meant to be “enjoyed” but rather appreciated from an artistic standpoint and endured for its raw power. It is successfully a beautifully structured and filmed piece of cinema. But I don’t think it is original. While, the filmmakers of Irréversible are successful at generating unique emotions in the film, I am generally not a huge fan of the film. The content matter does not bother me. There are a variety of scenes that depict graphic violence in an over the top fashion, that a number of critics have argued is overwhelmingly brutal and unwatchable. While, I don’t find the content to be overly traumatic, I have seen many films depicting rape and violence towards women that I believe are far better executed and more terrifying. My problem is that I am left with a feeling of being underwhelmed by the story and thinking to myself, do I really care about what I just saw? I am oddly concerned that all I am really left with is the notion that the filmmakers just wanted to make a shock and awe film, depicting the depravity of man and what lengths we will go to for vengeance.
I am not your average horror film fan. I am easily scared. Yes, sometimes I close my eyes when there is a graphically violent scene. But I enjoy the fact that I am scared. My background in psychology is driven by the fact that I am interested in what fear is, and what makes us afraid. So when hearing what the content of the film Inside was, it made my knees tremble. After watching the trailer for the film, I hid the movie in my freezer, because I had learned that works well when reading a scary book.
Let me set the stage. Upon my first viewing of Inside, I was alone in my house on a very stormy night. My partner was out of town and my tenants in the basement suite bellow me were away. The house was empty except for my two small dogs, myself and my tenants cat who was left running around in the basement to annoy me. There was thunder and lightening all around me, it was late at night and I decided that it was the perfect setting to watch the film I was nervously anticipating. I must admit, I had put off watching Inside, because the reviews for it made me nervous. A home invasion story about a pregnant woman being tortured? Who wants to see that?
Curled up in my comfy movie viewing chair with my two dogs on my lap, I was white knuckled from start to finish. My popcorn was barely touched. I spent an hour and a half with my muscles constantly tense. Was I scared? Absoslutely. Was it graphic? Very. But mostly, Inside is a fabulously thrilling movie and continues to be my favourite French horror film I’ve seen in the last ten years. It’s audacious, raw and brutal; but it also has heart and a wonderfully deep story line that draws you in.
The French are known to have strong leading ladies in their movies and this is no different in Inside. The dynamic between the two female leads is chilling and powerful. There is a surging energy that you feel when the two are on screen. But what is so surprisingly effective are the small details, which make the film so chilling. The uncomfortable sounds used in the film are piercing, perpetuating this ominous sense of terror and fear which makes you uneasy. The use of eerie dark green and yellow hazy lighting is effective at generating the presence of death and vile sickness. However, if you have a queasiness when it comes to torture of a pregnant woman, I suggest to skip this one.
Architecturally beautiful yet terrifying films, the French are producing extreme films that take horror to the extreme, leaving you with the hairs on the back of your neck standing straight up and sending shivers down your spine. Often on a negligible budget, we are taken to a place that Hollywood dares not take you. With the rumour mill running ramped that Inside is going to be remade for an American audience, I implore anyone who has not yet already seen this truly remarkable home invasion story to do so before it has been ripped apart of any dignity it has.
I watched Shark Night 3D last year for the first time and was disappointed, and I have been sitting on this film trying to decide how I feel about it. Recently I watched it again to firmly solidify an opinion on it. Unfortunately, the second viewing of it was no better than the first. It was really that bad. I was really disappointed that I did not like, pretty much anything about this movie. Time, and time again I make the point that I can forgive films for lacking script, plot and acting. But what I cannot forgive a filmmaker for overlooking when producing a film is heart. Shark Night 3D was about as bland as rice pudding.
What I think was the biggest problem with this movie was not even to do with the film itself, but the fact it was released in September of last year. There is a science to when you should release a film onto the silver screen. During the fall and winter months we are expecting intellectually stimulating films that make us think and feel. However, contrasting these “smart” movies, in the summer months we are expecting dumb fun. This is the time of year we see Michael Bay movies with explosions, or in the horror world, we expect movies like Piranha. So before even watching Shark Night, the film is already set up to fail. No, I don’t want to watch dumb blondes get eaten by sharks in 3D in the fall and winter months. It is not what I am expecting to see.
That being said, I am fairly certain the film would have failed regardless of when it was released. I have now seen the film twice, and I can’t really tell you what happened. I do know that upon my first viewing I did guess almost every single scene and plot feature from start to finish. In one sentence or less this is Shark Night. College kids go away to the glades to have some much needed chill time, when sharks are unleashed on them things go wrong. Who lives and what parts of them will still be intact? Who cares. What I can stand by is that Joel David Moore was obviously the best thing in this film. I am quickly becoming a super fan of his. The man is just so quirkily fun in any role he takes on like in Hatchet and his small role in Chillerama, you just can’t help but like him.
I think what was so shocking was that with a budget of $25 million, at least decent CGI sharks could have been produced. The fact that the sharks were nothing but comically poorly constructed, turned the film from bad fun to just bad. I don’t mind predictable, but at least it should be fun. Shark Night was neither fun nor entertaining. The characters were mindless automatons. But we can’t really blame the actors, it is not as though they had a lot of substance to work with. I was expecting a bad film, but I was anticipating something more along the lines of Snakes on a Plane, who was also directed by David Ellis. But hey, I guess you win some and you loose some.
I am a proud Canadian. Without sounding ethnocentric, I think Canada is the greatest place in the world to live. I’m so proud, that if I didn’t think it was cliche, I would get a Canadian flag tattooed on me — somewhere. What’s not to like about this huge land mass? We are the birthplace of the best sport known to man, hockey and we have more hockey rinks than we have Walmarts. Socialized health care, need I say more? Poutine and Maple Syrup are staples in our diet. Need I mention Canadian bacon? Gay Marriage is legal here. Sharon, Lois and Bram AND Mr. Dressup are way cooler than Mr. Rogers any day! Without the list going on forever, no Canadian list is complete without mentioning the fact RUSH is from Canada.
As amazing as Canada is, one department we tend to lack in, is in the movie department. This is largely due to a lack of funding provided to the arts. Therefore usually the films which are produced are done so with poor production quality, such as these gems: Killer Bees! (2002) and Bikini Girls on Ice (2009). However, once in a while a film is produced in Canada that makes me proud to be Canadian, such as Ginger Snaps (2000) and Martyrs (2008) and most recently Tucker and Dale VS Evil (2010).
Tucker and Dale VS Evil is a fun, quirky and cute horror comedy that makes you both laugh and feel warm and fuzzy inside. There is a true heart and soul to this film. Written and directed by Eli Craig as his first full feature, we are brought into the cliche world of hillbillies vs good looking college campers. But what is unique the film is that the protagonists are actually the hillbillies, played by the loveable, sweet and bumbling Tyler Labine and always funny Alan Tudyk. The chemistry between these two is amazing, in an effortless kind of way. Really, what makes this film is the dynamic between these two talented actors.
When one college girl gets into an accident and is saved by Tucker and Dale, the rest of the college group automatically assume the worst, that she is abducted. With a series of unfortunate events that occur as a result of this confusion is what makes up the bulk of the film. Coordinated in such a humorous fashion with a witty script, the flick did not require a cast with amazing talented skills or amazing production quality.
What I find so surprising about the movie is that I forget that this is a horror film. There is an ample amount of blood and graphic gore, but above anything the film makes you laugh and feel empathy for stereotypical bumbling hillbillies who are misjudged. Growing up in a hippie family, in an area of the bible belt in Alberta, Canada, my family was outcast a lot, as we weren’t the “norm”. We weren’t white protestant, with 2.5 kids, whose father wore a suit to work where went to church on Sundays and got our portraits done once a year at Sears. I had friends who weren’t allowed to come over to my house because I apparently lived in a heathen house because it was covered with African and Indonesian artifacts. So Tucker and Dale resonated with me, the moral of the story is: don’t judge a book by its cover.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad I’m not hung like a bear
When I saw the trailer for ASF, I was expecting an explicit exploitation film, filled with nothing but sex and gore. I must admit that my palms were sweaty with anticipation and nervousness about watching the film. Early reviews of the film depicted it as vile and garish, which is why it has been banned in Norway and Brazil. I posted a trailer on my twitter account, and received backlash from followers telling me that the trailer for ASF was smut and completely inappropriate. So my little impish self was both excited and uncomfortable about the film when I finally got a copy to watch.
What I can say is that I was completely blown away with what I watched. From start to finish the film does not let you out of a vice grip, but for different reasons than you would think. Forget the overt content of the film that most people perseverate about, ASF is a very successful thriller. Both beautifully set and shot, ASF is a captivating film that brings you into the strange world of snuff.
When a retried porn star is offered a gig to star in a strangely artistic but pornographic film offering the promise of being very lucrative, Milos has no choice but to take the role which will provide him a hefty check in return for which his young family needs so desperately. The filmmaker is crazy, and has strange methods, but Milos is reminded that he is just an eccentric artist who gets results in a non-mainstream fashion. But when things go from bad to bizarre, Milos realizes that he has no choice but to finish what he has started and is immersed into an area of porn he never wanted to be apart of.
The film has scenes that are so over the top, in covertly comedic fashion, that all you can do is laugh. These sequences depict material that may be sensitive to a general audience, but how they are shot takes these topics and makes them so ridiculous they become funny. However, if these scenes were omitted from the film, you would not loose the heart and soul of the content. But rather the film is a very successful thrilling movie, and is not the sum of a number of violently sexual images strewn together without any meaning, much in the way Fred Vogel’s ”August Underground” is filmed. But rather, ASF is a well orchestrated thrilling feature which takes us on the brutal and scary ride our protagonist is set out on.
ASF takes you on a ride that you won’t soon forget. In my personal opinion, there are far more graphic and disturbing films than ASF. My suggestion would be that if you can’t let some of the minor content be just what it is, added for shock value and arguably for political statements, and not contributing to the major story-line, then forget this film. But, I think you will be missing out on a beautiful piece of memorable cinema.
Kudos Srdjan Spasojevic, ASF is a milestone, so thank you for taking it to the extreme, it did not disappoint. It’s bold, it’s ballsy, and it’s unique.
“30 Days of Night” is the best vampire movie I have seen since 1987 with “Near Dark.” The movie is based off of the graphic novels by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith. I am not an avid comic book fan, but these ones truly rock; so I was interested to see what the adaptation to film would be like. The movie is very true to the stories with the characters and story line. You get the same feelings when you walk away from the movie as when you read the story. The cinematography and the scenes have a comic book feel to them.
What I love about “30 Days of Night” is that it has a simplistic plot and it does not attempt to chew off more than it can handle. It is a vampire movie and delivers exactly what you expect, blood, gore, biting and mayhem! Some critics find it cliché, but I say why not take a simple plot line and develop the characters further and be creative with the action sequences.
There are parts of the world that see dark for weeks upon weeks and what is a better stage for vampires who thrive in the night! In this tale we are brought to the small isolated Alaskan town of Barrow where for thirty days of the year darkness sets in completely and it is night all the time. As the sun finally sets, a group of vampires move in and start to attack the sleepy town and its people. It is their time to shine.
Sheriff Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) and his estranged wife Stella (Melissa George) are the only law enforcement in Barrow and with a small group of locals they band together and attempt to stay alive. They have to huddle down and out wit the surprisingly intelligent vampires. A big departure from the novels to the movie is that Eben and his wife are separated and there is friction between the two in the flick. While in the short stories, Eben and Stella work as a team and there is no romantic drama between the two. I think it is an interesting departure. It is clear that the filmmakers wanted to develop the story a bit more by accentuating the romantic feel to the film. Ultimately the story is a tale of love between two people and how far they will go to save each other.
Josh Hartnett rocks in this film. I love watching him act in pretty much anything he does. I sometimes question his choice of roles like with “Pearl Harbour” and “The Black Dahlia,” but he still always delivers solid performances. Horror, thrillers like “Sin City,” “Lucky Number Slevin, “The Faculty,” “Halloween: H20” and now “30 Days of Night,” really exemplify his ability as an actor. I fell in love with him as a horror king in “The Faculty” and since then his roles only get better. Watching him battle vampires in “30 Days of Night” with an axe is like porn for me; nothing is hotter than him in action. Horror stud aside, I think Hartnett delivers a very effective performance in this film as the quiet, prudent guy who is faced with having to step up and take risks when the people closest to him are in danger. Hartnett’s leading lady, Melissa George always delivers a great solid performance and the two have great chemistry.
Director David Slade spent a ton of time and effort making sure that every detail was accounted for in the film. The sets were incredibly well designed. The town of Barrow has a lot of detail and it has a Western style with a gothic twist. The sets reminded me of the intricate “Sleepy Hollow” town created by Tim Burton.
The vampires have a unique look and feel to them. Their mouths have an animal almost primal look. There is nothing sexy about these vampires, seducing their prey. These vampires are carnal and go in for the kill, much like a werewolf or a zombie. There are buckets of blood and the kill sequences are well thought out.
“30 Days of Night” has the best child turned monster scene since “Dawn of the Dead” (2004) where at the beginning of the film the Vivian the neighbour child turned zombie attacks Ana (Sarah Polly) and her husband in bed. In “30 Days of Night,” we see a local girl turn to the vampire side and meets her gruesome end with an axe to the throat…wicked. Maybe I am just sadistic, but I love seeing kids get hacked up in movies because it is against the rules; you never kill kids off! When I saw “30 Days of Night” in theatre, there was a woman sitting next to me who was outraged they would do that to a little kid. I think that proves the point that filmmakers did their job, when an audience member gets lost in the story and forgets, hey it’s not real. It’s a vampire movie lady, what do you expect?
The film is definitely not your typical run of the mill vampire movie; don’t expect a “Blade” like movie. What I appreciate the most about the film is that it does not attempt to answer questions like why there are vampires and where they came from. All we know is that vampires thrive in the dark and Barrow experiences a month long in the dark. Nothing else matters. The film also does not delve into the characters background. The movie throws you into the action from the get go and doesn’t stop until the credits roll up at the end. The lack of characterization actually strengthens the story and makes it more entertaining.
My final thoughts: There is no escape. No hope. Only hunger and pain.
With a name like “Zombie Strippers!” what do you expect? The movie is as predictable as “Snakes on a Plane”, it has snakes, planes and Samuel L. Jackson angry on a plane and it delivers exactly what the title says. The acting in “Zombie Strippers!” is almost as bad as the script. The cinematography is terrible and I think for the first time Uwe Boll can give a hand on filmmaking. The movie is stupid, in fact – it is one of the stupidest movies I have ever seen, but I was expecting it to be, so I did not have a lot of expectations for the flick. But “Zombie Strippers!” embraces cliché jokes like in “Scary Movie,” but adds an X-rated twist. It is an entertaining B-rate horror-comedy flick, with clever dialogue, intense gore and over abundance of nudity.
The movie it is clearly a political and social commentary of writer, director Jay Lee. “Zombie Strippers!” begins in the not so distance future with Bush being elected into his fourth consecutive term as president. War is ramped and the US has declared war on every country in the Middle East, Canada, and the independent nation of Alaska. The problem at hand is the US is running out of people to serve in the army, so scientists have devised a solution which is to reanimate dead soldiers and use them to fight for them again. While this may seem like an interesting and prospective solution, predictably these undead creatures become zombies. The special unit force titled “Z squad” has been brought in to get rid of the zombies and unfortunately one of the soldiers becomes infected and escapes the group only to end up in an underground strip club, owned by sleezy owner Ian (Robert Englund.)
Kat (Jenna Jameson) is the lead stripper at the club and becomes bitten by the escaped solider. As a zombie she returns to the stage to continue to strip and only gets better; the men respond only now to the stripping of zombies. After popular request by the crowd, more of the girls turn over to the dead side to develop the uninhibited talent of a zombie stripper. The longer the strippers are zombies the more their bodies deteriorate and look like corpses and I myself, began to feel a bit sadistic as I am looking at naked zombie women dance around. Necrophilia? Okay – ultimately it is a comedy and you just can’t take it too seriously.
Political statement aside the film offers a decent plot, for what it is trying to produce. It is simplicity at its best. The movie is easily eighty percent, if not more, just of stripping. But with a title like “Zombie Strippers!”, if there was not an abundance of T&A I would be disappointed and feel slightly teased. The amount of nudity would boarder line on vulgar if the movie was not so funny. The amount of scenes with vagina, tits and ass being shoved in your face outnumber the ones with clothes. But hey – they go all the way, why half ass it. “Zombie Strippers!” makes no apologizes for being a dark comedy horror flick, it is uninhibited.
Jenna Jameson attempts to make a go at a legitimate acting career in films that are not in the back area of the video store that say “adult’s only.” SO – what does Jenna do, she stars in a film that has her with her clothes off for almost the entire film and you watch her rubbing herself off on a stripper pole. However – this newfound attempt to legitimize her career in mainstream Hollywood almost seems like a laugh at stripping industry and is actually quite funny. “Zombie Strippers!” seems to make a joke at the whole profession. Really it is worth it alone to watch the movie to see Jenna Jameson reading Nietzsche.
These are my own two cents on the stripping profession; I do not think that nudity and stripping makes women subordinate and objectified. These women are making a choice to make shit load of money off of men who are silly enough to toss away their hard earned money to look at boobs. Women may be viewed as objectified and pieces of meat, but what is entertaining is that these strippers in the film end up treating the men like pieces of meat by devouring them and treating them as nameless, faceless cattle. So – from a feministic approach to the film, I see the film as depicting women as domineering, powerful, independent women who do not need men for anything except
a quick easy buck and a taste of blood. As more and more of the strippers become zombies, the way the women are exploited normally as hot-beautiful curvy voluptuous women the gore and gratuitous violence increases.
My final thoughts – It is “Night of the Living Dead” meets “Showgirls.” It is campy, sexy and gory and I love “Zombie Strippers!” Take that Stripperella.
As a post-Friday the 13th celebration, I went to see the movie I have been patiently waiting to come out for a year - Cabin in the Woods. Because the movie was coined largely as a “thriller” in order to reach a larger range of audiences, the movie theatre I was in, was filled with abnormal shrieks and screams that you normally do not hear in a typical “adult” horror film viewing. With the budget the filmmakers had, I think their biggest problem before even production begun was the execution of the film by deciding which genre the film was. There were elements of action, thriller and horror in it, and perhaps for this reason the film let certain audiences down. Semantics aside, the most anticipated horror film of the year did live up to the hype that it would be unique, but it did fall short on actual execution.
Without 6th sensing anyone and giving away any plot details, I have to say that Cabin in the Woods, is likely one of the most unique film concepts to come to mainstream theatres in a long time. In an industry where filmmakers are fearful to explore unique and unknown ideas, it is thrilling to see a genuinely creative idea come to the silver screen. As creative as it was, I have to say I wasn’t overly shocked with where filmmakers took the movie. There were not incredible twists and turns that were “shocking,” but as a whole, the concept was unique. So don’t expect it to be shocking with drastic changes throughout the movie, like in films such as “The Midnight Meat Train.”
However, where the kudos are due, is that the filmmakers were successfully able to beautifully marry elements of terror and humour in almost every frame of the film, without it being a comedic horror. I was impressed with the witty dialogue and interplay of the characters. There were equally just as many cries of fear in the theatre as there were laughs and that is something that should be applauded.
I love cabin movies, there is something fun about kids going off into the wilderness to let loose into a cozy yet run down cottage off the beaten track and then things go amuck. But, this film is not a typical teen-cabin horror film. There are cliche elements to it, but the filmmakers almost mockingly use and embrace stereotypical horror archetypes in this film in a punny sort of way. My one real complaint was that the characters generally were unlikeable. There was no real connection between them and the audience. By the time we get to the apex of the movie, we barely care if they live or die. Unfortunately, the weakest point of the film is the ending, as it falls short and leaves you with a fairly unsatisfied feeling, like when you finishing watching the classic summer Blockbuster with someone ending the film raising an American flag. But, a weak ending does not ruin the entirety film as a whole for me, the film was solid enough to leave a good satisfied smile on my face.
In a nut shell - If Sam Raimi and Andrew Niccol from the Truman show had gotten together and drank themselves silly and discussed movie ideas, Cabin in the Woods is what love child they would have come up with. Whether you like the film or not, there is no denying the concept is unique, and if filmmakers are creating novel ideas such as Cabin int he Woods, I still have faith there are more great films to come.
An epic wrestling showdown to the death between eight classic monsters, the stage is set for evil vs evil to see who the last creature standing will be in the film Monster Brawl. I did not have high expectations that a movie with a cast plucked right off of the benches of WWE and UFC, would be any good. When the tag-line of the movie was coined as “the fight of the living dead,” I was hoping for at least a movie that was so bad it was funny. Unfortunately, this movie fell quite short of being entertaining.
One cannot be too shocked that a movie starring Kevin Nash was going to lack in substance, but I have to say I was. I had hopes of at least seeing some really cool wrestling moves. Alas, not only were the cool wrestling moves forgotten, so was the plot. I don’t have to worry about giving away anything in the plot, because unfortunately besides having a wrestling showdown and guessing which monster would win a match, there was not one.
I could forgive the filmmakers of the flick for producing cheesy lines and bad costumes and designs. I could have also have gotten on board with a lacking plot, as I have seen dozens of decent films without clear or solid stories. What I could not get over was the lack of heart in the film. Monster Brawl was a soulless movie, kind of like an afterthought of a drunken mistaken, when you go home with a 10 at 2, and a 2 at 10. It likely seemed like a better idea in the middle of night after 3 bottles of wine. At the end of the film you are left thinking, who cares and it is barely memorable.
Who will be the last monster standing be - Cyclops, Witch Bitch, Mummy, Lady Vampire, Swamp Gut, Werewolf, Zombie man or Frankenstein? If you are willing to watch a painful hour and a half worth of bad wrestling moves and terrible narration from Dave Foley and Art Hindle, you too can find out.
You are who you eat
I recently had the chance to catch up on a few movies that I have not yet had the privilege of viewing and are on my must see list. Among the ever-growing list was Anntonia Bird’s film, Ravenous. She is a relatively unknown director, however one of my favourite movies of all time is one she had the pleasure of working on, Mad Love. In this male dominated industry, I love to support fellow female artists any chance I can. Perhaps I overlooked Ravenous, as I was just a doe-eyed 14 year old, who was more interested in cute boys than cannibals when it came out.
Recently, a friend of mine sent me a copy of Ravenous for my birthday, as it was one that I felt the need to see. I am a big fan of Robert Carlyle and Guy Pearce, who are both stars in the film, so it seemed like a good choice. I must say that this film has officially become a guilty pleasure of mine. There was very little to be disappointed in with this film, it pretty much had it all. I am not a huge fan of period horror pieces, as I always seem to be let down. But Ravenous seemed to have it all, and above all it was successfully both a period piece full of blood and gore as well as having amazing dark-comedic dialectic, without being over the top.
Taking place during the Mexican-American war in the mid 1800s, a cowardice soldier is reassigned to a desolate Fort in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range and forced to fit in with a bunch of misfits warriors. Among the strange group included the performances of David Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, and one of my favourite underrated actors, Neal McDonough. When a strange man, played by Robert Carlyle, wanders into their camp, telling tales of forced cannibalism in order to survive, things go from strange to just bizarre.
Ravenous provides a great thrill without being so over the top it becomes ridiculous. I couldn’t help but chuckle much of the time in the movie, due to its witty script. Ravenous is an incredibly underrated film, and is often overlooked. So if you have not had the chance to see it, find a copy.
The irony of the film - Antonia Bird is a vegetarian. If you are what you eat, what does that make her?
“It’s hard being a cannibal. Tough making friends.”
With the theatre market floundering, fewer filmmakers are interested in creating novel films, due to their inherent risk involved in making them. It is much easier creating films which are gimmes that will insure you will make your money back. In order to create a lucrative movie, you must ensure that the content appeals to a wide range of audiences, and in order to do that you need to make a PG or PG-13 movie by playing nice with MPA rating boards.
The global phenomenon, the Hunger Games is raking in box-office dollars, after being released just a few weeks ago. Based on the 2008 young-adult novel under the same title as the book written by Suzanne Cole. The books are graphic, so in order for the film adaptation to appeal to a wide audience, the filmmakers decided to tone down the violence using various filming techniques and eliminate any shed of nudity that occurred in the novels.
The subject matter and previews for the film did not really strike me as something I would be interested in. It is clear that the Hunger Games is an amped up series, created in response to the end of the Potter and Twilight eras. Either way, I was not very interested in watching a teen film about kids killing each other. However, begrudgingly I was taken to a viewing of the film tonight. I figured fair is fair, I do subject my partner to a lot of movies I like, namely whatever horror film that is in vogue and pretty much anything that screams B-rate and that I can get my hands on. So I figured I should indulge him by watching the Hunger Games. He like, many others have been sucked into the futuristic story line of the books which pits 24 children between the ages of 12 and 18 against one another, in an epic battle royale. Whoever is standing last at the end of the film wins all the fame and glory, and most importantly supplies that their much needed district needs.
The movie itself was entertaining, and quite thrilling. I was surprisingly impressed at how much I enjoyed it. Without a doubt there were the epic love-triangle cheese, that we as humans are drawn to. But either way, I did actually quite enjoy the movie. Perhaps it was because I had zero expectations of liking the film. I am not going to delve into the fact that the epic Japanese movie, Battle Royale, which was based on a book by the same title, came out over a decade ago, has strangely similar concepts in it. There is no doubt that Ms. Cole had to have been influenced by the material from Battle Royale. But either way, the two films have their own uniqueness to them, so that argument is a moot point, and really it does not matter for this argument.
Battle Royale is graphic and disturbing, but it has an R rating, so you expect a good old fashioned blood bath. However, The Hunger Games in Canada has a rating of PG-13. Clearly, I am a fan of horror films and anything graphic and disturbing. However, I had a major problem with the Hunger Games. The film was not depicted or advertised in any way as a disturbing scary film. However, the issue that struck me the most was that the theatre was packed with children, very young children at that. The filmmakers of the movie, decided to get the rating they ended up with by using shaky camera during violent scenes and they edited down a lot of blood and gore. The problem that I have with this film, is not that it has a certain amount of blood and gore, but rather its content. This is an adult movie. The material itself is graphic, with or without the blood and gore. The concept of children killing children in a fight to the death scenario is an intense topic that many young children will be disturbed by. I am 27 years old, and I love scary horror movies, but I found the subject matter in The Hunger Games quite disturbing, I can’t imagine a how a pre-teen would feel.
I did enjoy the movie, but I couldn’t help but be offended and disturbed by audience members who brought their children, many who were under the age of 10. I myself, would not take my children to see this movie without them having a maturity level that could handle the intensity of the topics portrayed in the film. The difference between horror movies and films much like the Hunger Games is that how they depict the topics. I grew up watching horror movies, but I knew they were fake. I knew that the boogey man or men were just stories, and often these movies were portrayed in humorous way. In contrast, the Hunger Games, although depicted in a futuristic manner with elements of humour, felt real and was portrayed that way.
All in all, I did enjoy the film, but kept thinking that if the filmmakers of the Truman Show got together with the producers of Battle Royale they would have birthed The Hunger Games. Like it or not, The Hunger Games is Hollywoods love child that is here to stay.