(2016) A Dark Song

This one quite literally came out of nowhere. I hadn’t heard of it until today and decided to just say fuck it and give it a whirl.

For the most part I would say this is a really strong film from first time feature director Liam Gavin. I’d say the first 3/4 of the film will be somewhat universally praised by horror fans. It’s an excellent slow burn style horror that has a constant tension while feeding you enough details to keep the plot moving. Both performances are fantastic and it really sucked me in, despite being tired while watching this and having a limited attention span.

The last act is really the only thing to talk about and I’ve left this review half written for an entire day because of it. I simply do not fucking know how to rate this film. I can’t even fathom how they came to the decision to have such a bold ending. It’s truly a make it or break it moment and I wouldn’t fault anyone for saying this movie is trash because of it. I bought it though, I was into it enough that the big reveal seemed fittingly bigger than life itself.

This film isn’t perfect, it’s way too ambitious and that’s not a compliment. I think there’s an entire 8 minute long segment at the end that absolutely detracts from the final product. I didn’t hate the practical effects but they were¬†simply cheap.

Gavin over exerted himself here and I wish; and I mean I seriously crave for a better budget in some segments. However, it’s still a very strong effort and remained one of the more engaging films I’ve seen this month. The buildup was just so perfect and tactful. I look forward to discussing this in my end of month list. My criticisms remain subsequent to my enjoyment.

I feel something special with this film that I haven’t felt for a first time director in a while. This director has vision and talent beyond what modern horror film makers are doing. That’s not an exaggeration, I’m absolutely floored with the creative decisions on this project, despite being underwhelmed by the special makeup effects.

I reached out to Liam the director for a Q&A so I’ll update this with that if he decides to participate. It’s the first time I’ve reached out to a director on here so we’ll see how that goes.

7/10

(1962) Premature Burial

Eh, this was alright. The set design was pretty great and the lighting was especially excellent. Highly commendable for the time period.

I’m not even sure what else to say. I feel like Corman was really missing Price with this one. Although¬†my biggest complaints come not necessarily from the actors but the designed characters they play. The worst was the doctor at the end, who essentially announces someones death just by looking at them from 5 ft away and says the 1960’s equivalent of “dude, he’s fuccin dead”.

I also just realized that I enjoy these early 60’s horror films much like I would enjoy a play. After a while you’re able to train yourself to not focus on the lack of realism and just kind of see a story being played out. “Played” out…heh.

6/10

(1971) Malpertuis

This film is undoubtably one of the most interesting haunted house films I’ve seen to date. It’s also remarkably ahead of its time. I should mention that it’s going to be difficult to praise this in depth without spoiling the big mystery so I’ll keep things someone vague.

To get it out of the way, this is a totally imperfect movie. That’s largely in part due to the acting, which isn’t always top notch. While essential to making sense of the plot, any scenes with Orson Wells on his deathbed felt very tedious and boring. Fortunately, the ending does offer an explanation for the strange acting (which obviously wasn’t intentional).

As a whole though, this film is a wonderfully lustful, malicious story that compulsively unravels all the way towards a very strong ending. A couple things about the ending; one, it’s a modern cliche but not a cliche for 1971. Two, it’s very appropriate give the message of the film.

I did kind of fill in a lot of gaps myself that the film’s plot doesn’t explicitly state but I think my explanations are plausible enough that I can fully recommend this film. It’s been criticized for being incomprehensible without prior knowledge of the filmmakers intentions but the allegorical aspects only rely on some basic knowledge that most people have.

7.5/10

(2003) Rahtree: Flower of the Night

This isn’t a good movie. It’s tonally all over the place and the comedic elements are voided by the negligence in crafting the core of the story.

I didn’t really appreciate any aspect of it to be honest and I thought it was also poorly translated. I mean, or it just had really shitty dialogue which is a strong possibility.

This is like a David Lynch film if David Lynch was an uneducated kid from Thailand with a $200 budget.

2/10

(1966) Cul-De-Sac

The setup to this movie is initially kind of generic and maybe that was intentional for Polanski so he could quietly work in something deeper.

I mean, as far as what the movie is about plot wise, just read the description. The notable things worth talking about however, may not be as surfaced as his other films. As a filmmaker, he clearly has a fascination with struggles surrounding sexuality.

I think part of the films greatness is in its setting and this is just something I’m possibly pulling out of my ass but I couldn’t help thinking, what the fuck was this couple doing living in this castle? It’s isolated, dark, filled with literal gay shit. I took it as a clear metaphor for Donald Pleasence character’s sexuality. Then again, his wife seems super in on it and yeah, I don’t know.

It’s possibly in that confusion where this intensional bout of humor drips into the film. It shifts in and out of this stark tension to an almost flamboyant, sitcom level tension. It’s another thing that kind of threw me.

I’ll keep this simple; I watched it, I digested it and think I missed a lot of what it was offering. I loved what I saw but I just can’t keep running around in my head attributing a different metaphor to every single fucking person, place or thing in this film. It’s frankly exhausting.

I think my bewilderment to such a seemingly simple film is a huge praise. I’m really curious what other’s thought of this one, it definitely got me thinking. Apologies for an inevitable subpar review, they happen from time to time.

7/10

(2017) Get Out

This movie absolutely lived up to the hype. I just finished it and I have to say it was one of the most enjoyable movie going experiences I’ve had in the past few years. It sucks you in and remains uncomfortably tense throughout its entirety. I really mean that too, there’s no single moment where Jordan Peel lets you up to breath.

I’m wracking my brain trying to come up with a single complaint and it’s really tough. I guess if I’m stretching I would say that Rose Armitage remind me of the show Girls which in turn remind me of Lena Dunham which in turn makes me feel nauseated.

I felt this film worked on so many levels but one of its most successful aspects was making me feel legitimately claustrophobic. It’s a feeling that’s intensity with vary by individual but personally and oddly enough, films that can trigger that part of my anxiety hold a special place in my heart.

I don’t really wanna talk to much about the obvious racial aspects of the film. I will say that no matter what message you have to deliver, if you fucking do it as cleverly as Peel does it, you can say whatever the fuck you want.

See this movie.

9/10