(1955) The Night of the Hunter

This one was recommended to me but I should add a disclaimer that I think it might loosely fit the genre for most people. With that being said, it’s a fantastic film.

The story itself is very sinister and for that reason, it absolutely belongs on this blog. While 1950’s cinema will rarely be “scary” to me, the situation as a whole uneases me. Harry Powell, especially after his initial introduction, plays a genuinely creepy character.

The film just looks fantastic, I mean seriously, it doesn’t get much better for the era. The depth for a black and white film is incredible, especially in the backdrops. It makes for some really iconic looking scenes and those moments are probably what I’ll hold onto as time passes. The underwater shot of the car was fucking stunning.

My only one small complaint would be the slightly hallmark style ending. I didn’t think it felt disingenuous, but it wasn’t exactly to my style.

I’d highly recommend this, almost especially if you have a short attention span for the classics. The story is fluid and paced really well.

8/10

(2016) Hounds of Love

I have a sneaking suspicion that this film will be praised substantially in the years to come and people will walk away feeling like they saw an incredible piece of art. I want to just say upfront that the masterpiece wrapping paper is really only a precursor to a film that in the end, plays it safe.

I don’t know what to say about the cinematography, it just felt like a ripoff of every “raw” and “powerful” modern film. It’s this odd mix of shaky cam and artfully long shots with mismatched focus. I’ve seen it before and have been impressed but I really hope this doesn’t set the standard for what a film needs to be impactful. Some of my favorite horror movies of all time display most of their originality in the production.

My second issue is with the story. It’s predictable and almost to a fault of Susie Porter’s exceptional acting, which made all the ins and outs of her character instantly transparent. I felt the dynamic between her and Stephen Curry’s character was realistic but it didn’t make for the most interesting on-screen adaptation. As soon as I stop thinking about the abductor as a threat, which is something that happened very early on, I can already see our positive ending Unfortunately, I was pretty confident in this instant of predictability and the rest of the film didn’t do anything to change that so here we are.

Lastly, and this is my most petty complaint, the ending scene is just…off. The song choice, the slo-mo, it just didn’t feel right. It cut short the films most intense, sweaty-palms sequence and left me feeling kind of whatever.

I realize this entire review seems like endless criticism but the movie’s strongpoints are obvious. I’m expecting most people to love this, I even really enjoyed it myself. I just wanted to offer a different perspective for the casual filmgoers who aren’t as psychotically focused or familiar with other abduction movies. This entire film is like a very expensive painting that, while I can appreciate and enjoy, could never justify buying.

6.5/10

(1996) Ebola Syndrome

Holy shit this movie rocks. I’ve never been so entertained watching a man run around raping people and infecting everyone with Ebola.

Don’t get me wrong, some parts of the film are a bit silly but absolutely intentionally so. In fact, it’s the comedy that really helps balance out all the heinous things that play out here.

I’m not really sure what else to say except I wish more people knew about this. This might not be a popcorn movie for everyone because of all the rape and whatnot but I found it to be a ton of fun.

7/10

(2010) Trust

In the sex predator film pool, this was a totally different breed of film then say Hard Candy. This was painfully realistic, a complete dichotomy of being disgusted and impressed the entire time.

Standout performances from Clive Owen and Liana Liberto; Catherine Keener is always a delight as well. Beyond the realism of the horror aspects of this film, the drama portion was incredibly complex. I’m blown away by how well these actors came together to finish this dark painting of sexual assault aftermath.

That’s basically it, really powerful stuff. Also, David Schwimmer directed this? Well, props to him. You can catch this film on Netflix right now if anyone wants to ruin their evening.

8.5/10

(2016) Nocturnal Animals

I’ve heard a few people mention this one in the horror circles so I decided to finally pull the trigger. I was and still am (just ended) pretty blown away by this one.

This ranks among some of the most depressive movies I’ve seen to date. It makes a bold statement about decisions, ugliness, selfishness and the value of protecting the people you love. As Gyllenhaal’s character says, “When you love someone you have to be careful with it, you might never get it again.” The statement itself sounds cheesy out of context but the film displays its importance among the grittiness of the violent story in parallel with a story more relatable to the audience.

Excellent film, highly recommend it. It will most likely be one that connects with each person on a slightly different, more personal level but it has something for everyone to appreciate.

9/10

(2005) A History of Violence

This film is pretty straightforward up until the credits roll. That’s when I realized there were major details that were left out and left somewhat open ended. It’s not a negative aspect in any way, Cronenberg leaves plenty of visual cues for the audience to form an opinion.

Awesome movie though, definitely just something that sucks you in as soon as the first bit of mystery and strangeness begins. It’s not even really playing in the same ballpark as other Cronenberg films in terms of just fucking weirdness and shit but nevertheless, his prints are all over it. The moments of violence are powerful and ultra graphic.

So yeah, pretty straightforward but also I also a little bit of wonderment for the subtleties. There’s also some nicely times comedic breaks sprinkled throughout, it’s just really enjoyable all around.

7.5/10

(2005) Lady Vengeance

Chan-wook Park offers you no reprieve from the bleak and depressing here in what is definitely the hardest film to enjoy of the vengeance trilogy.

I don’t think Park has ever given us a protagonist that’s straightforward morally but the ones from the first two movies always had overlying good intentions. Our Lady here is, to put it quite frankly, kind of a piece of shit. That’s basically the theme of the entire movie; it’s all about how she’s a piece of shit and how someone else being more of a piece of shit, doesn’t make her less of a piece of shit. Well, I guess if someone is “more” of a piece of shit that directly implies that she’s less of a piece of shit but you know, still a piece of shit.

Anyways, the film of course does everything with elegance, like Park always does. Expect it to gently crush your soul with beautiful music and some stunning cinematography.

It took me the entire goddamn movie to decide if I even likes this a little just because, like I said before, it doesn’t offer you any of the expected satisfactions of a normal revenge film. I took it as a huge statement on complicity, as well as an almost comically depressive reiteration on how we cannot change the past.

There’s a theme of redemption here but I’m not sure if it’s the graceful, sentimental painting we’re all used to. This was definitely a really interesting film but one that I never want to see again, it really depressed the shit out of me.

Despite my initial hangups, the ending was a super emotional, tactful finale that solidified it as a really successful film. That’s it, that’s all I have for you.

7.5/10