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[ATH] It Follows (2015)

Filed Under ( ) by Andrei S. on Sunday, 14 June 2015

Posted at : 11:50 p.m.
Thoughts? 

It doesn't think. It doesn't feel. It doesn't give up.

addicted to horror

the story
A young woman contracts a sexually transmitted curse which has her followed by a supernatural entity.

the good
+ brilliant concept
+ gripping opening
+ likeable characters
+ intense and surreal dread
+ unconventional score
+ distorted time period setting
+ no cheap scares

the bad
- some untapped potential
- gimmicky final confrontation
- anticlimactic ending

the ugly
moderate level of violence and gore
moderate level of scares and frightening scenes
moderate level of nudity and sexual themes
moderate level of profanity

things I learned from watching this movie (may include spoilers)
1. Don't have sex. Ever.
2. You don't have to be haunted by supernatural forces to make Detroit creepy.
3. Roofs are underrated stalking spots.
4. The Idiot is endlessly quotable.

verdict
It Follows is based on a unique and original concept that is plenty frightening by itself, and director David Robert Mitchell knows how to sustain that in a feature-length chiller. Maika Monroe leads a cast of likeable teenage characters in a film that permeates dread right from its gripping opening sequence. Time is played with here in a Detroit setting where 1980s and contemporary sensibilities clash and mesh together, with an unconventional retro synth score continually reinforcing this idea. There are no cheap scares to be found here, but the final confrontation relies a little too much on gimmick and the ending might be seen as anticlimactic. Still, It Follows remains haunting long after its credits roll, and is ultimately one of the most original horror films of the decade.

horror meter: 4 naked stars (out of 5)

Weekly Updates #255 (8.12.2014 - 14.12.2014)

Filed Under ( ) by Andrei S. on Friday, 12 June 2015

Posted at : 1:45 a.m.
Thoughts? 

Hello again. Yes, I’m still here. Just barely, though. I might get back into this, but it will probably only be at a semi-regular basis. Still, it would be an improvement, at least. No activity this week, though, so it looks like we’re starting back up with a whimper rather than a bang. There will be some more exciting posts coming soon, but for now, this is all there is. Still... an improvement.

[ATH] Tusk (2014)

Filed Under ( ) by Andrei S. on Saturday, 28 February 2015

Posted at : 10:22 p.m.
Thoughts? 

Man is the most dangerous animal.

addicted to horror

the story
An aging seafarer kidnaps a blabbering podcaster with the sinister intention of turning him into a walrus.

the good
+ disturbing and unnerving
+ hilarious and absurd
+ well-written characters
+ some great acting from the cast
+ good practical effects
+ Johnny Depp

the bad
- underemphasised main story
- shoddy special effects
- overdrawn, lengthy scenes
- uninspired conclusion
- Johnny Depp

the ugly
high level of violence and gore
low level of scares and frightening scenes
moderate level of nudity and sexual themes
high level of profanity

things I learned from watching this movie (may include spoilers)
1. Not all Canadians are friendly people.
2. If you get hold of a phone and are in trouble, call your friends instead of the police.
3. Never go full walrus.
4. Animal sanctuaries will accept human walruses.

verdict
Kevin Smith’s Tusk is based on an undoubtedly bonkers premise, yet it manages to be disturbing and graphic as well as considerably funny at the same time. It also has its fair share of positives and negatives. On the one hand, the characters in the film are well-defined thanks to good writing, and there is some great acting to be had from the various cast members – all the way down to an unrecognisable (and uncredited) Johnny Depp as a bit player. At the same time, Depp himself hams it up a little too much in the role, which ultimately gets tedious as the film’s scenes tend to overstay their welcome and feel quite lengthy. This also results in an underemphasised main story, as Smith dedicates a significant portion of his film away from the action. Ending on an uninspired final note, Tusk may well leave a bad aftertaste in many a viewer’s mouth, but on the whole there’s plenty here to like for those willing to overlook Smith’s missteps.

horror meter: 3 Canadian stars (out of 5)

A Guest Post: Horror from the Far East

Filed Under ( ) by Andrei S. on Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Posted at : 10:19 p.m.
Thoughts? 

Ghost and horror stories have been an important part of Japan's cinematic culture since the dawn of the motion picture at the beginning of the 20th century. Western audiences have historically been drawn to Japanese horror films due to their unique and unsettling way of portraying violence and supernatural elements. Often very little translation is needed for English speaking audiences to be completely horrified by what they’re seeing on the screen. There are a handful of Japanese horror films thought that do stand out from the rest:

    Dark Water


    Directed by Ringu's Hideo Nakata, this is the work of a filmmaker who has perfected the art of building tension, suffused with dread. In telling the story of a young single mother whose new apartment begins exhibiting some rather unusual characteristics, Nakata employs his signature style - off kilter camera angles, fleeting glimpses of creepy silhouettes, and naturalistic lead performances - to deliver scares that engage his audience on a psychological level.

    Battle Royale


    Though it boasts an incredibly similar premise, this thriller predates Suzanne Collins' bestseller The Hunger Games by 8 years. Unflinching in its brutal realism, the movie follows a class of 42 high school students as they are captured by the government and transported to a faraway island. Once there, they have but one objective: kill each other until there is only one survivor.

    Ringu


    One of the most influential horror films of the modern era, Ringu not only inspired a sequel and two Hollywood remakes (both of which are much easier to watch thanks to services like Netflix and DirecTV), but shook the American film industry out of the hackneyed blood and gore phase it was going through in that moment. Relying on chilling story and tense atmosphere rather than gore and jump scares, this low-budget delight follows a reporter's investigation of a videotape that kills anyone who views it in a week's time.

    Suicide Club


    This ambitious and thoughtful crime drama shows us a Tokyo in which large groups of students are killing themselves on a regular basis. Featuring a highly unconventional narrative structure and surreal touches a la David Lynch or Oliver Stone, this challenging story isn't for everyone, but those who do seek it out will find a true original with a strong social message at its core.

    Ju-on: The Grudge


    There is a Japanese legend that when someone is viciously murdered, the resultant ghosts seek revenge on whoever enters the house. That's the premise behind this simple yet effective ghost story. Director Takashi Shimizu, like his contemporary Hideo Nakata, excels at building fear in the mind of his audience without showing too much on the screen. Shimizu directed the Japanese sequel, and was also tapped to help with the trilogy of American adaptations, which were produced by the reknown Sam Raimi, which serves as a testament to his abilities as a maestro of supernatural horror.

    Godzilla


    In the 6 decades since this classic hit theaters, monster movies and horror films have become 2 separate categories. Put this in context of its time and place, however, and it's not hard to see why Japanese film goers in 1954 were horrified. It had been less than 10 years since atomic bombs hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the images of devastated people and cities that populate Godzilla must have hit close to home for many audiences. The film makes no secret of its function as an anti-nuclear polemic: scientists discover that Godzilla is the direct result of atomic testing, giving this movie a resonance that other creature features of the era lacked.
The Japanese culture and perspective lends itself to a different kind of film making, and allows for examinations of topics that would be off limits to most Hollywood studios. That's why many of our most revered American directors, including Quentin Tarantino, Zack Snyder, and Robert Rodriguez, cite Japanese cinema and Japanese horror films in particular as major influences. If you're looking for something different and aren’t afraid to read some subtitles while getting scared out of your seat, don't hesitate to check it out.

Keep in touch with writer Spencer Blohm on Twitter (@bspencerblohm).