Sunday, January 2, 2011

What I Did on my Christmas Vacation....

What I did not do is blog. Sorry. But I did manage to squeeze in a decent amount of horror flicks.

You better not f-in pout, bitch.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale:
A fine little Finnish chiller about an annoying young Bjorkish child who stumbles into a fiendish plot to unearth the real Santa Claus, who is a giant child-eating demon trapped in a mountain across the Russian border. (And no, I'm not kidding.) It's old-fashioned Spielberg-esque horror that takes you up to the edge of darkness, but doesn't plunge you into the abyss. A fun trifle with some memorable visuals.

Why do I feel like I'm forgetting something?

This is really an underground gem. A single mother gets on a sailboat with a guy she barely knows and his suspicious friends. Truly clever, inventive and fascinating to watch. Its twists and turns reminded me of other mind-bending thrillers with unreliable narrators like Jacob's Ladder and Angel Heart. I've seen some complaints that it doesn't make any sense, but everything you need to know is there. Highly recommended. Director Christopher Smith is one to watch.

Do you notice me now?

Lake Mungo:
OK, warning. This one moves pretty slow. It is in documentary style,but not in a queasy-stomach inducing shaky camera way. The story of a teen girl who drowned and her family that sees her apparition everywhere is all about understated performance and beautiful, haunting, lingering visuals. If you have the patience for it, it reveals itself to be an effective meditation on loss and family and how difficult it is to get close to those we love while they are still among the living.

Cheap Real Estate. Hidden Costs.

Eden Lake:
Eden Lake takes you deep into the abyss and at every turn gives you hope for escape, then plunges you deeper into depravity and hopelessness. The story about a sweet school teacher and her gorgeous, but insecure boyfriend on a doomed trip to the exurbs does not let anyone off the hook, including the viewer. In this film, violence corrupts everyone. It's like a mash up of Deliverance, Straw Dogs and Kids, with a sprinkling of Martyrs. It's very disturbing, but I found it also quite effective. After our final girl has finally been pushed to the brink and strikes back, the result is heartbreaking and deeply disturbing. You won't be cheering on her violent revenge, nor will you leave you with a happy feeling about humanity.

Will and Holly, get me that crystal!

The Descent 2:
It pains me to see that this awful sequel was written by the same guy who wrote and directed Eden Lake. Where the original depended on the subtle relationships of a group of strong women, the remake runs a bunch of unlikeable "douchebags you find in a horror movie" through the same set pieces. The original gave us a Final Girl (Sarah) who was quite possibly mad and quite possibly the killer with all of the murderous "crawlers" just part of her own dementia. The sequel brings her back looking spooked and having convenient amnesia about the events in Part 1. Then things unfurl in a predictable and unsatisfying way. (Even the return of fan favorite Juno is as flat and anti-climactic as Marion Crane's return in Indiana Jones versus the Flying Saucer.) The caves are lit like a Sid and Marty Kroft production. You expect a sleestak to round the corner at any minute. Come to think of it, a sleestak might have made the whole affair a might bit scarier.


  1. Santa is not a giant child-eating demon trapped in a mountain across the Russian border!


  2. the more I think about it, the more I find Black Swan kind of lame. I didn't find any of the unraveling of Nina to be satisfactory. And that whole scene, where she's doing the solo black swan dance and the crowd is chanting "NINA NINA NINA!!" I mean.

    it's the ballet. not a the NFL. that just wouldn't happen.

    I didn't see the need for anything after the ballerina on ballerina action. Her passion exploding was a theme they should have examined further. It was all so . . . well . . . lame in a very lame after that.

    and don't get me started on the waste of actress that is winona. GIRL CANNOT ACT HER WAY OUT OF PAPER BAG.

    but whatevs. it was a night out with mr. hall. can't go wrong with that.

  3. Hey, my dear. Hope your festive season was marvellous.