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Bringing Horror Anthologies back!
At last, a movie that understands what it is to be a horror anthology. After coming off a few disappointments in Tales of Halloween and Holidays, I was running out of hope that another anthology could match the great "Trick r Treat". Thankfully Southbound does just that. The thing that makes both of these films work is that they take place in one universe. Five stories that take place on the same highway that interchange between each other, giving the feeling that its one feature film, told from 5 different perspectives. In doing this, the stories don't feel unfinished and have a stronger purpose than that of short stories being unrelated. Add some great gory moments and suspense, Southbound is a horror anthology that all fans of the sub genre, must check out!
a step in the right direction for Argentinian horror!
After watching the trailer to this little known film, I was coming into the movie with the expectation of a typical run of the mill demonic possession, exorcism film. To my pleasant surprise, it was so much more than that. The movie tells the story of a priest traveling through Argentina in 1821. He stops by his family home and discovers that they have been hit by the yellow fever plague that has gripped the country, and this is where his nightmare begins. The first thing that hits the viewer is the deeply unsettling atmosphere that Gonzalo Calzada has created. With cinematography similar to the likes of Guillermo del Toro and the tone of a Stephen King adaptation, the director has taken the viewer through a nightmarish battle for survival. With religious undertones ringing underneath the surface, it never takes front seat. There are plenty of genres here but Resurrecion never loses that horrifying effect it has through its psychology, then adding some genuine horror towards the end. Definitely a step in the right direction for horror in Argentina, who are already making big inroads in the genre!
Not knowing what to expect coming into this little Argentine exploitation film, I allowed myself to fully immerse myself into the situation faced by these characters and give it every opportunity to impress me, and impress me it did! The fact that the movie is simple really plays into its hands. Niconar Loreti has planned and executed Diablo with a lot of confidence, which ultimately allows the viewer to enjoy themselves without unnecessary plot devices. Funny, entertaining, crude, violent, surreal, are just some words that can be used to sum up this movie about a boxer, down on his luck, who gets unwanted visitors in the suburbs of Buenos Aires. If movies like Hobo with a Shotgun are your thing, then Diablo is essential viewing!
Crimson Peak (2015)
a twisted love story that delivers a typical del Toro experience!
After going into Crimson Peak with a hesitation because of some negative criticisms of the latest installment from Mr del Toro, I came away from it being very pleasantly surprised. This movie is an example of not judging a movie based on what others think. You must see it for yourself and be your own judge. Guillermo del Toro delivers a masterful display in visuals, which is a trademark of his. We are sucked into a dark Gothic world full of betrayal, murder and lust. The story, while not the most in depth, has enough to keep the viewer interested, while being entranced by the fantasy like atmosphere. There are some moments of extreme violence that comes as a shock, but i thought it just illustrated the power of the situation these characters were facing. I think the main problem here is what people expect from "horror". Jump scares, frequent violence, and frequent usage of ghostly figures are what passes, but when a movie comes along with great subtlety, it will be overlooked. This is a great shame because i believe Crimson Peak is a nod to the more classic type of horror! Go and see it for yourself, so you can be your own judge. Who knows, you just might like it as much as i did!
Matar a un hombre (2014)
Relevant to the frustration of the South American public!
While not free of its problems, To Kill a Man not only delves into the psyche of someone torn up over the prospect of killing a man, but it also is a vent of frustration at the inconsistencies of law enforcement in not only Chile but South America in general. Jorge the main character is portrayed in a very realistic way. He isn't a superhero, he isn't bulletproof, he is simply a family man being thrust into the world of vigilantism by the incompetent law enforcement. Its a sad and bitter tale of revenge! Unfortunately the run time of the film hurts it. Being only 82 minutes, it doesn't allow you the time to really soak into the situation as much, but putting that aside, To Kill a Man is recommended to anyone who likes their films with a strong sense of realism and social commentary!
Psalm 21 (2009)
a surprising effort!
Judging by the low score and less than impressive discussions on IMDb, i went into Psalm 21 expecting a disaster, but in the end what i got was the complete opposite! Comparing this to the Scandinavian standard, this Swedish horror film doesn't really keep it company, but on its own ,its a generic horror film idea, mixed in with a soul searching look into the destruction that religion can bring. Brilliant cinematography, along with solid performances in the acting department, make Psalm 21 appear to be a well executed movie. Unfortunately, my biggest problem with the movie was the repetitive horror set pieces, which allows the audience time to desensitize themselves to what is happening, due to the frequency of scares. Having said that, thankfully Psalm 21 saves itself by the thought provoking material, underneath the generic surface!
Incredibly brave film making!
I think anybody who appreciates cinema will be applauding the director of this movie for giving us something truly unique. For a two hour film to keep someone gripped, without any spoken dialogue or subtitles to guide us, shows the power of the good old fashioned visual storytelling. The movie tells the brutal story of a boy trying to fit in, in a boarding school for the deaf. Graphic sex scenes, brutal violence, and an overwhelming sense of dread, combine to make this a very uncomfortable viewing experience. Unfortunately i felt some scenes were dragged out unnecessarily, which prevented it from being the masterpiece thats said to be. I think cutting it shorter than 2 hours would have greatly benefited it, because there were a few occasions where the specific scene made its point, but hung around longer than its welcome. Not a masterpiece, but certainly an intriguing and unique look into the future of film making!
Borgman is a prime example of the difference between Mainstream Hollywood and European Cinema. Movies that don't tie up loose ends and force feed the audience. Movies that pay respect to the intelligence of the viewer. Borgman never really explains anything during the movie which will put a lot of people off, but if you are prepared to look at the minor details, you will appreciate the film for what it is, a deeply psychological look at social classes and many other elements that will get the audience thinking and ultimately form a discussion. With some truly unsettling scenes being complimented by dry humour, Borgman gives off a certain charm that will captivate the viewer right through the two hour running time! Great acting performances along with some surreal images gives Borgman that unique and creative edge, within a world of movies that lack anything new!
Gato negro (2014)
an interesting tale with a great ending!
Gato Negro tells the story of a young boy growing up in the poor area of Tucuman, Argentina. He is constantly in trouble until one day he decides to run away and try his luck in Buenos Aires. From there, his life takes off and over four decades he rises up the social ladder but along the way he steps on the toes of those around him which gives him a lot of unwanted attention. I didn't know what to expect with Gato Negro, but what i got was a somewhat interesting tale of a mans desire to make it big and letting nothing get in his way. The acting was great and the cinematography was superb. The movie did have its problems, mainly with the pacing and the way the story seems to skip from decade to decade, but the ending was very good, which gave the viewer the message that karma will come back to get you! Overall its definitely a film that i would recommend to those who are fans of world cinema!
Ich seh ich seh (2014)
Not as good as the trailer suggests but still worth the time!
Goodnight Mommy took the world by storm after captivating and terrifying audiences with the trailer. Because of this, my expectation levels were very high and while the movie itself didn't reach the heights i thought it would, its still worth the effort due to the superb production levels that the film possesses. This is much more of a suspense movie rather than a straight out horror film, which takes its time to build. If you don't possess a lot of patience, then you will have a hard time getting through this one, due to the very slow buildup. The films predictability hurts it to some degree, but there were parts towards the end that still took me by surprise. All in all, its a very interesting suspense thriller from Austria that i would recommend to anyone who is into the Hitchcock or Michael Haneke style of film!