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28 Weeks Later (2007)
If you're a fan of 28DL, you'll be a fan of 28WL
Saw a media screening last night. 28WL has a lean script and the movie flies by. The suspense lingers throughout the film, and it doesn't slow down too much like the first one did (when everyone got to the military outpost). There are small variations in the storyline pertaining to the how/who the infection affects, and there is one really well done scene where a number of rampaging infected have to be well..dealt with..in a swift fashion. Robert Carlyle is excellent, and overall I think you might even like this one better than the first. Stylistically it's similar to the first, and the tone and mood are still quite eerie, since a large part of London has been quarantined and non infected humans are being brought back into re populate the city. Scenes involving characters going into the prohibited areas where infected may linger are quite eerie and well done.
The Omen (2006)
Just saw a press screening Fri June 2
In a nutshell, if you've never heard of the original or are unaware of the storyline, the average horror film lover will enjoy this flick. If however you saw/liked the original, you'll likely still enjoy it..but you'll know exactly what's coming next because it is very faithful to the original. In fact, in most scenes, it's a line-by-line remake, and many camera shots are virtually identical to the 1976 version. What has changed is that Damien's parents are younger, and it's been updated to reflect a contemporary world of today. Also, the screenwriter decided to throw in 9/11 and recent disasters as indicators that the Armageddon is on it's way via Damien Thorne. (SPOILERS FOLLOW) There are elements of "Final Destination", but the original Omen was in fact the first to play with this type of death scene(s), where things mysteriously happen to people through strange accidents,etc. Having said that, these scenes are a little different from the original (most of them anyway) and again, as a horror fan, you'll enjoy the fact that they don't pull any punches graphically.
Acting wise, the film was somewhat weak - particularly Mia Farrow's performance. In an fitting homage to Rosemary's Baby, Farrow is cast as Mrs.Baylock, the satanic disciple, summoned to protect the Devil's son (in a sense, like her character in Rosemary's Baby)Damien Thorne, in the form of a nanny. I found that she was not nearly as creepy and menacing as the original actress. Julia Stiles was not strong either, and Schrieber was OK. The kid who plays Damien isn't bad, but it's just another brooding kid role with few lines so it's tough to screw that up.
Visually i loved this film, and a few sequences in particular were very very well done. As for the scares, there aren't many at all, and a few could be seen coming a mile away (dream sequence/mirror open then shuts to see apparition in rear,etc..) I did jump physically in one sequence where i wasn't expecting it (which i won't mention specifically so it may surprise you too).
So, it was an entertaining 2 hours. Nothing terribly new, and not as creepy or Gothic as the first one. In a way, i was hoping it might go in a different direction, but perhaps, it's the producers' ultimate compliment to the original - keep it very similar,just updating it for a new generation of horror fans. Recommended.
A History of Violence (2005)
Lean, tight and brilliant
Unrelenting, powerful and taut. Initially, Cronenberg sets the audience up with a barrage of slightly over the top warm 'n fuzzies, then proceeds to deliver a sharp uppercut full of brutal, graphic depictions of violence, including the results of said violence, to make his point crystal clear.
Violence is ubiquitous - it is in our lovemaking, children at play, every day on our streets, in our art, and in the animal kingdom. We may veil it but it is as natural to us as love, and happiness and sadness.
Mortensen's performance is subtle yet powerful, and we can see his past bubbling just below the surface until he is given just the right catalyst. Harris is menacing and makes us realize that like a furious pitbull, he just won't go away.