Returning from vacation, the Miller family find their home has been broken into. After cleaning up the mess they continue with their lives, shaking off the feeling of being violated. But lit... Read allReturning from vacation, the Miller family find their home has been broken into. After cleaning up the mess they continue with their lives, shaking off the feeling of being violated. But little do they know the nightmare has just begun.Returning from vacation, the Miller family find their home has been broken into. After cleaning up the mess they continue with their lives, shaking off the feeling of being violated. But little do they know the nightmare has just begun.
More on that later, let's continue bashing. There are a couple gaping holes which might bother you to the point of hurling popcorn at the screen (if your stroke hasn't paralyzed your pitching arm), such as how did that 250 lb body conveniently disappear? Or why didn't anyone notice all the blood in a public bathroom (must be a rough neighborhood). These holes seem a bit incongruous with the slow, methodical approach to the film which addresses each infinitesimal detail such as moving a flower pot to get a better camera angle. But a 250 lb body we don't care about. Ok.
Let's switch gears abruptly.
Jeremy Sisto is effing INCREDIBLE. All the acting, for that matter, is excellent from Jeremy all the way down to the 2 kids whose fight scene was so convincing I had to check if they were real life brother & sister (they are). The premise is that this film is a voyeuristic exposé of a normal American family, and major kudos to each & every actor for conveying this flawlessly. Of course that means it's not histrionic, not dramatic, there are no Oscar worthy monologues and tear jerking shows of emotion that make us clutch our pillow and reach for the kleenex. This is reality. Conversations are choppy, sometimes a bit awkward, emotions are muted, and interactions are, in a word: boring. And this is probably what your life is like.
"Hangman" is a found-footage slasher flick which on the surface seems like nothing new, but actually it has the most satsifying found-footage premise I've ever seen. The premise is this: The serial killer is an amateur filmmaker who meticulously sets up cameras, stages the action, films the killings, and most importantly EDITS everything together for us to see. So, unlike all the other found-footage flicks where either (a) it is left deliberately un-edited and raw, or (b) some mysterious person cobbles it all together and releases it as a movie, this film has an explanation for every shot. And since our editor is the serial killer, that gives the film a free pass to be cryptic, oddly-paced and at times inexplicable. (Inexplicable enough to hide a 250 lb body, you be the judge)
If you're an amateur filmmaker yourself, or a professional filmmaker for that matter, this angle will captivate you instantly and lead you to a deeper appreciation. Even if, like me, you're just a film buff who enjoys unusual ways of breaking that 4th wall, this is one of the best.
But now let's switch gears back to Reverse. Dear lord this movie will make you feel filthy. I don't mean that in a sexually perverse way (there are some disturbing sexual implications, but interestingly, our serial killer filmmaker chooses not to show anything explicit). I mean this film just disturbs you to the core. I suppose that's the intent of all horror films, but wow man. Even the most rabid splatter fan will say 'dude.'
It's the film's realistic voyeuristic approach, combined with an utterly detestable 'protagonist' (the serial killer), combined with the artistic approach of subtly declaring that the killer CONTROLS EVERYTHING YOU SEE that makes this such a nasty experience.
And on that note, even though I sound like I'm slamming the snot out of this flick, it is a complete artistic success. The feel bad movie of the decade. I'm reminded of the mid-1900s cinematic master Georges Franju (known for "Eyes Without a Face") who in 1949 filmed "Blood of the Beasts", a coldly methodical exposé of what goes on inside an actual slaughterhouse. The intent was to disturb the crap out of us, and it certainly does. Here we have a modern parallel, thankfully fictional and staged, but disturbing on a similar level in its reality and slow, unrelenting hopelessness.
I'm not being sarcastic when I say the filmmakers here achieved a rare pinnacle of success, much like Franju did with "Blood of the Beasts", but dude. My soul needs a shower. Time to watch a 90s Hugh Grant romcom and hug my pillow.
- Jul 22, 2021