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Jeepers Creepers (2001)
pILe oF sH*t
What kind of age are we living in when a sack of sh*t like this can pass as a horror movie?
JEEPERS CREEPERS is basically a dumb episode of The Twilight Zone directed by a convicted paedophile, with dreadful dialogue, appalling acting and an embarrassingly predictable ending.
Expect at least 2 sequels.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Up there with 'The Evil Dead' and 'Re-Animator'
'From Dusk 'Til Dawn' is one of the greatest exploitation movies of all time.
As wild, creative and unique as any of the cult favourites of movie history, it has an extraordinary ability to cross genres. Gangster, road movie, action, horror, comedy... it's fitting that all of the lead characters are so different (preacher man, adolescent girl, Chinese boy, super-cool gangster, retarded killer... versus a bunch of vampires!)
The key difference here is that movies with this kind of outrageous energy are usually zero-budget labours-of-love... whereas this one stars George Clooney, Harvey Keitel and Juliette Lewis, and is scripted by one of the best writers in Hollywood.
But this is the key point. Despite it's budget and cast list, this is STILL AN EXPLOITATION MOVIE! It's not a cross-over mainstream multi-plex hit like 'Pulp Fiction' or 'Reservoir Dogs', this is genuine, anarchic, genre film-making.
So if your favourite movie is the F***ING SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION or worse, Star Wars, then GO AWAY! This film ISN'T FOR YOU! WE DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR OPINION! We don't need you whining on about how it was 'two films in one', or about how you were 'really into it until all that weird vampire stuff happened'... Stick to your Adam Sandler DVDs, you were never going to understand this type of film!
Phew, that's better. I think I'll go and lie down in the dark now...
My Wrongs 8245-8249 and 117 (2002)
a twisted brainwrong...
This is the debut film from satirist, surrealist comedian and cult phenomenon Chris Morris, whose fans have levelled criticism at the project as it is a reinterpretation of a story already featured in his dark, late-night sketch show 'Blue Jam'.
As a Morris fan myself, I was somewhat sceptical about the need for a retelling of this tale - a blackly comic piece about a man who is so depressed that he believes his dog is talking to him, and providing some frankly terrible advice.
So I'm happy to report that the film is indeed successful, at least for the most part, and this is largely due to Morris's skill as a filmmaker. The tone is stylish and experimental, and manages to breath new life into the story - Morris has clearly built upon what he started in his last TV series, 'Jam'. And as well as directing the film, Morris has also written the electro-ambient soundtrack, which interplays cleverly with the camerawork to create some neat moments.
However, some of the gags don't translate to the screen particularly well - and this is largely because cinema isn't the best medium to convey the protagonist's reasoning behind his erratic behaviour - described so effectively in the radio version. Therefore, if you plan to watch this film, I'd highly recommend listening to the original Blue Jam monologue on which it is based (included on the DVD now available), which provides some of the detail and il(logic) behind the character's actions.
Maybe next time then, a new story tailor-made for the screen would be more satisfying, but this is still an accomplished debut.
The French Connection (1971)
An intrinsically faulted genre
Alfred Hitchcock was once asked why characters in his films never go to the police. 'Because,' he answered 'going to the police is boring'.
He was right. Police are the establishment, they represent the state. They don't face the danger that an ordinary person would face when pursuing a criminal, because the police have more power than the criminals.
To counter this, films such as this usually portray its cops as being somehow 'divorced' from the state - they are maverick, alcoholic, unpopular with their superiors. They also might get thrown off the case half way through the film - they are outside of the system.
This tends to make cop movies somewhat formulaic, particularly in retrospect.
However, the French Connection is definitely more intelligent and interesting than some later efforts in the genre. It benefits strongly from the modern, confrontational style of director William Friedkin, and some stunning cinematography which gives it some of the visual energy of 'The Exorcist'.
On the downside, it suffers from some preposterous plot holes (the rebuilding of the car, the incredulous ending) and that, along with the obvious constraints of the genre, prevent the movie from ever being truly satisfying.
28 Days Later... (2002)
One major problem...
There is one major problem with this movie. It's not the list of glitches that seem to be preoccupy the thoughts of most people on the message board.
Yes, the plot has more holes than a Swedish porn movie, but this is a genre film and it's the excitement that matters, not the scientific plausibility.
Very minor **SPOILERS** ahead:
The film's major flaw is in it's basic plot. Most films of this nature (i.e. apocalyptic horror movies) tend to have a somewhat episodic plot structure. However, in '28 Days Later...', the sudden change in the story arc when the characters reach Manchester infects the story quicker than the drop of blood that lands in Fank's eye.
The main problem that this change in scenario causes is that it completely shifts the overall values and themes of the film, giving it the feel of two halves welded together, like a dodgy used car.
Both halves of this film are interesting (though the first one is by far the best) but they aren't happy bed fellows. It's a shame, because there's some surprisingly sensitive moments, and some stunning imagery. They just don't belong in the same film.
All in all this is still a film that's well worth watching, particularly for horror fans. What's frustrating is that it could have been a whole lot better. 6.5/10
Cliche ridden and full of plot holes... avoid!
This poor movie has neither the depth to be a drama nor the scares to rank as the suspense/thriller that it's been marketed as.
The low-key plot sees a family headed by Mel Gibson living in a farm house, struggling to come to terms with the death of Gibson's wife (who is also the mother of his two children), which has caused Gibson, an ex-preacher, to loose his faith. Then comes the alien invasion...
PLOT HOLES & CLICHES:
The aliens are rather ridiculous big green men, who seem remarkably primitive considering the UFO's they are supposed to have built.
It later transpires that these aliens dissolve into goo when sprayed with water. It doesn't really seem to pose a serious threat to mankind when all you need is a f***ing water pistol to see them off...
Gibson's family barricade themselves in their farmhouse, and this must be the only movie in history where this actually works, successfully keeping the aliens at bay.
Eventually, a radio broadcast announces that the aliens are retreating, though it is not yet clear why. Maybe it just started raining.
Worst of all is the oldest cliche in the book, preacher Gibson losing his faith after the death of his wife in a car accident. You can probably guess what happens to his faith at the end of the movie.
***END OF SPOILERS***
CONCLUSION: Shyamalan doesn't even have one of his usual gimmicky twist endings to redeem this feature, and his Spleilbergian use of the family unit is somewhat cloying. Not recommended. 4/10
Some of the scariest scenes of recent years...
The opening half of this dark Japanese horror contains some of the scariest scenes of recent cinema, as specters and apparitions terrorize a hapless group of teens. Expect 'Ring' and 'Blair Witch' style shocks.
Gradually, the film dissolves into a melancholic, apocalyptic vision of the future, building a more brooding, subtle sense of dread that will haunt the viewer long after the final credits have rolled.
Challenging and original, this is essential eastern film making.
Blow Out (1981)
A delightfully sick joke
This truly macabre movie unravels like a sick joke played at the expense of the unwitting viewer.
DePalma again employs his derivative yet highly effective technique of using image and sound to tell the story - so the viewer begins to piece the puzzle together simultaneously to the characters in the movie.
This is a compelling conspiracy thriller which crams in plot twists and shocks, whilst satirizing the medium of cinema.
A must-see. 10/10