1.)Husband suspects wife is having an affair. 2.)Tension ensues. 3.)Entire household gets the flu. 4.)Denouement 5.)The End
I didn't like this movie because I just didn't like it. I don't think it made the most of its premise; it was poorly paced (which is not to say that I wanted it to be paced like a "Terminator" flick); there were HUGE plot holes, some of which I mention in my earlier post; the characters did things that made no sense (and didn't do things that would have made perfect sense); and the movies central theme about man's capacity for violence and cruelty is not especially earth-shattering. Hasn't anyone ever read or seen "Lord of the Flies"? Finally, beneath the "grit and grain" of the digital video photography there IS a typical Hollywood flick lurking--just a slower paced on. Near the end when Jim finds Selena after his wet, shirtless Rambo-like adventure around the estate they end up embracing and kissing, finally acknowledging their attraction--how cute and romantic and Hollywood. I love the fact that he lunges at her without first reassuring her that he was not infected--this, despite the fact that she is holding a machete and he has previously seen her in action with it.
If you liked this movie that's fine. I would never begrudge anyone something that provided them with enjoyment and food for thought. But we folks who DIDN'T like it weren't necessarily sitting in the theater in a brain-dead stupor waiting for a British version of a Jerry Bruckheimer or Wes Craven movie--which seems to be the prevailing assumption. You are wrong. An actively engaged brain can decide that it likes something or that it doesn't. I, along with others, did not like this movie. That doesn't make me (or them) dolts.
And why don't they attack each other? They seemed to "hunt" in packs which is something that a social animal would do and yet these monsters are infected with a very antisocial rage; a rage so intense that swarms of rats flee the infecteds' approach. Yet the infected operate almost like a gang. People who need people...
As for the film's "man's inhumanity to man" subtext or its exploration of our darker nature and instincts,blah,blah,blah...so what? Haven't you people ever seen a war movie--particularly a Vietnam war movie. These are not new themes and they are not handled with any real panache or originality in this movie. And why do the people in this movie assume that the virus has gone global and that there is "no future". It would be next to impossible for a virus that manifests itself quite vividly within seconds to jump from an island nation like Great Britain to "Paris and New York". Only one character in the entire movie questions the possibility of this and he is a minor character who is chained to a radiator, ignored, and eventually killed. The predicament of the two female characters, who are surrounded by men, hinges on this perception of "no future". It is a perception that the movie failed to acutely convey, in my opinion and I couldn't understand why the characters seemed to have a last-people-on-earth mentality. It seemed inevitable that some "uninfected" country would eventually come to the rescue--as they in fact do. In the meantime, the "infected" become almost peripheral to the numbing story that is being told and I can't figure out for the life of me what people found so scary about this movie. Spare us the sequel.
This is definitely the last Shyamalan I will ever bother to see.
Due of on video sometime in December 2002. Look for it.
Didn't like it. The "twist" ending was the equivalent of finding out that everything up until that point had been a dream. And if I understand correctly that Verbal (Kevin Spacey) is actually Keyser Soze then it's as though I sat through "Seven" again. Keyser Soze and the John Doe character in "Seven" are both portrayed as these elusive and almost mythic figures and in each film this elusive figure is equated with "the Devil himself." Someone actually utters that line in both films when talking about our mystery man. So when Kevin Spacey pops up in both roles they just sort of cancel each other out for me. Maybe I would have enjoyed "The Usual Suspects" a little more if I had not seen "Seven", although the "everything-you've-seen-and-heard-up-to-this-point-might-have-been-a-lie" ending would have still ultimately lowered it quite a few points in my estimation.
* out of *****.
And those three "men in black"-type guys-what was up with them? I don't know how long it took me before I realized that I was supposed to be taking these guys seriously. The three of them together could not muster a thimbles worth of menace. They just looked goofy with the way they'd show up in a scene and look around SO SERIOUSLY.
Finally, I started to realize at some point that the task at hand for our heroes could not possibly be achieved in the time that remained so there was a lack of suspense that I only became fully aware of after I'd left the theatre. There was simply nowhere for this film to go except Sequel/Franchise Land and my interest would not survive the trip.
These guys also tried to tell me that the movie had something to do with American Indians. An earlier post on this site says the same thing and suggests that we research it on the internet. This movie was released in 1980, way before the internet as we know it existed. Were we supposed to sit around waiting for the internet to be invented and for someone to put up a "The Shining" site so that this movie would finally reveal its scary treasures? If I have to research the movie on the internet for it to become scary then the movie doesn't work. As for the Indian thing, one of the guys observed that as the movie progressed Wendy started wearing her hair like an Indian (whatever that means) and that in one scene she was wearing moccasins. OOOhhh SCARY!!! Didn't this story take place out West? Don't people out there who AREN'T in symbol laden horror movies wear all kinds of Indian and Indian inspired clothing and jewelry? What the hell?! So what.
Finally, I thought that Shelly Duval was horribly miscast and Jack Nicholson was creepy right from the beginning of the movie so that I never got the sense that he was gradually going insane once he arrived at the hotel. For a time I thought that the movie was being intentionally ambiguous about whether the hotel was having a malevolent effect on Jack or whether his "personal demons" were getting the better of him. The film might have been better if it had maintained this ambiguity but instead it scuttled it altogether as soon as we see that Wendy is seeing some of the same apparitions that her son and Jack saw. So it's not all just in Jack's head. And of course there was the fact that the previous caretaker had gone nuts and murdered his family.
I'm not one of those people who was disappointed that the movie wasn't faithful to the book. I didn't like the book either. If only someone could go back in time and stop Stephen King from writing that novel we could have been spared both his dreck and Kubrick's.