Posts Tagged ‘horror movie’

Antichrist – Minute Movie Review

Montag, September 6th, 2010


After the loss of their only child, Charlotte Gainsbourg is overcome by grief while her husband Willem Dafoe, a therapist, decides that he himself should help her. They go to a secluded cottage in the woods where things quickly get out of hand as her delusions begin unhinging their life. Brilliantly acted, perfectly filmed, the film is one of the most abhorrent films I have ever seen. Brutal and unrelenting, the film is anything but a pleasure to watch. But the story, the mythology and the themes make it worthwhile – and give you plenty of opportunity to muse about the film afterwards, even though what you really want to do is purge your mind of the images.

Random Observations:

Antichrist at the IMDb

Lars von Trier said that he tried to make a horror film with this, but ultimately failed. As I see it, however, he made a much more horrifying film than any of those so-called horror films today. Saw XVII or whatever they may be called.

Co-produced by just about every country in Europe (Denmark, Germany, France, Sweden, Polen and Italy, to be precise), set in the US, and filmed in my home state, Nordrhein-Westfalen.

I’ve wanted to delve into Lars von Trier’s work for a long time, but I’m not sure whether this was the right starting point. Especially since the film does not even follow the Dogme 95 rules. At least I sincerely hope it doesn’t.

Personally, I found the opening sequence, set to a beautiful piece by Georg Friedrich Händel (‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ from the opera Rinaldo), much worse to bear than any of the psychological and physical torture and mutilation later on.

I briefly considered making this Lars von Trier Week, but I really need an easy comedy now.

Les diaboliques – Minute Movie Review

Montag, Juli 5th, 2010


A tyrannical school principal mistreats both his heart sick wife and his mistress, so the two conspire to kill him. But what should be the perfect murder doesn’t come off as same, especially when the body is not found as planned and the dead man seems to have come back to life. Henri-Georges Clouzot’s film is an absolute classic horror thriller and was for a while considered the scariest film of all time, at least until Psycho came along. The film is dark and horrifying and towards the end you start to question all of your assumptions – even about the final scene.

Random Observations:

Les diaboliques at the IMDb

The film is based on the novel Celle qui n’était plus (The Woman Who Was) by French authors Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, which Alfred Hitchcock also wanted to buy. So they went and wrote D’entre les morts, the book that Vertigo is based on, especially for him.

The wife is played by Véra Clouzot, wife of director H.G. Clouzot, who only acted in his films, which is a real shame. The history of her and her family is also quite interesting, if anyone cares to read up on that.

Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht – Minute Movie Review

Montag, April 19th, 2010


In  Nosferatu the Vampyre, director Werner Herzog’s take on the Dracula/vampire story, Klaus Kinski stars as Dracula. The story is the same as always – a real estate agent (Bruno Ganz) travels to Transylvania, becomes aware that the count is a vampire and races back home to save his sweet wife – but Herzog manages to make it his own with slow pacing, perfect scoring and beautiful nature shots that create a film that seems closer to a fever dream than a coherent tale. Simply put, this might be the best Dracula film ever made.

Random Observations:

Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht at the IMDb

The film takes it’s title from F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, while the character names are taken directly from Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel.

I really like the last shot. Not just the ending of the film (which is great) but the absolutely last shot, which is hauntingly beautiful.

Young Bruno Ganz looks nothing like Hitler. In fact, if it weren’t for the voice, I would barely have recognized him.

Vargtimmen – Minute Movie Review

Samstag, April 10th, 2010


In The Hour of the Wolf, a painter with a troubled past and his loving wife spend the summer on a lonely island, where he slowly succumbs to his delusions, dragging her in with him. The film by greatest director ever Ingmar Bergman, explores some of his favourite themes, thereby creating something unique – a true horror film. Nevertheless or precisely because of that it is one of Bergman’s lesser films, never living up to the example of Persona, which explored similar issues much more elegantly before.

Random Observations:

Vargtimmen at the IMDb

Great cast with Liv Ullmann and Max von Sydow in the lead roles.

The film is very much open to interpretation as to how much of the things shown is actually real, which is quite intriguing.

Did I mention that Ingmar Bergman is the greatest director of all time? You should watch all his films. They are beautifully haunting examinations of the human condition. His black and white work is especially impressive. You can find more films of his reviewed here.

Jaws – Minute Movie Review

Donnerstag, April 1st, 2010


In a small beach community preparing for the summer, a girl is eaten by a shark. The mayor convinces the chief of police to keep the beaches open, but soon, there is another victim. As panic spreads, three men head out on a boat to kill the shark – and thus was born the legend of the Great White Shark. The classic film is a suspenseful horror thriller that is largely responsible for making billions of people afraid of sharks, despite no reasons for that. I think that speaks all that needs to be said about the film’s quality and legacy.

Random Observations:

Jaws at the IMDb

The thrilling nature of the film has been credited to three facts: John William’s score, Verna Fields’ editing and that the shark remains largely unseen, creating a silent and invisible horror. The last was due to the fact that the mechanical sharks malfunctioned (never having been tested in water…) and were largely unusable. Notice that none of these factors have anything to do with director Steven Spielberg, nevertheless the film started the career that made him the biggest director of all time.

The Mummy Returns – Minute Movie Review

Montag, März 22nd, 2010


Ten years after the events of The Mummy, the two heroes, now married and with a son, are at it again. Once more, the destruction of the world is threatened and once more they save the day. And that is basically all the film is: more of the same. There is nothing original here, which means that aside from the typical sequel offerings (i.e. sillier villains, stupid mythology, unaccounted changes, sillier set-pieces) the film is still just entertaining enough to be passable. The CGI here is horrible, but if you can see beyond that and the other shortcomings, you will be able to watch the film without expressing either anger or sadly much joy.

Random Observations:

The Mummy Returns at the IMDb

The main characters are supposed to have matured significantly since the last film, which in the case of female lead Rachel Weisz mostly means opting for much more revealing outfits.

Films like these always border on being completely campy and silly. But despite the fact that the film crossed the border repeatedly, I was still able to enjoy a good portion of it. I guess the viewer’s mood really decides the matter here.

Event Horizon – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, März 21st, 2010


In 2047, a rescue ship is send to discover the fate of the Event Horizon, a research ship that vanished seven years before but has now returned near Neptune. The ship’s creator is on board, revealing to the other crew that the ship was to test a new engine, that allowed instantaneous travel throughout the universe – but something has gone horribly wrong and now they are stuck on a ship from hell that tries to kill them. The first half of the film is very good in its setup of an outer space thriller, including some ruminations on the loneliness of it. The second part, however, is standard fare action horror movie, with gore for gore’s sake and a plot development and (lack of) solution that is unoriginal and predictable. The film obviously tries to combine Alien with Solyaris, but ultimately fails to understand what made either film work.

Random Observations:

Event Horizon at the IMDb

The ending is not just stupid, but also completely predictable. In fact, there isn’t a plot twist in the the second half that you couldn’t see coming a mile off.

Apparently, the first cut of the film ran 30 minutes longer and contained many additional horror/gore scenes. I doubt they would have improved the film the least bit.

The “ship from hell” remark in the review was not glibly made. The ship actually went to another dimension repeatedly described as hell.

Considering that the rescue team is supposed to consist of elite astronauts and scientists, they are surprisingly superstitious. Of course, they need to be for the story to work, but still, those people are supposed to be rational.

It can’t be denied that Sunshine, the Danny Boyle film, is very similar. It also can’t be denied that it is much better.

The Mummy (1999) – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, März 21st, 2010


When looking for the fabled Egyptian City of the Dead, 1920s adventures/explorers threaten to unleash a horrible curse upon the world. So naturally, they will have to stop it. This film, a loose remake of the original Universal Monster Feature from 1922, the film is preposterous, silly, and ultimately funny. It’s one of those rare popcorn flicks were everything comes together – a just barely plausible story, some cool characters, snappy dialogue, decent special effects to keep you entertained for two hours. It’s not great art, but it’s definitely good enough for a rainy afternoon.

Random Observations:

The Mummy at the IMDb

I haven’t seen many films with Brendan Fraser, but I always considered him a wimp. So it was a bit odd to see him play the action hero character here. He does so convincingly enough, though, so I got used to it after a while.

There is plenty of comic relief in this film. In fact, there are very few scenes that don’t have any.

The Birds – Minute Movie Review

Sonntag, Januar 31st, 2010


A rich playgirl and practical joker is surprised when a man pulls a prank on her – and decides to follow him to Bodega Bay. But there, the birds are acting strange, attacking her and everybody else in the town. This straight up horror film – there is no explanation for what is going on, just the firm belief that people will be terrified – by Alfred Hitckcock was surely notable in 1963 for its realistic images. Images, which today are utterly laughable. There is nothing frightening going on here, it’s just a silly (and horribly acted) film without any point to it. It may have mattered back in its day, but there is no reason to watch it today.

Random Observations:

The Birds at the IMDb

The strongest part of the film was the long build-up, that allows tension to slowly increase while you are waiting for something – anything – to happen. The actual events after that are just a letdown.

Hitckcock had a real knack for making movies without a single likeable character in them. Everyone here has severe character flaws.

Frenzy – Minute Movie Review

Dienstag, Januar 26th, 2010


In London, rape-murders committed by the “Neck Tie Killer” are causing disquiet. Caught in the middle of it is just laid off barman, former RAF pilot, Blaney. All the evidence is against him, but the real killer is his friend Rusk. But despite all of this being known quite early own, this late Hitchcock film (and his return to Britain after almost three decades) is disquietingly thrilling and suspenseful. The film impresses with seldom seen realism, causing the viewer to feel truly involved. The story is not particularly original, but what Hitchcock does with it raises it far above mediocrity.

Random Observations:

Frenzy at the IMDb

Very nice are the darkly funny scenes thrown in for good measure – mostly those involving the chief inspector and his wife’s cooking.

The viewer is obviously supposed to feel sorry for Blaney, but that is quite hard, considering that he is not really a nice guy. Sure, he is innocent and doesn’t deserve to be imprisoned, but the way he acts hardly inspires sympathy. All in all, an interesting take on the anti-hero persona.

Instead of famous film actors, the film stars British stage actors, who are all very good and not just well-known faces.

Hitchcock was British, the film is set in Britain and was filmed there and yet the American influence on it, especially in the dialogue, is impossible to miss even for a foreigner. No idea what the bright idea behind that was.