Just to show you I'm not totally stuck in the past, I've had the opportunity to watch a few newer flicks lately. Provided here for your thoughts, comments, etc., are my short and sweet gut opinions on each.
WOMAN IN BLACK – Something that I would label as “quiet horror”, this is Hammer’s latest entry and I felt honored to watch it on the big screen. I mean, here I am sitting in a movie theater watching a Hammer film, fer chrissakes! Daniel Radcliffe’s first “adult” role is one I believe he should be proud of. Some would say this movie moves too slowly, but I think the lingering camera shots, art direction, and dripping Gothic atmosphere were all near perfect for this film.
THE GREY – Liam Neeson is fast becoming the new Harrison Ford. He has played a something of a “maturing” action hero in a number of recent films and he’s damn good at it! A favorite nature-gone-wild film of mine is the Anthony Hopkins/Alec Baldwin white-knuckler, THE EDGE, where the pair are terrorized by a full-grown Grizzly with a taste for human flesh. Neeson’s film is reminiscent of THE EDGE, only with wolves. And where THE EDGE’s subplot is a bit trite, THE GREY’s is considerably more substantial, and is an effective counterpoint to the lead character’s motivations. Greg Nicotero continues to amaze with his wolf animatronics. More thriller than horror – although it is horrifying in parts – THE GREY is one not to miss if you’re after a thrill ride.
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE) – a Tom Six sickfest, watching this movie is like driving by a traffic accident; you try to look away but can’t. A bit seasoned against blood ‘n guts and unsavory special effects, none of this really creeped me out, although it had its moments. I think it was in part a result of zero sympathy factor for the victims – two ditsy chicks (not to be confused with the singing group) and an obnoxious Japanese kid get surgically sewn together in places that are wince-inducing. The cadaverous Dieter Laser as Dr. Heiter, on the other hand, can now be considered among horror filmdom's maddest doctors.
HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN – I can understand this becoming an instant cult favorite. Rutger Hauer has always been a favorite actor of mine, but this Technicolor travesty of a hackneyed revenge flick is crass and downright gratuitous. Buckets of high-def blood and gore only add to the overwhelming sense of disgust. If that’s what Director Jason Eisener was after, he has succeeded in spades. Hauer deserves a better role.
INSIDIDOUS – For the first half-hour of this flick, I thought I was watching THE EXORCIST all over again. Then I figured out that this film is either an homage to numerous horror films that came before it, or it really is just a derivative hack-job. Part aforementioned THE EXORCIST, it then shifts gears and morphs into a combination of GHOSTBUSTERS and POLTERGEIST. After this realization came to me, it ruined the viewing experience. Well filmed and with a few original elements and jump-scares, I still couldn't get over the similarities. Oh, and did I mention there was a bit of THE X-FILES Lone Gunman shtick thrown in, too?
WAKE WOOD – Another Hammer film, this time viewed on the small screen. With echoes of THE WICKER MAN, THE DARK SECRET OF HARVEST HOME, and perhaps even a pea pod or two from INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, this movie goes about its business effectively and with the kind of flair that I think can only be experienced in a British film production. Now, if Hammer would only trot out the monsters . . .