Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Three Films Make A Post: Chained For 100 Years In A Sunken Tomb!

Highwaymen (2004): Director Robert Harmon attempts to re-capture the magic of his The Hitcher in this film about an obsessed man (Jim "Boring" Caviezel) combating the car-based serial killer (Colm Feore) who killed his wife, on the way rescuing Rhona Mitra who isn't allowed to do much of interest.

Alas, Harmon is not all that successful. He certainly knows how to make a conventionally exciting thriller, but it is exactly his keeping too close to formal and structural conventions of the serial killer thriller that gets in the way of the film's more interesting aspects, like the way the traumata and obsessions of the three main characters mirror each other and the nearly there commentary on cars/technology as extensions of the human body.

It's certainly a competent thriller, though.


S&Man (2006): J.T. Petty (who I think is one of the most interesting horror directors with a career starting this century) explores the nature of reality and film (or reality on film), and the reasons we watch horrible things happen to fictional characters by way of a half fake documentary that consists half of Carol J. Clover being clever and uncomfortable and various "extreme underground horror" (aka fake snuff) people doing their respective shticks and Petty's meetings with a director whose fake snuff very possibly isn't fake. It is an at times uncomfortable experience - which comes with the thematic territory - containing thoughts that might be autobiographical regarding Petty's own obsessions, but might also very well be not. There's something deeply confusing (in a good, interesting way) about a film interested in the nature of reality that is asking its questions by making things up.


Kereta Setan Manggarai (2009): A group of random Indonesian teens is trapped in a ghost train. Lots of screaming and running around ensues. This one definitely does not belong to the higher echelons of quality of the mad Indonesian horror boom. It's not the worst film of its kind I have seen, though, because it thankfully lacks the copious amounts of "comedy" that mar some of its peers. Instead of comedy, it's all running around screaming all the time, which could certainly be annoying enough for anyone with a proper sense of taste. Personally, I didn't mind the film one way or the other.


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