Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Three Films Make A Post: Moon Monsters Launch Attack Against Earth!

Godspeed (2009): Effective vengeance drama (with more emphasis on the drama than on the vengeance) taking place in Alaska. The direction is fine (and milks the quite spectacular landscape as well as a film should), the acting excellent all around, and the script actually manages to avoid all the typical moralizing self-righteousness of movies of this type. In fact, the film avoids moralizing and too clean answers completely.

Only the dialogue seems at times a little on the flat and naive side, but that's nothing the actors can't cope with.


Higanjima (2009): A Japanese/South Korean co-production about a bunch of teenagers trying to take on an island full of vampires and their pop star looking vampire king should be a lot better than this. Alas, director Kim Tae-gyun is very much in love with putting as much annoying soap opera melodramatics in his blood-splattering vampire epic than possible, a technique that could have worked out for him with a much better script. After a promising - if stupid, but that's what I hoped for - start much of the film just drags itself tiredly from one sequence of moping teenagers and the most tired Hero's Journey clichés to the next with only very slight moments of actual interest. You gotta come to an (overlong) running time of two hours somehow, right?

In the final thirty minutes, someone seems to have remembered that this is at least partially a Japanese film and therefore allowed to go a little batshit, so the film suddenly grows entertaining tumours in form of a masked mystery master who only talks useless crap, swordfights, a big, badly done CGI monster, an exploding old woman and a home-made cyborg vampire. It's not enough to make the film good (there's still a lot of crappy melodramatics and a swamp full of badly digested clichés to wade through, after all), but it helped me avoid the feeling to have completely wasted another two hours of my life. That's certainly something.


Psychosis (2010): After ten minutes of pretending to be an ultra-generic slasher film (which will become important for the desperately stupid and random final plot twist), the film turns into an abominable attempt of making one of these psychological thrillers about an evil husband (in this case a mumbling piece of wood named Paul Sculfor) trying to drive his mentally unstable wife (in this case Charisma Carpenter, for once in her career the best actor on screen; alas that doesn't make her performance good) completely insane. Well, some of the generic strange stuff the wife sees might in fact be authentically supernatural, but the bumbling village idiot way the film tells its story makes it quite impossible to be sure what director/writer Reg Traviss actually had in mind beyond being generic.

Obviously, there are no surprises in the script (unless you are one of the lucky ones still surprised by exceptional stupidity), but good acting and moody direction could still have turned this at least into an interesting movie. Too bad that the actors are all atrocious mumblers and stiff as corpses and Traviss' direction so incompetent and unimaginative that I'd rather have watched a shot on digital backyard production. Don't get me wrong, the people making those aren't usually any better than Traviss, but they do at least have the excuse to be amateurs.



Pauline said...

I loved "Godspeed". It was not only well done but the filmakers used Alaska as part of the story itself. Very much unlike "30 Days of Night", for instance, that could honestly have taken place over a single winter night in any small, slightly shabby town in the Northern Hemisphere.

houseinrlyeh said...

I'm always for movies using the local and specific instead of the generic in cases like this.