Saturday, June 2, 2012

Three Films Make A Post: Puts terror into a new dimension!

Evidence (2011): This just might be the shakiest of all POV/found footage movies - at least, it's the first one I've encountered that actually caused me motion sickness. Horror movie fans love to praise movies as "visceral", but I don't think it's really this sort of physical reaction we're hoping for from our films.

Evidence seems to be out to try to break records in other respects too: the characters are especially annoying, the non-stop bickering starts especially early, the part of the the film that consists of running and shouting and shaking the camera even more wildly (plus added shaky editing) is especially long. The film's actual claim to fame will probably be that it seems to have some rather decent monster suits and make-up, and that it's making an unexpected sub-genre change about two thirds in. Alas, the former are buried under a whole lotta shakin' going on, the latter would only be effective in a movie tightly enough scripted not everything that happens feels just random (there is, it turns out, a point to Blair Witch Project actually telling us the legends about the witch before stuff begins to happen).

It's clearly not worth the motion sickness.

Murder By Decree (1979): I know, this is the one of the two Holmes versus Jack the Ripper movies one is supposed to prefer, but I've never had much time for it. There's a stuffy worthiness and self-importance surrounding the proceedings that rubs badly against the silly conspiracy theory at the core of its plot, with worthily acting high class actors very slowly walking through worthily reproduced Victorian London while - worthily - things happen in excruciatingly low speed, a bit like I imagine the morning jog of Mycroft Holmes would go.

For me, the whole worthy, ponderous affair has the whiff of a TV movie that has stumbled onto a budget and into over-length and now doesn't really know what to do with them, except making gestures that try to affirm its own importance. Frankly, it's just boring, and feels dead compared to the charms of a film like A Study in Terror.

Blood Red Earth (2009): This short companion piece to J.T. Petty's fantastic The Burrowers leaves me in a much less foul mood than the much worthier Sherlock Holmes film. It concerns the run-in of a small group of Native Americans with the creatures from the film, and doesn't really broaden or explain the main film's mythology much. It's just a short, fragmentary companion that suggests where a sequel to the film might have gone (not that I think The Burrowers needs one), and doesn't really try to add anything. Still, after the shaky cam overkill of Evidence and the bloated monstrosity that is Murder by Decree, this kind of story vignette is actually refreshing, if not particularly exciting.

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