Sunday, October 14, 2012

Three Films Make A Post: HALF MAN...HALF BEAST...He held them all in the grip of deadly terror...nothing could keep him from this woman he claimed as his own!

The Lost Coast Tapes (2012): I'm the first to agree that films - especially those concerning the weird, the horrific and the not quite naturally - really shouldn't and needn't explain everything, but a film still needs something to bind its part together - let's just call it "a point" -, be it in form of a thematic throughline, be it through a developed mythology the strange and the inexplicable follows in one way or the other. Otherwise, a film becomes just a way to throw random crap at an audience, which is pretty much where The Lost Coast Tapes comes in, for a point is what the film is lacking, like so many of the POV movies that ape parts of the structure of other POV movies without ever getting what makes the good ones work.

In this case, it's a bit of a shame, because on a technical level, this is a well-made movie that does not use the found footage format as an excuse to look bad. Alas, the point, it is lacking painfully.

A Haunted School aka Borei Gakkyu (1996): An early direct to video movie by Norio Tsuruta about a haunted school that contains all the typical school spook elements: worms, ghostly possession, ghosts in school uniforms and a haunted toilet. It's certainly not the most original or exciting piece of Japanese horror I've watched, tends to drag in places and is not exactly disturbing, but a curious and/or infuriatingly open ending and two or three quite effective scare sequences are enough to make it halfway worth watching. If you're interested in Tsuruta as a director, this'll also be interesting as a film featuring many scares Tsuruta would recycle in the later P.O.V., just with the difference that their execution in the later film is much more sure-handed and effective.

The Four (2012): I really wanted to like this one, for connecting wuxia and superheroics means putting two of my favourite things into one movie. Alas, this was directed by Gordon Chan, a man who has in the last few years proven that there's no amount of competent actors, costly effects and lavish sets large enough to save his movies - or his audience - from utter boredom. I'm perfectly alright with a film following blockbuster rules: you can use these rules, break and bend them when need be, put your heart in and get something like The Avengers or John Carter, but you can also end up with something like Green Lantern, a film focus groups but not an actual audience will enjoy. The Four is of course on the Green Lantern side of the equation, aping all the outward appearances of your typical Hollywood blockbuster movies, and missing the parts where you add the heart the good ones still have.

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