Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Three Films Make A Post: Don't scare to sit, Don't scream to see, Don't shock if it's.....fierce!

(The) Mark of Cain (1986): This Canadian good twin/batshit twin (Robin Ward) thriller is a pretty neat little low budget thing, directed roughly yet imaginatively by Bruce Pittman whose career mostly took place in the realm of undistinguished TV work. The script is pretty okay, the setting is tight and claustrophobic, and the film's very well worth a watch if you don't expect anything earth-shaking, or crazy, or surprising.

Trance (2013): How much one enjoys Danny Boyle's neo noir Trance will absolutely depend on one's willingness to suspend disbelief when confronted with a film of perfectly convincing style and an acting ensemble (particularly Rosario Dawson, Vincent Cassel and James McAvoy) much better than the over-constructed series of events in the script deserves or needs; really, not since the heights of the giallo have I seen a thriller with more dubious ideas about psychology, hypnotism, and plain logic. Which isn't to say that I hated the film, or even really disliked it. Boyle pastes over the film's problems with such verve I found myself even thinking it to be rather more clever than it actually is when the third act began, a thought I was cured of when what seemed a rather cute deconstruction of the femme fatale archetype in the final, final twist turned out to be just another manipulative movie woman who doesn't care over how many dead bodies she has to step to get what she wants (though what she wants is not money, for a change).

Opstandelsen (2010): Casper Haugegaard's Danish (fast) zombie short (about 49 minutes) movie is a particularly fine example of wonderfully effective horror filmmaking of the kind you can do on a budget if you know what you’re doing. Haugegaard clearly does, so we end up with a low budget zombie movie that hits a lot of expected beats yet does it so competently it seems to be absolutely beside the point to complain you've seen it all before; because you haven't seen it all before quite like this. The film's script is particularly fine, giving the actors exactly the amount of material to work with necessary, without trying to do too much itself, nor leaving the actors out in the rain. Haugegaard even handles the whole "zombies as metaphor" thing well, treating the zombie apocalypse as just another opportunity for members of a highly dysfunctional family to keep eating away at one another even after they are dead.

The result is a bleak, well-paced, effectively gory short film that doesn’t overstay its welcome for one second.


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