Thursday, January 16, 2014


V/H/S/2 (2013): I was less than enthusiastic about the first part of this horror anthology but the second beats the first one easily and with style, forgoing the attempts to look as fugly as possible for more reasonable POV techniques, and doing much better work telling its very simple genre stories. Then there's the film's absolute highlight, Gareth Evans's (of The Raid fame) and Timo Tjahjanto's (of The Mo Brothers fame) segment "Safe Haven", which goes from mildly creepy, to heavily creepy, to insane what-the-fuckery during the course of half an hour or so, and left me actually slightly breathless. Saying it alone is worth the price of admission is putting it mildly.

Ambushed aka Hard Rush (2013): One thing to keep in mind when making a movie in a genre as rich as the gangster film is that you really need to bring something original or something of your own to the table when making one, because there will already be dozens of movies in existence who did the standards better than you did. Giorgio Serafini's Ambushed really doesn't, and instead tries its luck at squeezing as many worn out tropes into the movie as possible, without achieving any other effect than that of disjointedness and an inability to focus on any one theme or character. Instead, the film is a series of barely explored clichés that is made even less consistent by being the kind of Anchor Bay production that has to feature larger than a cameo but smaller than a substantial role parts for Dolph Lundgren, professional racist Vinnie Jones, and Randy Coutoure (another in a long line of acting ex-wrestlers who can't act for shit), instead of casting actors actually fit for their roles and available for enough shooting days to actually be effective as parts of a movie.

Needless to say, Ambushed is not a movie that stays in mind.

Kiss the Abyss (2010): I'm often rather down on "indie horror" as a genre but Ken Winkler's film avoids most of the pitfalls of what has become a style. So the narrative is rather concentrated without needless digressions, the acting - particularly by leads Nicole Moore and Scott Wilson - solid, and the film is clearly made with an idea of what can be achieved under the circumstances of its production and what can't. The story - boy loses girl to death, boy and rich father go to sorcerer for help, girl returns but develops socially unacceptable habits - isn't exactly original but told with conviction and an eye for the Weird, resulting in a film that makes much out of little in the best possible way.

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