Saturday, August 2, 2014

Three Films Make A Post: A secret cult of lust-craved witches torturing with fire and desire!

The Final Terror (1983): This slasher tries to enliven the usual genre slaughter by also being a survivalist thriller. It’s quite successful at that, with future mainstream director Andrew Davis demonstrating quite a hand for the action parts, a very decent cast full of people who’d go on to have something of a career later on, and some very photogenic woods shot with an eye for atmosphere by Davis himself. Of course, the script is a bit silly and the characters not much to talk about but then, that sort of thing generally isn’t what keeps a slasher from being enjoyable. Consequently, I had quite a bit of fun with this one.

Death of a Ghost Hunter (2007): Despite it suffering from two typical “indie horror” problems, namely sometimes particularly awkward acting and an inability to end the film (this could really use to lose about twenty minutes running time not just at the end), I can recommend Sean Tretta’s film to anyone with the required patience for these things. The script has as many clever moments as it has crude ones (just don’t bring your fundamentalist Christian family members), and Tretta does at times work wonders with his miniscule budget in creating the proper creepy atmosphere for his haunted house. As an added bonus, this is one among the brave number of haunted house films whose hauntings make thematic sense instead of just presenting a revue of random jump scares (a technique Tretta commendably avoids). That makes it well worth getting through the film’s flaws.

Gangs of Wasseypur (2012): As much as I appreciate Anurag Kashyap’s attempt to apply the stylistic techniques of Martin Scorsese circa Goodfellas to an Indian gangster tale that clearly knows its Godfather movies too but that’s also deeply embedded in its own country’s history and popular culture, I can’t say the resulting film really does a lot for me. Technically, Gangs is beyond any reproach, yet still, watching it left me utterly cold. I never connected with a single member of the film’s cast of millions, nor did I find myself caring at all about the its central conflict between two crime families. The former can be easily explained by the flatness of characterization that never gives us any inside view of motivations beyond the most obvious and one-dimensional ones; the latter as a result of the former, and of the old problem of making an audience care about people killing each other on screen when everyone’s a piece of shit. The film’s decision to be this self-indulgently long and show us dozens of barely distinguished assholes killing one another instead of just three or four that are actually drawn with more than the most basic of brushes only makes the problem worse for me.

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