Thursday, January 22, 2015


Beckoning the Butcher (2013): This Australian POV movie – directed, written and edited by Dale Trott – is a perfectly serviceable spook show that avoids some of the usual found footage clichés. There’s no climactic running through the woods (though there is running through an outback desert stretch), no tearful confession into the camera, and the film purports to be an actual documentary built from the footage of the mandatory disappeared kids. It’s also quite well made on a technical level and knows how to pace itself (no format typical sagging middle here).

So why am I still somewhat lukewarm about the resulting movie? I suspect the reason is that it seems a bit too comfortable for my tastes with being a decently made POV horror film that avoids some clichés, not aiming even a little bit beyond that. There’s a certain lack of depth – of emotion, of imagination, of ideas – that make it difficult to say much more about it, really. The film’s central supernatural force lacks any visible or suggested backstory, or really any characteristics that would make it interesting, mysterious, weird, or what have you, leading to a blandness I wish a film this technically competent would have avoided.

Grave Encounters 2 (2012): On paper, I should be all about a horror sequel acting this meta towards its predecessor. However, there seems not point at all to the amount of metafictional nonsense John Poliquin’s film gets up to, at least if you’re like me and like this sort of thing only when it has a reason to be in a film beyond providing an excuse to make the first film again, just worse, with added unfunny jokes and a pacing that drags us through so much “funny” and “ironic” horror film making business it truly becomes a drag. It’s difficult to see all that irony as anything but padding, a mutant, even more horrifying form of odious comic relief that isn’t just a part of the movie that’s out to destroy all tension anymore, but the film actively gloating about destroying its own tension. Or, given the quality of the actual horror parts, here, supposed tension.

Inner Demons (2014): Given my usual dislike for possession style horror films (and yet I’m still watching them - because that makes sense in my world), I’m surprised by how much fun I had with Seth Grossman’s “demonic possession at a reality TV rehab show” film, but then, as a high concept, that’s hard to beat. Of course, the film only makes little sense looked at from the angle of actual psychiatric practices or actual human behaviour, and becomes increasingly improbable in these regards the longer the whole affair goes on, but until the rather hilarious climax rolls around, it’s just surprisingly fun to watch, with a lead actress in Lara Vosburgh (who looks a bit like a young Jennifer Connelly) who throws herself into that possession stuff in all the right and all the wrong ways, a plot that isn’t sensible yet moves at an atypically fast pace for POV horror, and quite a bit of fun to be had. 
And hey, that’s a lot more than The Last Exorcism was ever willing to provide.

No comments: