Thursday, December 3, 2015

Three Films Make A Post: It's diabolical! It's daring! It stalks, it cuts, it rips!

Debug (2014): Call me conceited, but I always get a bad feeling when a movie is written and directed by somebody who is mostly working as an actor, despite there being clear and rather fantastic exceptions to the rule that actors can’t write and direct for shit unless they bring a ghost writer/director or two. David Hewlitt’s Debug is not going to change my mind on the matter either, for while the film’s technically competent on the direction side, it’s also a text book example of a film that makes the wrong choices for mood, characters and everything else with every single edit.

And that’s before I’ve even come to the atrocious script, a kind of lite version of the lovely but already not exactly intellectually brilliant Event Horizon. The script doesn’t know how or when to exposit effectively, how to build up to its supposed scenes of suspense or fright, and instead just lets things happen without seeming to have any control over its own narrative. The characters are one-dimensional and – despite a decent cast – uninteresting, and the dialogue’s just embarrassing, with no single line that sounds as if an actual human being would speak it, nor one that at least sounds cool. I thought I’d be so easy to please with SF/horror that no film in the small sub-genre could manage to not entertain me at least a little, but this thing’s beyond any hope.

Timebomb (1991): This action film with conspiracy thriller elements by Avi Nesher featuring good old Michael Biehn and Patsy Kensit as the least believable (and impressively stupid) psychiatrist imaginable on the other hand did entertain me quite a bit. The script doesn’t exactly hold up to scrutiny (but then it’s not paced to be scrutinized, really) but Nesher’s a consistent director with a decent eye for keeping things rolling, there’s some entertaining nonsense about brainwashing, and the cast (also including a ranting Richard Jordan, a completely wasted in a non-role Robert Culp, our old friend Billy Blanks and Tracy Scoggins) is getting into it with a degree of enthusiasm.

There are even one or two scenes – the shoot-out in the porn cinema in particular – that are as good as US low budget action gets, and given these scenes aren’t in a film that bored me before them, this is a minor for me.

Eden Lodge (2015): Despite marketing material that makes Andreas Prodromou’s film look like a British version of slasher, torture porn and backwoods cannibal flicks, this is actually much more in the tradition of 70s British thrillers, with some bits and pieces of the more hip genres stitched onto the proceedings (one suspects for better saleability). Unfortunately, it’s not a very gripping entry in any of its genres, with not terribly much happening in it that’s actually very thrilling at all, the psychological suspense never really arriving, and a hesitant air to the proceedings.

The film is pretty to look at though, and, as it so often goes with films that leave me absolutely cold, clearly made by basically competent filmmakers making a basically competent film without anything in it you’ll remember a day later, and not much more you’ll actually be interested by while watching it.

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