Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Three Films Make A Post: You get one shot Before he kills you.

The Sleeping Car (1990): As we all know from suffering through a lot of tripe, horror comedies are difficult. Case in point is Douglas’ Curtis film about David Naughton fleeing from his divorce to college, a very young new girlfriend (Judie Aronson) and into a haunted sleeping car where only the most rote of the spooky stuff will happen, so the horror part’s pretty much a non-starter. It’s also not helped by hatchet-style editing and the often made error of confusing shouting with things being creepy.

The comedy part isn’t any better, either, for the in theory decent cast (also comprising Kevin McCarthy as hippie exorcist and Jeff Conaway as the scenery chewer of the week) has to wrestle loads of terrible dialogue that can’t let a second go by without trying to have a punch line. Which is a bit of a problem when the punch lines don’t have any build-up time, none of them is funny anyway, and the witty repartee comes over as stilted, stupid, and torturously contrived.

La Entidad aka The Entity (2015): Eduardo Schuldt’s Peruvian POV horror film about the mandatory group of film students not surviving their encounter with supernatural evil isn’t half bad, adding a bit of Ringu and witch hunt horror to the usual mix (without directly cribbing from there), and for once not ending on people running screaming through the woods. That’s what a really creepy/cool looking graveyard’s for, apparently. The acting’s a bit ropey from time to time, and one or two characters are somewhat on the annoying side but the whole affair isn’t as derivative as it first looks, is well paced and has some rather effective moments of horror. It’s not a classic but well worth taking a look, I think.

The Raven (2012): It would be much easier to get through the adventures of E.A. Poe, consulting detective, if the film – or its director James McTeigue – had any actual idea of what it thinks Poe or his work were or meant. Alas, it by far prefers hand-waving and the regurgitation of clichés about the man and his works that does little to make the character feel like more than a very special guest star in his own movie (and life). It sure doesn’t help that John Cusack clearly doesn’t have any idea what the character he’s playing is supposed to be all about either, nor that the script is as generically serial killer thriller as you could imagine.

The production design is fine, at least, and there are many shots of fog shrouded streets, as if the whole she-bang were taking place in London and not in Baltimore, but fog-shrouded streets alone do not a good movie make.

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