Saturday, August 6, 2016

Three Films Make A Post: Death means NOTHING to a beast with nine lives!

The Forest (2016): This is by far not the worst movie about people running through creepy woods I’ve seen, but Jason Zada’s film is pretty damn dull, going through the usual jumps scares and other mainstream horror business – of course there’s an embarrassing plot twist, too - with my worst enemy, boring competence. It’s too bad, too, for Natalie Dormer’s performance is as good as the underwritten script lets its be, and there are hints of the more individual and less generic film this could have been if it was made with a bit of artistry, thought and care instead of bland professionalism. While I’m complaining, I’d also have rather liked it if the film had actually made use of its Aokigahara setting; as it stands, this might as well have taken place in Oregon for all the use the film makes of the cultural background (or the potential differences between yurei and ghosts).

Slender (2015): On the other hand, the movie I watched the next day was this version of the slender man creepypasta turned internet folklore, making The Forest look much better. It’s not the difference in production values – Joel Petrie’s film not surprisingly being POV horror – so much as the fact that Zada’s film at least has a script acquainted with the idea that at least vaguely interesting things pertinent to a film’s plot should happen in regular intervals during said film’s running time. Whereas Slender mostly contains obnoxious characters being obnoxious assholes, background story that could have been developed in fifteen minutes bloated up so much it takes up most of the film, a surprisingly bland use of our slender titular character, and a pretty damn hard to believe way to get the characters to the place where they meet their dooms in form of ten minutes or so of badly realized POV horror standards, school division.

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970): One of these days, I’ll treat this Hammer Dracula movie to the deluxe write-up it deserves. Until then, I’ll misuse it as a stop-gap so as not to have to write about three movies I loathed in one post. While its director Peter Sasdy’s output is rather variable in quality, this is an atmospherically and pleasantly gruesome entry in the series that also features a script that makes good on the unfulfilled promises of Dracula Has Risen from the Grave of trying to use Lee’s misogynist prick vampire to tell a tale about innocent youth vilified by their hypocritical (and hilariously bourgeois in their secret “decadence”) elders and driven into the arms of actual evil. Which is still a rather conservative view of 60s youth revolt but does work perfectly in the context of the film and gives Lee the opportunity to play his hated career-defining role as evil and petty as he’s able – which is rather deserving of a very capital E and P. Why, even Ralph Bates isn’t absolutely terrible here.

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