Thursday, March 16, 2017

Three Films Make A Post: SEE!...The nightmares that fill the world of the psycho!

The Lavender Hill Mob (1951): Charles Crichton’s very funny and fast comedy featuring Alec Guiness and Stanley Holloway is pretty typical of what I’ve seen of the comedic side of the output of British Ealing Studios, in that it is made with an off-handed classiness, still funny quite a few decades later, and not completely lacking in the subversiveness stakes (even though the films’ criminals always have to end up in the arms of the law). I’m pretty sure it is also the sort of thing that had young British filmmakers in the 60s raging as the French new wave raged against most of their elders. With distance, this sort of thing does become rather irrelevant, which leaves the viewer of today with more great films to watch.

Biest (2014): This is fine, relatively short Austrian horror movie recommends itself with some moody landscape photography, good acting by Paul Hassler and Stephanie Lexer even in those parts of the film that have nothing whatsoever to do with monsters, and expert pacing. Fine, small monster movies aren’t at all the kind of film you’d expect coming from any German language country nowadays, but director Stefan Müller does deliver enough traditional genre goods here, you might very well believe there still is an actual tradition for genre movies around the German speaking parts. In a somewhat disappointing move, the film goes with the old “monster fighting heals all relationship troubles” trope, but this is a pleasantly unassuming movie so not being terribly original might be seen as part of its considerable charm.

Urban Legends: Bloody Mary (2005): For my taste, director Mary Lambert never truly got her dues, so eventually her way lead her to directing TV movies and stuff like this direct to DVD sequel in name only (fortunately) to the Urban Legends franchise that often looks and feels like a cable TV movie too. It’s not a bad film, mind you. The script, co-written by Michael “Trick’R’Treat” Dougherty and his frequent writing partner Dan Harris, flows well enough and features some details that make it slightly less generic than your typical supernatural slasher, the kills suffer from pretty lame CGI but are conceptually fun, Kate Mara (in the mandatory horror role any actress has to have before hitting the big time, or the minor time for that matter) makes for a likeable heroine, and Lambert clearly doesn’t believe in filler.

The film probably won’t strike anyone as a hidden genre gem but it does provide an entertaining ninety minutes, which, given what it is, is more than you’d expect of it.

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