Saturday, August 12, 2017

Three Films Make A Post: In a world of temptation, obsession is the deadliest desire.

Warm Bodies (2013): I suspect Shaun of the Dead will always be the best romantic comedy with zombies, so it is outright decent of Jonathan Levine’s teen romantic comedy with zombies (or rather the book it is based on) to not at all try and compete with that classic but rather to do its own thing. It’s a generally inventive, usually funny and often cute film, with a likeable romantic couple in Teresa Palmer (alive) and Nicholas Hoult (dead). It is a pretty enjoyable movie, but it’s not really made with the horror fan at heart, so if you can’t help yourself, you might be turned off by the only very mild gore, the too pat and friendly ending and the film’s general niceness.

Twisted Nightmare (1987): Being too nice is probably nothing anyone will blame Paul Hunt’s slasher for. It’s the usual thing about a bunch of attractive young things gathering in a cabin in the woods and getting struck down. Atypical for slashers of the time (and of today, really) the film features three(!) victims that aren’t white. That’s of course not terribly important in the long run, because everyone’s meat for the usual ritualistic killings anyway. These are decent but not spectacular but do run through the whole of the film instead of the last twenty minutes, which is not something all cheap-o slashers have to offer. The script even contains one or two ideas that make it possible for it to have more than one “finding the bodies” sequence and plays around with who its final girl may or may not be. There’s also a potential supernatural angle involved, lots of nudity, and the whole she-bang was apparently shot on the same set as the third Friday the 13th (though that film is certainly better shot and directed).

That’s certainly not the worst you can get out of a late 80s slasher.

Secret Window (2004): David Koepp’s Stephen King adaptation is certainly one of the decent ones, mostly living off the – sometimes rather more showy than the director knows what to do with – central performance by Johnny Depp and the sort of slick look money can buy a production even when it otherwise lacks much of an aesthetic identity of its own. It’s not terribly deep either, never quite digging into the meat of the novella (one of King’s best as far as I’m concerned) it is based on, or displaying anything but a Hollywood screenwriter’s idea of human psychology, but is coasting on Koepp’s – again very slick – rather emotionally distanced conventional thriller stylings. Curiously enough, the film goes for a darker ending than that of the not exactly chipper novella, yet still has a lesser impact than the story did, perhaps because Koepp misses out on fleshing out the other characters (as played by an underused Maria Bello and Timothy Hutton) enough to convince me the film actually cares about what happens to them.

It certainly is still a well-made, entertaining film but I never felt myself getting emotionally involved.

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