Saturday, February 3, 2018

Three Films Make A Post: When Bad Puppets, turn Good

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty (2016): For the first half hour or even a bit longer, I thought Pearry Reginald Teo’s dark fantasy film was a clever entry into the dark fairy-tale subgenre, but the longer it went on the more clear it became that this is a film whose reach far exceeds its grasp, with a plot that only works because the predecessors in a cursed blood line can’t be bothered to provide needed exposition to their descendants in anything but a code that can only be deciphered very slowly by a (very slow) computer program, featuring many an idea that is brought up but never thought through, showing a wish for the apocalyptic the film’s budget just can’t provide, and finishing on an ending that feels hasty and unsatisfying. It is, as they say, still an interesting effort.

Satan’s Blade (1984): This slasher, directed by one-time director L. Scott Castillo Jr., falls into that awkward space of locally produced low budget slashers where a film is much too amateurish to actually be entertaining when watched as a straight genre entry but isn’t bad or skewed enough to be funny or to work as a bus tour into anyone’s subconscious. There are one or two pleasantly weird moments, and some of the acting might be worth a giggle, but for the most part this is your standard combination of awkward direction, bad acting by people who’ll never be in anything else, and a structure that seems based on the concept that a film’s middle needs to be as slow and boring as possible so the audience truly suffers for art.

Darr @ the Mall (2014): Curiously enough, that last point is where Castillo’s film and this Indian film made thirty years later meet. Not that the stuff surrounding the boring middle in Pawan Kripalani’s sort-of Bollywood version of Mirrors is bound to keep one awake, seeing as it does consists of a lot of really bland jump scares happening to bland characters stumbling through a world of blue colours and needlessly jittery camera but at least it’s not about said characters’ relationship life. Unlike Satan’s Blade this is of course professionally shot, yet I can’t say I had any more fun with it, not to speak of anything going beyond “fun”.

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