Saturday, April 28, 2018

Three Films Make A Post: Fall under her spell into the depths of terror.

Deep Trap aka Exchange (2015): Kwon Hyeong-jin’s film is your typical South Korean backwoods thriller, less interested in cannibalism than in sexually loaded violence, and therefore generally a bit nastier than its US counterparts today. It’s not a particularly impressive entry into the genre though: sure, the direction is slick, the acting good, and the script tight, so I can’t imagine anyone being bored by this, but the film lacks a bit in substance, not going through with some elements the basic set-up suggests and not digging as deeply into the subtext than I would have wished, turning to the standard tropes of its genre without need when it has a way to more interesting (and possibly even more unpleasant) pastures right in front of its nose. It’s perfectly fine entertainment, though, at least if you can be entertained by a film with stuff like rape and semi-realistic violence.

The Boy (2015): By all rights, I should like this one quite a bit more than I actually did, what with the fake English Gothic setting (including Rupert Evans as the poshest grocery delivery guy you could imagine), the pleasant production design, and the good old call of the creepy doll at its centre. However, for most of the time, this plays out like a best of of scenes from other creepy doll movies, adds a sprinkling of crawlspace horror and tries to tie everything up through an in theory damaged protagonist as given by Lauren Cohan.

The whole thing just doesn’t work very well: William Brent Bell’s direction is strangely reticent, lacking the gothic conviction the sets deserve and never getting intense enough to make one forget the very silly set-up (not to speak of the even sillier third act). Cohan never convinced me of being someone who has gone through some heavy shit in her recent past, either.

Paranormal Sex Tape aka Sex Tape Horror (2014/16): This is a bit more interesting than the title suggests, seeing as it isn’t a desperate attempt at a “sexy” found footage movie but rather an amateurish one at making some sort of erotic horror movie by throwing all the digital effects, filters and avantgarde movie tricks it can muster at its audience in between the sex scenes. There’s nearly no location sound, little dialogue (and what there is of it is dubbed in afterwards and sounds atrocious), and a plot that regularly breaks down into five minute bits of psychedelic filter mania or repetitions of scenes we’ve already seen. Sometimes, this approach does even induce the mood of dream-like irreality the film probably is going for; there are even a moment or three in here I found vaguely disquieting.

Of course, the other eighty percent of the film are a bit of a boring slog that could have used some judicious cutting down from a seventy minute sort of feature to a thirty minute short film, but at the very least, director Dick Van Dark’s (winner of this week’s prize for the silliest nom de plum in a movie) film fails attempting something somewhat interesting.

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