Saturday, April 14, 2018

Three Films Make A Post: They Can Be Slaughtered Like Any Beast

Devil (2010): Given that that I’m one of the few people who rather enjoyed director John Erick Dowdle’s As Above, So Below, I was quite willing to give this one a chance despite it being tainted by a “story by M. Night Shyamalan” credit. Alas, while it’s slickly directed, this has a plot of utmost stupidity (did you know the devil likes to arrange elevators getting stuck so he can harvest the souls of sinners in them?), cartoon-level characters, and – in full Shyamalan form even though the man didn’t even write the damn script – at times plays like a propaganda movie for a particularly unhinged form of Christianity, where you can tell the devil is present because then toasts fall with the marmalade side down (seriously). And while that’s certainly good for a laugh or two, it’s not a basis for a film that quite obviously wants to be taken very very seriously indeed.

Dead Rising: Watchtower (2015): If you’re in the market for something that makes some of the Resident Evil movies look like art, this misbegotten, shot-in-Canada, videogame movie might be just the right thing for you. There are some moments of competent filmmaking here, and even some fun scenes, but mostly, this is one of those films that just can’t decide if it wants to play its zombies for laughs or for terror and certainly isn’t well-written enough to successfully do both at the same time. This is a film that just can’t decide if it wants to be knowingly silly or dramatic, and so ends up being neither.

Male lead Jesse Metcalfe is atrocious and the rest of the cast – despite Virginia Madsen and Dennis Haysbert earning their pay checks – isn’t much better. Add to that a tedious length of nearly two hours wasted on a plot that probably would have worked for seventy minutes, and you have exactly the crappy videogame zombie movie you expected going on.

In the Dark Half (2012): This on a very other hand is a wonderful exploration of sadness and loss through fairy mythology and folk rituals with subtle, often eerie direction by Alastair Siddons and a script by Lucy Catherine that’s so good, even its plot twist works, which it of course also does because it is actually part of what the film has to say and not just a stupid gimmick.

The acting by Jessica Barden, Tony Curran and Lyndsey Marshal is just as impressive, and the film as a whole just doesn’t get a more in-depth write-up all its own from me because it would mostly consist of me making the blogging version of cooing noises, as well as a few stifled sobs.

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