Saturday, June 23, 2018

Three Films Make A Post: The miller is coming for you

The Night Watchman (2016): This is not the sort of thing anyone will hear me say often, but I wish Miguel Ángel Jiménez’s US-set Spanish movie had not been a horror film. There’s some fine acting and excellent photography propping up a good poverty porn-style drama that wouldn’t need the horror elements to make it more interesting to an audience. As a metaphor, our particular monster doesn’t really add to what’s going on either, the drama and the horror film never productively coming together, particularly since the horror film – unlike the drama – is rather on the tacky side.

F aka The Expelled (2010): Johannes Roberts’s school-set slasher suffers from various problems: there’s its use of ripped from the tabloid headlines hoodie-wearing teenagers as its villains – this time around with hilarious acrobatics superpowers like low-grade Spider-Man villains Stan Lee would have dubbed the Monkey Menace or something in that style – a trope that’s pure classist resentment; the ass-ugly and pretty boring colour scheme consisting of sickly green and then more sickly green; some by-the-numbers writing; and a score that so desperately tries to emulate Goblin I felt faintly embarrassed.

On the plus side, Roberts does manage to film the slash and stalk sequences and gloopy gore effectively, and the acting is much better than the script deserves, resulting in a film that is pretty watchable if you cut it some slack.

Fender Bender (2016): The best and worst thing I can say about Mark Pavia’s thriller cum teenage slasher is that it’s absolutely inoffensive and perfectly generic, containing not a single scene I haven’t seen done better in better films yet still doing these scenes perfectly alright. The cast is okay, the film’s look is okay, the script uses horror movie logic too often yet still is okay; excitement, surprises and tension, on the other hand, live elsewhere, as do memorable scenes, interesting ideas (well, ideas of any kind), theme, meaning and fun.

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