Saturday, October 27, 2018

Three Films Make A Post: Secrets kept hidden for 100 years are now revealed.

Incidente aka Incident (2010): On paper, this piece of POV horror by Argentinian director Mariano Cattaneo sounds pretty awful: a couple of documentarians (whose camera wielding half apparently can’t frame a shot decently to save his life) examining the occult connections of a spree killing of years past and some occultist academics awaken a rather possessive evil; lots of running around of people in various states of possession through a dilapidated industrial building ensues. In practice, and despite the much too shaky camera work, Cattaneo somehow turns this thin bit of plot into an entertaining 80 minutes of film, by what I can only imagine to be sheer willpower. The make-up effects are rather impressive for the film’s budget league, but what really makes this work as decently as it does is a proper sense of mood and pacing, I just wish it had been put to use on a more interesting story, though I do give the film some extra bonus points for its use of actual occult concepts in its backstory.

Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel (2018): While I enjoyed the first film in what is now apparently a franchise more than this sequel, Stephen Cognetti’s attempt at broadening his haunted house tale towards a more concrete mythology of its own still ends up being a perfectly entertaining little movie featuring some actually thoughtful retconning of elements of the first film, and quite a few scenes that are effectively creepy. Like Cattaneo, Cognetti also understands the importance of mood and pacing for this sort of low budget affair, so there’s none of the feet dragging that can mar indie horror, and a clear sense of purpose to everything we see and hear.

Heilstätten (2018): And here’s yet another POV horror film, this time around from my native Germany, directed by Michael David Pate. Bottom feeding Youtube “personalities” break into a former hospital complex with a very bad past (this is Germany after all). The expected mixture of romantic travails and supernatural and/or slasheriffic violence ensues, as does a double plot twist that doesn’t work terribly well but certainly isn’t boring.

And really, while there’s nothing terribly exciting about Heilstätten apart from it being yet another horror movie from Germany that isn’t just amateur gore hour (though it features some pretty well done bits of the icky stuff as well) or an arthouse flick, it works well throughout, keeps its pace up, takes care to make its characters less loathsome than you’d expect, and seems generally made by people who care about entertaining their audience. I certainly felt moved accordingly for most of the film’s 90 minutes.

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