Friday, March 25, 2011

Movie Reviews: I Spit on Your Grave, Devil, The Last Exorcism, Predators, Shelter, Bangkok Haunted 2, The Last House on the Left

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE


I Spit on Your Grave is a remake of the 1978 rape-and-revenge movie, Day of the Woman . The remake stars Sarah Butler and her girly bits. It's a horror movie in the same vein as Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left, meaning that it's not a supernatural horror movie. The monsters are people. But that doesn't mean what they do aren't any less monstrous than supernatural monsters.

It's offensive. Most people won't be able to watch this. Very few things can twist my intestines nowadays and this movie is one of them. The humiliation and the rape is very realistic and you start suspecting that director Steven R. Monroe is an asshole for making you sit through this. You also start suspecting that you're pretty stupid for thinking you can watch it. If art is more than beauty captured by the alchemy of man, if your definition of art is "anything that can tear your emotions from your belly and wave it about like a gory lasso" then this is art of the highest order for you. Internet trolls would be artists of the highest order for you too.

The second half of the movie is more offensive than the first because the protagonist's revenge on her rapists is cartoonish compared to the realism of what has been done to her. In fairness, though, male viewers will be forced to look at the rape and the revenge through the eyes of the protagonist. Unless said male viewer comes from 4chan's /b/ board.

Don't watch this movie if you're looking for brilliant storytelling.

DEVIL


M. Night Shyalaman is currently the anti-Midas of Hollywood. Everything he touches turns to shit. That's why when Devil came out and it had his name on it, people started rolling their eyes. Was it as bad as everyone expected it would be? No. Was it good enough to save his career? No. It was painfully predictable. Even the twist ending.

THE LAST EXORCISM


The Last Exorcism was fine up until the finale. That's when the LMAO starts.

PREDATORS


Adrien Brody as the lead dude in 2010's Predators was a welcome presence, although it was a bit disconcerting at first. His image as the ultimate "sensitive man" from the heart-wrenching The Pianist was burned in my mind and, had I not been prepared by his performance in The Experiment, I would have shat bricks upon seeing him as a bad-ass mercenary in a science fiction movie. An action star with less muscles and more emotional arc... now who woulda thought? Brody just hammered the last nail in The Expendibles' coffin.

What WASN'T welcome was Laurence Fishburne's "look-at-me-trying-to-act" performance. That was simply evil.

Picture related. It's Adrien Brody bitchslapping Laurence Fishburne.

SHELTER


There's something almost Lovecraftian in the spiritual pessimism of 2009's Shelter (the horror movie starring Julianne Moore and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, not the 2007 movie about gay surfer dudes). It's a cautionary tale about the horrible price to pay for the loss of faith. The horror preys on each skeptic, agnostic, and atheist's deep-seated fear of being wrong in his convictions and having to account to powers that may be godlike in inescapability but all-too-human in vengefulness. The movie is stylish and moody and burns slow, which isn't a bad thing. The bad thing happens when we realize that the movie doesn't know what it's supposed to be. It would have been great if it sticked to being a psychological horror story about Multiple-Personality Disorder. But halfway, it morphed into a supernatural story about witchcraft. The message was half-assed and the story had plot holes the size of Uranus (snicker). On the other hand, I had watched a series of really bad horror movies before I saw Shelter so I was just thankful for this half-decent tale. Watch it to study the textbook progression of a horror story's scares but be warned, it has nothing new to offer.

BANGKOK HAUNTED 2


Bangkok Haunted 2: The Unborn was a vast improvement from its predecessor. My greatest complaint though is that the horror scenes were too frequent. The ghost was seen in full glory within 10 minutes of the story, and EVERY OTHER SCENE WAS A HORROR SCENE! There was no gradual rise in the scares, it was all just hanging out there like a porn movie. It felt too much like TV horror, where you have to keep the audience from flipping the channel by revealing the monster early on. Another complaint of mine is the protagonist, Por. They didn't make her lovable at all. She wasn't very pretty. She wasn't very likable. A character needs flaws, sure, but this one had too much of it. How can I root for the hero of the story when I don't even like her?

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT


2009's The Last House on the Left, a remake of Wes Craven's 1972 horror movie, takes us back to what horror is REALLY about: our worst nightmares coming true. It's not about monsters although the villains are monstrous. It's not about ghosts although the events that happened in the story will haunt the survivors their whole lives. It's not about demons although the movie will make us really uncomfortable by reminding us of our personal demons.

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