Showing posts with label film review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label film review. Show all posts

Monday, January 02, 2017

Horror Movie Review: SiREN

I don't normally review movies, but I saw this one a couple of nights ago and thought it might be of interest to succubus/monster girl fans.

Four dudes on a hedonistic stag night get redirected to Ye Mysterious Strip Club Out In The Middle Of Nowhere, do some ill-advised and foolish things, horror hijinks ensue...  Okay, so it's not the most original of setups - think Vamp or From Dusk Till Dawn - but this trope has always been a good starting point for liberal splatterings of blood and tits.  Groom-to-be Jonah's (Chase Williamson) act of foolishness is to bust what he thinks is a sex-trafficked girl out of the basement.  However, Lily (Hannah Fierman) is a little more exotic than she first appears and what follows is a whole heap o' sex 'n' carnage (but mostly carnage).

The film can be seen as a prequel/sequel to the "Amateur Night" segment of anthology horror film V/H/S with Fierman reprising the succubus/demon character of Lily.  Although, given what we learn about Lily's race in this film and what happens, I suspect it's more likely we're seeing a different 'Lily' here.

I was pleasantly surprised with how the film played out.  The quartet of stags were refreshingly normal rather than teeth-grindingly douchey and there was a noticeable lack of characters being evil just for the sake of being evil.  Lily wants her chosen "mate" (an unwilling Jonah) and the mysterious club proprietor, Mr. Nyx (Justin Welborn having a lot of fun in the role), wants his property back.  It's a sign of good storytelling when the writer sets up a bunch of characters, lets them go, and the story plays out naturally as a consequence of the characters' competing goals bouncing off each other.

I also liked some of the other horror fantasy touches, such as the memory-extracting leeches, that hinted of more weirdness going on in the world than just a demon in the basement.  Everything seemed to fit together for a reason rather than things happening for the sake of having cool fx on screen.

On the negative side, this type of film is best when playing to the baser emotions and SiREN is maybe lacking in power here.  It has the sex and strippers you'd expect of an erotic horror, but it doesn't quite have the raw heat of something like Basic Instinct.  The same is true for the horror - not enough gore and shocks for your hardened gorehound.  And as much as I like seeing main characters not be the usual one-dimensional jerks, it does mean you lose that vicarious pleasure of watching jerks meet horrible ends that other films of this type rely on.

Overall I enjoyed the film mostly for how the plot played out.  I didn't find it massively erotic, but Lily is adorable for a blood-splattered, bollock-ripping waif from hell.

Isn't she just adorable...

"I like you."

Monday, April 30, 2012

Film Review: The Cabin in the Woods

I finally got around to watching The Cabin in the Woods a few nights ago. It’s a hard film to talk about without spoiling things, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you might want to wait until you have before reading the rest of this.

Let’s start with the first obvious thing: The Cabin in the Woods is not a horror film.

Yes, there’s plenty of ketchup splattering the walls (especially near the end) and people die, but it’s a film that’s more likely to set the audience laughing than gripping the armrests in white-knuckle terror.

And the second obvious thing: The Cabin in the Woods is bloody brilliant.

I really liked the film. It’s inventive and highly entertaining. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud lines. It also has perhaps one of the finest Oh Crap moments ever set to film (If you’ve seen it, you’ll know the one I mean). As entertainment, it’s perfect.

And the final obvious thing: Entertainment is not what most people will talk about when discussing The Cabin in the Woods.

Yep, it’s the meta, baby. It’s all about the subverting, deconstructing and bending of common horror tropes while tipping a knowing wink to the audience. It’s not a new concept for horror. Scream revitalised the jaded slasher sub-genre by including self-aware characters and playing around with the obvious clichés. Feast replaced Twenty Minutes With Jerks with freeze-frame captions and then plays merry hell with the usual horror death tropes. Michael Haneke’s original Funny Games (a deliberately uncomfortable film to watch) makes the audience complicit in the carnage.

Cabin is a lighter, fluffier version of Funny Games in that the entities behind everything can be seen as proxies for the audience. The main characters start off as relatively normal human beings, and are then manipulated into becoming the tired stereotypes of the films Cabin is lampooning. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard do a good job of introducing the slasher bait and making them seem like likable human beings. This is a vast improvement over Goddard’s last film, Cloverfield, where the vacuous obnoxiousness of the leads dragged down an interesting concept.

There was potential here for Whedon and Goddard to take the film down a much more visceral, nastier path by juxtaposing the early humour with the grim realities of the character’s fates, but by rejecting the torture porn ethos of recent horror they also reject the chance of taking the film out of the other horror ghetto of Played for Laughs. Horror doesn’t need more smirking, self-aware films; it needs films that sock the viewer in the guts. In that respect Cabin isn’t a game-changer. For me, a game-changer would be a film that delivers genuine scares, has well-rounded characters worth giving a damn about, and just about stays within the line of entertainment. Sounds so simple, but I can’t see Hollywood making it until they remember how to make horror films for adults, rather than fifteen-year-old boys.

In summary, The Cabin in the Woods is great fun to watch, but if you’re expecting to be shocked out of your socks, you’re going to go home disappointed. I wanted to see a sexy witch...

It’s also given me an idea for a little writing project (as if I haven’t got enough of those on the go already!). More on that later…maybe…