Monday, 28 October 2013

H13. The Orphanage ATM had a poster of Darna Zaroori Hai

These are the films from the weekend and yesterday. I was going to post the first two reviews yesterday but I left my USB at home! Aargh! Anyway, not to worry, they're here now and we have quite an eclectic mix today. Two world movies and one awful one from America. Almost at the end of this marathon now with only 4 films left. It's a bit sad really, I've been enjoying scaring myself silly after midnight. There's something so wonderfully primal about it all. Anyway, two J-Horror flicks removed tomorrow and then only one more day until Halloween itself. Spooky.

 The Orphanage
2007, Spain, Directed by Guillermo Del Toro
I loved this movie because it took my expectations and shoved them through the window replacing them with something infinitely more satisfying. I was expecting a ghost movie freak-out that was akin to turning my brain off for a couple of hours but was ultimately unmemorable. It’s what haunted movies are quite good at and I wasn’t expecting anything more than that. I was too stupid to realise that this is directed by the great Guillermo Del Toro. Creator of the exceptional Pan’s Labyrinth, I should have realised that with writers and directors certain themes reoccur. Like Pan’s, this film is scary in parts and incredibly creepy with some really great jump scares, but ultimately it’s about much more than that. While the former film is all about imagination, The Orphanage is more about memory, past mistakes and family. Del Toro uses the framework of the ghost story to tell an incredibly moving story, complete with a stunning final twist. Like all good twists it seems incredibly obvious in retrospect (as all the clues were there) but because of the filmmaker’s ability to create misdirection we don’t see it until they want us to. And similar to Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage positions death as a hopeful transcendence from earthly pains but still with that ambiguity about those we leave behind. In the end, this film actually comes as really rather sweet if incredibly creepy (that mask) and unlike most horror films it has no sex and very little violence. A film to treasure.

Gore/Violence: 2 (a little bit of blood and a memorably gory death but the violence minimal)
Sex/Nudity: 0 (none at all!)
Scares: 5 (oh dear God, the terror)
Best Scene: “OMG, how did I not work that out”
Overall Verdict: 9
2012, USA, Directed by David Brooks
The first thing to know about this film is that it’s not actually a horror movie, it’s a thriller. I picked it up at my local library and thought, ah, a horror movie, because of its freaky DVD cover and interesting concept, but it’s not, so there you go. Second thing is that it’s an awful movie. It has a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and is widely reviled and for good reason. It’s hard to really know where to begin when talking about this film because it’s get everything so wrong. It’s a film about three people who get stuck in an ATM cubicle on a freezing winter night because a creepy guy is standing outside. They want to ask you what you would do in this situation and I was immediately drawn to this idea. I love it when we see people under pressure as we see their true selves because it’s so much more unnerving than the unreal. Except in this film, the characters are so bland and one-dimensional that you don’t care about what they’re saying or doing. We know absolutely nothing about them. They’re enigmas which is a big, big problem when the film is basically a three-hander between them. A larger problem is that these people are incredibly stupid. There’s a number of really obvious ideas but they don’t seem to think these are a good idea. It’s mind-numbingly stupid and unlike Hellbent it isn’t offensive so it just comes across as really bad but unmemorable. It’s not even that scary. It’s a huge case of missed potential. There’s a good film about people being put under pressure because of tense situations, but it isn’t ATM. Don’t watch this.
Gore/Violence: 2 (minimal, bit of blood and head smashing, but not all that much)
Sex/Nudity: 1 (couple of references but that’s all)

Scares: 2 (again it’s the characters. They’re just stupid)
Best Scene: The last one (because it was a little tense and because it signified that it was finally over)
Overall Verdict: 2
  Darna Zaroori Hai
2006, India, Directed by Various
In undertaking this marathon I’ve learnt that I’m not as easily scared as I thought I was. Very few of these films have freaked me out on a deep level so I’ve actually become quite comfortable with the horror genre. And then this film screwed all that up. It’s terrifying for the vast majority of its hour and three quarters. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie this scary. My nerves were shattered after watching this and it took me ages to get to sleep as I began to be terrified of what else may be in my darkened bedroom. It’s an anthology film which I generally love (Creepshow is one of my absolute favourite movies and would have formed part of this marathon, but I was unable to get a copy in time) made in India. This is my very first Indian film and I was a little concerned simply because I had no background to rely on. What was really great about this movie is that it makes you realise that scary things transcend cultures. We all get scared and this film does it really well. It has more jump-scares, shocks and twists than you can possibly imagine helped by some freaky music and a terrific cast. This is a film that will keep you up at night and I doubt if I’ve ever been quite this scared while watching something (well, I suppose that’s not quite true. The trailer for the original Japanese version of The Grudge is probably the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. It freaked me out. I am both desperate to see that and horrified by the idea). This was a really great film, filled with memorable moments, stylish direction and enough terror to make you tear your hair out. A truly great Halloween movie.
Gore/Violence: 2 (a bit of blood)
Sex/Nudity: 2 (bit of a sexual reference, but nothing really onscreen. However, the opening song is really sexual even though she’s talking about death)

Scares: 5 (I considered turning it off because I was convinced my nerves couldn’t take anymore)
Best Scene: So many to choose from, but probably the first story (with the movement in the house)
Overall Verdict: 9

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