25 July 2008
Oh man. We knew it was going to suck. So, we have no one to blame. But, you know, it didn't suck as much as it could have. There are so many Asian-horror remakes around that star teen TV stars from the '90s, and for one to stand out as not totally lame is really pretty good. This one wanted to be smarter than The Grudge remakes and The Eye, and it really showed. It's just a pity it didn't come together. The chick in it acted her heart out, and I think her intensity was one of the main reasons I felt it was almost very nearly a sort of okay movie.
The scares were better, as in, not so CGI. But the end was a dead giveaway from the start. Why else is scary-faced kid from Nip/Tuck even in the thing? But ... meh. And who still uses film anyway? So much film-use in this movie ...
Yeah, it was lame. But something was different.
This wasn't like The Ring or The Eye or The Grudge or Pulse or Premonition or any of the other myriad remakes of Asian horror flicks in the cineplexes these days. I'd like to say it was because I hadn't seen the original, as we had with The Eye and The Grudge and The Ring, and therefore had nothing to compare it to, but I hadn't seen the original Pulse or Premonition before we watched those remakes, and both bored me up the wall regardless.
Something about Shutter seemed... earnest. Someone was trying their damnedest to make a scary movie here, and - though failing on many, many levels - it shows. The performances by Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor were honest, real. While much of the plot was pretty standard, we could overlook it because these characters weren't just plodding their way through the paint-by-numbers script like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Naomi Watts and Sandra Bullock before them.
I want to shun all Asian horror remakes, but when something like this comes along, something that raises the bar, even slightly, I know I'll end up seeing the remake of A Tale of Two Sisters when it's released next year as The Uninvited. Maybe someday they'll get it right.
Conrad had never heard of Fight Club. Not "never seen" Fight Club, but had never even heard of it.
Some people's kids, I'll tell ya.
So we took care of that tonight and he went home suitably impressed.
I'm not sure the movie has the same impact it did for me when I first saw it, but I'm attributing that to the fact that this was the ninth time I'd viewed it since its release. It's lost its shine over the years, but never its ability to fascinate.
Nikki did not view.
Nikki did not view.
I'm a sucker for apocalyptic survivor stories, let me say that first. My favorite book is Stephen King's The Stand, I can't seem to stop watching Romero's Dead series, I enjoyed the recent Right at Your Door, and I even have a soft spot for I Am Legend - although I think everyone involved should be dragged through broken glass for not sticking closer to the book.
So I was in from the word go when I heard about The Happening. Shitty title or not. The lesson, here, being that I really need to be more discerning.
People are dying all over New York City. Not just dying, but killing themselves - a woman stabs herself in the neck, people thrown themselves in front of cars, construction workers step off buildings into the open air. Off to a good start. Next, we're in Philadelphia. Mark Wahlberg is talking to his science class about the sudden disappearance of hundreds of thousands of bees. "Science will come up with some reason to put in the books, but in the end it'll be just a theory. I mean, we will fail to acknowledge that there are forces at work beyond our understanding."
So, now we have the film's thesis, and we can spend the next hour and a half not worrying why this is happening, and just be terrified by the fact that it is.
Turns out that the earth is sick of humanity and is trying to shake us like a bad cold. It's literally eco-terrorism.
Now I think that sucks.
Wahlberg and his band of survivors happen upon a model home in a community called Clear Hill (get it?) and see a billboard advertising same, with the slogan "You Deserve This!" (Get It?), but it would have been much more fun if we hadn't been told that it's some new (or primordial) toxins the plants are giving off that's causing all this to happen. It would have been far less heavy-handed if we'd been left in the dark, and allowed to figure it out on our own. Far less patronizing. As it is, it's just sad to watch all this talent - I'm talking about Zooey Deschannel, Mark Wahlberg and John Leguizamo - go to waste.