Friday, January 25, 2013

An eerie vibe - The East - Official Trailer

I get a pleasantly eerie vibe from this trailer for The East, a new thriller with Alexander Skarsgard.

I think it kind of suggests there's always a way to find a fresh take on a genre. The plot involves an undercover operative falling for the leader of an eco-terrorist group.

We've seen that plotline before, of course. Betrayed with Debra Winger comes to mind. But harnessing our familiarity with the activities of Anonymous and other elements of our current moment, it looks new, tense and exciting.

Definitely on my "To See" list.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pause and Play: Watching V/H/S/

V/H/S is on a lot of 2012 Best Horror lists, but I perceive about as many people dislike its shaky handheld collection of tales as enjoy it. I've wanted to see it since the buzz developed, but I didn't catch it at the local indy theater.

I had to wait for its Netflix watch-instantly debut, a factor that has to be considered. There is no universal movie-viewing experience these days. There are too many  ways to view a movie, and so, your results may vary.

I wound up watching on my Kindle over a couple of nights.

Tablet viewing in chapter form of handheld storytelling may be the best way to experience what's supposed to be less than ideal amateur photography.

Late-night, in the dark tablet viewing of low budget horror fare may also be ideal.

With all of those qualifications, know that I liked V/H/S quite a bit. Its two-hour length wasn't a factor. The fact that it didn't offer Cinemascope landscapes was irrelevant.

I found chilling moments and interesting horrific ideas.

My favorite tale is "Amateur Night" in which a group of fraternity thugs set out to record their sexual conquests with hidden-camera glasses. Things don't work out as planned, of course. I won't reveal too much, but it's an interesting variation on the type-of-story-I-won't-name.

My second favorite is "10/31/98." Let's just say spoiler warning here, because I want to note it's a new take on "The Howling Man." Instead of a weary hiker on a walking tour who encounters strange monks, it's a group of fraternity thugs decked out in Halloween costumes who encounter amateur exorcists in a house where there's supposed to be a costume party. As things start to go horribly wrong, all hell breaks loose, and it's visually cool. As cool as "The Howling Man" transformation? Maybe not quite, but still, pretty cool. The hills may have eyes, but the freakin' walls have arms.

Speaking of fresh takes, I think "Tuesday the 17th" comes as close to doing something fresh with the slasher subgenre as anything could hope to. It's an interesting blend of video format and slasher template, and it's pretty eerie. It ain't Jason in those woods.

While those are my faves, I also liked the eeriness of "Second Honeymoon" and "The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger" has a cool title and some decent jump scares.

Perfect, nah, but interesting and, for me, it had its chills. 
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