Wednesday, November 06, 2013

What I Watched in October

Caught only one new horror film in the theaters this October but it was very good. James Wan continues to show that he is a master of the creepy supernatural tale with INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2. I really enjoyed the first film and do not have the problem so many have voiced about the later third of the story. I found the trip into 'The Further' quite compelling and the nasty ending very wrenching.

The sequel picks up right after the terrible events of the original so I'll tread lightly in  my remarks. Suffice to say that this is a logically plotted and smart sequel that folds itself brilliantly into the narrative of the first film. At least once we are shown events from a different angle which gives depth and complications to the story we know and urgency to this new addition too. Again, the performances are very strong and Wan's ability to keep his audience on edge is a wonder to behold. He really can play the viewer like a musical intrument and it is a joy to watch him find new ways to creep under my skin. I also love that we get more background and information about the secondary ghost chasing characters and I think the direction the ending of Chapter 2 takes is fantastic. I actually would like to see another sequel in this series.

I also got to see GRAVITY, the latest from Alfonso Curon and it was a phenomenal experience. I refuse to pop for the 3D ticket price any longer but I'm happy to say that this film plays just fine in 2D, thank you very much. Sandra Bullock is very good as the out-of-her-depth astronaut forced to deal with a catastrophic disaster in Earth orbit but its the amazing visual spectacle and adrenalin rush of excitement that drives the simple story. I was impressed repeatedly by how the script keeps things moving and pushed you into trying to think of ways that Bullock's character might save herself before time runs out.

Of course, as a movie geek I was thrilled by the small, sly nods to classic science fiction films as well with my favorite being the nice BARBARELLA moment. GRAVITY is a smart, effective thrill ride and it also has the distinction of knowing that it doesn't need to be any longer than about 90 minutes - that is a big plus in this day of bloated running times. And Curon can keep making those incredibly long single shot scenes as long as he wants too, for my money. I thought his use of that technique in the superior CHILDREN OF MEN was mind bending but his seamless sequences here show he has many more emotional tricks up his sleeve.

TRAUMA (1978)- 6 (Leon Klimovsky thriller -proto-slasher)
GRAVE ENCOUNTERS 2 (2012)- 7 (well realized sequel)
SPACEFLIGHT IC-1 (1965)- 4 (cheap libertarian SF)
ROOM 237 (2012)- 8 (incredible documentary about Kubrick's THE SHINING)
EL VAMPIRO (1957)- 8 (wonderful Mexican horror tale)
INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 (2013)- 7 (well done follow up)
CARRIE (1976)- 8 (rewatch)
NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986)- 8 (rewatch)
RETURN OF THE BLIND DEAD (1973)- 8 (rewatch)
DEEP RED (1975)- 9 (rewatch)
CITY OF THE LVING DEAD (1980)- 7 (rewatch)
THE HAND (1981)- 6
CANDYMAN (1992)- 8 (rewatch)
THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942)- 7 (rewatch)
BODY SNATCHERS (1993)- 8 (rewatch)
MOONTIDE (1942)- 8 (excellent noir)
GRAVITY (2013)- 8
THE MUMMY (1932)- 8 (rewatch)
TOWER OF EVIL (1972)- 6 (rewatch)
SLEEPAWAY CAMP II: UNHAPPY CAMPERS (1988)- 3 (terrible but in a very fun way
SLUGS (1988)- 3 (rewatch) (so bad its good!)

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