The month-long celebration of Patrick Wilson continues with S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk, a brutal, modern send-up to John Ford’s The Searchers. While John’s made it no secret he’s a big fan of Zahler as both a writer and director (though I don’t think he’s ever gotten the chance to write about him on the blog), I have to admit I approached this film with a bit of trepidation. For one, it has a reputation for having one incredibly gruesome scene and I wasn’t sure I’d want to see something like that. Moreover, Zahler’s devil-may-care reputation made me wary investing my time in a potentially unsavory character. Is he someone who’s rejected Hollywood and embraced the taboo to aid in his storytelling or does he actually have a warped view of the world? Bone Tomahawk makes me believe the former.
Today wasn’t the first time I tried to watch The Blackcoat’s Daughter. I gave it a go a few years ago and fell asleep thirty minutes in. I didn’t finish it. Second times the charm, right? Let’s just say the Sandman was lurking over my shoulder. It’s not that the The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a bad movie but it is an endurance test. The film is a slow burn, shown out of sequence, clouded with an ambiguity that finishes with an abrupt ending and no easy answers. Only answers that the viewer must decipher. I’ve read two or three blog posts that decipher the film which does give me respect for how the pieces fit. That being said I never would have been able to put them together on my own.
Every horror movie I’ve seen from New Zealand has been a comedy. What We Do in the Shadows, Deathgasm and every Peter Jackson movie from 1987 to 1996. What’s so damn funny down there? Maybe it’s because New Zealand is so beautiful. Everyone’s content. Unlike New Zealand’s cranky brother Australia with all his desolate wastelands and giant spiders. New Zealand comes off as a quirky slice of paradise. Whether or not that’s how it is that’s the vibe I get and it’s nothing but good vibes when watching today’s Kiwi ghost story.
It just became apparent that I incorrectly implied that The Conjuring was a Blumhouse production in my The Purge review. Which makes sense, as The Conjuring feels like a movie with a bit more backing from its major studio, since it’s production value is a considerable step up from director James Wan’s previous film, Insidious. Also, despite sharing a lot of similarities with Insidious (such as the presence of ghosts, Patrick Wilson, and another Fargo actor), I’d say it’s also a step up in terms of its effectiveness as well.
Ben Wheatley will try anything. He’s directed horror movies, crime dramas, action movies, comedies, and today’s film, a psychedelic black and white horror film about the English Civil War. Apart from a sardonic sense of humor you never know what to expect from Wheatley. He can play a story close to the vest or throw all rhyme or reason out the window. Sometimes he does both. He’s an unpredictable filmmaker. His next film is a Tomb Raider sequel for god sakes. Which is crazy when you consider he made today’s film about alchemy, tripping on mushrooms, and a guy showing off his diseased wang.
Considering we already talked about Insidious on The Pick last week, and I’ll be reviewing The Conjuring in a couple of days, it’s shaping up to be a very Blumhouse Shocktober for me. The Purge is a pretty typical Blumhouse production, in that it has a very small budget ($3 million to be exact), a few notable stars, and somehow managed to make enough money to become a franchise that now consists of four movies and TV series. This, of course, all has to do with my decision to review it, since I wanted to see if all the hubbub over it was earned, or whether it just became popular based off of its morbidly intriguing premise. Continue reading
Hopefully this my last filler review. Here we go…
The last time I watched Paranorman I was working a grueling job that started at 3:00 AM. On a “good-night” I would nap a few hours then take a car to a bus to a loud building then go inside a truck with hundreds upon hundreds of boxes. It was exhausting. One night I was laying down for my nap—before being crushed by another dose of adulthood (and boxes)—when a movie came on TV. It was Paranorman. I’d seen Laika’s 2012 stop-motion horror/comedy before (and enjoyed it) but had no intention of watching it for more than a few minutes on this particular night. I watched the whole thing. But I didn’t go to work that night tired. I went with a sense of whimsy. Content even.