Here we are, my final post for Shocktober 2018 aka “Shuddertober”. I can’t think of a better way to end this dive into Shudder’s extensive horror catalog then with one of their most critically acclaimed exclusives. Revenge has been hailed as a visceral, badass, feminist exploitation flick. It’s been called one of the goriest and intense films of the year. So should you believe the hype?
I’ve been a defender of found footage for years. Where many filmgoers have written off this subgenre as a cheap gimmick, I believe it has been and can still be a unique way to tell a story. I won’t deny there’s been a lot of filmmakers and studios that have exploited the lower production costs of found footage. Like, did anyone who worked on The Gallows actually give a shit about the end product? And don’t get me started on The Devil Inside. What a lot of found footage detractors overlook is that a great found footage movie is great because it finds a way in which it would only ever work as a found footage film.
Last month I reviewed Mandy the sophomore effort from Italian/Canadian filmmaker Panos Cosmatos. For those who don’t know, is a blood crazed arthouse trance movie where Nicolas Cage screams in his underwear and has a chainsaw duel with a hippie. Beyond the Black Rainbow is a lot like that but minus most of the stuff I just said. Both films are nightmarish fever dreams bathed in red lights and surreal settings. Both films are slow with simple narratives but complex visuals. And though I’m not always 100% on what I’m looking at in this film. I’m always intrigued to look further.
I don’t feel great about giving a so-so star rating. I’m a fan of Adam Green’s ArieScope Pictures the independent studio behind cult classics like Frozen (the ski lift one, not that snowman one) and the Victor Crowley series. Adam Green’s podcast “The Movie Crypt” is my favorite podcast and one I would recommend to fans of the genre or aspiring filmmakers. Of course being a fan means checking out other projects from the studio. Grace is a 2009 horror/drama written and directed by Paul Solet, Produced by Adam Green and released through ArieScope. The film details a mother, Madeline Matheson (Jordan Ladd), whose child dies in the womb. Yet she takes it to term, it’s born and it wants to suck blood. There that’s the whole movie. Goodnight everybody.
I decided to watch Splinter after watching the 2014 film The 50 Best Horror Movies You’ve Never Seen on Amazon Prime . I’ve been chipping away at the list since June–I have 13 left–and I have to say most of the film’s recommendations have been solid. If not for that list I may have never watched cult classics like Burnt Offerings or Alone in the Dark (Not the Uwe Boll version, oh god.) Though not all of the recommendations have been good. There’s no reason anyone should have to witness the laughable onslaught of giant rats in Food of the Gods or the rapey sea creatures in Humanoids from the Deep. Splinter aka #20 sits somewhere in between good and bad. It’s not a must see movie for horror fans but it’s not a bad film. It has good performances and a unique antagonist. I just wish that wasn’t all it had.
I made a film this summer. I won’t disclose the details here but I will say that it was a mockumentary that utilized found footage elements. We decided upon this style because it was the best way to tell the kind of story we wanted to tell. Another reason was we thought it might be a more practical style of film on a low budget. Only now do I realize that this style isn’t easier. Do you realize how much footage you have to shoot for a mockumentary? Not to mention the variety of footage you’ll need to keep the film interesting. Noroi: The Curse helped me appreciate how much work really goes into this kind of film.
You know a movie has a good premise when your mom can sum it up and one sentence and you’re immediately hooked. “A family on a road trip stuck on a never-ending road.” That’s an idea good enough to make Rod Serling rise from his grave and give a bony thumb of approval. It’s a good film too. Dated but simple and effective. A film that by all means should have launched the career of Jean-Baptiste Andrea into the Hollywood spotlight. Yet all he did after this was a dark comedy with David Schwimmer and the script for a movie called