Friday, December 14, 2012

Three Cheesy Horror Films

Isolation is a horror film starring David Harbour as the bad guy and Eva Amurri as his initially oblivious victim. I’m tempted to reveal much of the plot, as you should be able to guess it within minutes of starting the film, but I’ll follow social norms and avoid spoilers. A woman wakes up in an isolation ward in a hospital, slowly realizes all is not right, and then discovers her doctor has a personal, bloody vendetta against her.  And the fun begins . . .

Lisa liked the movie, so it must have some redeeming qualities, and I didn't hate it; I've certainly seen worse. But there wasn't much to love. Amurri gave an emotionally empty  performance, which immediately left the film stuck in neutral, and as I implied the plot wasn't exactly stockpiling original thoughts.  Worst of all, to my mind, was the motivation behind the bad guy’s actions.  Oh, once you hear it you’ll know the writer wanted you to empathize with the guy’s rage, but if you’re a thinking, feeling grown-up you’ll immediately write it off as misplaced, exaggerated horse hockey. 

I grade this one a C-

The Apparition is a horror film starring Ashley Greene, who I understand plays a part in the Twilight movies that, by the grace of a loving God, I hope  I will never ever have to watch. What is The Apparition about, you say?

Answer: I don’t know.

Yes, I watched the film, but it was such a magnificently shoddy movie that it soon became white noise in the background while I moved on to more entertaining things, like cleaning that gunk out from beneath the nail of my big toe.

As near as I can tell, some demon or spirit is after the heroes, and chooses to manifest itself in the form of black fungus. In fact, I’m not sure I’m sold on the idea it was a ghost – maybe the house just had a mold issue.

Grade: F

I have a longstanding rule against watching so called ‘torture porn’ like Hostel, but I seem to have broken that by streaming Spiderhole. In the film four college students decide to forego pesky items like rent and utility bills by breaking into an abandoned house and claiming squatter’s rights. Alas, the home isn’t quite as unoccupied as they believe, and they are soon introduced to a man in the basement with an unhealthy interest in amateur dentistry.  And amputation, and  . .
First things first: I thought Amy Noble was adorable, but I’m a sucker for a woman with a short, sassy hairstyle.

Second, for some odd reason the film works. I remember about half an hour into it Lisa turned to me and complimented it, and to my surprise I agreed with her. For at least the first half of the movie there’s something about it, some magic bullet that I still can’t seem to articulate, that lifts this up from ‘standard slasher fare’ to ‘reasonably well made film  done by people who actually seem to give a sh*t’. Maybe that’s the potion right there; the mere act of creative passion elevating something above its visible worth.

Truthfully, I wouldn't call this ‘torture porn’, as the scenes of pain and death are abnormally short and largely off camera, so maybe my rule remains unbroken. No ‘maybe ‘about this one - here’s one personal rule of mine that was ignored, as it is in all horror films, to the detriment of the ‘good guys’ – END THE THREAT. 

If (for example) the guy has chopped up and eaten your parents and the family poodle and you bonk him on the head, don’t just leave him there and run away to “look for a way out”. Kill the bugger on the spot, then if you have to, spend your whole bloody holiday searching for an exit without having to look over your shoulder. Or, ignore my advice and get eaten when he gets back up and catches you. Either/or.

Grade: a hesitant, rather sheepishly given ‘A-‘
By the way, the first and last movies were streamed via Netflix.  The Apparition is available, to your woe, at Redbox’s nationwide. 

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