Thursday, October 9, 2008

Halloween: Film Round-Up 2

Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem (2007)
The word 'requiem' is used in reference to a ceremony to honor and memorialize the dead, which is I hope some indication that they're going to put the Alien, Predator, and Alien Vs. Predator franchises to bed until someone who knows what they're doing and what people want from these films comes along. I'll be posting a longer review of this film at some point, but suffice it to say that Requiem does the seemingly impossible task of making the first AvP film look good by comparison. Requiem is, quite frankly, a piece of shit, and focuses entirely too much on humans a.k.a. the thing the audience cares least about. At one point I wondered if I had accidentally been given a DVD boxset of The O.C. because Requiem spent more time on tiresome humans than it did either of the titular creatures. Here's a hint for future films: if you're going to insist on making the movies about humans, set it in the future and give us the damn Colonial Marines already.
Godzilla 2000 (2000)
Though I know I fanatically saw this ASAP when it came out, being the huge Godzilla fan I was, it's striking how little of this movie I remembered when watching it a few days ago. It has been eight years, true, but funnily enough I think I appreciate it more now. It really is a 'good' Godzilla movie instead of a 'cheesy good' Godzilla movie. Moreover, it redeemed the monster in the eyes of the world after America nearly ruined it forever with the 1998 abomination. At any rate, Godzilla 2000 is an surprisingly smart monster movie that contains an interesting plot arc that doesn't reveal a giant monster for Godzilla to fight until the last 20 minutes or so of the film. Though I've heard that the Godzilla flicks of the 90s and others from the 00s are better than this, I haven't seen most of them, and the few I have I barely remember. Whatever. Godzilla 2000 is great.
Black Sheep (2007)
No, not that movie. This one is an awesome New Zealand horror movie that serves as a reminder that New Zealand actually has a long history of gore-fests. More than a few directed by Peter Jackson, incidentally, who would go on to charm the world with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Anyway, the movie has a wonderful free-wheeling sense of humor (not unlike Slither from my last Halloween round-up) and concerns genetically engineered sheep who crave flesh and turn people into giant were-sheep when bitten. I tip my hat to the film for taking its sweet time in getting to a joke about bestiality as well as the restrained use of fart jokes throughout. You may want to watch Black Sheep with subtitles on, though, because I often had no idea what was being said, being the uncultured American I am. Still, Black Sheep is a great horror gem that deserves a wider audience.
Silent Hill (2006)
The general consensus seems to be that this movie is terrible and makes no sense. However, I'm going to throw my hat into the ring and say that it's both one of the best videogame adaptations around and an excellent horror film at the same time. Silent Hill had the misfortune to come out during a time when the West was remaking a lot of Japanese and Korean horror films, many of which revolved around creepy little children, so posters like those above told the audience "yep, another horror film about creepy little children." However, Silent Hill is closer in spirit to the original than many of those Western remakes in the wonderful ambiguity of the entire film, particularly the ending. I may write a longer review of this film, but suffice it to say that after the third viewing Silent Hill still holds up. It has some problems--particularly in its length--but it's secretly a great horror flick. Give it another shot with an open mind.
Halloween (1978)
Later sequels have taken the mystique and originality out of this franchise. That's the first thing that comes to mind after watching this movie. As with the original Alien film, Halloween is a startlingly original creation that has the earmarks--cinematography, soundtrack, composition, and a brilliant opening sequence of a slow zoom on a jack-o-lantern--of a master filmmaker. John Carpenter's track record is spotty, but Halloween is a great one that picks up where Psycho left off, developing the "creepy, violent-but-almost-entirely-bloodless slasher flick" idea even further. Halloween has some cheap "jump out of your seat!!" scares but I find the sequences of Michael Meyers stalking the teenage girls in broad daylight endlessly affecting and memorable. Furthermore, I think the ending is one of the best in horror history because it actually wasn't intended to set up a sequel; instead it was meant to provide even more mystery about the true nature of the villain and blur the lines between his human-ness and his supernatural-ness. Halloween is a must-see, in my opinion, and a great choice for anyone who hasn't watched it but thinks they know exactly what it's going to be like because of all the sequels and imitators that followed in its wake.

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