Reviews

HorrorFest 2010, Round 6

It’s a sad day, ladies and gentlemen. October is behind us and with that my inaugural annual celebration of horror comes to an end. There are about half a dozen films I watched that didn’t receive reviews; either it wasn’t possible for me to write one at the time and I’ve subsequently forgotten it or it just simply wasn’t worth it. (I’m sure that Thir13en Ghosts has already received enough flogging.) Anyways, read on for my brief reviews of Rec and The Thing, with a bonus — who doesn’t like a bonus?! — review of AMC’s premiere of their new original series The Walking Dead, based on the graphic novel series of the same name. 

Rec — This didn’t end up as good as it started out, but that’s often the trouble with horror movies. (As I’ve already mentioned, I find that many of them have the tendency to get silly towards the end because they keep trying to up the ante.) That being said, it’s definitely not the worst film I watched overall. The first-person-esque perspective provided by the reporter’s cameraman is effective at first — when the elderly woman, subject of the emergency call, first shows up and goes nuts it’s pretty intense — but towards the end the frantic shooting and maxed-out audio gets tedious and aggravating. I mean, just give me a minute of steady camera shooting to figure out what’s going on, you know? If I had to give this film a grade, I’d give it a mid-to-high B — let’s say 80%.

The Thing — Holy shit! When the infected dog’s head splits open and out comes this gory flower-looking thing is inside, I was taken totally off guard. Crazy. I really enjoyed this one. A good mix of convincing-enough make-up and effects and good storytelling, The Thing offers enough action and suspense to keep you interested. I think that’s part of the problem with more contemporary horror films: the writing and direction are so immediate and action-packed that you become numb to everything that’s going on because you’re really not given enough time to digest it — the monster is almost always scarier when you don’t see much of it. While I’ll admit that the slow approach can be an issue in some of the older movies — I always found Jason and Michael Myers a little comical in that it’s so terribly easy to escape a killer when all they do is walk slowly after you — but I myself am thinking we need to re-inject the genre with more suspense and curiosity.

The Walking Dead, s.01, e.01 — About a year ago, I suddenly became quite enamoured with the zombie sub-genre of horror. (Actually, it was probably even a year before that when I was introduced to Left 4 Dead and proceeded to play the bejesus out of it.) I proceeded to get on Amazon and check out everything zombie related, adding much of it to my wish list. This is when I discovered The Walking Dead graphic novel series. As I had also recently become quite interested in the graphic novel as an art form — Sin City, Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns had all entered my recently read list — it seemed rather serendipitous to find a combination of zombies and a graphic novel series. While I never ended up purchasing any of them, they remained on my mind. Now fast forward to a month or two ago when AMC announced their new series, The Walking Dead. It took me a bit to make the connection (as I was wholly unfamiliar with the content), but I was excited at the prospect of something else I had been thinking of: a zombie television series. (I guess good things really do come to those that wait!)

While I wasn’t utterly floored by the first episode and a little too inebriated to recall it frame-for-frame, I’m excited to see more. (Honestly, there aren’t many television series that I was hooked into from the word go, including The Wire.) The acting seemed adequate, the direction tight, but what really stood out was the zombie effects. Those things are fucking gross looking! But it’s a good gross. Bring on the next episode!

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