Monday, November 4, 2013

A Moveable Fest, Week 12: Shutter, Ghostwatch, In the Mouth of Madness

Moral: don't run over people, and if you do, don't run away.
Week 12: Tim's Choice


I don't think I've watched a Thai horror film before, but this one was certainly a good starter. When a young couple run down a woman in their car and the boyfriend is all "Yeah nah let's just keep driving" (I don't know how to translate that into Thai), it's all a bit I Know What You Did Last Summer. Then they're haunted, of course, but it's more interesting than that, and the boyfriend has a not-very-nice history with his clingy ghostie. I was really impressed with the backstory on this one: it's done its homework and has really crafted a proper story (which is a lot more than you can say for IKWYDLS). This film loves to combine sudden appearances with sudden noises and will make you jump ALL THE WAY THROUGH, so if you're a wee bit quivery with your drink at the best of times, as I am, maybe put the glass down between sips unless you want to end up wasting wine.

Right, so: Michael Parkinson is hosting a hokey show (I know, really?) where a team of "experts" investigate a so-called haunted house. Lister and the chick from Blue Peter are hosting, there's a not-very-convincing ghostie expert on set, and someone might be faking things from within the house. But, you know what? Things seem to start to happen, and then escalate, and because of the cringe-worthy, "buck up old chap" method that starts the film, what happens in the end is actually scary - even if you've seen it before. The backstory is expanded on in a really convincing fashion, and the use/dodgy use of surveillance footage works even better than in Speed. The knowledge that people were genuinely frightened and tried to call in to the jammed switchboard during the show's first (and only) first airing in Britain somehow makes this funny little piece of history more effective. It's a bit like watching a special Halloween episode of Spicks n Specks, and then the set goes grey, Adam Hills looks directly at a guest and whispers "Come to daddy". *BLACKOUT*

In the Mouth of Madness

A dear favourite from my VHS sleep-over days as a teenager, ITMOM (best acronym, thanks Tim) is a bit like what you'd imagine what would happen if you decided to write Stephen King's biography as a horror story. Anyway: there's a really famous horror writer, and he appears to be sending people mad with his books. Mad, I say! *AXE CHOP* So, when said famous horror writer Sutter Kane (hello SK initials) disappears when his new book is due, Sam Neill (sporting an accent that tries to be American and then periodically forgets) is hired to, well, go find him. He hooks up with Kane's aggressive assistant Linda, and they encounter creepy children, deserted towns, creepy children, and bad acting. Look: really, really bad acting, which is usually the last thing I notice/resent about a film. But seriously: BAD ACTING. There's at lot of fun at the start that sustains the film for maybe half its length, but it does start to drag, and the whole madness-within-madness setup only works if at least one of the madnesses is vaguely convincing.

No comments: