Wednesday, February 19, 2014

You're Next: 'Survivor Camp' is Code for the 'Kevin McCallister School of Home Invasion Survival (KM-SHIS)

I've been really bad at catching up on more recent horror as of late. Actually I've just been really bad at watching horror movies in general. So bad in fact, that I haven't watched one in..........oh I don't know... FOREVER. This causes me much embarrassment and a little sadness. I was so behind on my movie watching that I had to ask my Twitter followers which 'recent' horror movie was better: "You're Next" or "The Purge". I did this not because I wanted people's advice but because I knew one of them was better but I forgot which one it was. I am such a sham! It's not my fault they were both about people wearing masks ok?

Anyways. Overwhelming consensus was that You're Next was the movie to watch (except for one person who said You're Next was terrible and The Purge was excellent but maybe he was confused about the two movies also?). So with that, I snuggled in to watch You're Next and now can finally say I've watched a horror movie this year. Yeah!

You're Next is apparently in a 'newish' sub-genre called "Mumblegore" which is a spinoff of another subgenre called, "Mumblecore". Good thing Wikipedia tells me everything I need to know about the world otherwise I'd be one confused lady. Mumblegore is basically just an indie horror movie that focuses on 'natural' situations and dialogue or something like that. At any rate, "You're Next" doesn't feel very natural to me at all but we'll get to that later. It does correctly use "You're" though so that's nice.

The film follows a family as they reunite at their isolated family mansion. Each sibling has brought their respective partner along for the ride and as they eat their dinner, some maniac starts shooting them with arrows. This causes a panic naturally and the rest of the movie follows the family (or whats left of them) as they try to stay alive against three masked killers with apparently no agenda.

That summary is really just a quick rundown and if you've seen it you know that's not entirely the whole story but alas, I have a short attention span for writing summaries. All you really need to know if you've never seen it is that You're Next is a home invasion movie.

Home Invasion movies aren't my favorite thing ever. My favorite thing ever is watching Full House and eating delicious sandwiches. Followed closely by kissing my cat's head. But if we're talking horror movies, my favorite thing ever is SPOOKY. GHOSTS. SUSPIRIA. etc., Home Invasion has always been kind of meh for me. The difference with You're Next is that it takes the Home Invasion idea and spins it a bit. It also uses several annoying horror movie cliches but then does it's best to spin those on their heads too. Most notably the 'final girl' is pretty frickin kick ass. And although her insanely convenient background of having grown up at a "Survivor Camp" is about as far away as 'natural' as you can get---she still never makes a dumb move once and we continue to root for her all the way till the end.

The twist is expected and revealed almost in the middle of the film and here is where it kind of went south for me. SPOILERS from here on out yo.

If 'Mumblegore' focuses on the natural---how 'natural' is it to have your entire family killed so you can get your inheritance early? I had a really hard time believing that either character was capable of doing this. I don't care how much you hate your family (and keep in mind that nowhere did I really feel that either of them hated their family)---this is not normal behavior for non-psychopaths (and I stand by the fact that they weren't psychopaths).

I also had a hard time with the level of humor in this. Things said were funny, but when viewed in the grand scheme of things---not natural at all. The humor was awkward which I suppose makes it natural....but I still can't help but feel that weird humor and one liners like that wouldn't be said at all in real life. Right? Maybe I'm just overly sensitive to semi-bad writing or a jerk....who knows.

So anyways. Although I did really like this and was surprised at how much I enjoyed it despite it being a home invasion kind of thing, I wouldn't put this up there as an insanely mind blowing awesome movie. It has its moments sure---mostly all having to do with Erin and how awesomely bad ass she is. Like straight up running and jumping through a window to escape a killer or killing someone by smashing a blender on their head and turning it on. That rocked.

Overall I suppose the main thrill of You're Next is the level of awesome and moments of creative gore/violence that abound. Also that whole cheering for Erin thing really works in its favor. There's also Barbara Crampton which is a plus in many horror fans' eyes.

 It's not a movie that makes you terrified of the outside world or makes you fear strangers with masks though. Strangers, Ils, etc., are movies that do this because the violence and the motivation behind it is so random and unexplained. You're Next however was too calculated. I know I don't need to fear three men in animal masks because I am not part of a wealthy family of assholes. So that kind of takes me out of the film too I guess.

I also wished that instead of the motive being wanting an inheritance early, it was that the three masked men were terrorists or ex-military men with a personal vendetta against defense contractors and the money behind them. I thought for a minute it was going this way when we found out that the two brothers 'served together' but that concept was never fleshed out so-- alas.

Hmmmm if I say that it's good but just not my cup of tea, will people not hate me?

I still liked it! I just don't think I'm going to put a poster of it in my bedroom okay?

OH I did notice the little nod to Giallo/Italian horror in general with the seemingly random and awkward background music that would occasionally happen but I felt it really out of place especially in a Home Invasion yeah. Man I am turning into a cynical old lady huh? I also used quotation marks like 100 times in this review. Don't hold it against me.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm: Jacob's Ladder

You know what 2014 needs more of? C+C Music Factory.

And also---lots of re-watching of Jacob's Ladder.

I definitely "got" Jacob's Ladder the first time I watched it. Just to make sure, I re-read my original post on it and breathed a sigh of relief that myself 5 years ago also caught that time where they tell you exactly what is happening over the course of the movie. Good thing I paid attention. Otherwise I would have been like, "Hmmmm" (and not in a C+C Music factory I think my boyfriend/girlfriend is cheating on me kind of way but in Hmmm? What the hell? way)

Hell is right.

So anyways. Pretend for a minute that Hmmm is a good thing because it sends your brain into overdrive while you recall that time you 'read' Dante's Inferno's in high school. Jacob's Ladder in that case, makes me go hmmmmm a lot. On my most recent viewing I decided on two things that especially made me go Hmmmmm in the best way possible.

1. Do NOT go into the light

One thing I definitely don't think I caught after my first viewing was how perfect Jacob's descent into 'hell' is in the beginning. I say 'hell' because it's not really hell---I guess it's more like purgatory. But let's look at the facts shall we?

Jacob wakes up on a subway car---exits the train after seeing something unsettling coming out of a homeless guys pants. (NOT his penis) and tries to exit the station. However. The door is locked.

This prompts him to cross the tracks to get to the other side. While standing in the middle of the tracks, a subway car starts barreling down the tracks and Jacob stares straight into the LIGHT. The problem is he's terrified and so he jumps out of the way and watches the train go by. A train full of dark shadowy people.

This part of the movie perfectly illustrates Jacob's fear of dying or letting go. The train coming for him is the light of death and peace. Jacob however is too scared to 'get on' and so jumps out of the way. Hence, landing him in Purgatorio. But as we all know---Jacob's purgatory is disguised as hell because he's afraid of dying. Poetic isn't it?

2. So Hellish.

This brief scene that takes place in the hospital is perhaps one of the most sickening and spot on interpretations of hell I've ever seen. Not that I've been to hell and am an expert on the happenings down there--but let's just say that I imagine it looks something like this. I think Hellraiser could use a few pages from this scene, am I right?

The gurney with the one squeaky wheel. The quick glances of things that get progressively creepier. Then, the insane amount of carnage just littering the floor and how they seem to get more and more rotten and revolting.

Gah this scene is so unbelievable it makes me want to plunge a giant needle into someone's forehead. Just kidding. But I still think it's really neat.

Jacob's Ladder is the bees knees.