Here's a question for ya: What took so long for someone to do one of the Clive Barker
adaptations that doesn't have a supernatural monster in it? The answer? I didn't even know there WERE any Clive Barker
stories without supernatural monsters in them. Regardless, "Dread"
's name across the title as if he had more to do with this than just write the original short story it's based on. And maybe that's a good thing that he didn't. First time writer/director Anthony DiBlasi
takes this story of college students creating a thesis film project about people's biggest fears and very much makes it his own, far away from the usual worlds of spikey headed monsters and sub-level lovecraftian beasties. "Dread"
is all too human at points and thus, actually more frightening than Pinhead
can ever manage to be.
Hell yes. I kept waiting for some physical manifestation of the id to appear - a gooey, ravenous thing that dragged its engorged, bladed penis along behind it. Surprisingly, "Dread"
is rooted very much in the possible. It's a nasty little film that surprisingly spends a lot of time with the characters, something that you really can't say about most horror flicks these days. Many of the film nerds we spoke to were torn about this one. Some even walked out. DiBlasi
, however, comes out of his corner swinging. The horror is a slow burn. The 'monster'
is very real. The scares are palpable. The film takes some turns that you can only kind of see coming and in the 3rd act, it takes the highway to hell. The flick exploits the selfishness and insecurities of people and only flirts with being cartoonish. The antagonist eventually become your predictable manic lunatic, but his foibles are laid bare up front, giving you chance to examine the causes before the ghoulish effects set in.
All that being said, I wish I could buy into the reasoning of the antagonist. We're seeing the birth of a new killer here, the origin story of a sociopath and it's a well-written and played one but somehow at the end I was left wanting a bit more, a bit more convincing that this character, one whom the movie really lets us get inside of, has made that jump off the sanity bridge so completely. Maybe I'm getting too nit-picky or maybe it's just that the ending leaves you so completely unsettled that you're grasping for something else, something more, an explanation that isn't going to come. Maybe that's the point. Regardless of my feelings about the burgeoning psychotic, he was right about one thing. That girl's birth mark was kind of hot. I'm gonna take the plunge here and give "Dread"
a FULL PRICE
despite some of my concerns.
No. The girl was hot in spite of the half-body birthmark. Do I need to check your bookmarked pages in Firefox? No. Scratch that. Do not want.
I was impressed with this one on a number of levels. The characters are all very flawed and these flaws do propel the story along. As I mentioned earlier, you get to spend a lot of time with them. Before too long, you see where it's all heading, but the ending still sticks it to you. It's also a gorgeously shot film, saturated with various dark shades of gold and black. I didn't love it, for reasons I can't quite put a finger on, but can easily recommend a FULL PRICE
We both do like the horror movies that make you feel 'ooky'
don't we? I'd think our complete David Cronenberg
collections would hold that to be a truth self-evident.
A film we're NOT going to agree on is one of the most controversial of the entire Fantastic Fest 2009
line up, "Rampage"
. Delivering his first film ever that has ever even so much as prompted an argument about its merits, Uwe Boll
gets away from video games and into misanthropy long enough to deliver at least this one movie worth discussing in serious tones.
This was, by far, my least favorite film of the festival. People are really going to be torn on this one. It's the story of a disaffected loser who lives with his parents. He gets a bunch of weapons and starts shooting people. There's your concept, as thin as 'Human Centipede'
, but without all of the existential examinations of the human plight. There are the trappings of social satire here. Some will say that it's a treatise on American violence and how others see us. It's not. Those elements are there, but only as window dressing. They're just excuses to show this sociopath acting out adolescent, male power fantasies. For 90 minutes, it's carnage - masturbatory nihilism. It's the kind of film that pretends to want a "Fight Club"
message, but misses the point entirely. I know I sound as though I'm speaking from the mountaintop, down at the masses, but it really is a detestable, shell of a film. It's also Uwe Boll
's most competently made film. Some folks, mostly fourteen year old boys who hate their dads, are going to love it.
I can't say you're wrong with anything you say here, I just enjoyed it in spite of that. This is a guy who hasn't
chosen death by cop while taking down as many people as he can first. This is a guy whose dementia is considerably more dangerous, has a plan to kill dozens and dozens of people, and then to get away with it. Watching this play out is simultaneously disturbing as fuck and full of a schadenfreude type of amusement. I realize it probably means I'm in need of therapy myself but I look at "Rampage"
as being as harmless as playing a first person shooter. It's fun and violent and sometimes a bit jarring and ultimately meaningless but it killed two hours in a fine fashion and somehow, I'm not as angry at my boss anymore.
Hey, whatever keeps you from gunning me down. When the time comes, though, you direct those instincts in Grant
's direction. Deal?
At the risk of repeating myself, though, 'Rampage'
was vile. The remorseless disregard for human life was staggering. It was without subtlety, developed characters, or even a story.
SOME OL' BULLSHIT
I have a feeling that if that time ever comes for any of us, it's gonna be Grant
underneath that body armor and it ain't gonna be me he's gunning for. Maybe "Rampage"
hit a little too close to home for ya because for me, it was a fun MATINEE
As soon as I'm done being a mid thirties white male with an axe to grind and plotting out my horrible and calculated ritualistic revenge against all who ever wronged me (or resembles those who did) I'll be back with Jason
for another set of reviews...