Of Labyrinths and Devils and Chainsaws. — Horror Movies
It's been longer than I would have suspected since the last time I'd posted. I kind of forgot that I even had a blog, my mind has been so occupied with shin-splints and back pains and hating hating hating work. I've seen many movies these past few weeks so I'll post a quick review of those for now.
Pan's Labyrinth: A Spanish film by Guillermo del Toro about a young girl, Ofelia, who travels with her pregnant mother to an old Mill in a rural part of North Spain. There they are to live with her mother's new husband, a Fascist military officer, and wait out the war while her mother brings to term a difficult pregnancy. Ofelia, a curious girl who is prone to dreams of fairy tales, stumbles upon an old decaying labyrinth on the Mill's property. She ventures down into the heart of the labyrinth and there she finds Pan, an ancient fawn who claims to know Ofelia's true destiny. Giving Ofelia three tasks to be done before the eve of a full moon, Ofelia sets off into a fable of complicated scope. This fairy tale for adults is quite a dark film and is often surprising in its violence. The performances are solid and often times outstanding while the imagery is completely captivating, even when it's just a rainy muddy forest scene. The special effects used in this film are flawless and that quality only adds to the surreal mixture of reality versus fable. An absolute must-see movie. And if you enjoy it even half as much as I, also check out del Toro's first film of this nature, "The Devil's Backbone". Another wonderful movie.
The Devil Wears Prada: A bit of a one dimensional film this movie is good for a light easy comedy at the end of a long hard work week. Anne Hathaway plays Andy Sachs, a fresh from college journalist who takes a job as second assistant to the editor at a fashion magazine called "Runway" working for Meryl Streep's character Miranda Priestly, the toughest and cruelest woman in the business and perhaps in all of New York. The movie then shows Andy's fumbling beginnings in the fashion industry, her rise to the top, and then her ... well, I won't give away the ending. Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci, and supporting actress Emily Blunt give wonderful performances in what could otherwise have been a complete dud of a comedy.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning: When I saw a trailer for this movie in the theater I thought to myself, "didn't I already see this movie?" meaning, it looked exactly like TCM, the remake of the original, starring Jessica Biel. Turns out, I wasn't far from the mark. This new installment of TCM tells the tale of the Hewitt family's fall from being a poor working family into being psychotic cannibals who run the town. Because really, it's just not that large of a leap now is it? In this movie the infamous Leatherface seems more a product of this unfortunate family than vice versa. The gore and violence is a plenty in this movie though the dialog and acting of the four "teenagers" is pretty atrocious. There are quite a few additives in this movie, like a very pointless storyline that includes Vietnam as well as an even more pointless storyline that includes mean bikers. This movie could have worked if they came up with a fresh looking way to tell the story instead of essentially using the form of the remake. What made the remake so original was the type of filming and lighting that was used, as well as the slow climb from creepy to scary to horrific. The dialog was a little more natural as was the relationships formed between the teens and also the inner workings of the Hewitt family. This new installation of TCM seems to take all of the how's and why's that anyone might have regarding the beginning, and lays them all out in a neat little row and ties them up in a neat little package wrapped in bloody flesh. If you're particular about your horror then I'd say this one is a skip. If you just looking for some good old fashioned torture and gore, then dive right in, there's plenty of guts to go around.