Here is a quick preview of some horror related shows that will be covered on the Horror on TV page this fall. Enjoy!
Friday, September 21, 2012
Lets see, there is “The Last House on the Left,” which is a revenge story. “House of the Dead,” which is just an excuse to kill zombies. “Silent House,” where a girl battles her own demons while trapped in a house. So what does “House at the End of the Street” exactly have to offer?
Trying to make a new start, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue) and her daughter Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) move into a nice new home. They get the house at a discount because of the murders that occurred in the house next door. Sarah believes the house is empty, but soon finds out that Ryan (Max Thieriot), who is the son of the murdered couple, has moved back into the home. She doesn't have an issue with that until Elissa decides to be friends with him.
While trying not to watch too much of the trailers, I really had the wrong idea about this movie. Obviously there is something strange about Ryan, but I wasn’t sure if he would turn out to be the one behind everything bad that happens, or possibly his sister. As Elissa and Ryan spend more time together, the audience gets more and more clues from Ryan about what really happened in that house. Well, there happens to be a twist in this story that will probably be a big factor in whether audiences end up liking it.
If audiences pay close enough attention, there is something that happens that will tip them off that what he says doesn’t add up. After that moment, I spent most of the time thinking this was going to be a certain type of horror movie, but I’m happy I was wrong. They do a pretty good job hiding the secret until the climax of the movie. I’m glad I didn’t pay too much attention to the trailers, and clearly had the wrong idea. It made the twist that more satisfying.
Now getting to the point where the big reveal happens is another story. The pace is a little slow, and there are some scenes that seem like they are just there to fill screen time. There is one particular minor storyline they use to do this, which is how Elissa used to be in a band. One scene shows her singing, and there are a few scenes where she rehearses with her new band. I happened to look at Jennifer’s IMDB page, and she is listed on the soundtrack for “The Hunger Games.” I can’t help wonder if she sings in this movie to further her career as an actress/singer (just saying).
Instead of these wasted moments, it would have been nice to see some more scares. There is a least one decent scare early on, but that is about it. The opening scene is also all right, mostly because of the unusual flashing of lights they use as everything happens. Really, because of the twist, they are really limited in what they can do until it is revealed. Then there is a fun scene where the lights go off. I can already hear the groans from some horror fans that are tired of this kind of scene, but there is always at least one person in the audience that can’t handle it.
Going back to Jennifer, she obviously isn’t going to top her performance in “The Hunger Games” in this movie, but she does all right. She does fall victim to some of those wasted scenes previously mentioned. Elisabeth is Elisabeth. Max is the one that really stands out. When he needs to convince the audience to feel sorry for Ryan, he does it. When he needs to show the audience that there is something a little odd about Ryan, he does that as well.
Heading into this movie, I thought it would be more of a horror movie, but it turns out to be more of a thriller. Nevertheless, there is horror in the twist, which will ultimately determine audiences’ opinions of the movie. It does have a slow pace, but never felt boring. It could have used a few more scares, and a little less singing. All eyes will be on Jennifer, but Max steals the show. It’s not about revenge, or zombie killing, but the twist is good enough to give it 2.5 pools of blood.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
“The Tall Man” is written and directed by Pascal Laugier, who also did “Martyrs.” I'm definitely a fan of that movie, so I was interested to see what he could come up with this time. Actually, knowing that he made this movie was one of only a few things I knew about it before watching it. It's definitely the way audiences should watch this movie so I'll try not too give much away.
In the town of Cold Rock, kids have been mysteriously disappearing. As cops continue to search for clues, locals begin to place blame on "the Tall Man." Some claim to have seen him, but no one really knows who or what he is. A local nurse, Julia Denning (Jessica Biel), is use to helping out the townspeople, but soon it's soon her that needs help after her son David (Jakob Davies) is taken by the Tall Man.
After a quick look at the police search, the audience gets a glimpse of Julia at work, and then at a local diner. It's here that they introduce Tracy (Samantha Ferris), one of the many people who have lost a child. Her loss as taken a great toll on her, and Julia tries unsuccessfully to help her out. In one of the more interesting early scenes, the audience sees others like Tracy talk about seeing the Tall Man in a news flash. It kind of gives the Tall Man legendary status, and certainly will peak the audiences’ curiosity.
After that somewhat mysterious start, the audience meets David and his babysitter, Christine (Eve Harlow). Julia comes home and has a pleasant dinner with them. There really isn't much shock that after a good time at dinner David is taken by the Tall Man. There is a very entertaining chase, as Julia pursues the Tall Man and her son. The horror and action pretty much stop after that besides maybe in a few minor spots.
From here on out, it’s all about the twists and turns. They do a very good job of setting up the twists in the story. At key points, the movie almost stops, lets the audience take a guess at what is about to happen, and then the twist happens. While some might figure out some parts of the story, I don’t think many will figure out the whole thing. The ending might not be shocking, but it fits the story and is definitely not what the audience would have expected before seeing this movie.
The acting is solid all around, especially since the actors have a particularly hard job of hiding how the story unfolds. Jessica absolutely shines, as she is asked to handle many different emotions, and nails it. Then there is Jodelle Ferland, who plays Jenny, a young girl from an abusive home who doesn’t talk anymore. She might not talk and is a minor character, but Jenny does play an important part in the story. Jodelle does a great job of getting the most out of her character’s silence.
Pascal Laugier does another excellent job with “The Tall Man.” “Martyrs” is heavy on the horror with some mystery mixed in, while this movie is basically the opposite. However, there is a similar kind of theme in both movies, which I will let you figure out. The acting is excellent, especially considering all of the surprises. If you are in the mood for a movie with twists and turns, then this is for you. I give this movie 4 pools of blood.