Category Archives: Horror

Review: Prometheus

From watching the trailer for Prometheus you would think you’re about to see the prequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece Alien. The man who Directed the classics Alien and Blade Runner would surely return some maturity to a genre that hasn’t reached any great heights of late. Prometheus looks and feels like a prequel to Scott’s Alien, but it really isn’t, which will come as a dissapointment to some.

Instead Prometheus is more akin to Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 2001: A Space Odyssey in tone and depth with a dash of the biological horrors that made Alien so famous. It has some very strong foundations, ideas, and concepts, but it stumbles over its poor script and. It’s a good movie, but its a lot less than what it promised to be.

The film opens with a homage to Kurick’s 2001  declaring that the inhabitants of Earth are really the genetic descendants of an Alien species who seem to have deliberately brought us into existence. Skip forward to 2089 (roughly 30 years before the events of Alien) and a team of explorers have travelled to a distant star on the back of evidence they found on Earth. This evidence suggests what the opening sequence already confirmed, that we were not created by a mystical being called God.

To go any further with a plot description is to ruin the film, because this is a story not based on suspense and bloody thrills but instead on tension brought about through mystery. Needless to say, what the explorers find is not what they expected and it certainly is not going to lead to a happy ending.

The film is shot exquisitely, Scott has an extraordinary eye for detail and scope and every sequence is littered with eye candy and a seemless blend of computer generated effects. He is a master when it comes to the visual components of story telling and the film exudes his signature brand of imagery.The screenplay and script on the other hand, by Jon Spaiths and Damon Lindelof (of Lost fame) is simply not good enough and littered with too many faults to match the brilliance of Scott’s Direction.

The basis of the story, if you manage to get a handle on it, is essentially brilliant. However the details, characters, and components that go into developing an interesting story for a two hour movie are simply not there. It feels rushed with too many characters who don’t get enough screen time to develop. As a result they all fit into stereotypes who seem to behave as if they are exaggerating their characters traits ten times over. It makes you feel like they aren’t real, and their decisions are even less so. The film probably reaches its most absurd point when a character goes through an incredible trauma but because the plot needs to move on quickly every other character behaves as if it never happened.

Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, and Michael Fassbender deserve a mention for bringing what they could to their roles, despite the aforementioned issues. Fassbender especially steals the movie playing an android who attempts to mimic human behaviour to make those around him feel more comfortable. He is very unnerving and believable and displayed the only real charisma in the film, which is strange considering he was playing a robot.

I did enjoy this movie, despite it’s faults. I felt the tension and I was hooked on the mystery of what was playing out. The grounds are here for a fantastic film, but it never really takes off and kept managing to break the tension with a few absurd moments. The film also doesn’t end very well, either the scriptwriter didn’t know what you should see when the curtain was drawn back or he’s already written a sequel. Either way, the films ends as if there is going to be one. Personally I think a film needs to stand on its own, so that is a little disappointing.

I’d recommend Prometheus to anyone who enjoys their Science Fiction or Horror movies, its an above average film in that respect, but really it could have been a whole lot more. It has me hooked however, I want to know more, and there is plenty to talk about in terms of it’s larger meanings and spirituality. If there is a sequel (and there will be) then I will find it hard to stay away.

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Review: The Ring

A one line review of this film would simply be `The Ring does what most scary films promise, but never deliver’. That should be enough for any scare enthusiast to justify the price of the ticket, and for the most part no one will be disappointed. I say `for the most part’ because it is tough to define what is scary for everyone, and I don’t deny that this film may not scare many people as easily as others. It must be said however that this film is probably one of the more successful scare flicks, in the spirit of movies like ‘The Exorcist’.

Well crafted, extremely well developed and perfectly executed this remake of the 1998 Japanese Horror film ‘Ringu’ is one movie to fit into your top 10 scare flicks. Disturbing from start to end the film quite effectively leaves you writhing in your seat, grasping a loved one until its gripping conclusion without a single piece of gore at all. An art often lost on modern films and obviously inspired by the original (I have not seen the original), the subtle approach to making these kinds of films is delivered to the screen close to an eerie perfection.

The Ring is about a tape, a tape that features some rather disturbing yet very `student film’ like snapshots of what can only be described as someone’s nightmare. The problem is when the tape concludes, the phone rings and a voice tells you that you will die in exactly seven days. When four teenagers die, simultaneously at 10pm exactly seven days after secretly staying at a secluded cabin a reporter named Rachel, who was the mother of a boy named Aidan, who was a cousin to one of the girls decides to investigate. Partially motivated by the will of the dead girls parents to find an answer as to how their daughter’s heart simply stopped, Rachel successfully finds the tape the group watched. Unfortunately for her, she watches it and to her horror she receives a phone call, she now has seven days to solve the puzzle or end up like the others. What follows is an exposition mystery about the chilling origins of the tape, and the power behind the sudden death of each viewer.

Notably, there is nothing terribly exceptional about the acting in this film, it is by no means truly award worthy. It is however extremely well suited to the film and very well executed. Naomi Watts as Rachel holds up very well as the centrepiece of the film and remains a constant link to the audience making the drama more real. Martin Hendersen as the X-Husband Noah was quite well played and David Dorfman as Aidan was not only well cast, but will most likely go on to be apart of many more films that involve a child like this (very much like the Sixth Sense).

The most notable part of this film is its visual and auditory construction, which is responsible for creating most of the tension and scares in the film. There is a great deal in the sound design that will go unnoticed by the average movie-goer, but it features some very subtle sound ranging from scratching to moans and groans and a few other twisted noises. These are woven into the films music to create a deep sense of abnormality during the films more freaky moments and mood sequences.

The visual aspects of the film are close to perfect, a delightful blend of colour that looks digitally graded as opposed to filtered. A strong cold blue dominated throughout the entire film, very rarely mixed with any warmth at all, with the exception of a few scenes. The autumn colours are used quite sharply in contrast to the cold to create another level of abnormality that accompanies the sound design and makes certain aspects of the film standout quite deliberately. From there the camera captures the direction on screen perfectly and with some very well paced editing you end up with a visual treat as much as a formidable film. Much of the story is told with the camera and most of the stories best moments come from effective use of visuals.

I am afraid now that I can’t go on without spoiling the film, except to say that the climax is one of the more simplistic yet terrifying moments I have had in a cinema. To watch the packed audience all twist in their seats, gasp and groan in a sort of painful anxiety while the events unfolded on screen was just as much of a treat as the film. This film should scare or at least in the best part disturb you, but I am not promising anything as there have been the odd one or two who claim they found nothing frightening in it at all. Still, scary or not, it is one of the better made Hollywood horror films and more importantly it does not stick to the Hollywood formula not does it give us a Hollywood ending.

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