It Follows (2014)
May 19, 2015, 9:10 am
Filed under: film review | Tags: , , , , ,


It Follows
Directed by: 
David Robert Mitchell

How has a film about a sex-ghost been so well received?

The premise of It Follows sounds so… dumb. It’s a premise built on dream logic. To put it in words is selling it short. A film about a relentless walking ghost, slow, but persistent, always walking. Wherever you go, it follows. You can’t kill it, and running only buys you some time to breathe. It is always in pursuit. And when it catches you, you die.

The only way to end the nightmare is to pass it on to someone else like an STD, through sex. Get some strange and it’s their problem now.

It’s hard not to find an allegorical message about coming-of-age teens and the long-term consequences of rampant fucking. In reality though, this is not an important part of the film. What is important is creeping you the fuck out.

There are no cheap shocks in It Follows. Ominous dread builds through long, drawn out camera work and the knowledge that somewhere out there, ‘it’ is following. There are no surprises because all the while you know what is coming. And that is the most terrifying.

There is a scene where the main character jumps in a car and drives with her friends to the coast for respite. The audience gets a brief glimpse of normality. Then, while the main character relaxes on a deck chair, on a beach with her friends, we see it. It emerges from the bushes behind her, slow moving, we see it coming. For so long you see it coming. The tension is in your desperate want for the character to turn around and see it too.

There is a cinematic quality to the film that is reminiscent of Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Part of the credit for this goes to the soft-haunt-neon-synth ambient soundtrack, but the rest of the credit must go to cinematographer Mike Gioulakis.

It Follows is about as perfect a horror film as there is. And that’s because it is subtle, and it indulges itself the time to pull you in. Because it cares about you as a viewer. It doesn’t want you to shock you. It wants to terrify you.


Inherent Vice (2014)
May 18, 2015, 3:05 pm
Filed under: film review | Tags: , , , , , ,


Inherent Vice (2014)
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

Inherent Vice is a film that drops you in at the deep end. It pulls you into a sudden, twisted haze of neon confusion. Everything is happening around you whether you keep up or not. Whether you remember it or not. Whether it is important or not.

The film invites you, the viewer, to share in the confusion with the protagonist, Doc. If you let it wash over you, the film is an easy watch in a world that is cool and inviting. If you let the confusion consume you then the film is a headache that will push and pull at your brain until you can’t take it any more.

It is an easy watch, but not an easy story, because the puzzle is too complex. The puzzle contains parts that we can’t see, and in some sense Doc himself is a part of the puzzle that he is trying to figure out. Character’s enter the scene to drop clues and muddy the waters, then disappear again. We can’t tell if the information they give is help or harm, or even true. One character states the Golden Fang is a boat, another states the Golden Fang is a triad, another states the Golden Fang is a conglomerate of dentists. It all builds into this confused mess of frustration that we experience alongside Doc. And this is okay. This is the point of the film. It helps if you know this going into it.

Paul Thomas Anderson has developed a reputation for making bold films. And he makes them in an uncompromising way that can’t resonate with all viewers. This has split the critical response to Inherent Vice like hippies and squares.

Like many (all) PTA films it is a film that opens up like a flower with repeat viewing. It is a film about mood and it takes a viewing just to soak up the cinematography. But in all honesty, the story falls into place in the end.

Things click and make sense. You dig?

Suspiria (1977)
May 18, 2015, 11:03 am
Filed under: film review | Tags: , , , , ,


Suspiria (1977)
Directed by: Dario Argento

Suspiria is an oppressive blend of light, colour, shape and sound. It is an atmosphere that doesn’t let you breathe until the film closes. In the moments where it could slip into the realm of cheap B-Movie horror, it instead becomes art. It isn’t the strength of the actors or the plot that will keep you gripped to the screen. The plot is absurd fantasy, as contrived as you would expect from a horror film. There is only a certain amount of willingness to believe in the absurd. Which is why the best horror is the best storytelling. It invests you so deep in something bizarre. Suspiria instead has something else. It has a style unlike anything you have seen before or since. The lighting and set design is unreal; it is bursting. The set pieces are vast, jagged, cutting modern gothic. The soundtrack is a sour wash of melody that is overwhelming in the film’s quietest moments. The thing about the film’s plot, though. It could let the film down. The acting could let the film down. Some dated blood effects could let the film down. But it’s hard to give the film a hard time about those things when they seem so small in the film’s grand scale.