I am writing my review for "Five Across the Eyes" quite drastically, after the fact. It's been nearly a month since I watched Greg Swinson & Ryan Thiessen's film, but immediately after my viewing, I attempted to pen a review, yet found I had nothing noteworthy to say about it. Based on the impact the film had on some other viewers, and the resultant anticipation I had going in, I expected something brilliant. Yet the film failed to live up to that manufactured hype.
I haven't written anything for Critical Film in over a year.
I come back out of the blue after the absence, and what do I feel the need to write about? A film that is over a month into its theatre run, that has already had its buzz, gathered its fans, and is in that in-between stage where it is mostly forgotten by the public. It is temporarily culturally obsolete, and most of those who had desire to see it have done so already.
I am well aware of this situation. Trust me. So why "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" to break the silence, you ask?
"Frankenfish" is a great name for a B-horror movie, isn't it? It conjures to mind images of some demented living-dead aquatic creature, pasted together with pieces of other members of the Pisces family, like some twisted, fishy jigsaw puzzle. It really is a wonderful thought. Too bad, the idea behind the film is nothing like the suggested concept, and is terribly clichéd. But, once again it is a B-movie, and you really can't expect a ton of originality.
Frank Henenlotter is a god among twisted horror directors. Not only has he directed three of the most bizarre and twisted horror films ever produced, "Basket Case", "Brain Damage", and the subject of this particular review, "Frankenhooker", but he's also responsible for the release of many unheard of low budget classics through the Something Weird DVD label.
There was a time, before excessive CGI, that movies looked like "Freaked". I strongly believe that CGI is destroying much more creativity than it is creating, and therefore, I find myself longing for simpler days when puppetry and stop-motion ruled the special-effects movie world. These tools may not have been as versatile as computer effects, but they were tangible, dammit. Solid, and fun, and at times, unabashedly gross. Filmmakers accepted the fact that their effects didn't look realistic, and it gave them the freedom to make creatures that were over-the-top and silly. CGI effects want to be “real,” so (in most cases) they stifle the creativity of film crews, and create stale, stagnant movies. There are many things that I hate about modern cinema, but above all is the (almost) total lack of creativity.
"Frenzy" was Alfred Hitchcock's second to final film, released four years before "Family Plot", and has many of the characteristic aspects of his films, yet at times seems nothing like a work of Hitchcock. This is probably due to the inclusion of some rather unsettling violence, and what I believe is the only use of genuine female nudity in Hitch's catalogue. It all contributes to a film which is still quite high on tension, despite the reliance on some of the more extreme aspects of storytelling we're not necessarily accustomed to seeing in Alfred Hitchcock's films.
"Friday the 13th" is in its 11th day of release at the time of this writing, and was, perhaps not unexpectedly, No.1 at the box office in its opening weekend. I was witness to the ridiculous turnout on opening night, and, as a result, had to torture myself by sitting in the second to front row, craning my neck to even see the screen, my eyes darting from one side to the next in an attempt to follow the action. But... that's enough about the movie-going experience, as I'm sure you've all probably sat in a crowded movie theatre, at least once or twice in your lives.
In a decade of horror films that essentially gave meaning to the word 'unoriginal', "Fright Night" stands as one of the most unique horror films to come out of the 80s. By adding a number of small details to the plot, the film seems invigorated with an originality that might have been lost on what could have been just another run of the mill horror movie. "Fright Night" is probably the best vampire movie to come out of the 80s. Nearly every aspect of the film is perfect, and it stands an incredibly fun viewing experience.
If you recall a little film called "When a Stranger Calls" (1979), a babysitter was terrorized relentlessly for the first 20-odd minutes, then the film changes gears, becoming something more in tune with a dramatic piece than a balls-out suspense thriller. The first act however is among the most suspenseful sequences I've ever seen, and more than makes up for the films lacklustre centerpiece. "Fright", filmed eight years earlier, takes an approach which can best be viewed as the inverse of that of "When a Stranger Calls". For the first 25 minutes or so, our heroine is not terrorized; the threat of violence always seems to be looming, as creepy sounds permeate the house. Nothing is ever really dangerous, yet director Peter Collinson manages to infuse these scenes with a surprising amount of suspense.
Originally slated to be one of After Dark's “8 Films to Die For” in 2008, "Frontière(s)" was deemed to violent for release and branded with an NC-17 rating. I thought, in this day and age, we were all desensitized enough to violence, that the NC-17 rating could probably be abolished. Apparently not, as one or two films each year are still stricken with that theatrical kiss of death. Sadly, it's often unwarranted, and while "Frontière(s)" is most certainly violent, an NC-17 rating seems a little excessive.