Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Night of the Demon

Night of the Demon (1957)
AKA: Curse of the Demon

Ranking: Meh
Slightly Trashy

A paranormal investigator or whatever (Dana Andrews) runs afoul of the leader of a satanic cult (Niall MacGinnis - you know he's evil coz he has a funny beard) who likes to summon a big scary demon to eliminate their enemies. The guy teams up with the hot neice (Peggy Cummins) of his colleague who was previously killed by the demon in order to figure out how to rid himself of the curse of the demon.

This movie was alright. It's one of those weird British things that you always hear about but you never see for whatever reason. I can't think of another example, but you know what I'm talking about. Sort of like The Wicker Man, only everybody's seen The Wicker Man. You know?

It was well done, and well acted, and reasonably atmospheric, using usual supernatural conventions effectively. There are a few creepy scenes in there, interesting ideas and a sense of approaching doom.

My one big problem with the movie is that they showed the titular demon (which looked awesome - I mean, it looked like an evil muppet but it was pretty cool) in the first ten minutes. So you kind of know what's coming and don't really have a lot to look forward to. I guess maybe had they held back on the demon a little bit the climactiic scene might have been a huge letdown.... but a guy gets fucking ripped to shreds by a big monster. It would have been cool no matter what they did.

I dunno. I guess I'd always heard that this film was really really good so my expectations of it were pretty high and yeah, it was alright, it just wasn't, you know, amazing. I guess maybe the point of showing the monster at the beginning of the movie was maybe so we would be more concerned about Dana Andrews? Maybe? I don't know.

Yeah, it was okay. I don't know. Good ending. Very satisfying.


Directed by:
Jacques Tourneur. Written by: Charles Bennett and Hal E. Chester based on the story Casting the Runes by Montague R. James. Starring: Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins, Niall MacGinnis, Liam Redmond, Athene Seyler, Maurice Denham.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Strangers

The Strangers (2008)

Ranking: Maybe
Slightly Trashy

About a couple (Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman) who get stalked by mask wearing psychopaths after she rejects his marriage proposal. Allegedly inspired by a true story although I'm guessing it has a limited basis in reality. For example, the mask-wearing psychopaths have a tendency to appear and disappear as if by magic.

This film was very minimalistic (that's a word I don't use often) - the use of space, the dialogue. There is very little dialogue in the film at all. Which, of course, left tons of space for talking about other shit, but whatever. It also managed to scare the crap out of me without really doing much.

The first twenty minutes or so really freaked me out, without any gore or weird images flashing across the screen or junk like that. There's just some creepy girl (Gemma Ward) knocking on the door. Fucked up shit, man.

The rest of the movie tends to lose tension somewhat, although it does have some clever moments, but that first little bit still bothers me. I think about it when I wake up at three in the morning (this happens almost every night lately). Spooky shit.

It was well made, and well acted I guess. Liv Tyler was alright. I don't really like her that much, although I love Scott Speedman (of Weirdsville and the Underworld movies) for some reason. I was sad to see him go (spoilers). It's just that I've seen this movie a few times before, and done in more interesting ways. Funny Games for example, right down to the unceremonious deaths of the main couple at the end of the movie (spoilers. Well, actually, I guess Liv Tyler survives, maybe. Spoilers). Although it does make me wonder why the hell the masked people fucked around with them for so long. I mean, honestly. It seems like a lot of work to go to.

Ordinarily, this doesn't bother me in a movie, but it did with this one. I know, I know, it's a power thing, but it seems like just a waste of time for me. If I was going to kill some people and I had the ability to get inside their house (which, apparently, these people did. I don't remember that being explained, although I also don't remember Liv checking to see if the screen door was locked, so I guess that mystery is solved...), I would just get in and kill them, you know? Trust me, I have thought a lot about this subject in the wee hours of the morning... sometimes it's the only thing that gets me to sleep.

Yeah, this movie was well done and mildly creepy, it just wasn't really anything special.


Written and Directed by:
Bryan Bertino. Starring: Liv Tyler, Scott Speedman.