Week 2 sees us firmly in the clutches of horror, and not even the detour into Wong Kar-wai I’m doing for an upcoming Cinema Dual podcast has been enough to break the hold terror and fright has on me (it was close though – toots recommend jumping into the man’s filmography if you’re not familiar or only familiar with heavy hitters like Chunking Express or In the Mood for Love). This week brought the Clue-ish delight that is Werewolves Within, the most frightening 20 minutes of horror I’ve ever seen in When a Stranger Calls, a lost Romero classic in The Amusement Park, a wicked out surreal nightmare in the for of Uzumaki, an adaptation of a popular horror manga, and finally a creepy and fright-filled debut out of Ireland called Caveat.
I’m hooped up on coffee and the smell of my wife cooking breakfast, so let’s feast on these summaries and see if anything crawls out fo the walls and into your brains. You can read the full reviews over on Cinema Dual, so let’s get to it…
Finn Wheeler is a nice guy, a forest ranger arriving for his new assignment in the picturesque town of Beaverfield. A storm traps him with the oddball inhabitants, embroiled in a standoff over whether to build a pipeline through the town, bringing much-needed financial relief to some, but destroying the beautiful ecosystem for others. That’s when all the generators are destroyed, massive claw-like marks ripping them apart. A dog goes missing, a ripped apart body is found under the porch of the local inn, and before you can mis-pronounce lycanthrope everyone is a suspect, and this microcosm of country soon starts to boil with paranoia and mistrust. is there a werewolf? Will it matter if everyone winds up liking each other first? And what’s a poor nice guy like Finn to do?(full review here)
Jill thought it was going to be just another babysitting gig: a few hours watching over two sleeping kids as Dr. Mandrakis and his wife have a night out. Then the phone rings. “Have you checked the children?” The evening ends in tragedy, but at least they captured crazed killer Curt Duncan, who is locked away. Seven years later Duncan escapes, and it falls to retired cop turned private detective Charles Durning to track Duncan down. Will history repeat it itself with the now-married Jill and her own young children? Will you care after watching Charles Durning literally mope across the screen?(full review here)
A freshly pressed elder gentleman decides to spend a day at the amusement park. And that should be in quotes, because this is anything but a standard amusement park. Needless to say things do not go well for this gentleman, as the attractions and workers take on nightmarish proportions that echo many of the attitudes toward the elderly at the time (and to this day).(full review here)
Young Kirie and her boyfriend Shuichi are starting to notice their town of Kurouzu-cho is getting a little too obsessed with spirals. Shuichi’s dad can’t think of anything else, and the pair begin to notice strange spirals appearing everywhere they go. Soon people are dying, and spirals are spreading everywhere…is it a curse? An invasion? Uzumaki doesn’t really care to divulge its answers, or make a whole lot of sense. What it does want to do is create opportunities for really weird moments of fear and hopelessness as Kirie and Shuichi race to get out of the town before spirals consume them, too.(full review here)
Isaac is just recovered from some kind of accident and has a spot of amnesia. His buddy Moe has just the thing for him to earn some cash: would he watch over his niece for a few days until he can find someone else? Isaac agrees, only to find there are a few small caveats (ha!) to the assignment: Did Moe forget to mention the house is on a remote island? And that Olga, suffering from some kind of schizophrenia, is terrified of being attacked? And so, uh…Isaac is going to need to wear this chained harness to prevent him from entering certain rooms? That’s a lot of caveats, but Isaac is an idiot so he agrees. Shockingly, things do not go as planned.(full review here)
Next week we get some new releases, including a big one that’s been waiting for you to say its name five times, another debut from a filmmaker who has gone on to helm some truly great genre films, and some more surprises.
Until then, keep it Blood Red.