April 23, 2010

How to Spot a Cult

I've just watched The House of the Devil (2009) and would like to comment on it. It's a horror movie, but fifteen minutes into the movie it already becomes apparent that it's not like any other modern horror picture. Not only the story is set in the 80's, the movie style itself obviously pays tribute to the style of the horror features of the same era. The flick was even released on VHS (among DVD and Blu-ray of course).

VHS release of The House of the Devil

What is really special about The House of the Devil is how slowly and steadily it builds up the suspense. In the first hour and fifteen minutes of the movie there is almost no story progress at all, almost nothing is happening. Samantha, the main heroine, is a sophomore. She shares a room with a wench who's lifestyle is rather messy for cleanly Samantha. The girl decides to move out and finds just a perfect place. The only problem is she doesn't have money to pay for it. So happens Samantha stumbles upon a babysitter wanted advertisement and finds herself taking a job in a weird out-of-the-way house. Before the very last minutes of the movie there is no more story progression. Generally, we just see Samantha walking about a lot.

I love suspense movies overall. But suspense is not good on it's own, clearly, it must lead to a juicy finale. Otherwise you might spend time preparing for a killer ending and get nothing in return. Exactly the case with The House of the Devil. The ending is very unsatisfactory, it's just dull. It's also way too abrupt. It's like if you were listening to a very long joke full of unnecessary details, waiting for a killer punchline. But when the joke was over you would realize there wasn't one, and you just killed your valuable time listening to a very long and boring story you'd rather never heard.

April 22, 2010

Lock Up

Yesterday I watched Locked Up (1989), an action prison movie starring Sylvester Stallone opposite Donald Sutherland. Now, I must admit, even though not a huge fan of Stallone, I have a very soft spot for this actor and enjoy most of his movies. I definitely wouldn't say that I can get the kicks out of every movie featuring Sly, I found it painful to watch Tango & Cash (1989) for example, but I do like some of his lamest movies nonetheless.

Egyptian poster

Back to Lock Up. There is no denying that the movie had a myriad of plot holes, and still, I found it completely enjoyable and would undoubtedly have fun watching it again in the future. It's really hard to explain why I liked Lock Up: the plot is not original, there are so many goofs in the story it's better not to mention them at all, the characters, even though memorable (at least for me), are rather 2-dimensional. Still, it was quite easy not to think about all the flops but just go with the flow of the movie.

It was quite interesting to read this review here. The reviewer retells the whole story of Lock Up in great detail, mentioning most of its flaws, too. I wouldn't advise reading the review prior to watching the movie though. Not that it will spoil the fun by revealing the story's outcome, but it most definitely would make Lock Up appear as an extremely terrible movie, which it really isn't. I wouldn't have bothered to watch the movie if I've read that review first, that's a given, but I had fun reading it after I've already seen and was entertained by the movie.