The Weekend ‘Drag’

It occurred to me that I failed to update all weekend, even though I was sitting at my desk for a good portion of it.  I got some side design work done, spent a few hours working on some art dept photoshopping  for a friend, which was at least different than the norm. And then I watched a bunch of movies.  What did you watch?  I’m glad you asked.

The new face of plastic surgery, office staples.

The new face of plastic surgery, office staples.

So Sam Raimi finally returns to the genre that made him famous with ‘Drag Me To Hell’.  I had a blast watching this thing.  There are scares gallore, but not the grim hide your face because there are eyeballs being torn out kind.  More traditional jumping scares, date movie scares.  You know.

It’s not changing any rules, but it’s well directed and the script is solid.  Along with the scares there’s scattered showers of humor, but it’s Raimi, anyone going in expecting to see the Exorcist is vastly mistaken and has obviously not done their homework.  Allison Lohman is great, just the right amount of innocent so we feel bad for her, and just the right amount of wishy-washy timidness at the beginning to cheer for when her character arcs in a more sinister (and hilarious) direction later on.

The special effects, handled like masters as always by KNB really added to Raimi’s trademark frantic zooming camera work, to really hammer home the fact that this flick is from the guy who gave us ‘Evil Dead’.   There’s demons, an evil  gypsy, and a fight scene that ranks high up there with the immortal Piper/Keith ‘They Live’ battle.

We need more horror like this,  a breath of fresh air that’s neither a sequel, a remake, or a Saw film.

I also caught a couple of spanish films from the 6 Films to Keep You Awake anthology, ‘The Baby’s Room’ and ‘To Let’.

The The Baby’s Room was a creepy film about a couple and their 6 month old son who move into a new house.  When the couple set up a baby monitor they received as a gift, they begin hearing strange voices from the baby’s room.  And then it gets really fucking crazy.  Juan (Javier Gutiérrez), the loving father and husband ends up buying a video monitor to try and figure out who’s sipping martinis with the baby after hours. But when he starts seeing things in the monitors that may or may not be ghosts and visions of murder, it’s sets things in motion probably better left untouched.

It was about this time that Juan realized hiring Satan as a babysitter might not have been a good idea.

It was about this time that Juan realized hiring Satan as a babysitter might not have been a good idea.

The acting isn’t bad, both Gutiérrez and Leonor Watling, who plays the confused and frightened wife do a decent and mostly believeable job.  I had some issues with the logic of her not coming onboard with  him when the crazy shit starts happening, even though it was  all very proveable, but I guess I’m expected to suspend my disbelief a little bit.  I wont give away any of the end, but it was a great premise and surprisingly well done for the kind of story it turns out to be.  Check it out.

The other flick from the ‘Keep You Awake‘ series was ‘To Let’.  It’s about a couple Clara and Mario (Macarena Gómez and Adrià Collado)  who go to check out a potential new apartment, an old beautiful yet run-down building in the middle of what appeared to be a warzone.  And when the real estate/landlady turns out to be a psycho, things turn into fucking stew very fast.

The classic face of denial, when one realizes they are married to a walking vegatable.

The classic face of denial, when one realizes they are married to a walking vegetable.

I dunno, I mean this thing was passible, even enjoyable in places, there are a few scares and the building it takes place in was gorgeous.  But, and this is a big but, after about 15 minutes with the husband, Mario, I was really hoping everyone in the entire building would all just get it over with and die.  I think a 5 year old could take this sad sap.  Mario  spends all of his time getting the shit kicked out of him by the antagonist.  Oh, did I fail to mention that the antagonist is a skinny old woman who would probably also get her ass kicked by said 5 year old.  Hell at one point, the crazy woman is down  a hand, and she still manages to kick the crap out of the infirm husband.  If the lead Clara (Gómez), had any clue as to just how un-useful this guy really was, she would have ditched his ass for someone– hell anyone else a long time ago.

As with a lot of stalker/slasher flicks like this, people’s inability to act realistically, and an unbelievable villain really stomp any chances it has of rising above the standard muck.  And this is from someone who likes the standard muck.

I’m not saying it was all bad, I enjoyed the film more than I would have had watching yet another bad CGI monster on Sci-Fi, but it really only counts as a time waster and after the charm and creativity of ‘The Baby’s Room’ I was a little sad.


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