Hey, a PG-13 horror movie! I feel icky.
DIRECTOR: James Watkins
There is a problem when it comes to falling behind on reviews. Since watching this movie, I've watched an amazing movie and now this movie no longer excites me. I feel fickle because I kind of enjoyed this movie when I saw it. Just to show how far behind I am on my work, I watched this on Halloween with my wife. My wife, by the way, is a saint. This has little to do with my review, but I have to acknowledge the fact that she no longer likes horror movies and this movie put the nail in the undead coffin.
The trailer for this movie never really appealed to me. The PG-13 horror movie, as I implied above, is something that somewhat depresses me. Sure, I was a huge advocate of The Ring when it came out, but this subgenre has really become a breeding ground for mediocre scares aimed at tweens allowed to go to the theatre. Rarely is there a ton of content or heavy thinking because the audience rarely wants that. I'm not saying the horror genre is built on expressing art, but it definitely can exist in movies like The Witch, which I just wrote about. The Woman in Black really hits another problem in the fact that I don't find Gothic haunted houses all that scary anymore. I think it was burned out for me with The Others. Meh. But there is something special about watching a genuinely scary movie with someone who is terrified.
Again, my wife is a saint.
I can't help but lump this movie in with Silent Hill. The movie takes a bit of the easy road by desaturating the color throughout. It makes everything look sad and depressing, which can often be a bit too much. No one in this movie is happy, which I think is what separates it from of the truly great movies in the genres. Perhaps it is a purist philosophy, but I just want people to crack a smile once in a while. There is no mirth here, but just scares. And I suppose that is what works the best in the long run. The movie made me jump quite a bit. I know many people hate the jump scare and I admit that the technique is cheap, but this movie crushes with the jump scare. Again, apologies to my wife.
The themes are a bit all over the place and the storyline seems almost arbitrary. I both applaud and disapprove of the films ending. SPOILER: The big problem is that everything didn't work out. There is the long tradition of horror movie monsters to have the villain come back from the final battle for one giant scare. This movie pulls the same card and acknowledges that their plan to stop her was a stupid one. Perhaps great horror movies like It Follows ruined this trope for me by doing it better, because this return was both welcome but cheap.
I guess that is what defines this movie more than anything else. Everything was entertaining, but it was also easy. There was no grand plan for changing the world or changing the genre. This was a paint-by-numbers Gothic horror that entertained, but will make me forget I saw it. In fact, the only reason I remembered that I watched this on Halloween was the fact that it was on my previously watched area on Amazon Prime.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.