Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Also Hot Off the Press...

So far, at least on my watch, the British horror import The Descent is the best mainstream release of the summer. If you scare easily, or even semi-easily, and you wish to avoid those sensations, I suppose you should stay away... but I really want to encourage people to take the plunge! Read my full review here. Also: The Night Listener is much less effective than The Descent, but just when you're ready to brush it off, it maintains a subtle claim on your emotions.

(Image © 2005, 2006 Celador Films/Pathé Distribution)



Blogger tim r said...

Great piece, and I'm sure no one has nailed all that subterranean subtext better. (Certainly not me.) I love "labial landscape" and I think it would make Mr Marshall giggle, in a good way. He's one of the most promising genre talents we've got over here and I'm glad the movie's finally making some commercial impact.

To reopen our favourite can of worms for a moment, I did not, for the record, "enjoy" watching anyone get gutted or raped in The Hills Have Eyes. I don't think. Or not exactly. I'm still slightly puzzled — genuinely puzzled, not necessarily disagreeing — by the glee we and the film are meant to be taking in their demise, and in this fluorescence business. Second for second, the actual body trauma in that movie is incredibly — almost radically — brief, brisk and circumscribed. Half the characters are essentially killed in one go. The editing cuts them off in mid-scream. Would your argument be that not showing is more exploitative than showing, in this instance? How else might one direct a rape? To my mind there was far more draggy and dubious "enjoyment" of the ordeal going on in Wolf Creek, which we continue to differ on nearly as sharply. That movie falls conspicously between two stools I reckon — establishing its credentials as a ragged "verite" slasher only to give in rather cynically to the same old hokey audience manipulation and dim shock tactics. (He's sitting behind you!) This isn't even to mention the truly pernicious Hostel, which I still think you ought to see to put The Hills Have Eyes into perspective, even though, from where you're at, I'm sure that can't sound like a particularly appealing night in.

Still, I'm glad you see some of these distinctions as subtle/arguable. I'd argue some of them the other way, myself, but that's what makes the horror genre so interesting/problematic and fun to talk and write about, I guess.

8:48 AM, August 10, 2006  
Blogger famjaztique said...

yeah...I can't even watch the commercial without all my hairs standing at attention. I'll take your word for it and stay home where it's safe.

8:41 PM, August 10, 2006  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

rich of four four also has a 'labial' piece on this too. which looks like a good read but unfortunately i can't read either because i haven't seen it yet and might be too scared to do so.

such a wuss I am.


1:30 PM, August 11, 2006  
Blogger JavierAG said...

Well, I'm one of those weirdos who think horror has got tremendous cinematic potential, so that review was all I needed to become interested in this one.

9:54 PM, August 11, 2006  

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