Definitely not the scariest movie ever that people are hyping it up to be, BUT…there is a surprising amount of depth to this film. I went in to this expecting it to be another overrated, generic possession movie, but now I find that I can’t stop thinking about it.
This movie is littered with metaphorical imagery and double meaning, much of it dealing with Veronica being forced to leave her childhood behind early due to ending up having to take care of her siblings almost full-time since her father died. This isn’t just a movie about spooky ghosts, it’s a story about the loss of innocence, growing up, being unable to let go of the past, and other things that are not quite as obvious that I won’t spoil for you. Let me just say that there’s a lot going on in the background and the actions of Veronica that reveal more layers to this story that aren’t directly spelled out for you in the dialogue. Pay attention to when she’s looking through the windows to the people across the way in particular. There’s more going on here than you realize.
Aside from that, the cast and director did a great job of making things subtly ambiguous throughout the movie. It had me wondering until the very end whether there was a demon at work here or if Veronica was just losing her mind. It’s not a gratuitous movie when it comes to effects, but when they do show something it looks pretty good and there are some pretty solid creepy scenes.
Really the only downside is the somewhat slow beginning, but it picks up and rarely lets up once it gets going, and for a good long while too. This isn’t one of those cheap horror movies where nothing happens until the last 20 minutes.
So…if you’re looking for cheap scares and a lot of graphic content and creature effects, this isn’t that kind of movie (not that there’s anything wrong with those, just trying to be specific). This is more of an “artsy” film where you really need to pay attention to the details to catch everything beyond the obvious stuff. This is not to say that it’s a particularly complicated story, it’s not, but it DOES have a titular character that is much more complex than she may seem, and peeling back the layers of metaphors on display here is obviously something that everyone enjoys, but it’s pretty fascinating to me. You can click on that other post I just made that’s entirely about this movie in overwhelming detail if you’d like to know more.
Death Wish 3 is where they seem to realize that they don’t know where else to go with this somewhat limited premise and just says fuck it, we’re gonna go crazy. They throw the grimdark tone of the first movies out the window and go full blown 80’s action B-movie. Instead of another story of personal revenge against a small group of criminals, Bronson is now going to all-out war with an enormous gang that seems to have an endless supply of members. In 1 and 2 he only gunned down around 10 people each, he must blow away about 75 in this one. The climax of the movie explodes into the whole town going to war with a massive invading gang and has Bronson mowing down waves of villains with a 30mm machine gun and even busting out a rocket launcher for the final battle. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but in a special ultra-80’s way that I just loved.
Guess I should have stopped with 3 though, because this was just plain awful. This time Bronson is joining the war on drugs, except he’s decided to try to be some kind of spy/detective this time, despite the fact that he is clearly completely incompetent when it comes to stealth. He literally fucks up every single infiltration mission he goes on and ends up getting caught and almost killed.
It’s all so weirdly inconsistent too. Some missions he inexplicably brings no gun to, and keeps doing this even after getting caught with no weapon and almost dying multiple times. One mission he uses a silenced gun to take out a target, then in another later mission to a much bigger place full of many more bad guys, he brings the same gun, but no silencer, and so of course he gets caught almost immediately and almost dies again.
The action scenes were truly horribly directed and edited at times too. One mission has him trying to take out a table full of guys by giving them a bottle of wine with a bomb in it…ah hell, just see for yourself, it’s “better” that way.
Here’s another especially bad one. Another mission where he almost dies because he just didn’t feel like bringing his gun along, and man, I don’t even know where to begin with all the terrible shit in this scene.
Anyway, terrible movie. I’m not going to bother with Death Wish 5, as I hear it’s even worse than this. Don’t be like me, just stop with 3!
Another one from the horror garbage pile, Death Screams is another slasher movie that looks more like an 80’s student film. Completely inept in every department. I couldn’t make it through 20 minutes worth. DNF!
Wait a minute…I’ve already tried and failed to watch this one too! Another shitfest that I’d already halfway-seen on Amazon or something. That’ll teach me not to keep records. I won’t make this mistake again with Deadtime Stories, an awful horror/comedy based on classic fairy tales.
In English, Death Steps In The Dark. This is some kind of giallo/comedy, I guess. I couldn’t make it too far into this one either. Really boring and unpleasant. Only memorable for having what had to have been one of the most bizarre and unerotic sex scenes I’ve ever seen. Big fat DNF.
I don’t know what possessed me to check this out. A movie based on the old Battleship board game can’t possibly be good, can it? You know…I kind of liked it. It’s stupid and filled with cliches and is basically just Independence Day on boats, but there was just something about it. The effects were good, the battles with the aliens were a lot of fun, the dumb comedy relief bits had me letting out little laughs more often than I’d care to admit, and it just had a lot of, I don’t know…heart, I guess. It was an oddly feel-good piece of mindless action movie, and I found myself enjoying it much more than I expected, even though the aliens literally shoot little pegs like from the board game, which is absolutely fucking ridiculous, but I couldn’t help but smile at it.
Another Spanish film that’s marketed as a horror, but this time, really isn’t. There are a few brief moments that resemble horror, but it’s really more of a supernatural thriller or a dark adventure. It’s a strange tale about a secret group of ancient supernatural ladies that kill with…the power of poetry? Odd stuff, but strangely interesting. It’s not going to be anyone’s favorite movie of the year, but it’s still a pretty solid production, with good cinematography, cast, and characters.
The big issue here is that core premise, which is actually really interesting and filled with potential, but ends up feeling a little underdeveloped. I wish there would have been more backstory on the individual muses and that we’d have gotten to see more of their interesting powers. I have to give the movie credit for at least making me that interested that I wanted more of what it had though.
Overall it was still a good, enjoyable film that kept my attention the whole time and I didn’t regret my time spent on it.
An earlier movie by Stefano Sollima, director of the excellent Suburra. This one takes a look at the cops instead of the criminals, focusing on a group of Italian riot police and the various troubles in their home and work lives, which seem to involve a lot of racism, nationalism, and excessive violence on and off the job….so I guess it’s still about criminals after all, really. It’s decent, but it’s not at all an amazing must-see movie like Suburra was.
And finally, we powered our way through the latest season of Jessica Jones over the weekend. I think it was a good improvement over the first season, which I thought was decent, but not my favorite of the NetFlix Marvel stuff. This one did a great job on improving the supporting cast and did a lot of great subplots that revolved around them and their own messed up lives. Most of the returning characters evolved in some pretty huge and interesting ways, for better or worse, and the new characters that were introduced felt compelling and relevant.
It felt like they really downplayed the action and superpower elements in this one too, compared to the other NetFlix Marvel stuff, and made this season work mostly on sheer character drama. Good times.