Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: Fido (2006)

Never heard of this movie. Just stumbled on it via NetFlix Instant and decided to give it a shot. Right from the Paul-Verhoevenesque propagandist opening that perfectly establishes this fictional world and the satirical tone, you know you're in for something special. This is a completely different take on zombies that also reminds me a lot of Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands. Seemingly set in 1950s America, Fido feels like a period piece... yes, I'm sure you're dying to watch it now, but it actually allows for a lot of charm, innocence, and dark humor especially at the way it exposes the flaws in that "perfect" suburban life. Looking back at the title now, it's all too clear why it was chosen. This is the story of a boy and his zombie. Surprisingly though, it's really good.

Heck, Billy Connolly (of The Boondock Saints fame among others) plays the damn zombie! Dylan Baker (Dr. Connors in Raimi's Spider-Man) is the boy's father with Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix, Memento) in the mother role so you know the acting is brilliant. You couldn't have a better cast. Henry Czerny is another amazing actor whose name I didn't know until I looked him up, but you've seen him in tons of stuff, and he's one of my favorites in this. There's a lot of subtle but hilarious humor just playing with the conventions of this sub-genre. Such a shame then this gem only got released on two screens in the US. Way to go, Lions Gate! Good original horror? Dump it. Saw 25? Wide release with all the promotion you can buy!

I keep looking at that poster, wondering why it doesn't interest me. Maybe because it's just another zombie? If it actually tried to convey the story ie a boy and his zombie, I think I'd be more interested but probably a trailer would really have to do it. Ok, maybe this isn't an easy sell, but Lions Gate could've at least tried to market it. Again, look at Edward Scissorhands... they found a way to sell that (probably just because of Burton's success with Batman and Beetlejuice). What's funny is Eddie also opened on just two screens but grew and grew until it ended up grossing $56 million just in the US. Studios suck. It's all about minimizing risk and increasing profit... welcome to the business.

Hey, wait, why is this in here? Bad Google.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: Insidious (2010)

A new horror movie that's actually good? Yes, it's true. And it's PG-13? I was actually shocked to find that out. What can I say... I like the red stuff especially when it's practical (no fuckin CGI!). First, I want to complain about the poster. Why? Because I hate it, and it made me not want to see the movie. I hate possessed kids movies, which is all you get from the crappy one sheet and DVD/Blu-ray cover (they should've used the witch one I have to the left or a silhouette of the red demon). Evil kids have been so overused, and they usually end up with some dumb scene of a kid beating up adults, which no matter how you slice it, just looks silly. Plus, you can't beat The Exorcist. Thankfully, this film is smarter than that. There is one semi-ridiculous moment like I just mentioned, but it's very brief, and the rest of Insidious makes up for it.

The actors in this film are excellent. I'm looking at you Patrick Wilson (Night Owl!) and Rose Byrne (hottie!). They actually seem like a real couple, and the characters are well developed, but what really did it for me is the atmosphere. The tension that you get from the very beginning. Immediately, you're treated to a creepy shot of that fuckin witch just standing there. Later on, you get a fantastic jump scare with that damn red demon. Once the whole story unfolds, you see how unique it is. I don't want to spoil anything, but I really haven't seen a film go the possession route from this particular angle. It was really interesting, and the originality is appreciated. I guess some have complained about the stupid paranormal investigators, and I don't think they're the best either, but I still think the movie is good regardless. Some threw a fit about the ending, but I actually liked it. Its gutsy and not what I expected. Definitely recommended if you like creepier horror.