6WH: Week 5 - No Discernible Theme Week

I was hoping to have some sort of theme this week, but the Philly Film Fest got in the way and so I didn't watch much this weekend. So here are a few mostly unrelated movies I've seen in the past week or two:
  • Jack Chop (short film)
  • The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror V: Time and Punishment (excerpt)
  • It's Alive (trailer)
  • Grace: A pregnant woman named Madeline (Jordan Ladd) gets into a car accident. Her husband and unborn child are killed and even though no one thinks it's a good idea, she decides to carry the fetus to term. When the baby is born, Madeline's seemingly insane decision pays off, as the baby mysteriously comes back to life. Or does it!? Baby Grace certainly seems to have some strange appetites... So yeah, this movie is disgusting. On the other hand, that seems to be exactly what writer/director Paul Solet is going for. The movie doesn't take any of the typical horror film avenues that you'd expect, which is a good thing, but unfortunately, it also doesn't entirely work. The pacing is a bit uneven and the film moves awfully slowly at times. There's a little politics thrown in for good measure - Madeline is a vegan and the movie seems to be a bit snarky about that sort of thing (though it doesn't exactly glorify meat eating either). As the film progresses, there are some uncomfortable psychosexual moments concerning Madeline's mother-in-law and a bizarre encounter with a doctor and his antique breast pump. Indeed, this film sustains a pretty high level of discomfort throughout. The ending is a bit predictable (and one imagines that a sequel would take a more obvious horror movie tack), but that's only because there's not really anywhere else to go. This is risky and adventurous filmmaking, but I'm not really sure how to feel about it. It's certainly not enjoyable, but then, that's the point. Incidentally, the Blu-Ray for this movie seems to have a rather poor transfer, which is disappointing because from what I can see, it's a very slick and well photographed movie. **1/2

    Mommy

  • Still Life (short film)
  • Spiral (trailer)
  • King in the Box (short film)
  • Hatchet: Director Adam Green's love letter to the slasher film is entertaining and somewhat impressive in the post-Scream, ironic state of horror. A number of films have attempted to recapture the classical 80s slasher feel, but Green is the only one who has really done it well. Despite a decent amount of humor, there's no winking at the audience or irony in the film, which is a welcome strategy. Green obviously appreciates the genre and his enthusiasm shows through in the end product. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that's enough to make it a great film. A group of people visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras sign up for a haunted swamp boat ride. Of course, the boat crashes near the house of local legend and possible ghost Victor Crowley, who is apparently none-to-pleased at the intrusion. Hijinks ensue. I have to admit that I wasn't that impressed with Crowley's look, but his backstory was ok and his killing methods are awesomely gory and a blast to watch. He doesn't just stab people, he goes the extra mile, literally ripping people's heads off. The characters are a step above the usual slasher fare and for the most part, you actually care when they get offed (but Crowley's creatively gory methods make it fun to watch anyway). All that being said, the film doesn't really have anywhere to go and it ends with something of a whimper. With a better ending and maybe a better villain design, this could have been a modern classic. As it is, it's a solid throwback slasher. This is nothing to sneeze at though, and Green seems to show a lot of promise. I very much enjoyed his follow up Spiral (which is an extremely different type of movie) and am looking forward to his next film, Frozen. **1/2
  • The Time of the Great Pumpkin (Robot Chicken)
  • Night of the Lepus (trailer)
  • Jaws (trailer)
  • Black Sheep: It's about goddamned time, isn't it? Those sheep think they're so cute. But no, they're bloodthirsty monsters. Yes, this film from New Zealand features genetically altered sheep that begin attacking and infecting their human masters. This movie is hilarious. Sometimes the transition from gory horror to slapstick or one-liners is a bit incongruous, but on the whole, it works well. With writer/director Jonathan King, we've got another case of someone who seems to have a genuine love for the genre, and you can see evidence of that on screen. For instance, when an infected human turns into a mutated sheep-monster, the transformation is handled almost exactly like various werewolf movies. Again, it's not a perfect mixture of humor and horror, but it works well enough as a B-movie... ***

    Sheep are evil
    Sheep are evil
I'm a little disappointed that the trailer for Night of the Lepus doesn't even mention that it's a movie about giant, killer rabbits. You'd think that would be a prime selling point. Then again, it's apparently not a very good movie. Anywho, much more to come. Expect more on the coming Wednesdays, including some Hammer Horror, Vincent Price, and maybe even some Troma Studios stuff.