horror

‘The Witch:’ A Puritan Morality Tale

Unlike most films of its genre, ‘The Witch’ gets its scares from being quietly unsettling rather than relying on jump scares and surprises for its audience.  The movie is marketed as a horror film, and rightly so; many of the images and situations are deeply disturbing.  Surprisingly though, the film is also one of the most realistic period pieces I’ve seen in years.  I’ll be diving into later plot details of ‘The Witch,’ so [spoilers] ahead. (more…)

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Best of Sundance 2016

The most rewarding experience of Sundance is seeing what the next year of movies will look like.  Of the 120 feature films that were selected to screen at Sundance, I was able to catch 18 in a five day frenzy.  Almost all of them were really good, and several I would consider fantastic.  Here are some of the most exciting future releases of 2016: (more…)

‘Buzzard’: Dissecting the Ending

“Buzzard” follows Marty Jackitansky, a misanthrope and small-time scam artist, as he cheats any system he can while avoiding being caught in the act.  The director, Joel Potrykus, makes no attempt to take a moral position on Marty’s scams, instead letting the movie serve as a study of Jackitansky’s character and the minor horrors he inflicts.

The film shares a number of similarities with “Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter,” a 2015 release about a Japanese woman who pursues the insurance money lost at the end of Fargo.  Both feature outcasts who don’t fit in with their peers.  Both are extremely bored and disinterested with their lives, and are willing to give everything up and sacrifice their comfort in exchange for freedom.  And both feature strange, surreal endings that really punctuate their themes.

“Buzzard’s” ending in particular really reshapes how the audience remembers the entirety of the film, and leaves a lot to be interpreted and explained.  Needless to say, [spoilers] ahead for “Buzzard.”
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‘It Follows’ and Sexual Horror

David Robert Mitchell’s “It Follows” is a monster movie in which a girl finds that, after a strange sexual encounter, she is forever followed by a menacing and unstoppable creature. If you can stomach horror movies, I highly recommend this one. Horror as a genre is at its best when it’s serving as a metaphor, tapping into some “real” terror beneath all the supernatural. “It Follows” is no exception, tapping into the inherent fears many young people share about the act of sex. Specifically, the movie does an excellent job of tackling the “grayer” areas of sexual assault and its lasting effects in a way that I’ve never seen. Spoilers from here on.  (more…)