With the ample amount of mistakes made by Netflix lately, it is good to know genre film fans can still find the goods that are being provided. Like so many of you, I stream Netflix through my trust ol’ Play Station 3 to get a look at those movies in between that I may have missed. Sometimes it yields fantastic results, other times…not so much.
Instead of writing up lengthy, long-winded reviews that you probably wouldn’t give a shit about, I’ve decided to do a little round up of films I’ve watch recently that I found intriguing (this can mean intriguing in a good or “WTF?!” way). Take a look-see and maybe add them to your line-up.
CHILLERAMA: I think we’ve all heard plenty about this movie lately. It’s well-deserved attention. Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Adam Rifkin, and Tim Sullivan are names that horror fans are well aware of. They’ve pulled their collective gross-out together for an anthology filled with Were-Bears, man-eating sperm, crazy Kosher Frankenstein, and horny zombies. Each section is sandwiched in the “movie within a movie” that ties its loose ends together quite nicely. Those characters are likable geeks paying homage to their dying drive-in when all hell breaks loose. Imagine if Zucker & Abrahams had made a horror anthology with John Waters, and you’ve pretty much summed up what Chillerama is all about. They capture all the best parts about watching shitty sleaze flicks and toss it in a blender with their own horror sensibilities. The end result is one of this year’s most fun horror films. There’s something for everyone here. It was MADE for/by horror geeks and those same geeks are going to be watching this one for years to come. When it pops up on all the “Best Of” lists, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
UNTIL THE LIGHT TAKES US: Usually, I leave all the black metal dealings up to Mahlon, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to watch this documentary. Filmmakers Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell moved to Norway for 2 years where they collected many interviews and were able to delve into the “misunderstood” world of black metal. UTLTU gives you access into the Inner Circle (apparently, that’s what these nitwits refer to themselves as) of this odd music scene/culture. I’ve never been one to take these black metal assholes seriously and this film did not change that. It did, however, give us a fascinating look into counter culture gone haywire.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Nordic black metal scene, this doc will give you all the details. Murder, church burnings, suicide, and obsessive allegiance are the foundation of this scene’s legacy now, and the documentary uncovers the stories behind that. One of my biggest fears was that this film would glorify the senseless mindset that drives this scene, but instead it showed the human side of their error-ridden ways. Quite honestly, the biggest theme I took from this was that music is secondary to whatever the hell else these nutballs in pancake make-up are doing. That point is made quite clear by the reaction to the more “commercially” successful bands who’ve been an offshoot of this scene ala’ Satyricon and Cradle of Filth. They aren’t evil enough, or something. I don’t know-I haven’t quite figured out if these cats are supposed to be evil or militant or…whatever. At any rate, it’s a fascinating story for fans of true crime and weird subcultures that goes beyond the history of Mayhem, Emperor, and Burzum/Varg Vikernes and shows you how these individuals function day to day. Riveting stuff.
HACK!: I’m not here to convince you this movie is amazing. In fact, it’s kind of a shitball. But it’s a FUN shitball! Take Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years, but make her all bookish and collegiate. Next, throw in her crush who happens to be an impossibly handsome young man (who’s probably been on a soap opera or an ABC Family movie). Then, you round out your cast with racially and sexually driven stereotypes and pepper in auspiciously named characters (Dr. Argento?) AND ne’erdowells-POOF! You have a horror film! Not a great horror film. Hell, not even a good one, but a horror film nonetheless.
So, they go to this island for a class assignment, the people who live their are obsessed with horror films, and the end result is lots of blood and guts, blah, blah, blah. It’s got more stereotypes than I care to ackowledge. So, why am I talking about this film? Well, because I’m trying to be honest here. It’s a pretty funny movie. It appears as though the filmmaker knew exactly what he was doing. He gathered up some familiar faces (the aforementioned Danica McKellar, William Forsythe, Sean Kanan, Travis Schuldt, and Burt Young to name a few), whipped up sold old fashioned tongue-in-cheek-nod-to-my-heroes, and made a silly ass slasher flick with lots of swear words and gore. I can’t think of a single one of my horror lovin’ friends who cant find at least one laugh in this movie. It was made to be entertaining and HACK! is just that. Recommended with beer and friends.
KIDNAPPED: Before I get into the flick, I do need to address one thing with Netflix. Stop putting English-dubbed streams up for viewing. If I’m seeking out a foreign horror film, there’s a good possibility I was prepared to read subtitles. Your butthole-ish version sucks the emotion out of a very intense film.
Okay, now onto to the matter at hand. Kidnapped tells the story of a very well off family’s first night in their new home. Instead of a celebrating a wonderful evening together, they are victim of a vicious break-in by 3 masked Eastern European gentlemen. What appears to be a routine scary robbery turns into so much more and explodes with a climax that had me sitting up in my chair. The violence is comparable to Irreversible and Martyrs, with its very realistic approach. There are several moments of desperation where you feel anxiety taking over you, as your hoping for the best for these characters-even though you know the end result is going to be catastrophic. The plight of the main characters is obvious, but you still don’t want it to happen. One chaotic moment will be silenced by cuts to calm, disjointed conversations between one of the victims and his captor. Kidnapped is a flick well-versed in the concept of misery. It actually lets you believe something good will happen. But it doesn’t…at all. If you find yourself in the mood for something aggressive and challenging, fire this up. However, if you’d like to avoid awful overdubs, perhaps DVD would be the route to go. Either way, Kidnapped is a great film.