Thursday, November 19, 2020

Wrong Turn (2003)

Does Wrong Turn warrant critical analysis? I think so. One would expect a new franchise in the slasher genre to be warmly received, especially during the dry spell of the 2000s. It’s The Hills Have Eyes (1977) meets Deliverance (1972). Both films are more artful by a mile, but Wrong Turn has the magic formula of idiots going into the woods and not coming out.

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Saturday, November 14, 2020

Jason X (2001)

It’s Friday the 13th in space. Rarely does such a collision of genres exceed expectations. When your expectations are anchored in a character with Jason’s long and varied history, anything is possible.

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Sunday, November 8, 2020

Scream (1996)

The only true slasher franchises (stories built around mythical, unstoppable serial killers) are Halloween and Friday the 13th. All of the others have villains who are either too sympathetic or too impotent to rack up a real body count and make the audience jump. Scream falls into that large category of wannabe slasher films, more of a Scary Movie (2000) than an actual scary movie.

This is a horror-comedy that is too clever for its own good, satirizing rather than celebrating. Intentional comedy belongs in comedy films rather than horror films. The unintentional kind is funnier anyways. Not that Scream is a bad movie. It’s pretty enjoyable, but it could have been better in different hands.

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Friday the 13th (2009)

The evolution of Jason Voorhees from slasher movie villain to folk hero is an interesting story with the entire franchise taken into account. However, the story in each individual film is usually dull. This one is over-hyped, slow, willfully stupid, and the MPAA probably cut it to pieces. In other words a perfect Friday the 13th movie.

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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Tenet (2020)

It is impossible to watch Tenet without comparing it to Christopher Nolan’s previous works, especially Inception (2010). Tenet’s uniqueness comes from its reliance on science rather than fantasy, physics rather than dreams.

At minimum, sci-fi needs either believable science or compelling characters. Tenet delivers the bare minimum science to sell its time travel premise, with characters that exist only to advance the plot. Fortunately, the plot has the density and intensity to carry the film, with or without the stars. It also lacks the grating presumption of superheroes, making the film watchable by an adult audience.

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