Horror Close-up: Horsemen
American horror has failed me again. This probably shouldn’t be a place for bad reviews, but I just can’t let anyone who reads this paper to view this movie. Horsemen, starring Dennis Quaid, examines a serial killer case based on the four horsemen of the apocalypse, which are outlined in the book of Revelation. In Christian theory, when the end of the world comes, four horsemen arrive in the order of a white horse, a red horse, a black horse, and a pale horse (referenced as green later in scripture). With each horseman, in the explanation of the serial killers from the film, comes an offering. Throughout the movie, the audience is subject to both ritualistic torture and a combination of bad acting and bad story structure.
Dennis Quaid plays a jaded detective, whose wife has died and with his demanding job, his relationship with his two sons is fading. His oldest son begins to rebel, as Quaid’s job becomes more demanding with the four horsemen case. There’s a token assistant detective that says all the key lines like, “What do we got here?” and “What if this situation was the case?” Does any of this sound familiar yet? It does to me. The main plot points and token characters are repeated time and time again in American mystery and horror films. Besides its rather original basis (religion-based killers have been rare in film-making since Seven), Horsemen lacks on many levels including the fact that most of the plot twists are easily detectable. The ending is rather bland, and the crime scenes are very repetitive. So, all in all, I give this new release, Horsemen, a 5 out of 10 and say skip it, unless you’re a fan of redundancy.
Horror Close-Up: Eden Lake
“One of the most provocative and terrifying thrillers of the year,” says Empire Magazine. This week, I had the pleasure of reviewing Eden Lake. The film stars Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender, two up-and-coming British stars, but the biggest triumph of the film was the writing and directing from James Watkins. The plot centers around a couple who are looking for a romantic getaway at a remote wooded lake. They bring things to camp out there next to the water when a group of rowdy teenagers begins to party on the beach. Their loud music and interruptive pets causes the boyfriend (Michael Fassbender) to say something to them. He doesn’t get anywhere as they hurl insulting attitudes toward him after he asked for them to turn the music down. He returns to his girlfriend, and when darkness falls, the teenagers leave the beach.
Without revealing any good parts of the film, the couple soon finds themselves dealing with not only the deranged and sheltered group of teenagers acting out a savage revenge scheme but with the parents and townspeople of the houses they came from. It was honestly a refreshing film in the horror genre. Not many films have the courage to explore the element of survival along with the presence of strong love between an on-screen couple, which Reilly and Fassbender clearly have. In my opinion, the film sort of explored the intertwining of two films: The Warriors and The Descent. Not as to say Eden Lake is the complete combination of those two films, but it does combine the basis of rebellious violent teenagers in The Warriors and the survivalist style of The Descent.
All in all, Eden Lake was original and did well in portraying a deranged, remote atmospheric plot, set in place by James Watkins. The film was actually scary on several different levels as it could actually happen, as opposed to monsters running rampant in other horror films. So, this week’s horror selection, Eden Lake, gets a 8 out of 10 from me. Check it out, and see what you think.
Horror Close-Up: Mirrors
“We are so entranced by mirrors, not because of us seeing an image of ourselves, but because we go through life never really knowing how we do what we do. So, in seeing that in a mirror or reflection, we welcome a certain element of wonder and entrancing power,” a quote from actress Paula Patton playing the part of Amy Carson in the film Mirrors, which I just finished watching.
All there is to say is, wow, what an amazing piece of genre gold from writer/director Alexandre Aja – most well-known for his film The Hills Have Eyes. For some of you, that previous work of his will either be a turn-off or a turn-on to see Mirrors, but you should know to not let any influence from The Hills Have Eyes lead you to believe that this film is at all similar. That being said, Alexandre Aja has come a long way from amateur horror to be a huge part of the creation of Mirrors.
Originally a Korean-created film by Kim Sung Ho called Into the Mirror, the American-written version re-titled Mirrors, stars Keifer Sutherland as Ben Carson, an ex-cop who gets a temporary job as an overnight security guard of a prized shopping center that had recently been the victim of an arson. Inside the large shopping center, resembling that of a Macy’s-style setup, he finds several rooms of mirrors. As the nights continue, he begins to see things in the mirrors and also starts finding out several things about the employees of the building before him. A haunting history is unveiled behind the building and several shocking cinematic moments unfold that all lead to a very unexpected and original ending! The movie which pulls together elements from classics like The Shining and The Exorcist alike, also stars Amy Smart – best known from Road Trip – starring as Ben’s close sister, Angela Carson. Overall, the movie was a great watch with several jumpy moments and spreading an overwhelming interest in the well-written story. I give it a 9 out of 10. Check it out, and see what you think.