Tuesday, November 1, 2011

30 Days of Fright - Epilogue

Like all good things, and the worst too I suppose, the fourth year of the 30 Days of Fright horror movie reviews has come to an end. Here's a quick break down of the final scores along with a little analysis of some of the highlights.

The Scores:
TTFD = Two Thumbs Firmly Down
TTD = Two Thumbs Down
OTU/OTD = One Thumb Up, One Thumb Down
TTU = Two Thumbs Up
TTFU = Two Thumbs Firmly Up

Year 4:
01 - Candyman - TTFU
02 - Halloween II (2009) - OTU/OTD
03 - Deathwatch - TTD
04 - [REC]2 - TTU
05 - After.Life - OTU/OTD
06 - The Broken - TTD
07 - The Fourth Kind - TTU
08 - New Moon - TTD
09 - Heartless - OTU/OTD
10 - Fright Night (1985) - TTU
11 - Saw II - TTD
12 - Let Me In - OTU/OTD
13 - Sorority Row - TTU
14 - Final Destination 2 - TTU
15 - The Ring - TTU
16 - Hellraiser - TTD
17 - The Thing - TTU
18 - Shelter - OTU/OTD
19 - Wake Wood - TTU
20 - Devil - TTFU
21 - The Descent Part 2 - TTFD
22 - Jennifer's Body - TTU
23 - Paranormal Activity - OTU/OTD
24 - My Bloody Valentine - TTFD
25 - Creepshow - OTU/OTD
26 - A Nightmare on Elm St. Pt4: The Dream Master - TTD
27 - Angel Heart - OTU/OTD
28 - Flatliners - TTFU
29 - Outpost - OTU/OTD
30 - The Tattooist - TTU

The Best:
I was stunned by just how good this film is. There's some nice scares in the mix and some decent gore too. Of course, Tony Todd steals every scene he's in with his imposing stature and creepy deep voice, but the other stands outs from Candyman have to be the music and the gritty urban setting. I had really hoped that Candyman was only a taste of things to come as Clive Barker was the man responsible for this and another film in the series Hellraiser, but sadly that film turned out to be shite. Candyman though was excellent and a great way to start this years reviews.

If Clive Barker's name attached to a film had me excited and then caused serious disappointment, the exact opposite happened with Devil and the man behind that film, M. Night Shyamalan. Having been burned before when it came to this dude's work I had a terrible sinking sensation when his name sprang up in the opening credits, but it turned out that he wasn't all that involved in making the movie so it turned out to be good. The frights aren't overly jumpy nor does the film get under your skin like some horrors can, but it 's just so well made, and the nervousness people feel when things go wrong in a skyscraper makes Devil worth a look.

Flatliners is such an atmospheric film it should be used in film schools to show students how to film autumn. Everything about it tells you something creepy is going on and it is perfectly set as it is in a glorious looking medical school and at the perfect time of year, with Hallowe'en getting a look in too. For me though, the highlight of the piece is in the characters themselves, as they display all the egotism and arrogance that goes with being the top of the class, and then fall victim to the product of their own hubris.

The Worst:
The Descent Part 2
The first Descent movie was a good concept and likeable in it's own way, whereas the second one was the worst form of milking out there and the kind of thing that gives sequels a bad name. The story wasn't continued or developed sufficiently well to justify this movie and fuck alone knows how they'll squeeze a third out of the franchise if plans for that movie go ahead.

My Bloody Valentine
Whhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaattt a pile of shit! Utter scutter from the start to the gutter! This film has a huge cult following but that just goes to show how dangerous cults are and how much brainwashing they engage in. My Bloody Valentine is the kind of film the "Two Thumbs Firmly Down" rating was invented for.

Special Mentions:
The Fourth Kind
This film gave me the creeps the first time I saw it but unfortunately I didn't get to see it all in one go, instead I was forced to split the viewing over two days. This really disjointed the last act of the film and led me to think that it was all rubbish. This time I got to watch the whole lot in one go and I really enjoyed it. Again, this is a movie that depends a lot on a quirky concept, in this case the actors telling you they're acting so as to convince you the film is really a docu-drama based on real events. The fact that Nome, Alaska, where it's set, does have a bit of reputation for missing persons only adds to the intrigue. If only some of the casting had been a little better and some of the "real" footage toned down ever so slightly then it would have been easy to give The Fourth Kind the highest score.

Jennifer's Body
This is another movie that I didn't like that much the first time and loved the second, though for radically different reasons than The Fourth Kind. Jennifer's Body is a film you have to open your mind real wide for and not for the A-Plot or even the B-Plot, but more for the extremely subtle stories that play out in the background; material so embedded in the fabric of the story that I doubt all of it was intentionally put into the film at all. For even the beginnings of an understanding of how teenage girls get along (or not) Jennifer's Body is worth a look. On top of that, it's actually pretty funny in a quiet sort of way. Only Megan Fox keeps this film from the top score as she's a shit actress.

Final Thoughts:
Surprisingly,  the vast majority of the films on this years list came from off the TV which shows that, for a change, TV can actually provide some decent horror. There was a nice variety to the types of horror, with ghosts, vampires, aliens, and other monsters all getting a look in. There were some nice surprises and some crushing disappointments too, but that's just the horror roller coaster. Until next year...

The End.