Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Inside", torture porn, and new school horror

I have returned. Rejoice...

So I just watched Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury's Inside. While I don't consider it the total masterpiece a lot of people are proclaiming it to be, it was pretty decent. The gore was top notch, the acting was decent, and it was pretty suspenseful. As someone who's not a huge fan of many current horror movies I've admittedly only seen a couple of the French films that are being heralded as the saving grace of the modern horror film; High Tension and this one. I can see what all the fuss is about I suppose. No holds barred violence, suspenseful action, and effective plotlines, though that's not to say the plots are without their holes. To find a horror film without any plotholes is pretty rare, though obviously that doesn't stop me from loving them anyway.

The French films do what the so-called "torture porn" films fail to do, and that is to have a plotline which actually delivers and puts it in the confines of a film which harbors some suspense. I think the Saw and Hostel films are some of most boring and annoying horror films I've ever seen, and I'm not the only one who thinks so. I'm a complete gore hound. There's no question about it. Even if a movie is relatively bad, if it has well executed (no pun intended), clever kills and gore effects, it deserves some praise. Some could argue that some of the films I'm slamming, particularly the first Saw film, are clever. I won't argue that Saw, the first one, is pretty decent. They should have stopped there. Rather than having the gore and clever traps and plot twists work together as a way of engrossing the audience in the proceedings, they become the entire bulk of the film. The torture porn films are like the Hollywood equivalent of mall metal. A watered down, boring, passionless, tasteless, facsimile of something far greater than it's portrayed to be by the mainstream. However, like shitty nu/mall metal, these pieces of celluloid regurgitation disguised as real deal horror flicks (I include shitty remakes in this category too, namely TCSM, Black X-Mas, Prom Night, etc) do have two positive after effects I can think of.

1. In the case of the torture porn and other crap films, they expose people to horror, and may thus interest them enough to check out some good ones.

2. In the case of the shitty remake, not only do some people let their curiousity lead them to the original film, but it also means home video companies usually release a special edition of the original film. This happened with My Bloody Valentine, which is awesome, because that movie begged for a DVD with missing scenes.

I feel like an old man sometimes, even at the age of 25. I complain about modern films and music all the time. At least in the case of horror films, making a completely authentic 1970's horror film in this day in age would come off as more sarcastic or ironic than genuine, so I suppose we really do have to adapt to the modern age. At this point, I think the French filmmakers are going to be the ones to keep my eye on. I've seen two movies they've done that aren't terrible, and I might even go so far as to say they're "good". Anyone reading, clue me in to some other ones that are good. I read Irreversible is one to check out. Until the second coming of Lucio Fulci, or until Dario Argento really makes a true return to form, A fellow such as myself may have to rely on the new batch of Frenchmen (and women) to keep my faith in the modern horror film alive.

1 comment:

  1. I liked "Inside" alot; as a matter of fact I've seen it twice (about 6 months apart). I also liked "Haute Tension", despite the "trick" ending. Also excellent is a low budget but well done British flick from 2007 called "Broken"; very sick ending and an endurance test. I also give thumbs up to last year's Italian OTT film "Last House in the Woods", an homage to many films (TCSM, Last House on the Left, Clockwork Orange) that comes off not being too self conscious and is good gory fun.

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