Monday, April 25, 2011

Demons Among Us?

Lately, I've been trying to scare myself.  I'm now reading Dracula and I'm almost a quarter in and a bit bored with it.  I imagine it will pick up soon while I have visions of Keanu Reeves, Wynona Ryder and Gary Oldman running in my head.  Otherwise, I have watched three flicks in search of some chills and thrills.  

On Netflix instant I watched Heartless and The Stand.

HeartlessHeartless tells the story of Jamie (Jim Sturgess) a young East London man who has a heart shaped birthmark on his face that causes him to be lonely and withdrawn, especially from women.  Meanwhile, there's a lot of gang violence in Jamie's neck of the woods and he soon learns that gang members are actually demons.  When demons kill his mother, Jamie is at a loss.  The head demon approaches Jamie and offers to remove the mark from Jamie's face in exchange for an act of chaos.  So, Jamie makes a deal with a devil and things seem good, but then go horribly wrong as one act of chaos leads to evil and more chaos.  I enjoyed this movie, but I couldn't help wonder if I was missing something--some existential commentary the filmmaker may have been making about vanity and even the nature of love.  I probably need to watch it again.  The movie was more thrilling than scary.

Stephen King's The Stand (Boxed Set) [VHS]The Stand is a 1994 tv miniseries adaptation of Steven King's novel of the same name.  The Stand is probably my favorite book by King because it depicts something that could really happen--a world-wide super flu that almost wipes out almost all of humankind.  Of course, being Steven King, he adds elements of the supernatural and ultimate battle of good and evil among the survivors left on earth.  A magical black woman and a showdown with the devil in Sin City?--Who could ask for more?  I've watched The Stand several times and, for a prime time tv movie,  I'd say it's pretty good.  The teleplay was penned by King and so obviously he was the best person to adapt it.  And the cast is pretty good too--Ruby Dee, Gary Sinise, Ray Walston, and Molly Ringwald.  If you have a long afternoon to kill, this may be a way to spend your time.


Finally, at the multiplex, I went to see Insidious from the same filmmaker who made the original Saw.  It's the story of a young family who move into an old house.  When one of their sons falls into an unexplainable coma, they start experiencing strange phenomena leading them to believe the house is haunted.  When they move to a new house and experience more of the same, they realize it's their comatose son who's haunted.  This is where the originality of Insidious ends and the remake of Poltergeist begins complete with a ghost hunting team and a petite older white lady who can channel the dead and figure out what they "want."  [However, I will say it was a little freaky watching the old lady channeling spirits through an old school gas mask. That didn't happen in Poltergeist.]  So while the film served up real thrills and chills with well-placed images of ghosts and demons, about half way through, I could no longer buy into the back story of why the boy was haunted or how to save him and so I stopped caring that much about what happened next.  The movie has gotten a lot of good reviews, but I think that's only because it's  different from the torture porn that has become the mainstay of horror films--ironically because of Saw.  But if you are older than 30, you've seen at least half this movie before.  I would suggest skipping this at the multiplex and waiting for it to arrive for rent.

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