Feb. 5th, 2012

prodigy: Dorian Gray from "Horrors of Literature," illustrated by M.S. Corley. (swan king)
I really wanted to like this movie. It left me lukewarm. Not entirely cold, just sort of lukewarm -- I wouldn't warn anyone not to see it, but I would give the proviso that I wish I'd gotten beforehand, which is that it's unsatisfying and raw and sophomoric altogether, both as a horror film and as a movie. In the end, it seemed like a lot of good material roughly pushed together into a slow, confusing, pointless mess of gothic-horror-standard set and sound design. The Woman in Black didn't offend my senses or anything, but it didn't electrify them either, which is what I'm looking for out of a good horror film: in a horror or suspense film I want to be dragged out of my own cynicism, I want to be forced to stop thinking about the number of scare chords on the soundtrack. Unfortunately, The Woman in Black was not that film.

The whole thing suffered from a number of weak points, but I think three stood out as the biggest: (1) the passivity and nonsensical behavior of the protagonist, who spent the entire film puttering about; (2) the confusingness and bad exposition in the plot that left me wondering more about unclarity than suspense; (3) the thematic incoherence and feeling of general pointlessness pervading the storyline. The plot itself was a fairly standard wronged-woman-becomes-vengeful-ghost monstrous-feminine unheimlich haunting number, which was good and bad, so it took some effort to make that confusing. Then again, it also took some effort to fill a house with such an egregious quantity of creepy dolls.

I'm also choosing to believe that Daniel Radcliffe is the Doogie Howser of Victorian solicitors because that is the only way this movie makes sense. He's actually a pretty talented young actor, though, and Ciarán Hinds was a treasure in the movie and every scene with his character was much better than those without. I hope the movie's good for both of their careers. Ah, Ciarán, why couldn't you have been the star?

In the end, the movie would've been eminently fixable with the attention of a good screenwriter, but I think that was the problem: it didn't have one. The production designer needed to trot on back to Tim Burton. It takes more than some canned creepy-doll, creepy-child, and creepy-woman imagery to make a fresh horror film.


prodigy: "Blondie" from Leone's Old West trilogy accompanied by Pikachu. (Default)
the late, or rather, later Henrik Egerman

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