Love Conquers

0

What an ironic way to end the semester. I wasn’t sure if what we watched was really a horror film. To me it seemed like a Nicholas Sparks halloween special. It was like watching a more sophisticated version of Twilight, ironically so since the love team here are much much younger than Edward and Bella. But still I thought these children, young though they may be, did a much more fantastic acting job than the previous two ever could.

The movie, for me, was more of a love story than horror. The elements of the movie, from the title itself, all seemed too cheesy for me. Yes, although there was a blood sucking 12-year old girl, still, I thought the lovey-dovey elements of the movie outmuscled any terrifying elements the movie may have had. But perhaps this effect was deliberate. Perhaps the makers of the movie intended it to be so, to note something so very true about the human experience of love.

In the movie, we are presented with the story of two children who come from very similar backgrounds. They are children who live in a not-so-pleasant situation, with so much stress and anxiety that they are often forced out of social groups within which they supposedly belong. Most times, they are but spectators to the whole commotion of life. They are outsiders looking in, and do not contribute much to the goings on in their lives.

Oskar was your typical wallflower. Meek, bullied, helpless. Eli, was your typical sickly child. Weak, dependent, also helpless. Both live their lives in silent suffering, Oskar of his tormenting peers, Eli of her tormenting condition. He is a victim of violence within his home and even in his school. She is a victim of her dependence on blood and her uncontrollable instincts. Both find sanctuary in the silence of their own selves; Oskar in his pretensions of being strong, his own made-up world where he is the predator and not the prey, Eli in her apartment, curled up in a lightless room, protected by a devoted father. They meet through the Rubik’s cube, which is probably the only thing in the world that understood them. It was as much a puzzle as they were and it is in the painful twisting and turning that the three came together.

Oskar and Eli built in their own lives, fortifications to protect themselves. Oskar’s made up world allowed him to soldier on despite the many abuses. His illusions of strength lent him the courage to at least face his tormentors and not cower away. Eli’s fortress was her pathetic excuse for a home, where she was able to contain the beast inside of her, protected by an equally pathetic excuse for a father.

But when they meet, when one prisoner lays eyes on another, it is as if their hearts were doing the talking for them. “We cannot be friends,” says Eli. Probably true, because they were meant to be more.

They get along so well, perhaps due to the deep seated understanding one had for the other. No one can understand a captive better than another captive. And so, as the title suggests, they let each other in their own fortresses. They hold hands, lie in the same bed, experience each other’s nakedness, they kiss. Together they share in one cell. Together they freeze in the same prison.

Eli, though she lives on blood, is and can never be a vampire because vampires are monsters. And Eli is and can never be a monster. Cold and photophobic though she may be, she is still human because she has the heart to love. She loved Oskar enough to reveal to him her true self. She showed him what she was despite her fear of losing him in doing so. She does not impose herself on him and would only enter if he asked her to. She loved him so that despite the temptation to suck him try, she runs away and unleashes her fury on somebody else.

Oskar was capable of love too. And he did love. He loved Eli. He made friends with her though she pushed him away. He got to know her. Even when he found out what she was, he was not afraid. He was never afraid of her. He was probably the only one who wasn’t. He did not fear her, because he loved her. He loved her dearly.

In love, there can be no room for fear. When one loves, and loves truly, one runs the risk of pain, suffering and death. Yet one loves anyway and is not afraid of such consequences. For love is so humongous a thing that it cannot be contained in the heart with something else. Love, true love, is ultimate and it must take the most central place in one’s self, so much so that the lover puts the beloved as the center of his universe. Even the place the lover reserves for himself, is given up for the beloved. There can be no other way. When one loves, one does not fear. One cannot fear. One destroys all the walls, all the defenses which he built in order to “Let the Right One In.”

Perhaps this is where the beauty of the movie comes in. It had elements of a love story and a horror story and yet the former outdid the latter. I felt more love from it than horror. I felt more the love between the two children that the horror of the girl being a blood sucking killer. Because there can be no room for fear where love already is.

Advertisements

Infection

1

The word.

Probably the most powerful tool man could ever had. The most lethal weapon any creature could build. The most potent explosive, this world could ever see. The word can build cities, take away life, get one a cup of coffee, move mountains and even bring forth the coming of a god. It is the word that brought everything that could be into being and it is also the word that would eventually bring everything that is back into nothing.

The power of the word is limitless, but often taken for granted. We never realize it, but our words reach vast expanses that we will never see for ourselves. The words that we speak, stretch a million times farther than our arms could reach, travel a gazillion times faster than the speed of light and can infect any ear that would have it. But in all its power, the word is nothing unless it is comprehended. Ideas remain ideas, floating indifferently, until there are a set of ears that would make room for it, not simply to be heard but more so to be understood. The meeting of words and comprehension resembles the meeting of the sperm and the egg, from which is born a child – the miracle of life.

The word, when understood, has the power to compel action. It can achieve great things that could either benefit or destroy the world we live in today. It is in the bearer of the word, and those that would yield it, that the choice lies.

In the world’s history, the most violent stories were born from the seeds of simple ideas. The Nazis for example, believed in the supremacy of the Arian race and this idea grew so rapidly and so violently, like a malignant cancer that claimed so many lives. But an idea, for it to grow has to be planted on fertile soil. What more fertile a soil could we have than the fuhrer himself? The fuhrer was the Grant Mazzy of Nazi Germany, whose passion and exceptional oration was able to infect millions of his countrymen. The utter demise of their character came at the resounding, booming voice of their leader, whose ideas made so much sense that they were gripped in resignation. They became slaves to the ideas of their leader and it was in their understanding that they were moved into action. They killed in cold blood because they believed that it was the patriotic thing to do. For them, the mass murder of the Jews is a glorification to their german heritage.

The BBC news anchor was accurate in asking Grant about the apparent insurgency going on in the town, because quite frankly, they were resembling an insurgent group. These groups are born from the seeds of a charismatic leader (Grant), whose ideas are so eloquently presented that the logic becomes infallible. This infallibility paves the way for understanding and eventual acceptance of the message. Afterwards, the people begin to move into action based on these ideas. But after a while, it is only the original source himself who still truly understands his message. The people just become zombies who keep repeating words and phrases that once made sense but now they no longer understand. And in the end, they become slaves to the ideas of their leader. Slaves that cannot do much rather than to resign themselves. Now, the only way for them to be free is to disillusion themselves from the ideas. To have some sort of abjection with the ideas of their leader. To realize that perhaps not all that he is saying makes sense. And it is here, in this realization that freedom is found. Their abjection is the element that pushes for their salvation.

In the movie Inception, Dom Cobb puts it very eloquently when he said: “What is the most resilient parasite? An idea. Resilient, highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed, fully understood. That sticks, right in there somewhere.”

Making Friends

0

May is one of the most intellectually satisfying movies we have ever seen in class. I say so confidently because it is a movie that does not leave any stone unturned and I thought that the symbolisms that it had were very well developed. The movie for me is solid and I thought that all its parts were well integrated into each other. I would say that it was very disturbing, but I was more than ready to forgive it because it gave me a lot to chew on and it did not disappoint.

May is your typical socially awkward wallflower. Her peers were reluctant to make friends with her because of her lazy eye and not even her parents thought she was socially acceptable. In the beginning of the movie, when her mother told her “If you can’t find a friend, make one” is the central theme of the story – and what a creepy theme it was. May’s physical condition is what ostracized her from society. And because of this ostracism, she became socially awkward meaning that she had very little knowledge of how the world works and how to properly interact with people. In a way, as the movie confirms in the end, May is similar to the doll that her mother gave her. She became enclosed in her perfect, ordinary and predictable little world and she is horrified by the thought of “breaking the glass” that keeps her inside.

The image of the doll is also a symbol to how she relates to other people. She treats everyone around her the way she would treat her dolls. She imposes her thoughts and her will on them, expecting them to obey her willingly the way her dolls would. This is how May treated Adam. She saw him as her doll with perfect hands that she could control and manipulate into loving her. May is a sociopath that is obsessed with preserving everything in her little world. Which is why when she killed her cat accidentally, she decided to preserve him in her freezer. She was so obsessed with preserving everything in her life that in the school scene, when the box of the doll was smashed by the children, chaos followed. There was much bloodshed and violence in that scene. This perhaps is a symbol to the violence that sociopaths are capable of especially when their safe zones are violated.

Towards the end, the May’s doll is destroyed and she feels extremely vulnerable. She feels like she needs to replace the doll which she lost and in the end she tries to “make friends” by actually making one in the most literal and gruesome sense of the word. She does this by going on a killing spree, annihilating all of her friends and taking what parts of them she though were beautiful. She then pieced them together to create her friend. But to bring it to life, she must sacrifice a part of herself. So she gouges her eye out puts it on her newly made friend and it comes to life.

This scrapping for parts and patching them together could be seen in the first part of the movie where the opening credits show an image of cloths being cut and sewn together. This was very similar to what really occurred in the movie only that this time, body parts were being scrapped for and sewn together to bring to life a Frankenstein of a monster.

The Serial Killer

0

The common stereotype that surrounds a horror film includes that of ghosts, monsters, aliens, a combination of any of the three or a chaotic mixture of all. It is usually thought of as an abstraction, totally divorced from reality and we find solace in such a thought. It is because of this notion that we can safely walk in and out of a movie theatre after watching a horror movie, regardless of how disturbing it may have been. There is a danger of forgetting that horror does not simply live in our imaginations and our alternate realities. It is not entirely fictional nor made up. It is not entirely divorced from reality. And as Dr. Loomis eloquently puts it: “The Darkest souls are not those which choose to exist within the hell of the abyss, but those which choose to break free from the abyss and move silently among us.”

The movie, Halloween, is a stark reminder of such a fact. It is a reminder that after exiting the movie theatre, what horror the movie has shown, regardless of how horrifying it may be, factual or not, is but a mere caricature of our reality. And like any caricature, though it is an exaggerated image, it still contains a pinch of truth that cannot be ignored. There is a need for us to be reminded that after stepping out of the cinema, we wake up from the momentary suspension of our disbelief back into a world that is probably more terrifying. We need to stop lying to ourselves and dulling the pain. The facts are, that horrors are real. They do exist.

The movie Halloween shows how serial killers are brought into this world. And such a story would have made the front page of any national newspaper around the world. There is little in the movie that could convince us otherwise. Perhaps even worse things have happened in reality. Oh, wait. Scratch that. Worse things have indeed already happened.

Michael Meyers was indeed the perfect storm. He was born out of a great evil that existed within and outside of him. His situation was so horrible that no man could claim to be saintly enough to withstand such a life without ending up the way that he did. Michael kills in cold blood in the same way that so many other serial killers in real life had. He killed anyone and everyone, regardless of who they were and what role they had to play in his life. There is no mercy to be found in him. He was like a killing machine that had no heart and had no soul.

What is striking though is that all people have the capability to be as corrupted as he is. In a way, this kind of violence is evident in our society. We hear of mindless rapes, soulless murders and what’s worse, a combination of both and more. We hear about them every day and we seem to just brush it aside and sip our coffee. And yet we cringe at the images that are shown in the movie Halloween? We should know better.

The mask of Michael is reminiscent of how we try to mask our own inner monsters. We are all very capable of such acts given the right situation and the right motivation to do so. We hide our monsters in the masks of our faces, which ironically, Michael is capable of removing. It is not so much that he covers up his face really. It is more that he is willing to reveal his true self, through the cold and cruel mask that he chooses to wear.

I would dare say that Michael is not evil at all. When I think about it, all he ever really wanted was to take care of his sister. She was the only one she didn’t kill. And although he may have approached it the wrong way, I thought that at the heart of the monster, is a heart that wants to protect a loved one. It is a twisted kind of love that defiles all laws and social norms, but love nonetheless. Who’s to say otherwise? Can Michael be really blamed for all that he has done? Does he even think there is something wrong with what he did? In my opinion, he did not know any better. All he did was to react to a stimulus. Unfortunately, he was misguided and thus his fall into corruption was inevitable. But regardless of all of that, I believe underneath that mask, in the depths of his silence, there lies a good and genuine heart.

The Mysterious Inhaler

0

There is nothing new about the movie The Innkeepers. It is your typical, cliché horror story that consists of an old building that has seen a lot of tragedies throughout its history. It tells the story of a ghost that has suffered a great injustice, so great in fact that not even death could hold back its thirst for vengeance. Then in modern times, there emerges another character that is ignorant about the history of the building. His curiosity, married with a foolish sense of courage is his greatest flaw. He begins to explore the old building, uncovering strange clues about its past that fuel even further his curiosity. In the end, the hero bites off more than he could chew that leads to his ultimate demise. The disturbed spirit preys on him and takes his life as retribution.

In a nutshell, that would be the story of The Innkeepers. Nothing new. Pretty ordinary. A template for any average horror film. Predictable. Overused. Bland. And yet in all its ordinariness, it still maintains a certain hook that makes it still an outstanding horror film.

I would have to agree that it is a universe away from the Rec series. It is indeed very slow-paced and at first was a little bit boring. But I agree that the slowness of the film was deliberate. There is something about it that catches its viewer off-guard. It could never be known when something crucially thrilling would appear. Just when we are made to sit back and relax, some shrilling scene just comes popping out of nowhere and the effect is mind blowing.

In contrast to a fast paced movie like Rec that always keeps you on your toes, The Innkeepers sort of plays with your emotions in such a way that we never really know how and when to prepare ourselves for the scary parts. In a way, an adrenaline pumping movie like Rec, makes you numb to the horror and may dull down the suspense after a while. In contrast to that, The Innkeeper sort of lets you drink a chaser after a shot, lets you collect yourself after an outburst to prepare you for an even bigger scare. And that, I think is what makes the film truly effective.

In the end, the story leaves us hanging. There is no clue whatsoever in what happened to Madeline. We do not know what part the old man plays in her story and why he killed himself. Most importantly, we do not know what happened to Claire and why she died. But I think what the movie lacks in explanations, it makes up for in creativity. The movie was open ended and that’s precisely what makes it even more interesting. Now, viewers are left to come up with various explanations to explain the ending.

In my opinion, I do not think that the ghosts ever killed Claire. If anything, I bet they were even trying to save her or warn her of her impending doom. In the last few scenes of the movie, you could see that the ghost of the old man had his arms outstretched as if telling Claire to not go towards the room where Madeline died. It’s as if he didn’t want her to go there. He wasn’t chasing her but rather he was trying to tell her to come to him and away from the room. There was also the scene where Luke found Claire’s inhaler. I thought this was pretty insignificant but then when I think about it, perhaps this was the reason why Claire died. It was not so much the ghosts killing Claire, but rather it is her asthma that killed her. Perhaps the reason why the ghosts were trying to shoo her away from the room was because they knew that if she got caught there, she would die of suffocation. This probably explains the Leigh’s prediction. She said that she saw 3 ghosts. It was probably Madeline, the old man who was probably Madeline’s fiancée and Claire.

RECing Ball

0

Sequels are not particularly interesting to me because more often than not, the movies that have been good enough to merit a sequel are so good that it becomes impossible to outdo in a second movie. Too much of the greatness has been exhausted in the first movie that the subsequent ones tend to fall flat on their faces. So when I found out that we were watching Rec 2, I was not expecting much from it.

I really enjoyed the first one, though. I thought that was the only way mockumentaries should be done. There was so much action and chaos and I could really feel the stress from the characters in the film, and I could really feel my being part of the movie. It was as if revelations about the virus were being revealed to me at the same time that they were being revealed to the people in the movie. That for me was one hell of a movie.

The second one, to my surprise, disappointed me but it was a welcome disappointment. Why, because it disproved my theory about sequels. I used to think that no sequel could outdo its predecessor and REC 2 was proof that that was not always the case. To me, REC 2 was even better than the first. There was more action, the zombies were more ferocious and a whole lot more about the plot was revealed to audience and actor alike.

I thought the zombies in REC were particularly strange. First because they could run. Second because they were unusually hard to kill. And finally, they could talk. As the story went on, I began to think that REC is not just an ordinary zombie movie. It is not entirely sci-fi either. It combines scientific explanations with faith and religion to come up with a demon that is extraordinarily frightening and deadly.

I find it ironic that the movie has this kind of feel because faith and science are two aspects of humanity that are often at odds with each other. Like in the debate about the location of the earth in the universe, religious leaders claim geocentricity while scientists, with their fancy highfaluting equations claim heliocentrism. In the end, science emerges as the victor despite the efforts of the church to curtail the “blasphemies” of these scientists. They do this by executing Galileo Galilei, a mistake that they only admitted to recently.

I always believed that science and faith were never meant to be taken independently. They are a set of eyes that should come together and it is only in doing so that one could see the world more completely and with more depth. It is in finding that elusive middle ground that one could come up with a better understanding of the world that we live in.

I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that faith and science could also come together to form a monster. Truth be told, the Medieros girl in the movie is the daughter of such a coalition. There were scientific experiments done on her that paved the way to her becoming this insane monster that never dies and is just so potent a killer. At the same time, its as if this Frankenstein of a creature was blessed by the devil to become even more menacing. Not only does she spread the virus, she also makes use of them as puppets to further her malicious cause. Defeating such a monster requires an equally integrated understanding to combine a weapon that is both scientific and religious in nature.

Echo

0

Sound, like light, is one of the few things in the world that can continue to exist after its source has stopped producing it. Try whispering in the halls of an empty old church, a school on Christmas break and an old house and one could hear his voice reverberate through the silent rooms. It is as if after one speaks, the walls begin to mimic what was said and do so over and over again. To me, the movie “Voice” was appropriately titled because it speaks of a human truth that can be described similar to that of an echoing, reverberating voice. That human truth is the truth that deals with death, with loss and trying to cope with such tragedies.

As human beings, we recognize that we are indeed alive, but in order for us to be able to say so, we also need to accept the corollary that one day we will die. We are temporal beings after all and one day, we will grow old, die and eventually disintegrate. The many things, achievements and even people that we hold dear in our lives, we would have to say farewell to one day and how we deal with that loss can vary from person to person. Yes, it may be difficult to accept that we will die, but it is probably more difficult for those who will be left behind to deal with the fact that they have been left behind. And to me, the different coping mechanisms is what stands out as the shining message of this film.

The story begins somewhat at the beginning of a plot, with many questions still left unanswered in the history of the characters that would determine their eventual fates. We are exposed to this budding young girl, Young-eon, who wants to be a successful singer one day. There was also this music teacher who once had an illustrious career but after getting sick of cancer had her dreams cut short. We also hear of the story of this other girl, Hyo-jung who was found dead in the school a few years back.

At the beginning of the story, we encounter this horrific scene where Young-eon is killed by this stranger in an equally strange way. The next day, she realizes that she’s suddenly invisible and that she could not interact with anyone aside from her friend Sun-min. This reminds me of a very human phenomenon wherein when a loved one dies, we try so desperately to keep the memory of that person alive in us to the point wherein we could even convince ourselves that we could still talk to that person. We continue to communicate to the loved one we could no longer see nor touch, pretty much like how Sun-min continues to talk to Young-eon.

Sun-min experiences a loss and tries to cope with it by continuing to communicate to her lost friend. There are other people who have also experienced losses though at a different degree. The music teacher once had a promising career but it was taken away from her by her sickness. She tries to cope by being unusually close to students who have singing voices that reminded her of the voice she once had. These students were Hyo-jung and Yeong-eon. As the story eventually reveals, the music teacher has an unusual relationship with Hyo-jung, the latter falling madly in love with the former. Hyo-jung is eventually persecuted by the whole school and eventually kills herself. After death, Hyo-jung and the music teacher continues to communicate with each other, similar to how Sun-min continues to talk to Young-eon. When the music teacher begins to “fall in love” with Yeong-eon and her voice, Hyo-jung loses the love of her life and she copes by killing Yeong-eon.

Yeong-eon lost something very fundamental to her – her life. And throughout the story we see evidence of her desire to live. There was this part of the story where Young-eon confronts herself and asks her what she really wants. Does she really care so much about her friend, Sun-min or does she just really want to live? She lost her life and copes by taking over Sun-min’s body so that she could continue living. The dead trying desperately to live and eventually succeeding is probably the freakiest part of the film.

The tragedy of life is that there will be moments when we will have to suffer losses. That’s something inevitable. We can never avoid these tragedies. What we can control though is how we react to them, how we’ll find a way to patch up what was lost and to move on.