Voice

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Asian horror films have the reputation to be one of the scariest. I noticed from numerous movies that I’ve seen that the plot of Asian horror films are not as important, the main part of the movie is the scary moments that come out of nowhere, unexplained. Scenes that get you caught off guard and gripping the armrest or whatever you have to hold is what I expect from them. And again, I am taught not to generalize. Thank you, Voice, for being such a disappointment.

The setting of the movie had me hopeful; it had all the elements of what scary movie should have, strange dripping sounds, red eerie glow, long dark corridors and the works. Even most of characters had this spooky look to them.  So there I was, expecting.  

When Young-Eon suddenly dies because of a flying paper, which everyone might have found laughable, I was horrified. Everyone knows how horribly painful a tiny paper cut is, and having experienced quite a lot of paper inflicted pain, It was not that hard for me to imagine someone dying because of it.  But that was the only part of the film that scared me, the rest of the time I was waiting for something else to happen or better yet, end.

Instead of scaring me like I hoped, it made me realize a lot of things, that ghosts or monsters (if they were real) are probably more scared than we are of them. The scenes of Young Eon in the school alone with no hopes of escape, not knowing how or why she ended up that way she was was pretty scary, That Koreans probably took the film and plot much differently than I did, while I was waiting to be horrified by whatever creepy thing, they might have found the lesbian and suicide topic alone, horrifying.  (These realizations only came long after watching the film)

I guess the slow pace of the movie was for the viewers to appreciate the story more but I was tired of waiting. The revelation of Jong Eun being a bad person was not surprising to me because if she was selfish enough to keep her friend stuck in limbo with her, then she probably was a horrible person while she was alive.  I though Young-Eon would become a better person (or ghost) because she seemed appalled knowing how horrible she was while she was alive, but no, that was another disappointment. Also, how could her best friend not know that she was completely psychotic?  

Overall, I did not like the movie, I found it too dragging. Slow-paced movies should have a good development or at least rich dialogue but Voice didn’t have any of the two.  The fact that the deaths centered on the jealousy of another’s singing voice was also a shallow choice for a plot. Like my realizations which came long after watching the movie, I think the realizations of the characters in the movie came too late as well, not good to keep an audience waiting.

Let the Right One In

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I think many people will notice the similarity of this movie with twilight; Vampire falling in love with sullen looking human, Human seems to like keeping to himself/herself until he meets the strange vampire blah blah blah. But the CLEAR difference of the two movies was that Let the Right One In, was not disgustingly cheesy and that the vampire character did not shame every other vampire in history.

Oskar was a young boy with a haircut that screams ‘bully me please’, he had no friends and he was constantly beat up by boys in his class. If I had not known what the movie was all about before watching it, I would have thought Oskar was going to be another Micheal Myers, they even look the same. But Oskars life changes when he meets his new next door neighbor, Eli.

The movie had a very dark feel to it but despite that, I think the drama and romantic genre came ahead of the horror. Eli killed people who were insignificant to the movie so I did not feel too horrified, the victims were just flashed at passing and the main story was centered on the relationship of Oskar and Eli.

Oskar changes when he meets Eli, he is completely infatuated with her despite her always telling him she’s not actually a girl. He still goes for her, not fully understanding what he was getting himself into. This for me, changes the perspective of how women are usually portrayed in movies, this time, the boy was the one who acted like a ‘girl’.

I like how women were portrayed in the film, Eli was a vampire but she wasn’t someone to be feared. She killed people but as she mentioned, she killed them because she needed to.  And in the end, she was the one who saved Oskar. The other notable female character was the woman who turned into a vampire after being bitten. She knew she was becoming a monster so she fought that instinct and thirst to kill by committing suicide.

 The girls/women in this movie can be compared to the characters of Deadgirl, wherein technically the monster was the girl but the humans were the ones who acted shamefully. In Let the Right One in, most of the men seemed to be a disappointment, the old man who was a slave to Eli, the bullies who acted like complete monsters and even the short appearance of Oskar’s father who seemed to have issues of his own.

This movie was a good way to end our Horror Film class, it proves and disproves much of my notion of horror before class started-that what I think isn’t horror can be horror- and it at least it was a pleasant change from films like Grace and Deadgirl.

Ponty..what?

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From the time Pontypool was mentioned to be the next film we were about to watch, I didn’t understand what the title was. I have the habit of googling the films we watch in class to check for summaries but since I was only guessing the spelling of what I thought I heard, I started the film not knowing what to expect. The film began with a voice speaking what seemed to me as random words. I could only pick up things like a lost cast, panties and random snippets of words that did not make sense when put together.

From what I understood, Pontypool was the place where the radio station was, if it had any significant contribution to the movie plot, I don’t know.  What the title did for me was to give me a premonition about what I was about to do the whole movie; question over and over again (in my head) about what they were saying and what exactly was happening. I was lost.

This film felt like inception in a way, the plot, from what I understood, was that people should not understand the words of the English language as how they understand it.  If they begin using terms that are infected and understand that word as it should be understood, then they would turn into zombies. So if I was part of the movie, since I did not understand I thing, I would probably not be infected?

I think the horror of the movie, although not as apparent, came from the not knowing. Not knowing by the audience and the characters of the movie as well. We were given unclear audio narrations of what was going on outside the confines of the radio station and all seemed chaotic but the image was left for us to visualize on our own.

The zombies in the movies were referred to as ‘conversationalists’ and a warning was given to stay away from words of endearment.  (Wasn’t Grant Mazzy the one spreading the virus all along since all he did was talk on air for everyone to hear?) Anyway, certain words infected people, and for Sydney, grant’s only companion, it was the word kill. When Grant discovers that the only cure was by changing the meaning of the word kill for Sydney, he gets a brilliant idea by going on air and confusing people with random words.  And then the screen goes blank. Did they all die?

 Maybe if Grant stopped talking then he wouldn’t have been in that situation in the first place but then,  I don’t really know. I can’t claim to understand the movie because I didn’t, If the movie’s point was to confuse then it succeeded, greatly.  Also, many reviewers pointed out the center of the word Pontypool being typo which was a bit interesting for me, maybe it was not meant to be understood?

Halloween

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I never found slasher films as scary as any other type of horror, the hundreds of slashers I’ve watched trained me to half cover my eyes at the right moments, they’ve all become a little bit too predictable. But of course, I can’t say the same about the originals.

John Carpenter’s Halloween had me sleeping in between my parents for a week and apparently it was not just because I was around 7 when I saw it. Halloween is dubbed as the ultimate slasher film next to psycho, and I agree. Rob Zombie’s remake had the same effect on me as my 7 year old self.  The opening scenes alone were unsettling; the casting of the young Micheal Myers contributed much of the disturbing factor to the movie. He was described as cute in class, and I could not disagree more. That kid really did look like a psychopath, his acting was so believable,  I half believed that what I was watching was real life.

It was hard to say what I felt about Micheal’s character (other than the obvious fear of course). There were parts where I hoped for a little conscience in him and I was hopelessly rooting for him to snap out of his skilling spree  the whole time. But he was hardly human and there was nothing that could have helped him, his doctor was just wasting his time. I think many people would attribute Micheal’s instinct to kill to the horrible family background he had, but I think he was just made of pure evil, the family was just an addition. What made Micheal’s character so good was that even though we knew nothing could stop him from being a monster, some people (like me) still hoped he had a little good in him even if it was reserved for his little sister alone. 

Everyone was skeptical about a Halloween remake because nobody wants to tamper with the classics but Rob Zombie did a brilliant job. The film almost felt like the original with its almost sepia tone all throughout and it had this ‘old school’ feel without trying too hard.  

Stories about psychopaths are always scary because of their possibility to be true, somewhere out there, there is someone like Micheal and that’s what I was thinking the time, even to the point of feeling affected and sorry whenever someone would get killed.  Something one typically feels during a drama love story not a horror film.  

I say Rob Zombie’s Halloween is a good addition to the greats but I can’t say I enjoyed it, I was completely stressed the whole movie and I couldn’t wait for it to end.  I’ve never been as horrified as I was watching a horror film in a long time (Not the Deadgirl kind of horrified) and I guess it was a good thing.

REC2

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When movies become hits, writers, directors, producers and every other person who get a pinch out of the income they make, think it’s okay to force a story out of the ending of the first movie. Of course, since the intentions of the second or any other succeeding movies aren’t always as pure as the first time, it is bound to not be as good as the first which is NOT what I can say about the second REC movie.

Never have I seen a movie that tackles possession as a zombie apocalypse/virus kind of thing all in one go. I guess the writers tried to deviate from being typical and although some might think they were trying too hard to be different, the triple threat monster worked for me.

 The ending of the first movie was the news reporter woman left in the room with the possessed zombie girl and it all went blank. I thought she was dead and I was already settled with that idea but finding out there was a REC 2 gave me hope, maybe she was alive, a good ending perhaps.

The first movie did not fully reveal the real cause of the zombie outbreak in the building, they showed the room of the priest but there was also a mention of a virus, so the whole situation was not explained. The difference of Rec and Rec2 for me was that what that the story line become more important. As I mentioned, dialogue was almost unnecessary during the first movie because it was all running and panting, I did not care to know what caused the virus, all I wanted was for the people to escape. The second movie on the other hand focused more on answering the question they were asking from the start: how did everything begin.

When the priest was persistent about there being a cure, I was hopeful again that the ending was going to be a happily ever after.  But as soon as the reporter (whom I thought was dead) arrived, I knew that was impossible. Again, my intentions for the movie shifted to finding out what was going on instead of wishing for a good ending. Together with my shifting of intentions for the characters of the movie, the point of view of the cameras also changed. What I liked about the movie was that when you don’t know what is going on, you know your questions are going to be answered as soon as the camera view changed.

Overall, Rec2 was enjoyable as the first but the significant difference was that the scare factor was less during this movie because almost all throughout the movie, the point of view was that of a man, and a macho policeman at that.

MAY we be friends?

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Upon learning that May was about a weird girl with a doll, of course I expected a film like Chuckie but considering the usual predictability of horror films, I was completely wrong. The doll in a story was not a murderous doll, in fact, it seemed completely harmless. 

Because May was born with a lazy eye she did not have any friends. She ends up living her whole life with no one else but the doll her mother gave to her as a child. To add to the almost zero human interaction, her mom forbade her to let the doll out of her glass box, even the inanimate object had a barrier to protect itself from May, and for good reason.

Having lived a life shunned by everyone, May was bound to grow up more than just a weird girl. Whenever anyone paid the slightest bit of attention to her she got attached and obsessive.  No one was there to guide poor May on her pursuit of the man she’s been stalking so she’s goes ahead and pursues him the only way she knew how, by being herself.

Two Characters in particular had the unfortunate fate to have personal encounters with May, the man she was obsessed with and her lesbian co-worker.  When she starts having relationships with these two people, both man and lesbian took May’s awkward innocence and strange personality as something they could take advantage of. Little did they know that May’s puppy dog look was completely opposite of what she was, she bites, literally.

The movie began with May being the protagonist but slowly we find out that May was the one to be feared. Rarely do we fear for the life of a Man in horror films, the female gaze was always something searching and innocent. Although there certainly was something searching and innocent about May’s intentions, May’s gaze was not to be compared to any normal human being, she was hardly human herself.

 In other horror films, we see women as the damsels in distress always needing to be rescued from the monsters chasing them. But what happens when the thing you have to be saved from Is the voice in your head (or the voice from your doll) or yourself?  May was a monster to everyone she encountered and also to herself but the sad part was that she had no idea. In her mind, everyone had a barrier to protect themselves from her and her lazy eye.  All she wanted to do was to break it and by doing so, she literally tore people apart and created the super doll of her dreams, with all her favorite parts.

Ginger Snaps

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A lot of people will agree that there’s nothing more frightening and bizarre as a girl on her period. And Ginger Snaps reinforces that statement quite well.

Ginger and Brigette were shown to be the most extreme of the social outcasts, they obviously needed a shower(The fact that the wolf who only attacked dogs attacked Ginger must say something about her hygiene.) , they talked about killing themselves/dying together as a past time and they were too old to not have their periods yet.

When Ginger finally gets her period, it was like the end of the world for her sister, she became more of a monster than she already was and she finally had one thing that they didn’t share just yet.

Ginger as a warewolf, was a symbolism of what becomes of some women when they get their periods and she embodied all of all of the extremes, she completely transformed into a different person, became extremely hormonal, she grew hair in weird places and she wanted to kill everyone just because. (all of which can be true in real life)

Of all the movies we’ve seen in class this, Ginger Snapswas the furthest from horror. The effects, the wolf and Ginger’s super human strength was laughable. I don’t know if it’s because it was made in 2000,  i might have thought otherwise if i watched it then, but to me, it was not meant to be all that scary. In fact, i enjoyed it more as a comedy,  not the usual dark heavy movie i’m used to seeing in class.

Even though i viewed it as funny, there were still parts that i found unsettling. What was most disturbing to me is the relationship between the two sisters and at the latter part even the mother. I wouldn’t know the extent of what sisterly love should be but i think to clean up after your sister mangles numerous people is a little too much. From the start, i saw that it was not just an innocent sibling-ly love, it was a dark creepy sort of attachment that was a far cry from the bond of normal families. This apparently was inherited from the mother who was so willing to leave her husband and life behind when she finds out her daughters are murderers.

What i enjoyed most about this movie is how it touches the topic of growing up which strangely, by making it a not-so- horror-film, lightened it up quite a bit.