Between artwork mishaps and title changes, distributors are getting worse at promotion. I understand their target audience perspective and get the logistics behind it, but that doesn’t change how dumb it is.
In the beginning of the year a film was circulating festivals with the title Nymph. That recently changed once the film was picked up and distributed in the US as Killer Mermaid. Of course the title Killer Mermaid is bland and straight to the point, but the title is the spoiler. I was pissed. While watching the film we are anticipating a mermaid and that’s fine, but it actually isn’t revealed until nearly the end of the film. The fact that it is a mermaid is meant to be the twist, but we are flat out told what it is in the goddamn title and the cover of the DVD.
The vampire movie renaissance, of which Let Me In was the high point and Priest may have been the low point, appeared to be drawing to a close. Then in late 2013, Director Jim Jarmusch (Coffee and Cigarettes) came out with Only Lovers Left Alive. This moody, atmospheric, bohemian tale pleased both critics and fans alike, especially the built-in fanbases of its leads, Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston. However, underneath the dark rock-guitar score, the musings about art, and the familiar vampire lore, there’s something more going on. Only Lovers Left Alive is, at its heart, a movie about marriage.
Cover art for horror films these days can be very misleading. That could be said for every genre but I think horror is the one that stands out the most since it’s the one I’m way more passionate about. The cover of The Midnight Game is one of those covers you most certainly would look past at a rental store or Wal-Mart. It is generic and doesn’t grab you at all, even giving off a little torture porn vibe because it looks like a pentagram is carved into a woman’s back. These types of things make me want to pass but still, I will watch anything. I’ve been misled by covers before and I was definitely misled by this one.
Found footage films are getting more eyerolls every year, it seems. I’m a huge fan of this subgenre but I will be the first to admit there are some films out there that are not that great. Also, the ones that are not that great are the more popular ones for some reason and that I just don’t get.
I feel compelled to tell the people who are reading this that a couple years ago I wrote a review for a film called Bloody Homecoming. If you pay attention to my writing and you know anything about me you know that I don’t trash films in reviews. Well, I didn’t trash Bloody Homecoming but I did speak my mind about the film. Bottom line: It wasn’t good and the review was much on the negative side.
Most of us still love our old action stars. For me, Jeff Speakman, Brandon Lee, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are my favorites and have been for many years. Throughout the course of the late ’90s and today, most of these guys passed their peak and are doing a lot of DTV stuff. Yes, they do have a film in theaters here or there but not as solid as the films they did in the ’80s. With Sly doing The Expendables franchise, it has given these guys a chance to strike gold again on the big screen, and in a corny and cheesy way they succeed.
There are many elements to making a decent sci-fi/horror/apocalyptic independent film. Money is the biggest evil when it comes to this type of thing. For one, you need good effects. You need money for that. Well, if that doesn’t play in your favor you need to make up for it through other means. Since you don’t have money you can’t have A-listers so you need to find the best of the best in the indie community. Secondly, since you can’t have tons of locations you need to have a badass screenplay with a fresh story as well. Many other things follow suit in this equation like well-written characters and all that.
I find it harder these days to write reviews of films that I thoroughly enjoy, and easier to review the films that I think are OK or not the greatest. Under The Skin will be in my Top 10 for this year and will not move from that spot.
Lucky McKee has been on my radar ever since I saw his first feature May and I’ve made sure to follow his career closely. After May, McKee did a small film called The Woods, which I’ve been a fan of for a while and which still holds up. Then, came a thriller called Red that represented a change of pace for McKee, although it still had many horror elements. In 2011 McKee shocked audiences with The Woman, which was brutal, beautiful, and gave him the chance to show his true talents. The Woman is a well-shot horror film that focuses on a more technical and storyline-driven aspect rather than a ton of brutality. Now McKee has another horror film under his belt called All Cheerleaders Die.
These days it feels some films are made because of their “twists.” Please stop. Twists are fun and they work some of the time, but if you have a cool minor idea for a twist, please don’t build a very subpar feature around it.