What is a review without a rating system? Right, I guess I forgot about that. As I already used the imdb (Internet Movie Data Base)-links, I can also use their x/10 thing. So here you have my votes for the movies I watched on the first day:
The Pack: 8/10
Devil’s Playground: 3/10
Thursday, August 26 2010
I’m sure this was the nicest movie you could get of that whole festival. Not only in terms of the actress (Emma Caulfield) I liked from the Buffy series (even though she played a much snappier role in the TV-series), the term “nice” applied to almost anything: the music, the setting, the scenes. But this doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing, because it kind of fit with the story and what the movie wanted to make you feel. Everything looks so “nice” because it’s first and foremost a Utopian world where relationships are formed by those timer watches people are carrying around. This society abandonded all romance because of the failed attempts in the past, resulting in broken marriages and what have you.
The story itself wasn’t that interesting, or the acting wasn’t that good, but the whole idea and some scenes made you think about the “nice”-ness, like how close are we today to use this technology to avoid disappointment in love. Maybe people are so insecure (myself included) that we need those technology tools to feel safer? It’s quite an uncomfortable feeling and made me think throughout the movie. Of course that’s a good thing. Only problem was the execution of the idea: sometimes the movie felt as if it had to include some slapstick elements or silly moments to get more accepted by the normal romantic comedy crowd. Still a “nice” movie to watch, even without any blood, gore or death scenes.
Detour (original title: Snarveien) (2009)
I didn’t expect much of this movie, especially as it looked and read like your typical slasher. But then again at least you know what you get, and I wasn’t really in the mood to watch another Asian swordfighting-western-mix (14 Blades) which was on in the other theater hall. As with the opener “The Pack” I was pleasantly surprised. The story may not be completely new and it has a bit of every horror genre cliché, but it served its purpose to be suspenseful, with some really convincing old woman character. I could understand how it made some people angry, because it took its time before something really dramatic happened. Usually not really a good idea if you only have a running time of 77 minutes. But then again you can have other movies like “Devil’s Playground” which lasted 20 minutes longer and felt like 3 hours of agonizing silliness and boredom. It’s interesting to note that “The Pack” was not more than 81 minutes and was entertaining.
I guess I still haven’t said what made this Norwegian horror movie entertaining, but maybe it was the atmosphere and that you didn’t know what to expect it to be and you wanted to know what happens next. Sometimes these two things can be two very important things in a film.
Hidden (original title: Skjult) (2009)
I don’t know what made me decide to watch this instead of Neil Marshall’s newest movie “Centurion”, but whatever it was deserves a kick in the nuts, balls or whatever it has. Maybe it had to do with the atmosphere of a festival where you want to watch movies which might not get released on DVD or Blu-Ray soon (or ever). Well, this one may find its fans in the arthouse section, but for me it was plain boring. At first I was kind of intrigued with the idea of a man who remembers his past which is filled with violent visions of torture and pain because he lived through a life of hell when being held captive by a child molesting woman. But the scenes made less and less sense so that I was asking myself what the hell he was actually doing on the set? Did he have a script or did the director just say “Go into that room and play with… stuff. We’ll make the lights flicker and… that’s it.” Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but you never really had a sense of what was going on. A bit like David Lynch, only that Lynch’s movies usually have more levels of interpretation and you can either ignore them and enjoy the weirdness or write essays on them, discuss them. This movie seemed to try to be weird, artistic and subtle, but failed in all categories most of the time.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
I have to say I had a quick glimpse at the trailer and thought it would be another “Hatchet” fun movie, maybe with some Troma acting. But how wrong could I be? Okay, it might not have been the best acting and not all of the jokes worked, but the whole idea of turning the Kids-are-hunted-by-Rednecks formula upside down was pure genius. It could have gone wrong like so many other parodies, but just like the excellent “Behind The Mask”, it was just plain fun to watch. A definite festival highlight. I especially liked the way how the music and camera changed when the kids were shown trying to figure out what Tucker and Dale were up to. It felt like two movies which complemented each other, and with quite a lot of gore.
Sometimes pictures can tell more than words can say:
So to summarize the day: It started with one of the nicest movies of the festival (a Dystopian picture of society disguised in a romantic comedy), went to some surprisingly good and surprisingly bad Norwegian movies and concluded with an absolute must-see festival movie. Not too bad for a second day.