Friday, August 27
The Reef (2010)
It all looked so promising, starting with a good suspenseful animal horror movie. But unfortunately it was neither horror nor a lot of animal in it. I should have been warned by the fact that it was directed by the same guy who did “Black Water”,a crocodile “horror” film with real crocodiles in Australia. Only it didn’t work for me. The biggest problem were the characters I didn’t care about. It was the same with this movie. There was none which stuck out as really interesting. It’s not a good idea to introduce them for 30-45 minutes without much happening and the after that even less happening. Of course the director tried to make you feel the tension of being in the water and surrounded by… one, yes, only one shark. Only this doesn’t work if you never get the feeling that the shark looks in the direction of the people. It felt completely detached from the rest of the movie, and if only the sense of dread is the only thing the director relies on that is imho very, very little to go on. After a while you start taking the scenes not as serious as they are meant to be, i.e. they become ridiculous. Sure you can have that approach with almost any movie, but there’s always a reason behind it. It’s not that I don’t like animal horror movie. I love them, and I found “Open Water” terrifying even though some people found it terrifyingly boring. “The Reef” simply didn’t work, so that I was hoping the shark would get every last one of the annoying characters, as the animal made the impression on screen to not being involved in the whole thing. I guess it would have been a better idea to have watched the re-run of “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil”…
After one bad movie I thought it wouldn’t hurt to watch another one, especially since the imdb gave it a rating under 4/10. But it was shorter than the Korean revenge drama-thriller “Bedevilled” which was on at the same time, and I wasn’t really in the mood for some Asian rape stuff or an Asian movie in general. So I found myself pleasantly surprised when “Shank” turned out to be better than expected. Not only did it have some memorable characters, it also had some interesting cinematography, so that you saw some videogame visuals (of some badly done 3D models I have to say) and some cool music. Of course the story was forgettable, but as another revenge movie, especially with kids doing the battles, it was in a weird way entertaining and worth watching more than once. Sure it’s not to be compared to “Boyz ‘n the Hood” or other milieu studies, but not every gangsta movie has to be about real life drama. After all it’s set in the future, and as you can see some statistics during the movie which show how the crime rate rises… it’s not that far away from today’s society.
Oh well, I should have stayed with the British cinema and watched “Tony”. But then again you don’t want to miss the centerpiece, do you? It’s not that it was a bad movie, it was good in some ways, but then again it wasn’t in others. The biggest problem was again how the characters and story were presented. The former weren’t really fleshed out that well, except maybe for one or two. The latter simply wasn’t as captivating as some scenes. So it was all about parents’ fear about their children’s involvement in the world of cyberspace. The movie achieved what it wanted, I guess, if what it wanted was ambiguity, that you didn’t learn much about the characters. It just felt a bit superficial most of the time. All in all a movie which had potential but fell flat on its face because of the execution.
Black Death (2010)
Okay, I first wanted to watch “IP Man 2” as you usually know what you get with Asian movies where fighting is involved. But then again maybe I wasn’t in the mood for reading subtitles, so I went for “Black Death”, a middle ages drama-horror-whatever mix. And again as I didn’t expect much, I got a pretty decent movie. The characters and story might not have been the best, but then again what is in this genre? It was a bit strange that this movie was shown at the Fantasy Filmfest, because only one week later or so it was shown in the public cinemas. Anyway, suffice it to say, the atmosphere was quite good, the acting was okay and the finale was just amazing. It’s funny how the last 30 minutes of a movie can make you like it. Usually it’s the other way around, that the ending screws things up. In this case it didn’t, there was even a nice twist and some more than decent acting, even though Sean Bean couldn’t deliver, which was a bit of a disappointment.
All in all the third day of the film festival wasn’t that bad, but then again it also wasn’t that good either. For a Friday that’s not a good thing, but who knows what the other days would bring?