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Wednesday, 6 April 2016


WEW WEW WEW WEW WEW WEW don't panic, Mr Mainwaring!

For some reason, Blogger has stopped sending my posts to my Facebook page, so this is a test to see if some fancy Internet magic I've worked actually, er, works. TALLY HO!

In perhaps not un-related alarming news, I keep thinking I've got bugs on my skin. I don't think it helps when weird tiny flies appear in my room and try and get in my ears. That actually just happened, I'm not going nuts.

Imagine if everybody started to think they had bugs on them? That'd be weird. Have you seen BUG, the William Friedkin film? I can't remember if it's based on a stage play or just feels like one, but it's incredible. It's about a former soldier who's convinced he was part of an experiment involving bugs in his blood. You know as the viewer that he's nuts, but...he's so convinced this is true that you get the sense he's actually starting to make it true. It's a fascinating study in paranoia and insanity - what I love about it so much is that it's about how the power of belief is a very powerful thing, and that madness can be spread in different ways.

I watched a new film recently called POD that is supposed to touch on similar ideas ie a solider convinced he was involved in weird experiments and who now claims to have something in his basement. It's enjoyable, but lacks the nuance and sheer storytelling mastery of BUG. For example, in POD, the soldier is all twitchy shouts and incoherent rambling; in BUG he's all fierce intensity and unassailable certainty. I know which one I find more frightening.

Something else that POD made me think about is how it's part of this trend (I'm calling it that, but I don't know if it actually is) of new/modern indie films - usually horrors - that are decent films hiding a really good film inside. Typically, they give you a bunch of ideas or start to lay the groundwork for something impressive, then kind of give up and go an easier route. Or, to put it more simply, they feel like they need one or two more script revisions.

POD is enjoyable and has some cool ideas, but doesn't spend time on real suspense or tension. Every conclusion feels like it's arrived at pretty quickly. If, for instance, the crazy soldier had been portrayed as more grounded and remarkably serious, it would make it a lot more creepy and unsettling if he's saying "There's something terrible in the basement, but you can't see it because I can't risk letting it escape." That's reasonable. So what is it? "A monster." Right. But I can't see it? "No. It might escape." And you caught it? "Yes, but I think it wanted to be caught. I think I'm still part of a military experiment" etc etc etc.

WE ARE STILL HERE is another one. In it, a grieving  couple move into a haunted house with a dark link to the nearby town. All the really interesting 'history' stuff is rushed through in the film and shown through pretend headlines at the end. Surely it would have made for a more effective scare/growing sense of unease if the main characters did some digging and came to the slow realisation that something is terribly wrong in the town, not just their house?

And lastly, I'm inclined to mention STARRY EYES. In it, a desperate aspiring actress gets involved in some freaky movie cult and undergoes a drastic change. It has a creepy/disgusting build-up to...a bit of an anti-climax. Then a sort of 'real' ending that really feels like it could go on another half an hour and be better for it.

These are all films I enjoyed, but left them feeling like they could have so easily been a little better. Honestly, it's like GHOST SHIP all over again.

WEW WEW WEW WEW panic over! Back to our regularly scheduled whatevers!

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