Queen & Slim
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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It's about a forest that kills you. ...zzzzzzzz... Maybe a documentary would have been a better way to tackle this subject matter, because as a horror movie, the premise is fairly limited as to what you can do, except have things jump out of trees every so often. Natalie Dormer does what she can. The film's three writers however seemed about as bored as the audience watching this will be.
Only Lovers Left Alive presents its vampires like ordinary people. They simply exist like normal human beings, adapting with the times, mastering the art of moving around the world before sunrise, and have their own ways of obtaining blood, which does not involve killing or turning humans into their kind. Vampires have never been depicted this way.
You really get absorbed in their lifestyle. There's no violence at all in the film. Sure, there's blood and people die (off-screen), but the film is more about how the vampires feel about their lives. Adam and Eve frequently refer to humans as "zombies" because they perceive the race is entering into a phase where all inspiration or innovation is gone and human beings just exist for the sake of existing. This makes the two of them question whether they even want to stay alive for the next hundred to thousand years because what would there be to look forward to? This is a totally engrossing film that blends music, romance and drama to create a unique mythology in which vampires exist in a human world. It uses the art of film as a language to influence its audience to think.
Oculus is freaky. That's all you need to know. Now go see it.
If you want me to go in more detail, I won't. The narrative progression explains everything you need to know and there's nary a plot hole in sight. The performances are solid and the story is unique. Jumping through different time periods, Oculus chronicles the story of a mirror that siblings Kaylie and Tim think is haunted and is responsible for the murder of their parents. Tim spent eleven years in prison undergoing psychiatric evaluation for being convicted of this murder. But Kaylie knows the truth, or at least she thinks she does. This mirror has a crazy defense mechanism in that it can possess you, make you do things or transport you to places without you being aware. The jumping through different time periods goes a little into excessive hyperdrive in the third act but it's still intense. There is some predictability, but overall, this is a well made horror film. Mike Flanagan shows great control over the visual style and the story, and the actors completely sell the story.
This film is just as scary and as enjoyably effective as The Conjuring.
One problem that Dracula Untold faces with its portrayal of vampires is that it doesn't really create an interesting mythology for these creatures. Terrified that the Turkish army will conquer his small village, Vlad strikes a deal to be turned into a vampire creature and thus, present the strength to single handedly destroy his opponents. But the audience doesn't get a sense of where vampires come from, why they exist in the first place, and most importantly, why does the thirst for blood turn them into senseless killing machines.
Dracula Untold is a PG-13 film that is really just about staging fun action and cool special effects. Sadly, it does neither. Thousands of people die in Dracula Untold but the fight scenes are badly staged and cut too quickly so you don't see any blood or anyone actually dying from a wound. The special effects aren't atrocious but nothing special. Every time the sun shines down on a vampire, the skin burning effect looks silly. The vampires also look heavily computer generated, bringing to mind Van Helsing as opposed to Interview with the Vampire.
Fourteen months to conceive, write, develop, shoot, edit, and release a film is not a lot of time and Annabelle is proof of that. It's a rushed, underdeveloped, and completely ineffective attempt to cash in on a new prospect. It takes one aspect from The Conjuring that was effectively creepy for the ten minutes it appeared and tries to develop it into an entire feature to which it fails epically. And there's a lot more wrong than that. The acting feels is low quality porn caliber. The scares are pretty much lame jump scares that are predictable as all hell. The story makes no sense and the dialogue is horrendous. This is an actual line from a cop trying to console Mia when she tells him she's seeing strange things: "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." What the hell does that mean? Believe me when I say I don't even think Daniel Day Lewis could have made the film's lines believable. And just in case you don't believe me, the director is John R. Leonetti who also made Mortal Kombat: Annihilation and The Butterfly Effect 2. Annabelle is equally as atrocious.