Horror films . . . I dig them, always have and always will. That being said, I have known some people pretty hardcore into the horror scene that put my love of the genre to shame. One of the things that many of these people always did was turn the month Halloween falls in, October, into some sort of tribute to their love each and every year. I decided to give this a shot.
So for the next month, I will be watching at least one horror movie a day, made up of all sorts of the sub-genres. There will be classics, monsters, pyschological, sci-fi infused, spooky, creepy, slasher, and all sorts of other types of tales. Some I have seen before, others I have not. About my only rule is if I have watched the film in the past 2 years, I am leaving those off. Sorry Tucker And Dale Vs Evil, you are a fantastic movie, but just watched you a few months back.
So last week I started with a recommendation from a gent on Twitter of going back and watching the 90′s movie classic Troll 2. Something a bit fun and trashy that would be a nice leadup to several weeks of terror induced nightmares. It was campy and silly, and just as awful as I remember it being even when I was a kid. But still . . . it entertained me and was a great time.
I do have a few more rules besides the one above on my selections, and those are that I am going to try and post a small bit about all the movies (and maybe a few horror stories or comics I read as well), but I am going to try and keep the spoilers down. Now, a movie like Troll 2 isn’t something I am afraid of spoiling, but there are other movies out there that rely on key moments to work their magic, so those will not be talked about as much, and I will try to keep things vague.
So what do I start this horrorfest with? Well a movie I haven’t seen since it was newly released DVD several years back, and that is the claustrophobia-inducing film The Descent (2006), which should not be confused with the Rosario Dawson film Descent, which is much more terrifying, but in a very different way. Anyone who has seen it will know what I mean, and anyone who has not probably should stay away unless you are very adventurous in your movie watching.
So some kick-ass, adrenaline junkie ladies descend into a cave for a retreat, have some serious issues inside the cave, avoid falling rocks and swinging across chasms, get lost and attacked by monsters. Boom, you got that from the trailer.
Having watched this before, I recall it being very heavy on trying to invoke claustrophobia into the viewer, and on the second watch, while it is still therein spades, it was not as much as I remember, although one scene is so effective that there are people I know that have a really hard time watching that part of the film. Monsters, blood and gore . . . cool . . . but watching someone have one of the most realistic panic attacks you will ever see in a very cramped corridor is brain swirling.
The trailer also downplays a very significant psychological part to the movie in the family members one of the characters has lost, and this is shown brilliantly throughout the film, in ways you wouldn’t think a horror film would. One of the times it was as simple as another character mentioning wanting to have a ton of kids, and just a quick flash of emotion across the face of the character dealing with this trauma. Brilliant.
But it is not all so subtle, there are disturbing scenes of characters breaking bones and having to have it reset, and other things bound to churn the stomachs of some of the more gentle of the viewers.
So, how good is the movie? Pretty darn good. It does a lot of bold things that set it apart from other horror movies,but then to my surprise does fall into some of the cliches I thought it was trying to avoid in being a much smarter film, which knocks it down a bit.
Not that I am against the cliches or don’t think smart films can have them, they just were not handled as well as the original pieces in the film. I get it, the supposed dead monster in the water is going to come to life and lash out at you and you have to finish it off again. Horror 101. But it also falls into the “all creatures in horror films don’t care about their safety and will stop at nothing like a Terminator to make sure the pretty girls are dead” schtick. Not every monster needs to be the honey-badger to be scary.
So over-all I am giving THE DESCENT (2006) a very enthusiastic B+ and highly recommend watching it! Not sure what will be watched tomorrow, but I have a ton of recommendations and loans from fiends, so I will not be low on choices.