Hanna 2011 (Mini Movie Review)

So, I watched Hanna (2011) (directed by Joe Wright) yesterday and am pleased to report it lived up to my expectations.

Not sure why it made me reminisce on a few older films, as if it paid homage to tiny aspects of each; Run Lola Run (1998) – the fast paced style and the running of course, The Last Samurai (2003) – training in the woods, Under the Mud (2006) – no idea why this came to mind when watching Hanna, perhaps the vaguely surreal inclinations within the movie style, The Fifth Element (1997) – the idea of captivity and experimentation, Universal Soldier (1992) – genetic interventions, Leon (1994) – assassination and the father/daughter relationship, The Bourne Identity (2002) – intelligence, pursuit, and some similar looking filming locations. The list could go on, because Hanna made me think of films that I like, and was in no way trying to imitate them. I know a film is good when it contains elements of some of my older favourites. It made me think of Nikita, and also a book called Shade’s Children, a futuristic world where children are not allowed live past their 14th birthday.

In the film Hanna she is the young lead, trained to be a perfect assassin, and having to fend for herself when sent on a mission to end it all. Saoirse Ronan is brilliant in every film she appears in, but here we get to see her full talents flourish, she is so comfortable immersing herself in a character, yet easily makes the audience uncomfortable with her disconcerting stare suiting her character perfectly. Hanna was well cast, Eric Bana as Hanna’s father, Cate Blanchett as a villain. It all tied together perfectly in a dark, subtly surreal journey hinting at the disparity between fairy-tale fiction and grim reality. Hence, Hanna’s attentions to the Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which emerge in the plot throughout. The film gripped my attention, and forced me to emote conflictingly, as tumultuously as Hanna’s emotions and adaption to the outside world were portrayed. The soundtrack, thanks to the Chemical Brothers, was intense, complimentary, industrial, electro, akin to Nine Inch Nails in parts, and gave the film a modern edge. It added to the stylistic shooting, and artsy cinematography, at points making it feel like a well made music video, but without the music detracting from the plot.

Go see it!

Killer monkeys?

Monkey Shines

Image by ProfessorMortis via Flickr

If you haven’t seen Monkey Shines (1988), then you definitely need to. This George A. Romero film is hilarious. It was a box office flop, mainly due to Orion Pictures re-cutting it in studio against Romero’s wishes. But ultimately, what do you expect of a film about a killer monkey?

It’s one of those films that is so bad that it’s good. It tells the tale of a quadriplegic man whose best friend gives him a pet monkey to take care of him. The specially trained monkey also happens to be a lab experiment, injected with all manner of things to increase its intellect. The bond between the wheelchair bound master, and super clever monkey, means they share a telepathic connection. The monkey can feel all of its master’s resentment to people whom have wronged him….and monkey has the power to do something about it.

Below is a sketch I did today:

I killed your partner, so The Tournament begins

After watching The Tournament(2009) I am left mostly unaffected. But the film wasn’t trying to be emotionally powerful, so I suppose this near impartiality is acceptable.

It’s what you expect an average gun-slinging assassin movie to be; without any of the awesomeness the Kill Bill movies had, but with a prompt pacing, vendettas, and a slight twist. Despite being predictable, and not exceeding any expectations, it was nicely cast, acceptably made, and there were no drastic errors.

DON’T watch if you’re looking for something stylistically new, emotionally/intellectually engaging, or rivetting enough to hold you on the edge of your seat.

DO watch if you appreciate guns, lots of them, and explosions. Also if you’re familiar with The Vampire Diaries, you would be pleased to know that Ian Somerhalder plays an assassin called Miles Slade. I do genuinely think he’s a really good actor, and of course Kelly Hu and Robert Carlyle are great.

Erm dude, where’s your skin? Cabin Fever 2 and American Movie

American Movie

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Cabin Fever 2 was just what I expected; boring, amateur, and dragged on too long. That having been said, the animation/cartoon snippets in the title sequence and at the end were very good. I also liked the gore, and enjoy seeing bratty High School teens die (who doesn’t?).

The best part by far was Mark Borchardt as Herman the cab driver. At first I thought I was going mad imagining that it was him, but no it’s definitely Borchardt from American Movie (you have to see it if you haven’t already, truly one of the most hilarious films).

In Cabin Fever 2 he just basically plays himself, he is such a character in reality. “Dude” being the most heavily used word in his vocabulary. He belongs in way more movies, don’t you think?

You think Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is just hype?

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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I deliberately resisted reading the whole book before watching; I read enough chapters to love the book, but avoid clouding my judgement of the film. I was hoping for another Swedish gem, something I could enjoy as much as I loved Let The Right One In (not the remake).

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (“Män som hatar kvinnor“), was directed by Niels Arden Oplev and based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. I loved the story telling within the film, the tale itself is irresistible, as is the heroine Lisbeth Salander (played by Noomi Rapace). But again that is mainly credit to the book, not necessarily the filmmakers.

I admit the film was atmospheric, held my attention, and the story seduced me. But some chunks of the tale felt like they were included only to appease the book’s fans. For example, we probably didn’t need such routine intervals of Lisbeth’s past. Her past is vital of course, it grants context, but so much of it added nothing to the plot, and felt like it was there just to break the pacing between sub-plot and main-plot.

We could have instead been teased with briefer hints and flashes to her past. But I suppose they wanted to find a balance between her tortured past and tortured present. It felt too prescribed, too calculative, trying too hard to force us to see everything of what she is, rather than letting us interpret. I suppose I found it mildly patronising.

I was not offended by the more graphic scenes, which I won’t reveal as I don’t like spoilers. I actually liked the fact that she was portrayed as a strong, independent female. Her dynamic with the journalist Mikael Blomkvist (played by Michael Nyqvist) was effective, and there wasn’t anything startling wrong with the film. It just wasn’t everything I had hoped for.

I should refer back to the film I mentioned before. Hoyte Van Hoytema was responsible for the cinematography in Let the Right One In, his style is subtle but irresistible. Whereas The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, despite not being poorly filmed, certainly had no distinctive style or anything visually new to offer.

I think The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is living proof that the books are always better than the film. But I am glad they made it into a film, because it means more people are encouraged to read the books, which I have found to be excellent. I would recommend watching this film, but don’t do so if you’re expecting something groundbreaking or revolutionary.

Eat shit? The Human Centipede

Promotional poster for The Human Centipede (Fi...

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One of my best friends, Marie, stayed over this week and watched The Human Centipede (directed by
Tom Six) with me.

The worst (best) part was Dr Heiter, played by Dieter Laser. He was truly creepy looking, and his acting made you feel like perhaps he was this scary in reality too. The film was about his being a surgeon; he used to separate conjoined twins, but then becomes fixated with joining living things.

Naturally, this leads to his ideal of a human centipede, connected by sewing their mouths to each others butts, so that they share one digestive track. Implausible in the long-term, and hilarious, so I was glad when one of the three victims died from infection. That was the most medically accurate part.

The film was not scary, but hilarious. I just couldn’t stop laughing at what idiots the characters are. One of the two female leads had the chance to escape, but hides instead of smashing the window to escape straight away. And the Japanese guy, played by Akihiro Kitamura, who is also a captive, actually stabs Dr Heiter with a scalpel, but only in the foot and leg. He goes crazy and bites him, but instead of using his chance to kill the crazy Doctor, or knock him unconscious at least, he chooses to just attempt to run away (difficult with two girls surgically attached).

I had no real sympathy for the characters because their survival instincts were poor, I like it when characters truly try their best and are beaten down, but these three were mainly moronic and therefore deserved it. The very few chances they had to escape they wasted completely.

As ridiculous as this film was, it’s worth watching because it’s one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long time, and wasn’t too badly shot.

The Wolfman, Ruthbug’s Review

The Wolfman (2010 film)

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I’ve decided to at last review The Wolfman, directed by Joe Johnston.

It lacked the charm of older supernatural movies, but offered a modern take, and the atmosphere was mildly reminiscent of Sleepy Hollow.

Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro made great performances, and had obvious chemistry. Needless to say Anthony Hopkins was on usual top form.

Best Parts: 1) In the forest when Del Toro (in wolf form) catches up with the gentleman stuck in a bog, the man tries to shoot himself in the head before Del Toro kills him painfully, but there are no bullets left, so he has his head savagely sliced off by the wolfman.

2) I loved the trippy montage within the asylum.

Visually impressive, well cast and atmospheric, but it didn’t grip my attention the whole time, and I am still trying to work out exactly why. It felt like there was an ingredient missing, or perhaps it was just too long, like not enough butter stretched over too much bread. The plot twists did not feel very surprising, and I do not think the film offered anything new to me. Still, I don’t have any serious complaints, and think it’s worth watching.

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Multiple personalities and Shelter

Shelter (2009 film)

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[contains mild spoilers]

It’s nearly 4am and I can honestly say I haven’t been this spooked by a film in a long time. I just watched Shelter (2010), directed by Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein. And written by Michael Cooney.

Julianne Moore, whom I adore, plays a forensic psychiatrist whose patient (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) has multiple personality disorder…or so she thinks.

The fact that each of his multiple ‘personalities’ are that of actual murder victims, causes her to question herself. An inward battle between science and religion reigns as she tears through experimentation and research, finding nothing that makes sense to her.

What starts out as a psychological thriller becomes supernatural horror, which was quite interesting as it works as both. Some people complained about the ‘switch’, but in actuality there was no transition needed; it was always evident that this was more than just a man with multiple identities. Maybe some people are just a little slow in the brain tank. The filmmakers even showed the supernatural darkness very early on in the plot, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind other than Julianne Moore herself.

I was impressed with Jonathan Rhys Meyers’s handling of the multiple roles, especially when he had to behave as a little girl crying after her wounded mother. He had the hardest task of balancing the many characters that made his part.

The film had a subtle style which never intruded on the plot; every voice over or scene transition was smooth, and the music haunting in all the places it needed to be. I did wonder why only the spine was fully changed when each of Meyers’s identities switched, whereas everything else was left the same, but I guess that doesn’t need to be explained. The convenient thing about supernatural genres is that they minimise the need to explain what is synonymously unexplainable, or without reason.

8/10 is a very fair rating I think. But I wonder if maybe I was only so jumpy during because I am sleep deprived, and alone in a cold dark house.

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Seven Deadly Sins, I must be purified

Last night I knocked back a few gins and stumbled across Seven Deadly Sins, the Canadian mini TV series that first aired on Lifetime Movie Network. Set in two parts, it’s meant to be based on the popular Seven Deadly Sins novels Lust, Greed, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth and Pride by Robin Wasserman.

I have to admit I was expecting to hate it, and part of me does. But overall I just can’t resist the comedic indulgence into their teenage “highschool” dramas; love triangles/pentagons/octagons, especially where the twists got dark. If I had been the director I would have loved to have made it darker, like when *censored* character dies, I would have them haunt deliciously like in a Japanese horror movie.

Rachel Melvin was great as Kaia, and Dreama Walker worked well as Harper Grace. Overall Seven Deadly Sins was well cast, nicely made and paced, and it isn’t trying to be anything that it is not.

If I had to sum up the mini series with one description  I would say it’s a very loose hybrid of Mean Girls meets Murder by Numbers. Remember I said very loosely! This is really not my usual style, but it’s worth a watch when there’s time to kill and you’ve had a few drinks.

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Cannibals and Snowboarders

Today I watched Scarce (2008), directed by Jesse T. Cook and John Geddes, a film about a group of snowboarders on vacation. During a snow storm they are forced to seek refuge, but little did they know they are safer out in the storm. The people who grant them refuge are cannibals, surviving on what they ‘hunt’ throughout the winter.

Overall a pointless film with a very slow start, but the effects were cool, especially because it was on a low budget. I mean, of course I only watched it for the blood; I wouldn’t sit down and watch a film with that premise if I were looking for an intellectually challenging experience.

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Black Dynamite, you jive turkey!

Cover of "Black Dynamite"

Cover of Black Dynamite

Black Dynamite (2009), directed by Scott Sanders, stars Michael Jai White as 1970’s action star Black Dynamite. When his brother is killed by drug dealers, he instigates a campaign of action and violence, opening a can of kick-ass on all of the local dealers to uncover whom was responsible.

Oozing with 70’s style, this homage to blaxploitation movies will have all of you jive turkeys booming with laugher, and wishing, just wishing, that you had your own soundtrack like he does. “Dynamite! Dynamite!” every time he enters a shot to do something awesome.

With the boom mic deliberately left in shots for comedic effect, and the hugely exaggerated facial expressions of the cast, you can’t help but laugh with them, and imagine how much fun the film must have been to make. For anyone still making Chuck Norris jokes, forget it, Black Dynamite knocks them out of the water.

Salli Richardson-Whitfield is wonderful as Gloria, Black Dynamite’s love interest. She has always been very good in anything I’ve seen her in. One of my favourite lines was where she disdainfully highlights how men think they can win a woman over with a wink and a smile, so Black Dynamite winks. She sardonically inquires where the accompanying smile is, and he says “I am smiling”, whilst his face is as serious as a funeral attendee.

Definitely worth watching, and made even better if it’s with a couple of beverages and friends on a Friday night.

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‘Knots’ – By R.D. Laing

(Sorry for posting so much today, keep finding old bits on my computer that never got published)

I read a really good psychology book today (March 19th, 2008): ‘Knot’s by R.D. Laing. Some parts I felt were sexist, but a lot of the book is cynical, insinuative, and intelligently ironic, so I concluded that maybe the ‘sexism’ was in fact just mocking sexism…thereby rendering it free of sexism. It’s a book full of delightful moderate contradictions, and explores the cycles of thought in a typical human mind, it does so through poetry and formulas of wording. It’s basically a case of ‘she knows that he knows that we know that they know that he doesn’t know that they know’

The Idiots

The Idiots

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Shorter review here: Click

‘The Idiots’ is a film directed by Lars Von Trier in 1998, it was made in compliance with the Dogme ’95 Manifesto; an avant-garde filmmaking movement started in 1995, and was his first film. ‘The Idiot’s’ focuses upon the tale of a group of people who feign mental disabilities in pursuit of their ‘inner idiot’, their ‘spassing out’ is an attempt to release their inhibitions.

The film was deemed shocking, despite many disability groups approving of the film and agreeing that it exposed underlying social prejudices against disability. Micro-elements contributed to the shocking effect which this film induced upon some audiences. Realism was used to suspend the audiences sense of disbelief, such was achieved through sound, which was mainly diegetic. The dialogue seems real, unrehearsed and alike to everyday conversation but for the content of the conversations between characters. In making the dialogue believable, and in casting the characters to be believable, the film seems more real, thereby engaging the audience attention, forcing them to relate to it, and therefore the shock value is inevitably heightened.
Editing is a significant element with regards to the shocking impact of the film. For example: jump cuts; a character was being interviewed, their family were present then they disappear in the next shot. The lack of chronological ordering in the film does not however cause it to be nonsensical, the tale of ‘The Idiots’ is told like it happened in the past, and the present in the film is shown with the interviews of each of the groups former members, the cross-cuts between the past and present (the interviews) grants tantalising insights into the characters and the events of the tale, before the tale is fully told, which holds audience attention and assists the flow of the narrative.
My personal interpretation of the film is that it aims to educate the audience about society’s general view and attitude towards disabled people. The female main character begins oblivious to the groups intentions and ways (like the audience) and as she is led into their world so is the audience. The film seems to be about seeking deeper meanings, and sharing different perspectives, whether it be sharing the perspectives of someone completely healthy, someone disabled, someone inside the group or outside of it. I think that initially the main character acts as a representation of the ignorance of a lot of people to disability, and is a tool within the film to educate the audience. The film does not seem to hold bias as to a certain perspective, but rather it is explorative of different perspectives, whether they be shown through conflict between the characters, or contrast between general society and the group.
The characters struggles, emotions and lessons are ways of evoking similar feelings from the audience; for example the scene where one of the group pretending to be disables cries after they meet people with genuine disabilities, she cries from guilt and gain of a deeper understanding. The characters force themselves to understand societies prejudices and perspectives of disability by directly experiencing it, for example in the scene where one of the males in the group are assisted to urinate by a male stranger, the humility and potentially condescending aspects.
With regards to mise-en-scene, the shots which are held for a long time at various points create an uncomfortable atmosphere, and the fact that the camera is handheld, and also that the shots are inclusive of great detail (including that of nudity and penetrative sexual activity), add to the shock. This is because they do not romanticise, glamorise or sensationalise any events of aspects including disability. The camera movements and angles grant a raw and honest feel to the film, which leads me to believe that this film bows mainly to the category of visual and graphic shock, as well as the ideological shock of questioning morals, and challenging society’s perspective.
The only romanticism that the film seems to possess lies within the character’s initially naive portrayals of how they view disabled people to be, particularly when they use it to their advantage in the first scene; they deliberately ‘spass out’ to get chucked out of a restaurant and not have to pay.
There seemed a subtle hint of role reversal in the pub scene, where one of the males in the group was ‘spassing’ and stared unabashedly at a physically healthy man because he had a lot of tattoos on each arm, this hinted at the fact that a lot of people stare at disabled people, as they are a ‘social minority’, and I felt that the director made this decision to symbolise equality, to question whether our perspectives of minorities give us the right to hold prejudices.
Generally I would say that adult audiences ranging from young adult to above middle-aged would watch this, not merely because of censorship, but because it tackles a broad subject, and indeed a broad society, therefore potentially snatching the curiosity of many ages of people. However most people are shocked by this film, and many of them are offended by its content, or its violation of implicit textual construct between viewer and film.
I was not shocked or offended by the film, because I am open-minded and accustomed to films that are conventionally deemed shocking, but also because I thought that the film was intelligent, and I looked past what would moralistically be seen as shocking and wrong in order to gauge deeper meaning from it.

Note: I wrote this a long time ago back when I was a film student.

The Bothersome Man

"Den brysomme mannen" DVD cover.

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I watched ‘The Bothersome Man’ (‘Den brysomme mannen’), directed by Jens Lien, quite a while ago, but it stuck with me. These are just my thoughts on it, not a conventional review. (Contains spoilers)

I was impressed by the way the film’s surrealism juxtaposed the very deliberately superficial depiction of reality. The satirical element of the film appears almost to exaggerate the day-to-day monotony of both professional and domestic routine, transforming emotional coldness into emotionlessness, the characters’ wants into complete materialism, and rendering human functions such as eating, drinking and fornication into meaninglessness tasks without pleasure, but with an acknowledgement of the idea of what ‘pleasure’ may be. This would seem to counteract the ideals of hedonism, but actually it appears to depict that the character’s are in fact extremely hedonistic; seeking beauty and luxuries, but that they have merely lost the ideas of what values lie beneath things…the characters seem so preoccupied with the idea of pleasure that they have forgotten what it is to feel it.

This reflects a lot of my own thoughts about reality; that everything is just an idea, and we apply our own meanings, which exist in a rather arbitrary function.
The main character, upon arriving in the city by bus with no memory of how he got there, has his new life laid out before him. Initially the perspectives and reactions of those around him have an impact on him; their normalising of the situation in which he finds himself. He is befuddled into compliance. They introduce him to his new job, apartment, and whole life, plaguing him with inquiries as to his level of comfort, offering him further materialistic elements to assist in his settling in; coffee, more breaks at work, a better desk chair perhaps?
Every piece of dialogue from the characters representing the majority consists of small-talk; what sofa would look nice in our living room? Isn’t that nice? The main character mentions a dream he had to his newfound wife, his attempts at emotional connection obvious, and she silences him as if offended. He realises that he is very different from those around him, all but the man he heard early on talking about how everything tasted of nothing when it once had, and so he seeks this man, finally understanding the implications of his words.
The main character even deliberately instigates an affair, cheating on his wife with a colleague as much in desperate want of emotional connection and passion as to induce negative variants of such in his wife. He realises that both the subject of his affair and his spouse have no real emotion whatsoever, merely complacency and ambivalence.
The parts I found most comical included the lack of sufficient emotional response from his wife; for example, when he informs her he is leaving her and she replies with ‘But we have a dinner party on Saturday, are you leaving before then?’ and when he tells her he is in love with somebody else she merely says ‘Why?’ her face blank as she sips tasteless wine. But the most hilarious of all was after he attempted suicide on the train tracks, but impossibly fails, and is driven home by the mysterious caretakers of the city. He enters, one eye completely crushed, his entire flesh coated with blood and injury, and she gazes at him as if blind to it all and inquires whether he would like to go Go-Carting on Saturday, ‘That would be wonderful’ he breathes helplessly.
I think the reason he was able to find pleasure by the end of the film, which was depicted by him stealing a slice of real cake with real taste from beyond the city, is because he retained a memory of what pleasure really was, the meaning behind it and the feeling, as oppose to merely the idea of it. His escape from the ‘reality’ of the city was through a lot of hardship, for which he required stamina, something the male who spoke of tastelessness in the beginning did not have. One of the ‘morals’ of the tale was that having everything you ‘need’ materially, is not the same as having emotional experiences and ideals, and that real happiness cannot come merely from owning an expensive apartment with attractive interior design, and being able to afford luxuries. So in essence, the film informs the viewer that the hardships and struggles in life are necessary to obtain happiness, rather than clinging to false ideas of perfection.

At one part of the film a man is shown impaled on an iron fence, having committed suicide by jumping from a window. The main character stares with fascination as pedestrians walk by unaffected, and the caretakers of the city approach to remove the body. As they remove him from the fence his intestines slide from his body onto the path, this added gore is not for the sake of ‘horror’, but instead truth, and the obliviousness of the pedestrians is almost deliberate, as if they see only what they want to see, which in many ways reflect the world you and I live in. If there is a suicide on a tube the announcement heard is never ‘We are sorry, there is a delay because sometimes decided they want out of this shit hole so they threw their body in front of the train, allowing it to be crushed to death’, instead it’s usually ‘We are sorry, there is a delay due to a fatality at Holborn’ and then the staff scrub up the blood and carry away the body parts, so as not to offend all of our innocent eyes. This is not a perfect world and it never will be…perfection can never exist because it exists in so many forms in so many minds, and there is no way to please everybody. Perfection is just an idea.

The world just agrees to a set of codes used for communication, a set of rules used for social acceptability and ideals that can be commonly shared…anyone deviating from these will be punished, ridiculed or declared insane (or at least ‘weird’).
If only we could all just be aware of how truly absurd everything is, we could all live much more harmoniously with one another. I am aware completely of the pointlessness of life, yet I still do things knowing that, because no matter what I do or do not do it will not change the facts. Everyone works to live and lives to work, we surrender to human bodily function every time we eat, drink or go to the toilet. Cleaning the dishes means they will be dirtied again and washed again in a cycle that can only be broken if you either do not use dishes or you employ a cleaner to do it for you. Everything is a cycle; not just the cycles of the moon or women’s menstruation, but life itself: Be born, live, reproduce, die. We are no different to those dirty dishes really. I am grateful to all those who choose not to reproduce, or who break the cycle or at least to become aware that it is a cycle. That is not to say that everyone who does otherwise is not aware, maybe they are.
The body sleeps so as to absorb the hours that came before, to process them in the mind so that one may accept and deal with them accordingly, waking more readily to a new day than they would have if they never slept at all. Sleep is like blackmail, we can choose to be insomniacs, but the brain will shut itself down in whatever ways it automatically needs to in order to function. Why do you think genuine insomniacs have so much trouble? Or why do you think troubled people sometimes can’t sleep? Dolphins on the other hand are technically schizophrenic to some extent, being that they never sleep because the left side of the brain sleeps whilst the right is active, and vice versa. It could be argued that they have a better way of functioning.
We are practically staying awake so we can sleep, and sleeping so we can wake. We are born so we can live, and we live so we can die. I say ‘so’ we can, not to insinuate that there is a purpose to each, but that there is a function, we are built to function and that is all. Becoming catatonic wont help, you will still be functioning. In a coma or on life support you are still functional, and there is really nothing at all you can do about it except to eradicate your own existence…but is that not just as pointless as existing? That is, of course, assuming you believe there is nothing beyond life. I do not think there is anything beyond it, and I hope not.
One could touch upon a great deal of philosophical or ideological arguments here; bring in religion, as so many tend to do, perhaps. But my writing this is based on the supposition that there is no God, and no magic or wizardry, no life beyond this, and no past lives either.

My toaster scares me more than this film

Reading some of the positive reviews that Dark House has received makes me wonder if there is something wrong with me, but then I remember: no, there is something wrong with this film.

I have always been a horror buff, so I forgive the inevitable cliché moments that are trademark to the genre. But I just found this film to be absolutely hollow. I was hoping for a fun spooky journey, but instead was served: shockingly bad acting (on some of their parts, not all), and a completely predictable, bland storyline. It felt like the equivalent of the not-funny uncle at a family reunion trying desperately to make everyone laugh; only in this case the aim was to scare.

By nature I am quite jumpy, even the sound of the toast popping out of the toaster can make me jump out of my skin. But I can honestly say I did not even flinch, and was bored to the point of comatose. I like it when horror movies look mildly makeshift or amateur, or have a grungy misguided feel, as it can make them more genuine and edgy; but this just looked like something pieced together by a bunch of pretentious film students assigned a last-minute project. Without adding any spoilers, all I can say is that the transitions, layering of footage, and the embarrassing fonts flashing up for the hologram error were like something a first-time filmmaker would put together in paint shop or movie-maker.

It’s just a shame that with the advancements that have been made in the film industry, the visuals or atmosphere could not even compensate for the lack of storyline. I’ve seen films on much lower budgets, and made back in the day where there were no technical advantages, irrefutably better than this waste of time. I couldn’t even laugh at it.

Unlike Darin Scott, film makers such as Ji-woon Kim could have taken this tale and made it terrifying.