Archive for category Slashers

Don’t TREAD on Me: A Review of Rubber

Quentin Dupieux ‘s Movie Rubber 2010 could be the first film to go down in history as both the best movie ever made and the worst movie ever made. Since the major plot of the movie involves watching a living Psychokinetic tire roll around on its own volition it’s pretty obvious to figure out why the latter may be true, but why I would consider it great… that’s a little  more complicated. Aside from the major plot points which involves “Robert” the tire using his supernatural abilities to mutilate desert creatures and decapitate humans, the film also charmingly spits on the fourth wall and the audience behind it.

The film’s self-aware attitude comes right out of the gate with star Stephen Spinella ‘s (who deadpan delivery of black humor is nothing sort of brilliant) unleashing one of the greatest monologues in film history. The NO REASON Speech sets the tone of the film as a sort of an anti-apology to why there’s a movie about a living Psychokinetic tire. However, that is far from the last insult to the audience.

The second layer of Rubber is that the film has actually provided its own audience in the form of a group of obnoxious viewers camping out in the desert and watching the film through binoculars. We learn as the film rolls on that Spinella has hired an assassin to eliminate the audience so the reality of the movie can cease to exist, leaving him free to stop portraying his character, Lieutenant Chad. Unfortunately, and with hilarity, things never work out the way Spinella would want them to.

Shifting gears away from the meta-movie, we find Robert is still rolling through the desert pursuing a young girl with unclear motivations. Sometimes, he seems ready to kill  her and other times Robert merely seems fascinated by her actions and wishes to emulate them in some whim to “try out humanity.”  Most impressive in this process is Dupieux’s use of camera angles and music to attribute emotion to a tire during his quest for  identity and blood, until he inevitably must meet Chad for the final showdown.

At the end of the day, the more I talk about this film the less I do it justice, as it can only be experienced. However to say it’s quite unique is a massive understatement. Its blend of black and dry humor, with parody of horror conventions, and absurdist theatre makes the film endlessly entertaining. If you have not caught this one, and you have an appreciation for dry wit or an affection for B Horror then you have to check it out.

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Cold Prey – Reasons Not To Torment Those With Deformities

So, what do you get when you have five Norwegian teens trapped in an abandoned ski lodge, a masked killer with a pick axe and bad English dubbing?  Well, you have Cold Prey, a 2006 slasher from Norway that I’ve read some positive things about recently and just so happens to be the film choice for the Final Girl Film Club, which I haven’t participated in for months.  Perhaps this morning was a good time for me to check it out since I was already in the slasher mood having watched Sleepaway Camp last night for probably the 12th time.  Let me take a brief moment to profess my everlasting love for that film, it’s homosexual not-so-undertones, and the cop’s terrifically awful fake mustache in the closing scenes.  But that’s a different kind of slasher flick – one that makes no attempt to take itself seriously, has paper-thin characters, and isn’t close to being scary (save for that final shot of course).  Cold Prey aims to be a slasher with some substance and it both succeeds and fails along the way.

I watched Cold Prey on Netflix where it was offered with English dubbing rather than subtitles which is unfortunate because a good portion of the voice acting is laughable and it probably took away from the overall experience.  That note aside, Cold Prey opens with a montage of news clips telling the back story of how a facially disfigured boy was lost in the mountains and never seen again despite extensive searching.  It’s made clear that the boy came to a tragic end, as we see him being chased in the snow by an unknown pursuer.  Years later, people start to go missing on the mountain.

Yet, for some reason, people still love this mountain and we meet five friends heading up for a weekend snowboarding trip – Eirik and his girlfriend Jannicke, Mikal and his girlfriend Ingunn, and Tobias, the goofball of the group.  The quintet climb a huge mountain to access a slope and everything is going great until Morten falls and shatters his leg bone to the point that it is sticking out of his skin.  I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen this in recent horror and it’s losing its gross-out impact for me.  I’m pretty much expecting it now.  So what are they to do?  They’re all the way up in the mountains with no cell phone service (of course) and nowhere to go.  Oh, wait a minute!  What’s that just over the ridge there?  It’s The Overlook Hotel an abandoned ski lodge!  Just our luck!

The friends make it to the lodge just in time for sundown and decide to stay for the night before seeking help the next day.  Jannicke splints Morten’s leg and then superglues the wound shut.  While Jannicke is playing surgeon, the other three set off to explore the seemingly long-abandoned lodge and they find a generator in the basement, which Mikal gets running – quite the talented group.  With the lights on, they’re free to check out the rest of the place and they find themselves where else but Room 237.  At least director Roar Uthaug paid appropriate homage to The Shining, as some of the setting similarities are inescapable.  In their examination of the room, they find evidence of a fire and some blood in the bathroom but they dismiss it.

While the rest of the group go to sleep, Mikal and Ingunn find a guest room where they can be alone.  Despite Mikal’s attempts, Ingunn won’t have sex with him and he leaves her alone.  In no time, a man clad in a heavy snow parka surprises her and drives a pick axe through her back.  She manages to escape temporarily, but parka man catches up with her in the basement and finishes the job.  After speaking with Jannicke, Mikal learns that Ingunn is a virgin and he feels like an asshole for getting so upset with her.  When he goes to apologize, she doesn’t answer the door (probably because she’s dead).  Meanwhile, Eirik leaves to get help but doesn’t make it far before he gets knocked out by the killer.  The rest of the film plays out pretty much how you’d expect it to – a cat and mouse chase through the lodge with a steadily rising body count.  The ending and final reveal is somewhat underwhelming though I can’t say I saw it coming.

Unlike Sleepaway Camp, Cold Prey attempts to establish characters with real personalities and strong relationships with each other – Eirik and Jannicke are in love but she’s afraid to commit and move in with him, Mikal and Ingunn have issues with sex, and Tobias is depressed and secretly in love with Jannicke behind his jovial outward appearance.  It’s a nice thing to have characters that you care about in a horror film, but I still didn’t see these ones as anything more than meat for the killer.

I didn’t love Cold Prey by any means, but it wasn’t bad.  What an endorsement that is, huh?  The violence and gore were minimal and well executed, some scenes grew suspenseful but in the end, I was left feeling very indifferent.  Apparently I’m in the minority as Cold Prey 2 came out in 2008, was well received, and a prequel is in the works now.  Maybe I just really don’t like bad English dubbing…

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