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HORROR

Pet Sematary: The Film Remains True To The Original Idea

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A place to bury our pets and remember them.
It might seem scary, but it’s not.
It’s perfectly natural.

In the distant past, I was an avid reader and devoured books constantly. That has been considerably reduced over the years. But, occasionally I grab a reading book. Generally, that only happens during a well-deserved summer vacation on one or another beach. Stephen King‘s oeuvre has always enchanted me. This summer vacation I read his book “Elevation” in one go. Not that it was high-quality literature, but King is such a wonderful storyteller whose stories grab you and don’t let go. That actually applies to most of his books. Of course, there are also film versions of his books that are worth seeing. Personally, “Christine” and “Carrie” are movies (horror-related) I enjoyed the most (but I can easily name a few more). And the film “Pet Sematary” from 1989 can also be counted with films that had a huge impact on me. The only question I first asked myself (and many others too, I guess) was: “Is it really necessary to release a remake of this film?“.

 

Pet Sematary

I really, really, really hate remakes.

Those who know me a little have read already a few times that I hate remakes, reboots and so on. I admit that cinematographically and when it’s about acting, it’s most likely to be an improvement compared to the original. But the story, the content, the soul of the film, as it were, will remain the same. And isn’t that a bit too easy? But then again, they could also rigorously change the content or storyline. But don’t you think this would create a completely different movie? And is there really someone who has the guts to thoroughly change a movie classic? Well, Kelvin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer were brave enough and succeeded in retaining the spirit of the story, despite the drastic plot changes. Only, it didn’t impress me as much as the original did.

 

Pet Sematary

 

A drastic plot change.

Some elements from the old movie escaped my memory. For example, there’s Zelda (Alyssa Brooke Levine). Either her part wasn’t explicitly emphasized in the first film. Or the number of years have begun to take its toll on me. In any case, this was actually the most creepy image used in this remake. The most crucial adjustment they have made is the choice of the victim. In the original, the youngest son Gage (Hugo / Lucas Lavoie) can’t avoid a rushing truck. I remember this fact as very shocking to me. That sweet-looking little guy, the kite falling down and the tumbling children’s shoe. I can picture it right now. Not that the choice in this remake is less terrible. But it didn’t shock me as much as it did in the original film.

 

Pet Sematary

 

There’s the initial question again.

This choice not only gave the whole thing a different turn, but the scaryness of the film also suffered a major blow. I found the role Gage played in the first film, more creepy than that of Ellie (Jeté Laurence) here. On the other hand, the cat Church looks more ominous and evil, than its alter ego in the original film. And the dead student Victor Pascow (Obssa Ahmed) also came into the picture more explicitly. Broadly speaking, the film remains true to the original idea. The concept of a father’s all-embracing love for his child. And the will to cross borders to reverse it all. There are no surprises in that area. Which in turn leads to the initial question: “Why a remake?“.

 

My rating 5/10
Links: IMDB

 

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HORROR

X | Official Trailer – A24

At a secluded farmhouse in Texas, a film crew arrives to shoot an adult film. Their hosts, a reclusive elderly couple, take a special interest in their young guests. As night falls the couple’s leering interest turns violent.

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Genre:

Drama, Horror, Mystery

Release Date:

March 18, 2022

Director:

Ti West

Cast:

Jenna Ortega, Mia Goth, Brittany Snow

Plot Summary:

At a secluded farmhouse in Texas, a film crew arrives to shoot an adult film. Their hosts, a reclusive elderly couple, take a special interest in their young guests. As night falls the couple’s leering interest turns violent.

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HORROR

Scream (2022) | Wes Craven Would Be Proud

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Scream has officially slashed its way into cinemas and brings with it a killer opening as Ghostface returns, serving up a self-deprecating meta buffet of a slasher sequel that relaunches with terrific terror and nostalgic scares which are bloody brutal. Scream has some big shoes to fill, the directors have to fill the shoes of horror icon Wes Craven, which they honourably do, and the screenwriters also have to honour the brilliance of Kevin Williamson and what he brought to this genre and his script for 1996’s Scream.

The fifth entry in the franchise is filled with references to the franchise’s past, movies of the past, present, sequels, remakes, and now Requel, which in itself is part reboot and part sequel. Scream also discusses topics, specifically horror films released throughout the 2000s to now as it’s very self-referential by using Halloween (2018) and Ghostbusters Afterlife, for example, showcasing that these franchises are making requels by setting the film in the same world, at a different time but adding new characters that are in ways related to the “Legacy” characters from the original. Scream knows that it’s a horror movie, and most importantly, it knows this fifth entry is no doubt a “legacy sequel”.

Twenty-five years after a streak of brutal murders shocked the quiet town of Woodsboro, a new killer has donned the Ghostface mask and begins targeting a group of teenagers to resurrect secrets from the town’s deadly past. Neve Campbell (“Sidney Prescott”), Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) and David Arquette (“Dewey Riley”) return to their iconic roles in Scream alongside Melissa Barrera, Kyle Gallner, Mason Gooding, Mikey Madison, Dylan Minnette, Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Marley Shelton, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Sonia Ammar.

Years after the Ghostface killer first struck, teen Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega) gets an ominous phone call, whilst home alone, from a stranger asking what her favourite scary movie is. Scream opening sequences are so iconic to the franchise and this new modern take doesn’t disappoint as Tara is attacked and stabbed multiple times by someone wearing the Ghostface outfit from the in-universe “Stab” franchise, based on the Westboro murders committed by Billy Loomis and Stu Macher. The opening is shockingly suspenseful and wholly entertaining. 

Paramount Pictures

The focus here is on a group of young people who certainly have seen enough “Stab” movies to know that the killer could be one of their own including Tara’s estranged sister, Samantha (Melissa Barrera) along with her boyfriend Richie (Jack Quaid), who returns to Woodsboro to be with her.

Paramount Pictures

In any sequel, you hope that the new cast doesn’t fall flat and ultimately works well with the returning cast. Take 2018’s Halloween for example with Jamie Lee Curtis returning brings a new generation of Strode women specifically Laurie’s daughter and granddaughter, showing the audience how well the newcomers mix with the legacy characters. Scream successfully achieves this as all characters are handled well, though the body count, unfortunately, rises as Ghostface has some new tricks up its sleeve.

In passing the torch to fresh blood, this fifth entry showcases that there are layers of meta to uncover, fresh scars, and wicked fun to be had. The highlights were Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera, Jack Quaid. All work to drive the narrative along with the help of Sidney (Neve Campbell), Dewey (David Arquette), and Gale (Courteney Cox). The legacy characters truly provide the nostalgia and emotional connection, the filmmakers treat these iconic characters with the utmost respect.

Scream lives up to its slasher roots as Ghostface goes to town with the hapless victims like a butcher skewing his meat. Characters are sliced, stabbed, and ultimately gutted with glee. They’re brutal when happening but gory and glorious for some. However, some kills have impacts attached as many are heartbreaking and some you want Ghostface to go to town on. I was on the edge of my seat, as directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett who both previously directed Ready or Not, know how to build tension especially with Brian Tyler’s haunting and eerie score that truly intensifies the film.

Paramount pictures

Scream is about deconstructing the genre and pop culture of the day and aims at filmmaking with killing commentary that’ll make you scream with laughter, whilst still containing the known tropes of a slasher movie. Its squeal-inducing traps and false alarms are so well-earned.

Overall, I believe Wes Craven would be proud of this movie and what it does for fans of the slasher genre. It strikes a visual cord with its toxic fandom commentary and provides a phenomenal entry to the 21st century of modern horror. It’s entertaining with laughter and brutal deaths as Scream continues to reinvent itself and still manages to remain a consistent franchise 25 years later since it started it all.

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Classics

Reel Recommendations: Possession – One Restoration You Do Not Want To Miss

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One of my favorite elements in the horror genre is taking a contemporary story and somehow implementing the genre’s core elements. Take the film Cure (1997) directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa; the film is about a detective who is investigating a series of grizzly attacks by a serial killer. On the film’s surface, it is your simple crime-thriller ala David Fincher’s Se7en (1995) or his 2007, Zodiac. However, throughout the film, the viewer gets inside of the mind of his victims in a psychological battle between light and dark; understanding the killer’s motivations and way of attack. Enough talk about Cure (1997), that is for another time.

I hold this element of the genre close to my creative heart because the genre does not always need a monster or killer or the loose, the genre is about set-up, execution, and the atmosphere in which those two elements listed are contained. If you are looking for more horror films like that, that are not about unstable detectives, look no further than Andrzej Żuławski’s Possession.

This 40-year-old lost film has recently been gaining a cult following and the film distributor Metrograph has graced film fans with a restoration. My thoughts on that are listed below the review.

Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill @ Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981

Possession is a film about how division; division of two people who seem to be at odds and have fallen out of love for one another amidst the middle of the Berlin Wall, a division of communication between a couple and the affair that has brought them down as well as a division of body and state. Possession is about the breaking point between a couple as they’re in the very early stages of a divorce. They both have simply fallen out of love with one another and have started sleeping with other people, mainly Isabelle Adjani’s Anna. As Sam Neil’s Mark understands the situation unfolds, the more angry and sickly he becomes. There are points where he will look like he has not eaten in days and looks incredibly pale-skinned. There is a moment throughout the first 25 minutes where Neil is having a seizure in a cold sweat.

While Possession is a body horror in terms of visual effects, its a body horror from the performances given. We see both of the films leads reach sadistic and stomach-churning when it ocmes to range. The first half being dedicated to Sam Neil’s perspective of the situation and how he is treating himself during this change, where he goes from calm to physically abusive. Then as the story unfolds, Żuławski pays more attention to Adjani’s Anna, as an audiences we are opening the curtain to what she has been up to when the camera is not focused on her. The camera work works in one takes with very abrupt takes in its editing. Żuławski wants everything to feel like one fluid motion rather than have multiple takes for one single scene. The subway scene in particular roughly has about two-three takes and you do not evne notice because of how hypnotized you are to Adjani’s otherworldly performance. I am treading lightly on the plot due ot the genius of this film is to go in knowing nothing.

Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill @ Possession (Andrzej Żuławski, 1981

Possession is one of those horror films that were lost in time but recently have been gaining a resurgence through word of mouth and many clamoring for a Criterion blu-ray release, and for good reason. Possession includes some of the best performances I have ever witnessed with direction that is unpredictable and keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. If there is one restoration you should have eyes on it is this one.

Restoration Review

Possession not only is a wonderful film but is also one of the best restorations I have seen recently. Metrograph elevates the horror film and at times looks like it was made from the last decade. The stark blue color pallette shines due to how cold and emotionally distant the characters are. The sound design is wonderful, every whisper is heard and understood, every scream feels like a scare, every tension-building moment plays like gangbusters. This is one restoration you do not want to miss especially for cult-genre fans.

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