Cinema Digest 2013 – Week 1

Grave Encounters 2 (2012)
graveencounters2

Years ago I made a promise to myself that I would never walk out of a movie or fail to finish a film that I’d started. I’m starting to reconsider that promise. The first twenty minutes of this shitfest are completely unbearable. But maybe I’m being harsh. I mean, who wouldn’t want to watch awful people party and do drugs and put their balls on each others’ faces and try to make a crap movie and not contribute to the plot for twenty minutes? No one, that’s who. And yet, the filmmakers decided that the entire first act of the film would have nothing at all to do with the rest of the film and to make sure you completely hated these people. It’s a relief when they finally start talking about going to the hospital where the first Grave Encounters was filmed. Oh right, I forgot to mention that this is a very meta sequel wherein the characters are investigating the truth behind the film, Grave Encounters. They then spend about fifteen minutes rehashing the first film before the plot crashes head-on into the border of crazyville and stupidtown. It’s just so much nonsense for the rest of the film that I can’t even properly describe it. The first one wasn’t great but this is

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Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
texas-chainsaw-3d

The first film of 2013. If this is a sign of the year to come, it’s going to be terrible. This is the seventh movie in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. There was the first one, followed by a direct sequel, followed by two more sequels, followed by a remake, followed by a prequel to the remake, and now we have the second direct sequel to the original, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D. I did not see it in 3D but I could spot every moment where it was supposed to be 3D because they do that annoying gimmick where they just throw things at the camera. Now, normally, characters in slasher movies are pretty damn stupid because if they did what they should, there’d be no movie. But these people are monumentally idiotic. They trip over their own feet constantly, they prefer to stay in a place they could easily be trapped, they follow huge trails of blood into a nightmarish murderhouse, and the sheriff is perhaps the most hilariously inept horror movie sheriff ever. Everything in this film is laughably bad. In the original film, Leatherface’s mask was horrifying because it looked like a person’s face, while this mask makes him look like a member of Slipknot. The plot shifts from a boring rehash of the original into a ridiculous second half where a character is suddenly okay with all her friends being brutally murdered and then we’re supposed to feel sympathetic toward a giant, sadistic, cannibalistic, face-wearing, serial-killing sociopath. Here’s a free tip for all you filmmakers out there that these people should have heeded: If you’re going to make a terrible sequel to an amazing, classic film, don’t show clips of the original in the opening credits. It sets expectations you can’t possibly meet.

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Killer Joe (2011)
killerjoe

William Friedkin, one of the best directors of the 1970s, has still got it. Killer Joe is a powerfully filmed and acted punch in the gut. Emile Hirsch is in some deep trouble. He owes money to people. So he hatches a scheme along with his father (a hilarious Thomas Haden Church) to hire a man to kill his father’s ex-wife and collect the insurance. The man they hire is detective Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) who is also a part-time assassin. Of course, things go wrong and start to spiral out of control. This film is not for the faint of heart. There’s not a lot of violence but when it hits, it’s brutal. The whole film is great but the final 20 minutes are completely riveting and unnerving and funny all at the same time.

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The Last Broadcast (1998)
thelastbroadcast

One year before The Blair Witch Project there was a mockumentary about a film crew that went out into the woods and never returned. Only in The Last Broadcast, there was one survivor. This faux documentary chronicles the story of the survivor who is eventually convicted of killing the other three members of the film crew. If this was an actual documentary, I would have turned it off after ten minutes. It’s super boring for most of the film until it starts getting legitimately creepy toward the end. Unfortunately, it tries to pull off a crazy twist ending but just falls flat on its face and ruins all of the creepiness it (slowly) built up to. The Last Broadcast may have come before The Blair Witch Project, but the latter film is the superior one in nearly every fashion.

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