Tag Archives: house

Saw II

Having a father in the hospital makes for a dramatic slowdown in consumption. Only one movie in the past few weeks, and I do have at least a couple I wanna see right now. Only one book lately too, but part of that is my choice to read a doorstop novel so as not to have to do any other reviews for a little while. (Is it cheating to acknowledge stuff like that? Well, whatever.) But, lots of Harry Potter to while away my dad’s time, and let me tell you: that lady uses really a freaking lot of adverbs. Which is pleasant, as they’re very much like script directions, and I can be sure I’m getting the voices down solid. But still, I’d never noticed just how frequent it was, reading them quietly to myself. Just saying.

However, I was actually talking about movies, this time. I saw II…. um, no, that’s not right. Let’s try it again. Um. I went to see Saw II. But I didn’t see Saw, so how can you claim you did too? Look. Seriously. Shut up.

It makes me want to see Saw (I mean it. Shut up.) even more than I already wanted, even though through a probably inevitable turn of events, I know how Saw ends already from this current film. Leaving that aside… yeah, it’s pretty good. There are twists, as all good horror movies should have. Also, violence and brutality. The conceit (I think of both movies) is pretty simple. A homicidal sociopath (or possibly an ethically unfettered clinical psychologist) puts people in deadly situations but with all of the tools necessary to escape from them, and then watches to see what they’ll do. This one has two subplots, seven people (or eight? who can remember?) in a trapped house from the mold above, and meanwhile a cop whose son is in the first subplot has captured and is interrogating the maniac, in the hopes of rescuing everyone.

The main thing I took away from this is what a great RPG subplot #1 would be. You set the house, and the clues, and assign the characters to people, and then see if they’re able to save themselves before the deadly gas kills them all. Far better RPG than movie, and it was much better than the average slasher movie, which had very nearly fallen by the wayside anyhow. So, thanks for the cool idea which I may use someday, unnamed Hollywood scriptwriter(s), and also thanks for revitalizing stuff that was just lame direct-to-video anymore. I now have a new most anticipated movie to look forward to (well, not counting if Snakes on a Plane materializes), 2006’s Slither, starring Sherriff Mal Reynolds.

Hide and Seek

The thing is, this was a good movie. Several inevitable games of Hide and Seek, of course, but even those managed (for the most part) to be tense and creepy, rather than like the lame repetitive device they could have been.

Anyway, plot: Robert De Niro’s wife thinks their marriage is irreconcilable, and then suicides herself in the bathtub. Daughter Dakota Fanning (who is a beautiful little girl; just ask anyone in the script) goes a little bit insane. After a poorly defined period of time, De Niro takes his daughter to a gigantic house in upstate New York, so that she’s not surrounded by memories. Instead, she’s surrounded by an empty house, a creepy-looking cave in the woods, and De Niro’s hands off parenting approach, learned, apparently, through years of careful psychologist-being.

Naturally, she has no choice but to invent an imaginary friend. Except, the friend starts creating lots of scary mayhem, leading the audience to wonder: is the little girl doing all the stuff she blames on Charlie? Or is it the creepy neighbor? The meddling real-estate agent? A giant lovable-but-without-social-graces bear who lives in the cave? A hillbilly with only three teeth, who lives in the cave? Whoever it is, good camera work and acceptable child-acting keep the tension and the mysteriousness high, so I’ll say no more lest I give it away. (It’s not the bear, though.)

I think it’s because it worked so well that the flaws grate on me. Elisabeth Shue wanders in and out of the movie as the aunt of young Dakota’s would-be local townie friend, who seems to maybe want to date De Niro. And he seems maybe to want to date her too. It’s played too low key to understand, and it doesn’t help that it feel like his wife has been dead just a handful of months.

The final act drags on for an eternity beyond the (very-well played) climax, removing a lot of the goodwill I had toward the film. And then, even worse, the final two scenes both contained pointless groaners that could easily have been avoided. My recommendation: See it. Good mood piece, decent creep factor and the thing where they make you want to know what’s actually going on. But after the climax (you’ll know it when it happens), move on to something else. Whatever ending you make up in your own mind will be superior.