Tag Archives: subtitled

Seoulyeok

According to the write-up, Seoul Station is a prequel to Train to Busan, which would actually have to be more of a sidequel since the first twenty minutes of the latter movie take place during the same day / overnight that all of the former movie occurs during. The zombies are the same style (controlling for live action vs animation at least), and I have no reason to disbelieve them, it just… doesn’t make sense as a prequel instead of its own standalone movie. Partly because they have nothing to do with each other save look at how many more views we’ll get with brand recognition, but mostly because the logistics fall apart. If the Seoul movie had happened as it did, people would have known by early AM not to be getting on trains to Busan.

Whatever, it’s the same writer and director, I guess I have to take his word for it.

Leaving all that aside, though, this is a dark, brutal, and above all angry movie that would definitely fit in any US metropolis as well as it fits in Seoul. See, the zombies are real and all, but they’re also a metaphor for the homeless problem. I say that in the sense that at every opportunity, the citizenry at large and especially anyone in a position of authority continuously portrays the crazy people who are running around biting folks as the homeless gone wild, to the extent that anyone who is still alive but also homeless is considered just as dangerous as the actual zombies are, and always to their detriment.

(There is an actual plot to this movie that I have not even slightly addressed, if the above sounds like spoilers. I mean, it probably still does, but you should know.)

I wonder if anyone in the target audience, such as people who can afford TVs or movie theater excursions, listened to the angry undercurrents. US audiences wouldn’t have, so I can’t really have a lot of faith that it was different somewhere else. But maybe!

Luciferina

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, I haven’t seen enough Argentinian nunsploitation trilogies lately, and I sure do want to get in on the ground floor of a new one! Well, with the caveat that since it’s ground floor, it’s not provable that the whole trilogy will be nunsploitative, of course.

Luciferina is the thoughtful, heartwarming tale of a young nun who has just gone on leave home for a family emergency only to head off into the (Peruvian?) jungle with her sister and [the sister’s] friends to meet a shaman who will lead them in an ayahuasca ceremony to solve all their problems, I guess? Including that the sister has a truly terrible boyfriend, and… well, to be honest, that’s the only one I can remember, besides the whole recent family tragedy. I know that at least two of the friends had problems, but what they were has completely eluded me.

Later, mayhem ensues when maybe drug-fueled hallucinations? maybe drug-fueled acts of violence? maybe the fallen LightBringer himself? result in the kinds of things you’d expect out of a horror movie, with or without the nun angle.

This came out in 2018, so I have no idea when or if the future volumes of the trilogy will appear, nor how nuncentric they will be. Nevertheless, and despite how flippant I’ve been, this was a pretty good movie whose sequels I look forward to.

[1] Who seeks the devil, finds him.

Party Hard Die Young

There are two kinds of slasher movies. The first kind is a gradually building sequence of events and accompanying tension in which targeted characters first learn that murder is on the menu and then over the remainder of the film try desperately to stay alive long enough to find out who is behind the murders, in the hopes of saving themselves; this of course does not work for virtually any of them, but that’s the tenor of the semi-genre. Examples: Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (aka part 5), the majority of one-off slasher films.

The other kind is almost always a member of a longer series, and everyone knows who the killer is because he’s[1] an unstoppable supernatural force. The trying to stay alive part is the same, as is the success rate, just without the false hope that figuring out what’s going on would help. Examples: any movie set on Elm Street, the remainder of the F13 franchise.

Party Hard, Die Young is a literal-minded (or, more to the point, -titled) example of the first kind of slasher movie, about a small group of graduating German high school seniors, or whatever they might be called instead in Germany, who were all in the same home room, or however German classes are divided up. Eight or ten of them, anyway? I lost track of that sentence. Let me start over. It’s about a group of German teens off to a summer EDM[2] festival on an island in the Adriatic, to party hard before going off to college, but then most of them die young instead.

Get it?

The description on Shudder and in IMDb makes reference to how slick and stylish and post-Scream it is, and, man, I just can’t tell what they’re talking about. Like, it has a modern feel to it, both the film quality and of course the lighting and soundtrack; it’s definitely not an ’80s slasher movie. That’s fine, but if you say post-Scream to mean everything looks and sounds better, instead of grainy 35mm film stock and spooky sound editing, man did you miss what made Scream ground-breaking.

In summation, this was a pretty good albeit by the numbers slasher mystery, and mainly it made me hungry for someone to make the same movie, but the setting is Burning Man.

[1] Where, I ask you, are the female-led supernatural slasher serieses? Get it together, not-Hollywood!
[2] Electronic Dance Music, boomer

Bodom (2016)

In 1960 (this is all true) some campers at Lake Bodom in Finland were murdered in a fairly sensationalist fashion, and the crime has never been solved. I’m not sure why this was such a big deal during the past decade, but that crime was the subject of two identically named Finnish horror movies recently, the first found footage, and the second (this one) a… I don’t know. Reimagining? That’s not exactly right, but it’s close enough, I guess.

See, there are these four modern teens, and they are going camping on the site of the famous murders. The nerdy guy wants to go because he’s a crime nerd and wants to do a re-enactment. Maybe to see if he can solve it? Dunno. And his friend is going to be supportive (he has a cabin up there, just ask him), plus for reasons of his own[1], which relate to the girls who are going: one of whom had some kind of recent trouble with a fire[2], and the other of whom had some kind of recent trouble with a bunch of nude pictures of her at a party without her knowledge, or consent, or consciousness, with the result that she’s sort of a school pariah now and also her hyper-religious, overbearing father is slut-shaming her for something that, even were it shameworthy to do, she didn’t even do it. Because religion.

Anyway, there’s a lot of character and backstory going on for four campers in the woods at the site of some brutal unsolved murders of other campers in the woods. And then things start happening.

Long story short: it’s worth it, check it out.

[1] I’m not sure if it’s because of comics, but that phrasing always sounds unnecessarily dramatic and not a little bit ominous.
[2] It’s hard to watch subtitled movies and work. I’m getting better at it, because damn does Shudder traffic in foreign horror, which would be fine otherwise!, but as it is… Anyway, I’m getting better at the balance, but I skimmed the scene where they mentioned the fire, and then it never came up again, so I din’t know how relevant it actually was?

Pengabdi Setan (2017)

Today I learned that Indonesian horror cinema, much like the local version, sometimes goes back to the well. Because it turns out that Satan’s Slaves is a remake of the same title in Indonesian (although Satan’s Slave, singular, in English), made in 1982. I haven’t seen that one, but the IMDB summary makes it clear they’re related.

Anyhow, this version starts with the quiet grief of a family whose once-famous singer matriarch is withering away from a mysterious illness. Not only are they losing their mother (or, in one case, wife), but they’re also losing the things they own and quite possibly their house, in paying for her care. I guess mostly the medicines and old doctor bills, as the mother is in house and being cared for by the family, not a hired nurse or anything.

But then things get flickery at the edge of your vision ghosty, and then they get in your face ghosty, and then things get a lot worse than that, in unexpected ways. (Or, well, maybe not so unexpected, based on the title.) Despite a third act full of running and hiding and fighting with generally about triple the cast of anything that has gone before, the movie as a whole is quiet and meditative albeit with occasional actual scares (and more than a few attempted jump scares). Meditative on how families might dissolve, on the kind of loss that we all someday face, on falling away from your religion, and most especially on how the sins of the past must be paid, even if they weren’t your sins.

Majo No Takkyûbin

MV5BOTc0ODM1Njk1NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDI5OTEyNw@@._V1__SX1859_SY893_The second outing of the weekend was to catch the one Miyazaki movie playing this month at the Alamo Drafthouse that I both had not seen and could fit in my schedule[1]. Hence, Kiki’s Delivery Service, about a 13 year old girl sent out on her own to make her way in the world for a year, in the traditions of her people. Who are witches, I should probably add.

Based on the vehicles and architecture, and other clues, I’m guessing that the never specified timeframe for the film is in the late 1950s or early ’60s, and I’m also assuming the locale is Japan. The latter is more strongly implied than the former, but neither is by any means definitive. For most of the movie, I assumed the point was mostly to showcase the gorgeous animation and soundtrack, via long, contemplative shots of Kiki flying across the countryside on her broom, or walking through her new city, and that the job (she delivers things for people, as you might expect) and relationships she was forming were mostly beside the point.

But then my mental jokes about making a 13 year old run off and earn her own living were translated seriously onto the screen, as she quickly lost her [Japanese phrase that means joie de vivre] in the humdrum grind of using her heritage and passion as a means of keeping herself fed and housed. From that turning point and throughout the final act, the story turned into more of a meditation on whether and how she could come back to herself and find her happiness, and now I think the movie is a love letter to post-war Japan, unsure of herself and finding her footing after a resounding defeat.

But maybe it’s just a feel-good movie about a witch and her sarcastic cat. That’s cool too.

[1] The only other one I’ve actually seen was the only other one that matched up schedule-wise, sadly. (Mononoke.)