thriller

Fallen * Gregory Hoblit * 1998

Not bad, for a Hollywood ‘supernatural horror’! John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) and ‘Jonesey’ (John Goodman) are two cops that have been partners for “12+ years”. Hobbes caught the gruesome serial killer Edgar Reese (Elias Koteas) who is fried in the electric chair. Then an amusing film developes in which you fairly quickly learn that an evil spirit wants to make the life of Hobbes miserable. However the story is slightly thin and some things are a bit too obvious, the end is still a bit of a surprise. The atmosphere is alright and the actors are doing fine, they even make the story fairly credible.

Donnie Darko * Richard Kelly * 2001

How often have I been how great this film is and how stupid of me that I haven’t seen it. By different people even. A couple of days ago I saw it in the videostore and (unlike me) decided to give it a go.
Well, where and why is this film good? It is a boring teenager horror/thriller. Donnie Darko gets a visitor from the future and changes present time. Nothing scary, nowhere surprising, nothing special.

The Da Vinci Code * Ron Howard (2006)

As regular visitor of these pages will know/expect, I haven’t read the famous book by Dan Brown and I wasn’t really planning on watching the film until it would be on TV some time. A friend bought a copy, so I saw the film anyway. I already expected that I was going to be annoyed by the half- and misinformation in the story. A weird interpretation of the organisation of Opus Dei, an erroneous history of the Knights Templar, etc. This was to be expected. What I did not expect that the story itself is very thin and very predictable too. Besides a few scenes with a nice atmosphere, there is nothing much good about this film and I didn’t even have any good expectations. Nothing more than an all-American mystery/conspiracy film based on a popular book.

Dark City * Alex Proyas * 1998

A wonderfull film that I have seen long ago, but not reseen it on tv. The story is about a city that is made and maintained by an extraterrestial race called ‘the strangers’. They experiment with humans to find out what makes humans different from themselves, a search for the soul. In order to do this they swap memories and change the city to see if this effects a persons personality. At midnight everything is put to sleep and the strangers ‘tune’ a new city. Buildings arise or disappear, strangers go out to erase or add memory with the help of a human doctor (Kiefer Sutherland). The strangers don’t like the light, so everything is always dark, it’s always night. One human seems to be uneffected by the powers of ‘the strangers’ and even has the ability to ‘tune’. Naturally he saves the world.

A great film with a strange atmosphere. However ‘thrillerish’ it is brought as a comedy, but of course not one of these hilaric ones. Really wonderfull!

Dahmer * David Jacobson * 2002

This film is said to be based on the true life of Jeffrey Dahmer and wants to give an insight into the person instead of just a film about his gruesome deeds. Well, the first thing is true in a way, the there is only a very small piece of Dahmer’s life to be seen. The film starts when Jeffrey already works in the chocolate factory and no longer lives with his grandmother and ends just before he is caught.

You can see how Jeffrey dealt with his father and grandmother and how friendly and honest he was with people he would or would not kill. Some flashbacks to difficult parts of his life, but all this doesn’t give you a very complete idea of his life. Of Dahmer’s 17 victims you get to see two and a few ‘possibles’.

The idea is nice, a psychological thriller about one of the best-known serial killers, but the result isn’t too fascinating. If you want a biography, you better buy the “Dahmer” cd of the American metalband Macabre!

The Boston Strangler * Richard Fleischer * 1968

I usually don’t care too much for old films, but for some reason I wanted to see this one. I am glad I did!
Of course the film is about the Boston Strangler, a serial killer from the beginning of the previous century in the USA. The story isn’t told too great, but there is something about this film that does make it interesting. The montage of the film has some very original aspects. Often Fleischer used a picture-in-picture way of showing different scenes. Sometimes the different pictures show different things like the first five murders, but sometimes the pictures show different angles of the same scene, which is really well-done. You see -for example- a close up of the face of someone driving a car, but also the car from the front and from the back. Often a scene starts full-screen, but later zooms in something and then other pictures start to pop up. I don’t believe I have seen something similar in any other film, either old or recent.
The film itself is interesting enough to keep my attention for the whole running, so this is definately one of the best old movies that I know.

The Blair With Project * Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez * 1999

I had already seen this film a long time ago and I suppose most of you have too, so this review is for the few who still haven’t seen this film.

Back in 1999 an artificial hype was created around the supposedly finding of the bodies of three students who wanted to make a documentary about the myth of the Blair Witch. An internetpage did the job, spreading news and rumors, such as the finding of the car, the finding of the bodies and eventually the finding of the material the students filmed and recorded. As claimed the film is the result of the recordings of the students. They had a handycam, a 16 mm camera and a DAT for the sound. The film looks like a holiday-film with the students talking to eachother, getting ready for the travel, etc. First they shoot images for the documentary, later they start a hike into the forest for more images and information. After getting lost, hearing strange sounds in the night, the film gets scarier and scarier. Because you see everything through the eyes of the students, the effect is quite stunning. You don’t get to see what it is that scares them, but the atmosphere is heavy and genuely scary.

Very well done, very cheaply done, an open end. On TV not as impressive as on the big screen, but I at least didn’t get sick this time!

Later this film was followed by a cheap horror by another director and the real follow-up is still anounced. The DVD comes with a documentary about this documentary.

True cult, even though a lot of people liked it.

Anazahevun * Jôji Iida * 2000

Of course it is not all horror that comes from Japan. There are also dramas such as “Dolls” (reviewed elsewhere), there is a lot of action and here we have a police / crime / thriller. The film starts as a supernatural thriller with a story much like a Hollywood film that I can’t come up with the title of, but I would have spoiled the surprise if I did anyway, so… Anyway, after a few murders with humorous scenes the film becomes a police investigation film with some thriller/suspense elements. The victims are shown quite explicitly, but it doesn’t become horror anyway. This film is more American/modern than other Japanese films that I reviewed, it is just a nice ‘occult thriller’ which shows that Japanese handle things just a little bit different than we are used to, but not that different in this case.

4 Inyong Shiktak * Lee Soo-Youn * 2003

This debut of the Korean director is anounced as a horror. Actually it is more a mysterious drama in the Asian horror style, but then without much (any?) horror elements. The story is hard to recapitulate. There is something about a man who is in the metro with two girls who are later found dead, but the same man runs into a woman who has witnessed a baby being killed and his suppressed past. Actually it isn’t too much of a story, at least, not with a ‘Western logic’. The atmosphere of the film is alright, but overall this is just another Asian ‘horror’.

11:11 * Michael Bafaro * 2004

This was a bad weekend in filmchoice. “11:11” Is a supernatural thriller. Sara can see dead people. When she was seven her parents were killed and ever since her mother has acted as overprotective guardian angel. Mix this with some apocalyptic and prophetic elements and a highschool for paranormal activity and you get a boring film mixing old horror with “Se7en”-like thriller elements and being a bit too much like “I am Dina”.