Friday, July 10, 2009

Hollywood Horror

As any movie person will tell you, horror has become a much more prevalent genre in the last 10 years, largely due to the success of the Scream movies (and a few others). However, for some reason, this has not really improved the number of quality horror movies that have come out in the years since. Well, at least not the horror movies that Hollywood releases. The majority of major American horror movie releases are pretty terrible, usually very watered down and bland (and often times painfully un-scary). With a few notable exceptions (Cloverfield, Quarantine, The Ring, Dawn of the Dead, Drag Me To Hell), most of Hollywood's horror movie entries have fallen very flat.

And the worst part is that I keep going to see them, thinking that they might actually be good. And I am often very disappointed. There's the upcoming release Orphan that I will undoubtedly see, but I have a feeling I will be disappointed. But it's the same principle I take with the straight to DVD horror that I pick up and watch unknowingly: I will gladly wade through several godawful Hollywood pictures to find the one that is actually worth watching. So, on that note, I will give you a few recent duds and some alternatives to watch instead. Hopefully this helps you in your quest for good horror!

*I tried to stay away from remakes, but it's harder than I thought*

Hollywood Dud: The Unborn
Problem with it: Aside from the fact that Odette Yustman is quite attractive, this movie has very little going for it. Sure, Gary Oldman is in it, but he can't stop this trainwreck. It's extraordinarily predictable and not scary in the least. It takes a nice premise and squanders it with shots of Yustman jogging (how do you squander something with that?). It basically stumbles through a story that you don't care about and ends poorly.
What you should watch instead: If you are into freaky kids and evil spirits, there's always Dead Birds or The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Or if you are in a classic mood, try The Omen for a creepy kid overdose (the original movie, not the travesty of a remake).

Hollywood Dud: Skinwalkers
Problem with it: Yes, I actually watched it. I can't even begin to tell you how poorly acted and blase this movie was. Skinwalkers was like watching a high school werewolf play with a big budget. It was an interesting story idea, but it was an uninteresting movie.
What you should watch instead: Dog Soldiers and Black Sheep are both much better were-animal movies than this one was. Weird how they are both foreign...

Hollywood Dud: Pulse
Problem with it: Another bland Japanese re-make with a cast from the CW network (Veronica Mars, Reaper), the movie sucked the life out of the original. There was no chemistry with the cast and the effects were needlessly apparent. They could have made much scarier ghosts with simpler effects. Most of the time, simpler is better for ghosts. Every once in a while an elaborate ghost does well (The Devil's Backbone), but in general, simple effects make things seem more real.
What you should watch instead: The Signal. Same basic principle (electric devices make shit go crazy), but it's well acted, funny at parts, and all around a blast to watch.

Hollywood Dud: Prom Night
Problem with it: Stop with the remakes. It was another poorly acted/written affair with characters you didn't care about. It's a formulaic slasher with pretty uninteresting deaths in it. Just don't see it.
What you should watch instead: The Midnight Meat Train is one of my favorite slasher flicks of all time. Wildly inventive and crazily artistic, just see it.

Hollywood Dud: Mirrors
Problem with it: Alexandre Aja, a great director, made this crap unfortunately. It was watching Jack Bauer yell at inanimate objects for an hour and a half. The jaw ripping scene was pretty intense and well done, but other than that nothing was memorable. I am hoping Aja does well with his upcoming Piranha 3-D.
What you should watch instead: Looking for a spooky ghost tale? Wind Chill or even The Messengers should serve your purpose quite well.

There you go. I just don't get why everyone of the Hollywood movies feels the need to be shot through a blue filter to make everything seem, well, bluer. It makes no sense to me. Any thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I agree, the state of Hollywood horror is pretty bad. I was really hoping that the Saw franchise (which I don't like) and the Hostel franchise (which I do like) would be able to squash this whole PG-13 horror era, but it hasn't quite been snuffed yet.

    Luckily there is stuff like Midnight Meat Train and Drag Me to Hell (I know, it IS PG13) out there to kind of keep hope alive.