Everyone knows the old adage, "patience is a virtue", but in some of my favourite long-winded horrors I tend to preach to those often bored and fidgety in such predicaments, "patience...and they'll hurt you", and so is the case for one of 2014's best horrors Starry Eyes.
Sarah is a struggling actress trying not to "blend into the sea of thousands of forgotten girls" who aren't even cast aside, let alone given the leading role. In between auditions she hangs out with equally untalented friends, courts an eligible van-living love interest, holds down the coveted "Tater's girl" moniker and pulls out clumps of her own hair if things don't go her way. Throw in the Satanic cult out of left field a la House of the Dead  and we 're in for one hell of a finale!
Starry Eyes is a perfect blend of 70's b-movie devil horror and modern day gore-porn. For the better part of an hour the filmmakers brilliantly trek us down a satirical tale of acting in Hollywood, and the descent of madness and desperation it's victims are succumb to. And when that desperation turns to sacrifice Starry Eyes goes full gangbusters and pulls no punches in a violent and bloody drenching finale that will shock and gut-punch any horror fan.
Found. is a gripping and visceral coming-of-age story that will resonate with you long after its over. Not since Martyrs has a horror film lingered within me, demanding extended time for complete and proper digestion. And what I've been left with is absolute horror gratification.
Marty is a 12-year old child dealing with the full gamut of the banes of adolescence: bullying, racism, family issues, abuse, self searching, sexuality. And if that wasn't enough, Marty discovers his older brother, who's just beyond that all important age gap for siblings to have any symbiotic relationship, is a serial killer. As cheesy as that last detail sounds, Found. is anything but cheesy.
Found. is powerful and emotionally draining, with sincere, honest and thought provoking themes. All credit goes to the performances of the on-screen brothers, excellent direction by first time captain at the helm, Scott Schirmer and very able sound and photography crew. Further credit goes to the production staff for their work with amateur equipment and a budget under $10,000. But back to the performances.
Any film with a leading actor under the legal age to drive, the end result will solely depend on the child's ability to carry the film, and actor Gavin Brown (Marty) quite simply owned Found. Not only was Brown believable, but he evoked feelings of sympathy, caring and understanding. Ever his equal was Ethan Philbeck who plays the role of older brother and serial killer, Steve. Their scenes together were fantastic.
Not without faults, outside of Brown and Philbeck, most performances in Found. were forced and distracting, but at least short in duration, so as to not detract anything from the overall value of the film. The fake film "Headless" shown during the film seemed out of place, inconsistent and unnecessary, considering the mostly implied violence of the climactic ending and general tone.
Found. does so well what other indie horrors don't even dare to pursue. It has shock without exploitation, depth without loss, and meaning without complication. Fantastic horror.
Three years and FearFinder is back? Why? Well the kids are getting older, giving me more time, and I heard The Babadook was so good it would drag me back to bloggin'. So was it? Well let's find out.
We're introduced to Amelia and Samuel, a mother and son interesting enough to cheer for, but also annoying enough to root root root for The Babadook-dook-dook. Samuel is part RedRum and part Bobby from House By The Cemetery ie you want to punch him in the face and give him a hug all at the same time. But he dabbles in amateur magic and medieval weaponry so he's all good in my books.
Samuel gets kicked out of school for bringing in his home made dart shooter and Amelia decides to call in sick for paranormalghost-a-sitis. So the two decide to camp-in in their 3 bedroom 2-story with modern melancholy grey decor and hope someone else fixes their life problems. Enter The Babadook.
What is the Babadook? Couldn't tell you. We got no back-story, no explanation, and no rhyme or reason of why this character shows up besides 10 pages of a poorly drawn pencil doodles. The book just shows up on Samuel's book case amongst the Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch collections and decides to fuck these fuckers up.
For the next 30mins The Babadook gives a few decent scares but ends without a satisfying climax, not even Amelia could climax, sorry honey, you need to put a lock on that bedroom door. It was like cinematic blue balls.
Don't get me wrong. The Babadook is a good movie. In fact, it's very good movie. The photography is spot on, dark and unsettling, the sets are atmospheric and dreary. It's a well constructed film; written brilliantly, acted professionally, and confidently executed. It's just not a great horror film.