Monday, 29 September 2014

a horrible way to die

a while ago i saw this movie, you're next. it was amazing. i don't go back and review stuff i saw before i started the blog, but you should check it out. slasher films are really, really hard to get right. in fact the only films i've seen recently that get it right are you're next and the cold prey films (check those out too). director adam wingard and writer simon barrett are being talked about a lot at the moment because their new movie, the guest, is out and is getting good reviews. one day i will check that out, but i like watching old stuff so i tracked down one of their earlier films, a horrible way to die. it's not what i expected; i thought it would be another revisionist slasher film like you're next. instead it's like an arthouse drama with stabby bits. however, it is still amazing, and further proof that wingard and barrett and whoever else they're working with are on top of their game. so here's what happens, there's an ex-alcoholic woman, sarah, and she starts dating this guy in her aa meetings. then there's a serial killer, garrick turrell, who's escaped from prison and is on a killing spree. although the narrative jumps about a bit, it soon becomes clear there is a connection between turrell and sarah and then there is a very unexpected (if you're me) reveal at the end. here's what's great about the film -

- it's disorientating as fuck. the story jumps around all over the place to begin with and this is mirrored by the handheld camera, which is constantly on the move and when it does settle seems to focus on a random light or person's arm rather than a face. it's frustrating at first, but the effect works and it really puts across how the characters are feeling and gets you into their heads.

- it's a film about addiction. sarah's struggle with alcohol addiction is mirrored by turrell's struggle with having to kill people. the scenes where sarah hits the booze and turrell takes another victim are played the same way. and it really works as an original and thought-provoking analogy.

- it's a tragic love story. again, spoilers here. so we find out turrell is sarah's ex partner. the thing is, they're kind of made for each other. it seems that in the end, they come to understand each other through their addictions, and though the film leaves it ambiguous, i think the characters really were in love, despite what they know about each other at the end. i found it profoundly sad.

- the actors are all fucking awesome and the music is fantastic.

of all the films i've watched recently this one made me think the most and was the most interesting. you should go watch it now.

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