Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Horror Stories | 무서운 이야기 [ Movie Review ] ★★★

Horror Stories 무서운 이야기
"If you want to be alive, then tell me... Horror Stories 무서운 이야기"

The Pitch

It's hard to find good horror movies lately. After the disappointing introduction to Paranormal Activity franchise, the crave for a good eerie and sensible scary movie still lingers. The trailer for the Korean omnibus of short horror movie segments (that befittingly titled) Horror Stories seems to be a promising cure for the Paranormal Activity 4 hangover.

The setup for the main frame narrative reminded me of One Thousand and One Nights / Arabian Nights. A female protagonist has to resort to telling stories to stay alive. The fable setup might just work in a horror movie.

Plus I am also a fan of the recent Thailand horror movies that were structured in similar omnibus format. Movies like Four, 4bia and it's sequel Phobia 2 remained etched in the mind long after the credits rolled. They were testaments that some good horror stories are most effective when it's short and sweet. They are not constrained in feature length movie time frame and they branch out in different areas of creativity.

Personally, I can't wait to see what the Koreans have to offer with their omnibus of horror stories and Thanks to InCinemas, I will be watching this movie a day before it even sneaks in Singapore.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Paranormal Activity 4 [ Movie Review ] ★★

The Pitch

I have never watched the first three Paranormal Activity movies. The idea of watching long still shots of surveillance video for sudden burst of jump scares just didn't appeal to me. It's like a bad mutation of the shaky cam genre. Plus I am a fan of the Saw franchise and was kinda pissed that the Paranormal Activity franchise replaced it as the king of Halloween box office in recent years.

But I was lucky enough to be picked by UIP for the Paranormal Activity - WANT IT contest. I am not sure why I took part in this contest in the first place. It's been a long time since I caught any movies that is really scary and I guess I crave for a real good scare.

I am also wondering what's with the longevity of this franchise? Why is it still doing so well after three installments? Just last week, Paranormal Activity 4 topped the US box office with $29 million (although last year this weekend, Paranormal Activity 3 opened with $52.6 million) while outside of America, Box Office Mojo is reporting an average increase of 11% over it's predecessor. What the secret behind it's success? Is it really that scary that it's bringing enough audience back to make such an impressive debut on the box office?

Money aside, I am definitely looking forward to be spooked like the New Zealand test audience in this video.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sadako | 貞子3D

The Pitch

14 years ago, one Japanese horror movie came and revitalized the Asian horror genre. It also inspired numerous copycats that tried to latch on to it's success in one way or the other. That movie would be The Ring (リング Ringu) and Sadako became an iconic horror character that is equivalent to the likes of Freddy Kruger, Chucky and Jason in Asia.

After the American made two movies out of it, the demands for another movie out of the Ring franchise seemed to die down and Sadako was left undisturbed for about 7 years. Now with the advent of 3D movies, companies are digging up their previously popular franchise for the profitable 3D treatment and Sadako is one of the few safe bets that the movie company could bank on cashing in.

To be fair, apparently this movie is based on Ringu's author Koji Suzuki's new novel S (2012). If anyone should continue this successful horror franchise, he probably the best person to do so. It brought some hope that it might be a faithful continuation of the series or manages to recapture some of the magic that made the first Ring so unforgettable. But then again, Thomas Harris, the author of Silence of the Lambs also wrote the novel in which the disappoint Hannibal Rising was based on. It would be interesting to check if the lightning could strike twice at the same spot.

Then there's also the choice of director. Tsutomu Hanabusa's resume had been primarily made up of bright wacky comedies. I love his Handsome Suit (ハンサム★スーツ  2008) but crossing over genres has always been tricky. Let's hope he doesn't make a comedy out of this horror movie.