Not-So Fair Use

I was originally going to write a post revolving around the fate of Mike Flanagan’s (Oculus, Hush, Oujia: Origin of Evil) Before I Wake, which was caught up in the failure of Relativity when I found this link on YouTube:

Apparently, when Relativity was solvent rights to the movie were sold for release in other territories, which means it may have been in theaters internationally, which was the beginning of the journey to YouTube.

The link I’ve provided isn’t in English, but an English version is available, in case you were wondering.

Now THIS is the type of activity YouTube needs to police, not people using snippets of trailers or videos (which likely falls under Fair Use) in their own videos.

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Ouija 2 : Origin of Evil – Trailer 2

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I think Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush) is quite a talented director.  That being said, I find the latest trailer from his upcoming Ouija 2: Origin of Evil in some ways a bit disturbing (and not in the good, creepy, what’s that shadow doing there kind of way).

It’s not that I think that it’s going to be as bad–keep in mind I paid to see the original Ouija,  so knowing Flanagan’s bona fides I can’t see it being as horribly ‘meh’ as that– as the movie that it’s a sequel to.

Though what it feels like is that Flanagan is playing in James Wan’s (Saw, Insidious, Dead Silence, The Conjuring, etc) sandbox rather than creating something all his own.

And on some levels that’s not quite fair.  Wan doesn’t own period pieces–as Ouija 2: Origin of Evil appears to be–but he has partially built a career on period supernatural movies like The Conjuring, Insidious and their sequels, which are very much products of their times (the 80’s).

Then there’s that most of James Wan’s horror movies are slicker than they have any right to be, and if there’s anything that I hope Mike Flanagan doesn’t learn, it’s that.

Ouija: Origin of Evil – Trailer

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Contrary to what some people say 2014’s Ouija–based on the Hasbro board ‘game‘; And before you say it, Yes. that spooky-ass thing is an actual game–wasn’t a bad movie more than it was a ‘Meh’ movie.

And that’s coming from someone who had the misfortune of paying to see it.

It took what should have been terrifying–Ouija, or spirit boards are that all on their lonesome–and turned it into bland, horror-by-the-numbers schlock.

Despite that being the case the movie cost $5 million to produce and earned over $100 million worldwide; which is another way of saying that there’s no way that there wasn’t going to be a sequel.

Though this time around I think that the producers have keyed into how poorly the first movie was received (despite how much it earned).

Because this time around they hired Mike Flanagan, who helmed the far superior Oculus, to direct.

They also increased its budget–from $5 to 6 million for the sequel–so this time around Oculus: Origina of Evil should at least make an impression.

Something the original can’t claim to do.

The Forest – Trailer

Jason Zada’s The Forest revolves around Aokigahara, a 14-mile forest that sits in the shadow of Mount Fuji.  It’s also known as the Suicide Forest because hundreds of people have killed themselves there over a twenty-five year period.

As if that weren’t horrifying enough, according to Japanese mythology the forest is demon-plagued.

Heck, the movie almost writes itself, which is why I was dismayed to read a review from FilmBook, which pretty much says that  the movie shat the bed, replacing any sort of tension and horror with jump scares.

It amazes me–if the review is accurate–how filmmakers can take events, places and things that are actually horrific, and somehow make them less so.  The review reminds me of Ouija, a not-very-good movie that somehow managed to make a terrifying object–just looking at ouija boards gives me the willies–boring (luckily the sequel is being directed by Mike Flanagan, who knows a thing or two about horror, having directed Oculus).

And that’s not that an easy thing to do.

Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension – Trailer

Let’s be honest.  The Paranormal Activity movies are pretty bad.  Sure, they vary where they sit on the suckometer, but what’s a given is the suckage. And i know that I maybe should be more grateful that horror movies are getting their due, but making really bad ones aren’t, in the long run, helping anyone because people are just going to stop paying to see them–or pirate them, which is worse in its way. I mean, I PAID to see Ouija, and felt a bit violated (though the sequel is being written by Mike Flanagan, who did the far better Oculus, so I might take a chance on it. The bastards) and for most people, unlike me apparently, it’s “trick me once, shame on me.  Trick me twice, same on you.”

‘Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man With The Plan’ Trailer

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 12.42.09 AMBefore Mike Flanagan wrote and directed “Oculus’ there was his award-winning short “Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man With The Plan.”   Despite being the third chapter, far as I know there were no prior editions.  I have been looking for a link to the actual short, but I have yet to find it.  As soon as I do, Screenphiles readers will be the first to know.

 

For purposes of comparison here’s a trailer from “Oculus,”

‘Oculus’ Review

Oculus movie poster

“Oculus” Is A Decent Thriller, But Seemingly Fails The Logic Test

I enjoyed Mike Flanagan‘s “Oculus,” a slow-burn thriller about a haunted mirror, and the lives it has destroyed because I sometimes like a movie in which stakes are a little more personal, as opposed with threatening the world with annihilation, or anything along those lines.  That being said, I had a minor quibble that had nothing to do with the evil looking glass, but the people who were supposedly trying to stop it.

Kaylie Russell (Karen Gillan) as a young girl watched helplessly as a mirror, known as the Lesner Glass (for awhile it sounded like everyone was saying ‘Lesser Glass’) caused her father and mother to go insane.  She was saved by her brother, Tim (Brenton Thwaites) who shot and killed their father to save her.

Unfortunately for Tim, as far as the police could tell, Tim went nuts and murdered his father so he was committed to an institution for juvenile offenders.

In fact, when we first meet Tim he’s with his shrink (the ever-reliable Miguel Sandoval) who deems that he’s faced his demons, pardon the pun, and is ready to be released. His sister, Kaylie, works at an auction house that’s also selling the Lesner Glass, the very same mirror that killed her family and she has been seeking for years.

Someone wins it via Skype, though she intends to borrow it for awhile before it’s sent to the winning bidder.

Before her brother was institutionalized, they made a pact to destroy the mirror if the opportunity ever arose, and now is as good a time as any.  Her intent is to somehow destroy the force that occupies it (and as a last resort she would shatter it, despite the fact that she doesn’t own it and would likely be jailed if it were made known) though it should go without saying that nothing goes as planned.

What I particularly like was how adroitly Mike Flanagan, who wrote as well as directed, was able to move backward and forward in time almost seamlessly.  One moment you’re watching Kaylie and Tim in the present day, then suddenly you’re watching them as children, first-hand witnesses to the presence of an unspeakable evil.

Here’s where we come to what I mentioned earlier, namely what bothered me about the movie.  Kaylie had very carefully planned for the time that she would again have to face the mirror.  She not only researched who had created it, but also whom had been killed by its unrelenting evil as well.  She also developed a system that she thought would enable her to defeat the mirror, but seemed to miss one important detail:  It was a mirror, which means that you have–I assume–to look into it to be effected by it.

She also knew that the mirror never did its own dirty work, that it instead compelled whomever owned it into destroying themselves.  This makes me wonder why she didn’t consider hiring a blind person, or persons, to try to destroy the mirror.  Based upon the movie, it appears that they wouldn’t be harmed, though if there were a sighted person with them, they could be a problem.

It wasn’t enough to make me enjoy the movie less, though it was mildly irritating.