Gerald’s Game, currently on Netflix is a remarkable bit of television because it understands that horror is more than things that go ‘bump’ in the night, but is also a way of working through the most evil of demons, namely those that haunt us in our everyday, waking lives.
And imagine to my surprise to learn that it’s directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil) who understands that the best horror is like a satisfying meal in that it sticks to your ribs.
So when you combine Mike Flanagan’s minimalistic direction (with not a jump scare in literally the entire movie) with a story written by Stephen King, the likelihood is that both auteurs will brew a potent, horrible (in the best possible way) stew.
Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood star as Jessie and Gerald Burlingame, who we meet when they’re preparing for a holiday (though when Gerald packs two pairs of handcuffs we know that whatever is going to go on will be at the very least, very, very interesting). As the story progresses we learn that much of what we learned about the couple earlier is a facade, revealed by nothing less than a Shakesperean narrative device.
While having more in common with a psychological thriller than outright horror, Gerald’s Game isn’t afraid to scale that fence when it comes to it.
So if you haven’t see Gerald’s Game, consider giving it a spin but keep in mind that some games–once you start playing–are Hell to stop.
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.
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.
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).
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.”
Scott Derrickson’s Deliver Us From Evil definitely looks like a movie to watch for.
Lately everything seems so massive that every once in awhile I really welcome something on a smaller scale (though not too small. Oculus was entertaining, but almost intimate. And don’t get me wrong, I am not critizing spectacle, after all it’s a golden age for fans of superheros (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days Of Future Past) and kaiju (Godzilla and prior to that, Pacific Rim) but if your interests run in the direction of horror, pickings are slim.
Derrickson has a good track record when it comes to horror, his Sinister was way better than it had any right to be, and his entry in the Hellraiser franchise was pretty inventive.
From what I can pick up from the trailer Deliver Us From Evil appears to play a bit like Gregory Hoblit’s Fallen, when Denzel Washington played a cop trying to stop an demonic entity that possessed the ability to hop from body to body via touch. Though in this case the demonic seems to work along the lines of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, and only a detective, Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) and a mysterious priest, Mendoza (Édgar Ramírez) have a clue to what’s going on, as well as the knowledge to stop it.
I have to admit that I have been jonsing for a really entertaining horror movie for awhile, and have yet to scratch what’s been a particularly irksome itch. I saw “Oculus” a few weeks ago; good movie, though barely an appetizer. I need something really ambitious, something primarily practical–minimal CGI–and so creepy in the atmosphere department that every pile of clothing around my apartment takes on all sorts of sinister connotations in the dark.
Something in the vein of “John Carpenter’s The Thing” would be most excellent, but seeing that very few people make movies like that anymore I don’t think that i’ll hold my breath.
That is, till I saw the trailer for Marvin Kren‘s “Blood Glacier” (or “Bludgletcher,” which I think is German because his last movie, a zombie thriller called “Rammbock,” was. Good movie by the way).
The trailer seems to involve global warming, and some mutagenic element from the past being reintroduced to the present. I can’t tell from the trailer, but it almost appears like a tribute to Carpenter’s movie, which means that maybe that I could get some neat practical gore effects.