Let The Right One In
Although I did enjoy both Quarantine and The Strangers a great deal, I couldn’t help but feel they were lesser versions of foreign films that were on my top five list last year.
Fever Dreams’ duo of Machine Girl and Tokyo Gore Police were perhaps the most consumable offerings presented to me this year. Machine Girl and I have concluded many drunken evenings together and TGP is one of the only films I can say I have seen in two different provinces. What is it about Asian girls in uniform and arterial spray that go so well together?
There can be no doubt that Martyrs is a nasty bruiser of a film. You will feel as beaten down as the protagonist by its end. However, for all its shocking ugliness, I ultimately didn’t feel that it had the thrill-ride gratification of its French predecessors like Inside and High Tension or the dark artistic brilliance of gut punch champion Irreversible. Martyrs was redeemed in my eyes when it showed its true colours at its conclusion though.
I know several people who weren’t all that impressed by The Ruins, but I really liked it. Having not read the book it was based on, my only frame of reference was what was onscreen. I think the fact they cast strong young leads, employed a strange, new locale and didn’t skimp on the gore, made this really stand out to me. Unfortunately, some bad CGI – some of those vine effects looked like they were drawn with MS Paint – did take away from it a bit.
And now, the worst. Continuing my policy of just avoiding films I think will be shite, things worked out fairly well in 2008. Alas, even with all those defensive measures in place, I still wasn’t able to avoid Deadgirl or Wicked Lake. But as much as I disliked those two, the distinction of worst film of the year goes to M. Night Shamalamadingdong's The Happening. This movie was just a parade of bad decisions with every cast member walking around in a daze, following a bunch of clumsy setups with no payoff. The Happening is not even good-bad. Sadly, I think it may be time, after his last trio of laughable attempts at cinema, to put the little guy down.
That's it for this year. Stay tuned for my upcoming 2009 preview.