Sunday, November 13, 2011

Short Take: Three Horror Movies.

The scariest thing about the Paranormal Activity movies is still how popular they are. How this brand of cheaply done and cheaply looking films can manage to outgross much better projects is a sad reminder that today's audiences are victim of cattle thinking. Once they get used to a "series", they don't care how many times they are told the same story. These movies prove that audiences enjoy the act of not thinking. The third installment in the series, goes back to the very beginning and explores why numbers 1 and 2 happened. To say the reasons are preposterous would be nothing compared to the way in which the filmmakers rely on facile trickery and obvious techniques to try and scare us. The effects have been getting consistently better, something which can't be said about the acting and plot devices. This one, set in the 80s, has us wondering how did these progressive people guess that everything should've been filmed in case a movie was made about them decades later. The film doesn't rely try to adjust itself to the settings and to the spirit of the era, it goes straight for the established process that's worked for them in the past, the only thing they've changed is the medium by which we see the demonic activities. One must wonder, by the time they get to Paranormal Activity 45 will the stories be displayed using cave paintings? Grade *

The only good thing that came out of Dream House must've been Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz getting married. The rest is an outrageously bad attempt at mating Shutter Island, Memento and any Stephen King novel involving snow and houses. If you've seen the trailer, you don't need to bother with the rest of the movie. What remains mysterious is why people like Sheridan, Watts and pretty much everyone else involved in the production (the underrated Elias Koteas for example) saw in the lazy screenplay and the redundant characters.  Grade *

The Change-Up tries to invent the wheel by taking Freaky Friday and adding curse words, boobs and poop jokes. Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds play bets buds who go through a body exchange situation after peeing in a magical fountain. One's a control freak lawyer, the other's a slacker. You don't need to try hard to guess which one plays which; one of the many reasons why you wonder why was this movie even made. Everything about it has been done before and in much better ways. Props to Leslie Mann for always adding a very human layer to her characters. Grade *

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