Monthly Archives: February 2010

Antichrist (2009)

Just in time for Easter, I watched notoriously sadistic filmmaker Lars von Trier’s (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville) controversial psycho-horror film, Antichrist, and wow, is this a loathsome, powerfully unpleasant experience. There’s about five minutes of worth in this whole film. In a beautifully shot black and white prologue, we watch a couple (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Willem Dafoe) have sex and, unbeknownst to them, their baby falls out a window and dies. It’s all downhill from there and at rapid speed. The remaining movie explores Gainsbourg’s trauma and grief and her husband’s therapeutic attempts to cure his wife. There’s a somewhat intriguing premise buried underneath the mounds of psychobabble — a husband blurring the lines of professionalism to become his partner’s therapist. There are some complex ethical and emotional areas to explore there, but alas, von Trier takes his characters to a spooky cabin in the woods (named “Eden” for maximum metaphorical pretension) and the move becomes one long, incomprehensible, pompous trek into weirdness and pseudo-intellectualism. von Trier wants his movie to be disturbing, so he packs it will strange images like a dead talking fox (“Chaos reigns”) and a stillborn baby dear handing from the back of its mother, intending to convey the ruthless brutality of the natural world that his characters must navigate. Except I never cared about these characters at all. We never get to know them, so we can’t really feel for them, so when they start becoming unhinged it has no dramatic weight. Their lengthy conversations are a drag, and one psychology exercise after another doesn’t make much sense. The von Trier narrative model (woman is relentlessly tortured) is alive and well and leads to some shocking scenes of over-the-top sexual violence. von Tier’s attitude toward women, and female sexuality, has always been somewhat sketchy; is he an exploitative misogynist or a cloaked feminist arguing that the male-dominated world cannot handle feminine sexuality and independence? I feel like von Trier is an artist that could be diagnosed with Munchausen’s by proxy syndrome.

Nate’s Grade: D+

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

Not nearly as clever as the brilliant title may suggest, Hot Tub Time Machine is a fairly silly yet sloppy comedic enterprise. The purposely moronic nature of it leads to some raunchy enjoyment, and the premise involving a time-traveling Jacuzzi allows for some fun comedic situations. The trouble is that the movie shadows our foursome of dudes (John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, and Clark Duke) too closely. The movie presents intriguing comedic setups but spends inordinate amounts of time dealing with the fractious falling out between the dudes. We spend more time talking about old friendships than we do the sheer possibilities brought about through time travel. The pacing has some turgid moments; it takes too long to reach the magic hot tub. There’s some good humor at first when the guys believe they must follow the exact path they tread before, lest the butterfly effect destroy the future. Then they decide to walk a different path, taking advantage of their knowledge of the future. The movie doesn’t fully take advantage of its own comedic possibilities and settles for lame payoffs, like an end credits sequence inserting Corddry into a Motley Crue video (it’s not funny). There are a few Farrelly Brother-level gross-out gags, but most of the comedy happens around these guys, not because of their characters. They themselves are not exasperatingly funny, so it’s disappointing when Hot Tub Time Machine flirts with fun comic scenarios (an outlandish bet on a sporting game, performing a modern song, the mystery of how the bellhop loses his arm, Duke making sure he will be conceived in the past) only to give up and spend more time with the guys hashing out their years-old squabbles. Enough with the personal growth and reflection. Get back to messing around with the space-time continuum.

Nate’s Grade: B-

Saw VI (2009)

I checked out on Saw 4 and Saw 5 feeling like this horror series had grown stagnant, plus its central villain was killed off by the conclusion of the third movie. I thought the series wouldn’t go on for much longer, and oh how wrong I was. Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) has a second apprentice now fulfilling his departed master’s bidding, capturing even more people and trapping them into the franchise-favorite death traps. This means that there are yet even MORE recorded messages and vast, abandoned warehouses out there. FBI Agent Hoffman (Contas Mandyor, an amazingly horrible actor) has taken up the contrived contraption mantle. Of course it’s all preposterous and overly gory, but that never stopped the series before. Saw 6 boasts the franchise’s fourth director (the editor of all the previous movies just graduated to the big leagues). But this is mainly a franchise built around the hardened desires of its fans, indoctrinated in the gospel of gore. As I said before with Saw 3: “Just like the collapse of the Final Destination franchise, these movies started big but then bottomed out when their audiences had the rules memorized. At that point the only thing left is curiosity in what fiendishly outlandish ways people will get horribly killed.” This pretty much still holds true.

The real interesting draw for the sixth entry, and the only reason I drifted back in curiosity, is because Saw 6 is the weirdest participant yet in the current health care debate. The victims in this installment are health insurance employees. The people in charge of deciding who live and who dies are now put through morally challenging, queasy challenges. It’s a lot harder to kill somebody deliberately rather than by omission, by denying coverage or finding a loophole to get out of paying for a perfectly reasonable, and much needed, procedure. There’s a macabre enjoyment in watching health insurance officials put through Jigsaw’s battery of tests, though some of his victims seem pitiable — one guy is thrown in just because he’s a smoker (I suppose Jigsaw didn’t consider giving the guy a nicotine patch first). The main character going through the funhouse of horrors is an insurance company CEO (Peter Outerbridge) who has his mathematical equation about who earns coverage put to the test. Jigsaw is exacting vengeance after the CEO denied him coverage on an experimental treatment for cancer. It’s easy to see what side of the issue Jigsaw is on; he says that insurance companies put profits over human lives and get in the way between doctors and patients. This is a Saw movie even Michael Moore could cheer. I wish at the recent health care summit on Capitol Hill that the president had said, “Gentlemen, we’ve heard what the Democrats had to say about health care, we’ve heard what the Republicans had to say. I’d now like us all to see what Saw 6 has to say on the matter.”

The story again is cut into two halves: the health insurance CEO going from death trap to death trap, and Agent Hoffman trying to stay ahead of the FBI investigation into the new Jigsaw killer. Guess which is more interesting? The FBI agents in this movie are those classical trained bumbling FBI goons that always come in late, take things over, and properly muck everything up. These people are lousy detectives and even worse at hiding their suspicions about Hoffman. It’s no surprise then that he manages to outsmart these idiots when Hoffman is, in fact, a dolt. This is not a smart man. Case in point, he’s using the severed thumb of a dead agent (Scott Patterson, apparently on Hoffman’s trail for the previous two films) to mark up bodies and frame the guy. Problem is that he’s framing a dead man, which means Hoffman has a really small window of plausible time to make this frame credible. It’s not going to work months later when the FBI wonders how a dead agent keeps kidnapping new people and putting them through hell. Then again, given the intelligence level of these onscreen agents, I’d assume that the FBI would blame zombies.

The apprentice aspect has always been the worst part of this series. I do not care whatsoever about the ins and outs of how Jigsaw set up his traps and who helped build the damn things. This isn’t some Discovery Channel series. I don’t need to watch the behind-the-scenes look at the grisly garage of doom. Just like the third Saw film, this is another entry that wants to play around with the bigger Saw picture. Scenes are introduced that retroactively alter the Saw timeline of events, causing characters to grow different motivations. I swear, the Saw movies all start to feel like they’ve been built from the rotting leftovers from each previous and less effective movie.

The only thing of note as far as acting goes is that the opening player (Tanedra Howard) won a VH1 reality show competition for a spot in this movie. Ladies and gentlemen, we now live in an age where people will compete for the luxury of being the first to cut open their insides in the SIXTH movie of a flagging horror franchise. You don’t want to know what they’re willing to do for a spot in the next flick.

The draw of this franchise are its clever yet queasy death traps where the audience can place itself in the victim’s position and wonder what they would do given the life-and-death circumstances. How far would we all go to live? Well, in Saw 6 the traps aren’t that fiendish or memorable. The best one involves a group of six insurance actuaries (experts at finding loopholes to deny and cancel coverage) tied to a carousel with a shotgun pointed at them. One by one they swing by the kill zone, making it the most proverbially deadly game of musical chairs ever. Even better is the fact that the CEO is given the opportunity to “save” two on the carousel from the shotgun blast, so they each start screaming little arguments why they are worthy and their peers are not. It’s a neat little pressure-cooker of a scene, especially when one guy on the carousel realizes he’s the last to die. The thing slowly reels back around as he uses his final seconds to demand that the CEO look at him (“You look at me when you kill me!”). That defiant little moment manages to pierce through the ponderous personal growth edict the series has foolishly heralded as its purpose. The rest of the death traps are just cruel and labored and not nearly as interesting. You ca only watch people singe their skin on hot burners so many times before the body begins to involuntarily yawn.

Saw 6 is certainly no better than the other movies but neither is it worse. It’s the topical subject matter that makes this the only Saw movie worth a dubious look after the first flick. It taps into a populist rage against insurance companies that makes it vicariously satisfying and truly bizarre. It would be questionable to say that the franchise has recaptured any sort of creative juice, but I wouldn’t mind catching a future Saw film take on other big issues plaguing our country. Imagine Saw tackling predatory lending and the negligible banking industry resisting reform tooth and nail. Wait until the heads of Goldman Sachs and AIG get a load of Jigsaw.

Nate’s Grade: C

Dear John (2010)

Best-selling author Nicholas Sparks is probably a perfectly reasonable human being. I’m sure he’s great at parties and that people love him. He may even have a dynamite recipe for sugar cookies. But I don’t know what happened to Sparks to turn him into the romance genre’s angel of death. His novels have followed a familiar practice of big Third Act deaths that usually deny readers their cherished happy endings. Is the motive to push people to make the most of our preciously little time spent on Earth? Is Sparks just sadistic and has found the secret to eternal life — the tears of millions of housewives and teenager girls. Whatever his rationale, another commonality for Sparks is that the film adaptations of his books are pretty corny and dreadful. A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe, Message in a Bottle; all about romance ultimately denied, none coming close to watchable. Dear John can at least be called watchable; however, watching should be limited to the confines of your living room TV when there’s nothing else on.

It’s the spring of 2001, and John Tyree (Channing Tatum) is enjoying his two-week leave from the military. He’s out surfing the fine North Carolina beaches when he rescues the handbag of Savannah (Amanda Seyfried) from being washed away. They two of them casually chat and soon those chats lead to barbecue invitations, parental visits, and kisses in the rain (a romantic movie tradition). Savannah takes an interest in John’s eccentric father (Richard Jenkins) because she recognizes his condition as autism. She’s been helping to watch her neighbor’s autistic child. Savannah would like to start her own horse camp for the autistic (sounds like an insurance nightmare). Life seems so full of promise and John promises to be back as soon as his military commitment expires in six months. Then 9/11 happens. John re-enlists and extends his tour another two years. This places great strain on his relationship with Savannah, but they write each other countless letters that manage to find John no matter what far-flung village he’s stationed at. Can their love exists on a series of hand-written letters? Well, look no further than the classic implications from the film’s title.

Dear John goes through all the traditional Nicholas Sparks waterworks trademarks: young love leads to yearning, which leads to heartbreak, which leads to more yearning, which then inevitably leads toward one of the leads dying and everyone learning some sort of shallow profound meaning about life, blah blah blah. There are plenty of heightened melodramatic elements thrown into a fairly traditional, unspectacular love story, but all potent potential moments of drama feel underwhelming pretty much because the audience doesn’t care. John and Savannah are perfectly nice people and their love has that hopeful bloom, but their relationship is no more involving than watching a pretend couple in a commercial for greeting cards or life insurance. These people are vanilla. It makes it astounding, then, that such highly charged elements like cancer autism, and 9/11 fail to leave any impact. Dear John confuses listing dramatic events as drama itself. The dramatic stakes feel entirely too mellow and the film generally has a detached feeling, like it’s purposely distanced from the material for fear of getting too involved. This is a relationship movie that has its own commitment issues.

The military angle is respectfully explored, though not in much depth. John is torn apart by the pull of returning to his beloved but also of serving his country and, more personally, keeping his band of brothers in arms together. It’s a complicated scenario but the military commitment is another item in a list that should grab your interest but fail to do so. 9/11 isn’t given any deeper consideration other than the fact that it serves as a roadblock between our two lovebirds. If you want to see a more nuanced, complicated, and empathetic view of today’s overburdened military, check out the movie Stop-Loss, which also stars Tatum.

The film drops any facade of being a romantic drama about midway through when Seyfried gets completely sidelined. She’s less a character and more an agreeable plot device; she’s self-aware and kind and knowing and receptive yet also naive. This makes her sudden character shift rather jarring, which seemingly paints Savannah as extremely co-dependant. Dear John then transforms into a serviceable father/son drama. There are some nice and moving moments between John and his father; this should have been the real focal point of the movie. Jenkins acts circles around everybody in this movie. It’s wonderful seeing a grown-up in these kind of movies show the kids ho this acting thing is done. Tatum actually might become a pretty good actor. He convincingly plays the more emotional moments well. He may very well prove to be the Patrick Swayze of his generation. Tatum can dance (Step Up), make the girls cry, and also handle some rock-socking action (G.I. Joe, Fighting, most of Tatum’s other movies). I think there’s an actor buried beneath that daunting physique waiting to blossom. Don’t disappoint me, Channing.

Dear John is a formulaic romance trained to seek pre-programmed audience responses (“Now you will laugh. Now you will cry. Now you will cry again. Now you will once again continue to cry…”). Lasse Halstrom (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Cassanova) directed this movie but you’d never be able to notice. I don’t want to be too harsh on the film because the acting is pleasant the story isn’t repulsive and does have some good moments, but mostly the movie comes across as bland and remote. The romance seems absent a beating heart to keep things moving. It’s all too lifeless. The character of Savannah best summarizes Dear John as a whole: mild pretense of wisdom, pretty to look at, genial, but fairly bland and difficult to convince is worth your valuable time.

Nate’s Grade: C

The White Ribbon (2009)

After all the awards and hype, I’m left fairly unmoved. I think I’m just not a fan of the director; I disliked Funny Games, disliked The Piano Teacher, and think Cache is vastly overrated. Michael Haneke is just not for me, and The White Ribbon is further proof of this fact. This is two and half-hours of incidents. Supposedly, since its victory at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, this movie was dubbed as a case study examining the beginnings of antisemitism as a small German town undergoes a series of mysterious violent assaults and vandalism. I don’t know how in the world this explores any sort of psychological group think to later clarify Germany’s willingness to accept Hitler’s demands. All this movie does is show yet another example of teenagers rebelling. In typical Haneke fashion, characters can be unbelievably cruel to one another at the flick of a switch. Nothing really adds up and the pacing is so mind-numbingly deliberate to showcase the world of pre-World War I Germany. So when people leave the room we watch them walk off screen, hear their off screen noises, then they return and go off screen again and we can repeat the same jolly waiting game. I understand the artistic thought behind it, but I’d be much more forgiving if Haneke had developed a story and some characters worthy to wait for. This is a plodding and conceited exercise that reveals next to nothing about the human condition for cruelty, because, chiefly, you don’t really believe that these people exist nor do you care.

Nate’s Grade: C

The Wolfman (2010)

After re-shoots, reedits, a second director late in the process, and delayed release dates, it’s no surprise that The Wolfman is a bit of a shaggy mess.

In 1880, Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) is an actor who returns home to England when he learns that his brother has been killed. Gwen (Emily Blunt), the fiancĂ© to Talbot’s dead bro, writes that the departed brother was mauled, which points toward some kind of vicious creature roaming the woods. Inspector Aberline (Hugo Weaving) has been called in to clear the matter. Talbot’s father, Sir John (Anthony Hopkins), welcomes his prodigal son back but warns him of the dangers lurking in the countryside. The villagers are ready to blame the gypsy caravan and their chained bear when the feral creature strikes again, thus exonerating the bear. Talbot is bitten by the beast but survives only to transform into the cursed werewolf once every full moon.

Structurally, this movie feels like it’s all Act 1 and Act 3 with about ten minutes in between. By that I mean it’s all protracted setup and climax and little to connect the two. The beginning takes so long, with characters walking around like zombies who have no sense of wonder or fear given the extravagant circumstances. This is a movie that confuses set changes with plot advancement. Dour characters enter half-lit rooms and say little that isn’t cryptic or terse about the unusual happenings. This is what you have to look forward to for about an hour. The central mystery of who is the initial Wolfman is pretty easy to figure out when you play the economy of characters, which only compounds the movie’s sluggish pacing problems. You’re going to have definite pacing issues when your monster can only appear once a month, so say hello to massive time-lapse montages with the moon. It makes it hard to keep track of how much time is actually elapsing.

There is little cogent explanation for why anything happens and the movie does an extremely poor job of maintaining a credible suspension of disbelief. What exactly are the rules here? What are the limitations for the Wolfmen? How far back does this whole thing go? The movie traces it back to an Indian kid, who looks like Gollum, in a cave, but where did he get it from? What is the history of this lycanthropy illness? When you turn into the monster, do you have any control? Are you a slave to your animal impulses? Are you culpable for what happens? Is it more like having multiple personalities except one of them is harrier? Nothing is really made clear and the movie just plows along while the unanswered questions continue to pile up, never to be addressed.

The Wolfman does a fine job of establishing an ambiance that feels ripped right from the old Hammer horror films, but fog and shadows and art direction can only take you so far. Every room looks like it’d be a prize-winning example of how to build a haunted house, though the lighting tends to be overly murky. Danny Elfman also provides a darkly lush score that mingles well with the onscreen atmosphere. But the refined sets only tease a better movie. An attack at the gypsy camp can get interesting. The beast flaring up at an insane asylum calls for something wickedly entertaining and scary, but everything is over before it really gets going, and we’ve moved on to the next scene of character sitting glumly in the dark. There’s nothing to startle beyond some overused jump scares. The movie lacks good scares because the film fundamentally can’t sustain a mood because the plot is never elaborated.

The character work is exceedingly shallow. Talbot is the main character but what do we learn about him? He’s an actor, he left town, he gets bit by a wolf, he skips stone’s with his dead brother’s girl, and that’s about it, folks. There’s an entire back story about Talbot spending time in a mental ward, which could prove to be fascinating but it’s just another set piece and nothing more. Talbot is pretty much a placeholder for a character; he’s the dude that has to get bit for there to be a story. He’s more catalyst than character, and you can feel that painful realization in how Del Toro (Traffic, Che) plays his non-character. Del Toro is a truly capable actor but he sleepwalks through the entire movie and mumbles most of his lines. Despite being a dead ringer for Lon Chaney Jr., he brings no energy to his role, nor does he ever seem truly concerned with his beastly transformation. You got more reaction and contemplation from Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf.

The rest of the actors try and make good with the parts they’ve been tossed. Blunt (Sunshine Cleaning) can be a very good actress but she’s playing the thankless task of the underwritten love-interest-to-monster part. She’s no more fleshed out than the blonde damsel that screams and faints in the old classic monster movies. Blunt has the annoying habit of her voice turning into this simpering whine when she’s distressed. Hopkins (Fracture) pretty much gives the plot away with his maniacal cackling and incessant ear-to-ear grinning. You can pretty much faithfully assume where his character is going from the first malevolent twinkle in his eye. The screenplay exerts no effort to disguise its easily telegraphed character reveals. The person who comes out best is Weaving as the inspector, but that may be directly linked to the fact that he has the least amount of screen time of any of the main characters.

The special effects are fairly good and the practical makeup effects by screen legend Rick Baker are even better. The actual Wolfman is a snarling, spooky creature, but I wonder why we don’t get more shots allowing us to fully view the makeup work. Director Joe Johnston (Jurassic Park 3, Jumanji) seems to be more of a proponent of CGI, which means that we get scenes of Wolfie jumping from ye olde rooftop to rooftop like he’s any sort of wily creature. There’s nothing in the movie that really makes use of the specifics of being a Wolfman. We get a few POV shots of the Wolfman running extremely fast, but little else takes advantage of what makes the Wolfman a creature to be reckoned with. We only get a slew of decapitations and sliced innards that display the ferociousness of those wolf claws. Johnston isn’t afraid of gore but he doesn’t help his case when he fails to create any feeling of dread. It’s hard to dread what you can barely understand and with people you don’t really care about. Consider me stubborn, but when I got to a movie called The Wolfman I want some attention paid to the title animal.

As I was watching The Wolfman I began to disassemble it in my head and piece together my own version of the film, an infinitely better version. For the sake or argument, I’ll explain my version and you can tell me which seems like the superior product. In my imaginary version, I completely eliminated Blunt, Hopkins, and most of the other side characters. I focused on Talbot and the Inspector and their relationship. Talbot has known about his lycanthropy for some time but he’s been able to control it for the most part, until recently. It haunts him, his inability to stop the sinister urges inside him that take over. The inspector is called in after the mysterious murders have picked up and they resemble some equally gruesome murders from 20 years prior (when Talbot first grappled with his hairy alter ego). The bent of the plot would then be on the relationship forged between the two men, how it turns into mutual affection and admiration all the while Talbot is trying to stay one step ahead of the investigation. Then my Act 2 break would be the Inspector finally realizing who is responsible for the murders (his friend!) and struggling with his own moral obligation to meet justice. Maybe this sounds too much like a crime thriller, but to me that sounds like a better film than watching two CGI werewolves claw at each other and spit.

The Wolfman is yet another misguided remake in a genre being gutted by horror remakes. The old monster movies of old were more than creature features and deserve better treatment than this bloody mess. I suppose few films can survive given the retooling process this one went through. This super serious monster movie has terrific production design, some alluring atmosphere, and a whopping void where a story should be. Characters will bumble about and the plot hums along with no explanation or elaboration given, meaning that setup often immediately crashes into climax. That’s not a satisfying recipe for a moviegoer. The Wolfman is mostly suspense-free and the actors are phoning it in; Hopkins is a kook, Blunt trembles her lower lip, and Del Toro seems to be drugged. This is mostly a costume drama with a little gore splashes in for good measure. It’s boring and half-baked and the best attribute is the scenery. If I wanted to watch scenery I’d flip through a Home and Gardens magazine. I was expecting entertainment here but instead it’s just another reminder to stick with the original.

Nate’s Grade: C

Black Dynamite (2009)

This surprising little gem could have been the third feature in Grindhouse, and it would have been the best movie of the three. This pitch-perfect comedy both celebrates and satirizes blaxploitation movies, but it does so with a raised eyebrow and its tongue-in-cheek, not the wacky spoof antics of I’m Gonna Git you Sucka. Michael Jai White, who also co-wrote the script, is the titular crime fighting, lady-loving, soul brother looking to find some righteous justice and help some orphan kids too. The attention to detail is impressive, from the saturated film stock, to the bare locations, to the choppy edits and film errors, but the film just nails the tone better than Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez managed in their odes to schlock cinema. The movie is consistently hilarious without being too self-conscious with its humor, and White makes a terrific straight man to the proceedings. The music is authentic, jazzy, and hilarious in its own right. There’s one point where the score even narrates what’s happening. Amusing from its first second to its last, with a nunchuk-baring kung-fu Richard Nixon. Black Dynamite is deliberately silly, highly quotable, and terrific entertainment.

Nate’s Grade: A

A Perfect Getaway (2009)

The movie looks gorgeous thanks to the pristine Hawaiian scenery. What is not as pristine is the overactive plot. This is a clever “who dunnit” thriller that isn’t as clever as it thinks it is. This murder mystery sets up a premise about killers on the loose in paradise and then introduces suspect couples. Every moment and every line of dialogue is overdone with foreboding to make you think every single moment is filled with suspicious intrigue. It pretty much becomes a parody of a suspense movie thanks to writer/director David Twohy. Then a second act twist retroactively rewrites the movie’s shortsighted history that doesn’t make sense. Why would the characters behave as they do when nobody’s around to watch them? Commitment to Method acting? It’s a harebrained twist up there with Perfect Stranger where it negates everything beforehand. There’s a 15-minute flashback that doesn’t need to be nearly that long and it breaks up the momentum. A Perfect Getaway does elicit some thrills and interest but you may grow tired of being beaten with overactive suspicion.

Nate’s Grade: C

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Something of an unholy mess, Jennifer’s Body doesn’t have enough comedy to be funny and doesn’t have enough scares to be frightening. And yet the movie might have worked (heavy emphasis on the “might”) had someone completely rewritten the dialogue. Diablo Cody’s hallmark hyper-verbal, hipster dialogue runs at odds with the horror elements, undermining the finished product. Curses like “cheese and crackers” and calling each other names like “Monostat” and “Vagisil” are actually the high-point. This is just a big, swinging whiff for Cody’s wordsmith abilities. There are just some painful, wince-inducing lines that land with a thud. The film follows a strange story structure, placing the reveal of how Jennifer became what she is in the middle of the movie. By this point, we’ve seen her devour too many boys to see her as anything other than a monster. If the scene played out in a linear fashion, we may have actually felt sympathy for her as a scared, relatable girl, and her appetites might come across as some kind of cosmic justice. But it doesn’t work that way thanks to the scene order. Somewhere inside the body of this movie is a quasi-feminist reworking of the horror genre, but really the movie just seems like another genre fantasy byproduct that treats the ladies as walking meat. What does two girls kissing for an extended period of time have to do with female empowerment? The biggest surprise is that Megan Fox is actually kind of good as the demonic object of desire. Who would have thought that Fox would be the best thing in a movie written by an Oscar winner and directed by a Sundance Award winner?

Nate’s Grade: C

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