It’s a lot to digest with all the metaphors and religious allegories and the big questions, but Mother! is a dark, unnerving, and tense psychological horror film. A solid cast all around, with Michelle Pfeiffer playing a nasty and cold jerk, and the chaotic frenzy during the last 40-50 minutes of the movie reaches levels of wild absurdity, but it’s one good tense sequence (the standoff between Lawerence and Bardem) after another. I’ll have to watch this again at some point, because Mother! and Black Swan are the only two Aronofsky films I actually want to watch more than once.
As a horror film, Flatliners follows just about every cliché you can think of, if we’re talking about jump scares and the set ups for said jump scares. And as a sci-fi film, Flatliners really squanders the whole “coming back from the dead” premise. Before they confront the demons from their pasts, the main characters don’t have a problem with partying and living it up, when they’re stuck in limbo and when they come back to life, because dying is fun and you can do a lot of cool stuff! And for some reason, certain characters are smarter, and it’s implied they basically have superpowers. They actually reach a point, where Sophia (Kiersey Clemons) starts whining, because she wants to die, but the group thinks it’s too dangerous. Basically, her big tirade boils down to “Everyone gets to die and see cool stuff, but I don’t? It’s not fair!” Huh?
Another big problem is, Flatiners is short on likeable characters. If you pay attention to the trailers, it’s not hard to guess the real why reason why Ellen Page’s character wanted to experiment with death, and it’s a selfish reason, when you look at the big picture. You can feel some sympathy for Sophia, because she’s a nice kid, with an overbearing and controlling mother. Of course, everyone, who dies reaches a point, where they need closure and they’ll need to face their demons, if they want to stop the evil forces, but you won’t see any real surprises, because it’s a predictable series of events.
With all that said, I did have some fun with Flatliners as a guilty pleasure. Jamie (James Norton) is being haunted by someone, who’s still alive, and somehow, Ellen Page is capable of flying, when she dies for the first time. It’s absurd, and Flatliners is a heavily, heavily flawed film in so many areas, so I can understand the 5% on Rotten Tomatoes (started out with a 0%) and the overwhelming amounts of negativity surrounding this one. I need to watch the original one day, but bringing people back from the dead is a tricky premise to tackle, because The Lazarus Effect, a movie with a similar story and premise (pegged as a rip-off of the original Flatliners), was a lousy film.
It (1990)- 6/10 & It (2017)- 9/10
Tim Curry was genuinely creepy as Pennywise, but compared to Bill Skarsgard, he’s more of a jokester overall. Skarsgard on the other hand, brings the combination of being menacing and creepy, so I have to give the nod to Skarsgard for being the better Pennywise.
The miniseries is one of the better Stephen King adaptations, but there’s no denying it’s dated, and It 2017 is superior in every way imaginable. A more polished film, with top notch production values, some good 80's nostalgia, and a better cast. I’d give a slight edge to Michael Cole’s Henry Bowers over Nicholas Hamilton’s Henry, but that’s about it. Another problem with the miniseries is, it’s exhausting, if you try and sit through it in one viewing.
It 2017 really benefits from the R rating. The miniseries had restrictions, but It 2017 was able to go further with the blood, gore, dialogue, and the relationship between Bev and her father. Disturbing, creepy, and tense, It 2017 has to be the best horror film in 2017, because I don’t see any real competition from upcoming films (Jigsaw looks terrible).
It 2017 is a damn good film, but I’m worried about the sequel. With all the praise and success at the box office, it’ll be damn near impossible for the sequel to live up to the hype. In the miniseries, when The Loser’s Club takes on Pennywise as kids, their story is told through flashbacks, and the miniseries loses a lot of momentum, when the second half of the story starts. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle the adult actors, and I can already see complaints about too much CGI, when It reveals its true form.
Happy Death Day- 5/10
A satisfying throwback to 80’s whodunit slashers with a Groundhog Day twist (they actually mention Groundhog Day towards the end), and you can see the similarities to Scream. Happy Death Day truly was made for and marketed to horror fans. A slasher released in October on Friday The 13, and the poster definitely has an 80’s horror-esque feel to it. The humor is hit-and-miss (i.e. a lame Subway dick joke), and Jessica Rothe delivers a solid performance, but she starts out as an unbearably annoying character, complete with a predictable “I need to change” redemption tour.
It’s a fun slasher, but it’s almost impossible to ignore two MASSIVE plot holes, and the reveal for the killer, and their motivations for wanting to murder Tree (Rothe)? Oy vey. I understand they were going for the SHOCKING reveal, because anyone on Tree’s list of suspects would’ve been too obvious, and you can say the same thing about Tree’s dad. The reveal is a genuine surprise, but “Really? That’s why you did it?” was the best I could do for a reaction. I just rolled my eyes, when the killer gave their explanation to hatch this elaborate plan to murder Tree, because they’re holding a silly, jealous grudge over her.