Why Don’t You Play In Hell? is a stylish and high-octane love letter to cinema. It’s insane and ridiculous with a quirky sense of humour, but unfortunately, it wasn’t for me. Some of the jokes and comedic moments made me smile, others not so much. A lot of the appeal comes from its ridiculous story but it never felt interesting. It’s crazy for the sake of being crazy, stylish with no substance but relying on the character’s ridiculous personalities. Investment is important for me when enjoying a movie, and I never felt invested in the film’s story nor in the film’s annoying characters. I liked some parts of it, like its stylish direction and the massacre of an ending, but it didn’t leave a lasting impression. Either you will love the craziness or that craziness doesn’t click. For me, it was the latter.
Creepy is a Japanese psychological mystery-thriller that starts off strong but goes downhill due to poor characterization, writing, and a predictable story.
Lake Mungo is one of those films that you can fully enjoy as a pure horror but also recognise it as an exceptional way of portraying the handling and coping of grief. Its static and jarring sound design adds a new layer of unsettling to its already creepy imagery filled with ghostly apparitions and moving figures. It gets under your skin, and I found myself looking behind me a few instances while watching. It’s not that it’s overt in its presentation or an overall in-your-face scary; it’s quite the opposite. It’s genuinely unnerving, the haunting imagery leaving a lasting impression on your psyche.
The way Lake Mungo portrays grief blends perfectly well with its aspects of horror. A family coping with the loss of their daughter, figuring out the how and why to her death. The movie encapsulates these feelings perfectly through a documentary-styled aesthetic that doesn’t lend itself to any sort of melodrama. It feels natural, not only in part by the actors’ methodical performances that breathe authenticity, but also in the way the film directs itself. It’s a slow-burn that doesn’t feel like a burn at all, and its pacing is smooth as the story progresses forward. The bits and pieces of information added are placed effortlessly as the mystery begins to unveil itself. The drama is nice and not excessive. Lake Mungo, like I said again, feels natural. And its in this natural feeling that makes it such a captivating watch.
Lake Mungo is not your typical horror film. It’s much more than that. It’s a film that gives you that adrenaline feeling of being suddenly aware of your surroundings while also allowing for you to analyze and sympathise with a down-to-earth story. It’s through this this storytelling that makes it so brilliant.
Trollhunter is one of the most gorgeous found-footage films I have ever seen. Set in the lushes landscapes of Norway, Trollhunter depicts three college students filming a Trollhunter’s job. It isn’t anything complex, and it doesn’t need to be. Trollhunter‘s specialty isn’t in being thematically dense; it’s specialty lies in being pure, unfiltered entertainment sprinkled with beautiful and natural cinematography. It’s immersive nature is delivered through its road trip vibe, but it never uses it as a crutch as it does contain an interesting story filled with thorough world-building and characters that drive the plot forward in a favorable direction. The film is absolutely packed with the adrenaline feeling of being in that adventure yourself, and that feeling is delivered perfectly. The story paves the way for an enjoyable ride, and the characters, in particular the Trollhunter, are fun to watch. With a lot of movies being either successful or unsuccessful at creating something complex, or being just plain lazy and generic, Trollhunter manages to distance itself away from those two aspects and lets itself be the wonderful entertainment that it is. And I applaud it for it.
For all of this movie’s majestic and luscious animation, the same cannot be said for its storytelling. Kubo and The Two Strings is a visual masterpiece, becoming one of the most gorgeously animated movies of the decade. Unfortunately, the movie suffers from a weak story that is written through a formulaic hero’s journey. While its colorful blanket of animation manages to bring its narrative to life, it isn’t much of an interesting one in the first place. Laika Entertainment, the studio behind this and other movies such as Coraline and Corpse Bride, puts more effort into producing a visual spectacle instead of writing a captivating and meticulous tale.
Awashed in a myriad of colors, Helter Skelter depicts the descent into madness of a beautiful woman as she struggles to maintain her deteriorating mental health while keeping to the image she desperately tries to preserve. Mika Ninagawa, who not only is the director of this film but also a photographer known for her colorful and varied style of photography, paints a twisted and relentless story that critiques the industry of Japan through a celebrity’s fall from grace.