Monday, March 7, 2011

Resident Insidious (quickie horror reviews)

First the bad news—

The Resident: AVOID!!!

This movie absolutely wastes Christopher Lee’s talents (although I am glad he got a paycheck), and does not bode well for Hammer Pictures return to the arena.

In The Resident, Hilary Swank (looking good, I must say) is stalked by landlord Jeffery Dean Morgan in a TARDIS-apartment (it is bigger on the inside than the outside).
But as I overheard some female moviegoers at the freebie-screening/sneak preview I attended say, “Who wouldn’t want to be stalked by someone as good-looking as Jeffery Dean Morgan?”
(And in such a large, inexpensive NYC apartment with a fabulous view?)

And that’s a major problem: Morgan is too sympathetic, and his “descent into madness” is never given enough of a foundation to back it up.
Ummm, he’s crazy because his father was weak and killed himself? Sorry, I have empathy for a person with that kind of pain.
Morgan’s never ugly enough (emotionally or physically) to explain his icky actions—yes, there is quite an “ick factor” when it’s hinted that he’s been raping or masturbating over an unconscious Swank—but the movie is never willing to GO THE DISTANCE, to TAKE THE PLUNGE into Crazytown, to COMPLETELY OFFEND THE AUDIENCE.

The flick wants us to like it. It wants to be our friend. It’s a puppy that follows you home—so you have to kick it, because you wanted a Doberman.

The Resident is an overwrought flick that feels like it has been re-edited and possibly had some reshoots before release (one character—a dog, BTW, a goddamn poodle, with a medical cone around its neck—shows up, becomes a plot point, and then COMPLETELY DISAPPEARS);
The Resident has got that jerkily-edited, tacked together feeling of “studio interference” or “focus-group watering down.”

[And the movie also wastes a good location in its poor use of the DUMBO section of Brooklyn.]

(I just found out the flick is going direct to DVD on March 29th! So since it’s now going to be available for no real money, students of art direction—’cause the apartments look great—or potential stalkers of Ms. Swank—she really looks good—may want to rent this. Maybe.)

On the other hand (Sinister! Dexter! Sinister! Dexter!),
Insidious is a new fave.

Continuing with dog analogies started with The Resident above, Insidious isn’t a dog—it’s a wolf.

In a nutshell, this ingenious reimagining of the haunted house flick scared the shit out of me!
I haven’t jumped and yipped so much in years.
I had to put me hands over my mouth so I would stop making noise.
The guy in the seat in front of me turned around once when I shrieked, probably gave me the stink-eye; I didn’t look at him, I was too busy being scared—

—yeah, I admit it, I shrieked…like a little gurrrrrrrrrrrl—anyway, it’s a great compliment to the movie…

A horror movie scares me? That equals success.

(The plot is about astral projection. Which, long story short, means Insidious is not perfect. But what B-movie is? BTW, this movie succeeds without using any gore—just shocks and moods and creepiness. Kudos!)

[FYI: I went into Insidious purposefully avoiding as much info about it as possible, so practically everything was fresh and new.]

(And, for me, the elephant in the room with Insidious is the main male character’s father:
The audience meets his mother, and hears about his childhood (even with photos),
but there’s never a dad mentioned. Why don’t we ever hear about what happened to him? Maybe that’s the sequel..? Oooooo-woooo-oooooo!)

BTW, via our allies at Netflixlandia (in other words we rented it), we managed to catch Gareth Edwards’ Monsters.
What a bad movie! A completely missed opportunity. “Before Sunrise With Extraterrestrials”? Ugh.

The Cinelogue site does a great slam of it HERE

What’s that? Edwards has been picked to helm another US reboot of Godzilla? Oh, fuck no.
Well, there goes my good mood....


  1. Looks like I'll have to give insidious a try. Looks pretty interesting.

  2. Heck, I may go see it again! (BTW, check out The Secret Life of Plants on Nflix instant: it's a genuine oddity.)

  3. I actually liked 'Monsters', didn't love it, but thought it was pretty good. I saw it on the big screen, though, and it probably wouldn't have held my attention quite as much on a TV? I thought it was the 'Lost in Translation' version of 'Cloverfield.'

    I really dislike the whole 'saw' franchise, but you've got me curious about 'Insidious', I will look out for that one...

  4. HF: I haven't seen any of the "Saw" flicks, so didn't mention that "Insidious" fact. I hope you enjoy it.

    I popped the "Monsters" DVD into the machine fully looking forward to the flick. But alas, it was not to be.