I took a break from my busy TV-watching schedule to watch a few movies, and here they are:
“The Shrine” was…pretty much okay. I found it sort of predictable, but I think like a scriptwriter and am rarely surprised. Still, I kind of liked it. I particularly liked that the scenes in Polish (I assume it was Polish, since they were supposed to be in Poland?) weren’t subtitled, which helped you to share in the alienation and confusion of the English-speaking characters. I guess that’s faint praise, but honestly – it was watchable, there were no rape scenes, and it had a couple of decent scares. It was a mediocre, but very palatable B horror movie. Why not waste an hour and a half of your life, right?
I didn’t expect much from a movie with a 38% Rotten Tomatoes rating, but I really enjoyed it. This movie was subtle – and gradual – but it wasn’t slow or plodding. And any film involving the possession of a young girl is inevitably going to be compared to “The Exorcist,” which just isn’t fair. But this is a very different (and very well acted) take on child possession. There was an alien quality to the spirit from the box that went beyond cinematic demons as they are normally portrayed – a coldness, and a hunger. This movie wasn’t a scare-a-moment thrill ride, true – but it was straight up creepy, didn’t suffer from CGI abuse, and although some of the “family in distress” story line felt a little forced, it was still the best horror movie I’ve seen in a while. I highly recommend it to the patient and discerning. In fact, I don’t really understand the hostility this movie has gotten in many reviews. It was pretty good. (Special bonus: Watch the “Paranormal Witness” episode in season 2 with a real dybbuk box for extra creepiness.)
Again, another sort of quiet, subtle movie that failed to connect with audiences – that I really enjoyed. And I, the Great Predictor of All Movie Endings, did not see the ending coming. I love that. I didn’t know much about this one going in, except for a hazily remembered trailer I had seen at some point – something about debunking psychics. I really only watched this out of my undying love for Sigourney Weaver, but that’s reason enough. I don’t want to give too much plot away, but despite the gloomy cinematography and the parapsychological subject matter, this isn’t a horror movie. It’s more of a supernaturally-tinged thriller – and an effective one, too. The silliest thing about the plot is that the parapsychology researchers get far more university funding than the debunkers do. Is there an emoticon for wiping tears of laughter? If so, insert one here. But don’t hold that against the movie. (Quick note for Netflix viewers: This streamed with extremely quiet sound. I don’t think I could have heard most of the dialogue on my laptop, and had to bump my TV’s sound to twice its normal volume to hear it clearly.)