World War Z
Despite having close to nothing to do with the source material, being only half a disaster movie, having tough to follow, shaky cam action, and bare bones drama with lightly developed characters; World War Z manages to somewhat work. I attribute the majority of that to Brad Pitt cementing the experience with calm confidence and subtle reactions. I don’t know, maybe, I was mesmerized by his flowing, golden hair…but come on, world travelling investigators and are some of the biggest badasses in the world. I bought his protagonist mojo that allowed shit to go to hell around him and his seemingly ability to come out unscathed. This mishmash of a blockbuster has plenty of faults and demands leaps in logic, but it’s brisk, harmless and at least has an exciting globe trotting aspect to it.
The Purge definitely tries to say something. I think maybe about our cultural obsession with violence, maybe our love of revenge, maybe against conservatives and their right to bear arms, or maybe the social class differences between races. I dunno, for everything it wants to stand on a soapbox for, the Purge just delves into home invasion territory. It’s all stuff that has happened before and really doesn’t add anything new, so go ahead and watch Straw Dogs, The Strangers, or Funny Games instead. It has annoying close ups to create tension, asinine decisions by it’s characters, and lame villains to boot. There is a pretty cool scene of Ethan Hawke wasting fools though, so there is that. Instead, let us imagine the possibilities of this premise. I would of loved to see a sort of modern take on the Warriors. A gang having to survive the twelve hours of anarchy through a city of mayhem and obstacles. But alas, we get get a well to do family versus some preppy bastards in masks.
Horror anthologies were a very minuscule but memorable part of my younger years. Always on network television and edited, but I was green enough to be scared by the visuals. Be it The Twilight Zone movie, Tales From the Darkside, Trilogy of Terror or Creepshow, they were never great, but always had a notable segment. VHS 2, also has a standout among the four shorts, which would be Gareth Evan’s Safe Haven. A tale about an Indonesian cult that are engineering the end of times, utilizes the most of it’s short minutes to great effect. It escalates to an unbelievable orgy of blood and ridiculousness, but still manages to be unnerving in it’s imagery. The rest of the movie really felt amateurish though. I appreciate the effort, but the abundance of bad acting and shock value for just shock value just turned me off to the majority of the experience.