Movie Review: Buried (2010)

Buried (dir. Rodrigo Cortés, 2010) – A truck driver wakes up in a coffin, buried alive with only a lighter and a cell phone.

Verdict

This claustrophobic thriller has us rooting in terror for the victim’s unlikely survival.

4/5

Review

A quick and painful death is often preferred, but Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) has very little choice. Waking up in a wooden coffin, he finds himself buried alive with nothing but a lighter, a cell phone, and sand that fills by the minute.

Set entirely within the oblong box, Buried is a suffocating watch. Despite the simplistic premise, director Rodrigo Cortés racks up tension with the claustrophobic setting and a pointed script. Conroy’s scarce inventory offers little chance for escape, and the film shows no disillusion. Hope wanes as the civilian truck driver struggles to stay calm in the tight space, while trying to figure out the reasons for his imprisonment.

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Happy Halloween!

1st October marks the month of Samhain, or more familiarly, the month when Halloween falls upon us. The special occasion calls for 31 days of horror films to celebrate before the spirit of Samhain descends.

Classics, downright badly made b-movies, new films and others you have seen over and over again. This is the month for any film that celebrates the true essence of fright. What would you be watching this year?

I myself will begin with 2001 Maniacs. Fun!

2001 Maniacs
Credit: Dread Central

RIP, Sally Menke

Sally Menke
As an aspiring filmmaker and a long-time obsessed Tarantino-phile, I have always respected his long-time collaborator, Sally Menke. Her dedicated work is vital in making Tarantino films into the masterpieces that they are. What she did was nothing short of brilliant, while she has always been a huge inspiration towards many working in the film industry.

Her death is undoubtedly devastating, not just because she was brilliant and passionate in her string of work. Working alongside Quentin Tarantino since the days of Reservoir Dogs, she was not just a collaborator. She was also family. Every member of the cast and crew valued her work, as did the audience. We will always remember the greetings over the b-roll.

The news of death is never that easy to take. Despite being complete strangers, nothing takes away that connection you have with the people you look up to. Menke’s unique and brilliant editing style, has proved to be, and always will be one of the greatest contributions to cinema history.

Goodbye Sally Menke.
Forever missed.
1953 – 2010

Quentin Tarantino – Homage or Theft?

Quentin Tarantino.
Credit: Reuters / Alessandro Bianchi

Constantly talking about his influences, instinctively launching film discussions in interviews, and slipping in generous numbers of references in his scripts – Quentin Tarantino’s open passion for the cinema makes himself an easy target for the critics.

Feeding on the public’s love for controversy, many strive to pick on every vague similarity to extant films and call it theft. But are these accusations fair?

Originality is almost scarce after countless years of existence even before records began. To put it in broad terms, the world has plenty of room for similarities and coincidences. Even the man himself has once proclaimed, “I steal from every movie ever made.”

Yet, is it homage or theft? When it comes to a creative medium like film, it is hard to see it as either.

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Movie Review: Devil (2010)

Devil (dir. John Erick Dowdle, 2010) – A group of people are trapped in an elevator and the Devil is among them.

Verdict

Horror fans are in for a treat, should Devil be only the first of more to come from The Night Chronicles.

3/5

Review

After a streak of brilliance in The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, director M Night Shyamalan seemed to have lost his spark. While Signs and The Village showed his knack for suspense, senseless twists were starting to irk audiences. Things looked fairly bleak as disasters followed since Lady in the Water.

So it comes as a welcome change as Devil sees Shyamalan step away from the director’s chair. Quarantine director John Erick Dowdle takes charge of his small-scale horror film, working with a solid script from Hard Candy‘s writer Brian Nelson.

The minimalist story opens with the vast city landscape of Philadelphia, where a jumper leaps off a skyscraper to his death. In that very building, five strangers soon find themselves trapped within the confines of its claustrophobic elevator. Deaths start to occur with each power surge, and suspicion quickly turns them against each other.

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Movie Review: Resident Evil – Afterlife 3D (2010)

Resident Evil: Afterlife
Credit: Rafy / Davis Films & Impact Pictures

Take a group of survivors. Have them hold out hope for a safe paradise in a zombie-ridden dystopia. Add Alice and Claire to the alliance, and a new Resident Evil is born. In the visual department, Resident Evil: Afterlife is undeniably a stunner. The effects in actual 3D are naturally impressive. More points go to the style factor in its neat creature designs.

Whilst exceeding in style, the film neglects substance in its storytelling, or lack thereof. A mission takes place on a rapid pace that leaves unanswered questions in its trail. Where did The Executioner come from? Does ammunition come without limits in the future? Are the coins bursting out from the monsters a homage to the Mario games? (Probably not.)

So it seems, director Paul W.S. Anderson has accomplished a visually competent video game adventure with nothing else to rave about. Most scenes only exist for in-your-face action, while there is virtually no room for heart.

None of the side-crew are very likeable, while they do not seem to like each other much either. There is also the unappreciated fact that they seemed to be built on racial and gender stereotypes, whether unintentional or otherwise.

The main draw remains to be the returning cast of experienced zombie killers, Ali Larter and Milla Jovovich. New addition Wentworth Miller makes a good soldier for the team. Ironically, he is once again the only man who knows the way out, only this time zombies are the walls of his cell.

Immediately discrediting their acting is a ludicrous script, though they sure as hell did try. “It’s a trap,” the characters announce with a straight face in the conclusion of a tough fight. Right before they strut through the ominous doors without a chance of hesitation, to our dismay.

2/5