Saturday, March 28, 2015

Backlog Reviews: White God, It Follows and Backcountry

So many good films to watch and than you have that lousy Dead Rising: Watchtower, but were not reviewing that yet. Were reviewing some films that just came out that you can see here in LA or streaming online.

White God: All Dogs Go Take Over A City

Directed by Kornél Mundruczó, White God will simply be called the "Hungarian Cujo" by the average viewer. Not the worst insult and with some stunning shots, none of which are CGI, of dogs taking over a city, it will be remembered more as a touching movie, a touching movie of dogs taking over a city.

We don't get dogs riding horses and growing thumbs shooting machine guns right away or ever. It's a slow burn to have our "Cujo", Hagan, transform into the leader of the dogs and their uprising against mankind.

The real story focuses on Hagen's master Lili, played by Zsófia Psotta, growing up. Lili growing up and her down-on-his-luck-Dad, Daniel (Sandor Zsoter), whose divorced and hasn't seen his daughter for a while are the focus.

Getting in trouble for just having Hagen over at his apartment isn't helping Daniel, Lili's father, be friends with the mutt. In fact, since he is a mutt (mixed-breed), he's going to be taxed.  Hagen is just a problem for Daniel dealing with a daughter maturing before him. A daughter getting into more trouble with her music teacher.

Orchestral music plays a role in the film playing over dramatic scenes and connects directly to Lili as she is in a orchestra band. She rebels against playing in it over the problems of dealing with her father and missing Hagan.

Tensions flare and eventually Hagen is released into the wild of the big city. This causes Lili to lash out and become even more dysfunctional.

Hagen  transforming is a very slow process of abuse and cruelty. It feels like it's on the back-burner or cooking slowly while the rest of the movie moves forward as though Hagen is gone, but still in Lili's heart.The Hagen Lili knew becomes more of animal and only towards the end of the film do we get the dog riots. Slowly Hagen has all those who hurt him dealt with. Will Lili be his final revenge for abandoning him?

Dogs pouring through city streets, beating cops- by simply coming from another direction- other small attacks attract you from just seeingthe trailer. The level of violence is low compared to other films. Some great work to be admired with so many animal actors. The final scene is an amazing shot if believed that all the dogs are not CGI or no special CGI was used to have them follow a command.

No, the dog Hagan does not talk at the end.

The film is really a coming of age story for Lili with Hagen's ordeal in the background.

Zsófia Psotta does an amazing job acting with so many canines is scary situations and Sandor Zsoter pulls off a great Dad to hate figure so common in films. Don't go into this waiting for a climatic battle, those scenes are short and only towards the end.

It Follows: Creeping Up To Top Horror Film This Year

It Follows is an instant new horror classic, unlike the terrible marketing of that other film that will remain nameless that's trying to be scary with a social media monster-what's posting these, it isn't me-which is just bad and easy writing. It Follows is a new urban legend set out of time, as the director David Robert Mitchell intended. It could be taking place now or decades ago, he gives it a dream like air. It's a nightmare though as something that looks like anyone is always coming after you. It's always walking towards you.

Director David Robert Mitchell has us following Maika Monroe playing the young college student Jay. After a very awkward date that ends with Jay being tied to a wheelchair and being told that she's been given a ghostly STD. Something is always going to be after her now, it can look like anyone, and it will always becoming after her. If it ever gets to her, it's over. Sort of a like a chain letter curse in reverse, if she is killed the mysterious thing goes back after whomever gave it to her. We follow Jay and her friends trying to stop whatever "it" is from getting to her and trying to figure out what "it" is.

Jay's mysterious creature takes on many forms, always having a look of being dead inside. It can only be scene by her or those who have, let's say tempted fate. Shocking moments of her and other characters running away and fighting nothing are masterfully shot for an indie film.

For those curious,  the "it" can't phase through walls, it needs an opening and it makes it if it reaches you. A set of rules rings true to other urban legends and superstitions.

If you're thinking, how can a slow moving creature that looks like a regular person be scary, just think about how it will never give up. No matter how far you go, no matter where you go it will follow you and it can look like anyone. Sometimes it's not looking that pretty, sometimes it's naked.

Jay's friends, Paul (Keir Gilchrist) especially, play their roles as simple teenagers believably with simple dialogue and between Jay and Paul and teenage love. We follow Jay and her friends trying to escape and figure out the mystery and cliche as it sounds ending up at a beach party. The beach party does not go well.

Throughout the film we get the chip tune soundtrack's of Disasterpeace and the use of technology from different eras. No HDTV's are ever shown, only older box models. One of Jay's friends doesn't exactly use a cell phone, she uses a shell-phone, a claim with text screens that only seems to be used for reading books. This mix of technology adds to you wondering when this happened or if it did happen, making it all that more surreal.

When the... whatever "it" is  finally fought full on and in other scenes using special effects you have to give credit the film for what it pulls off. You already do for the atmosphere that's already been created; looking like a film of just some friends having some fun when not being followed by skin of dead relatives. The simple act of someone walking towards Jay fills you with fear, and that didn't take any special effects.

It Follows is a frightful coming of age story. A perfect new horror film that captures the fears of STD's and creates a new urban legend to frighten teenagers. Same scenes of sex and violence you would get in other slasher movies are brought, finally, to the modern age. Oh, and the actors look like teenagers. The perfect horror film for now that builds off of so many of it's predecessors and becomes what horror needs to be.

Backcountry: Never Got Camping Again

I never want to go camping. A friend says it's fun. This movie proved it's not.

Adam MacDonald's Backcountry has the couple of Jenn (Missy Peregrym) and Alex (Jeff Roop) go on a wilderness trip together in the wilds of Canada. Meeting a spooky nut, Brad (Eric Balfour) and pass a creepy ranger only starts setting the tone of their terrible trip into the woods. A trip that separates the couple both literally and figuratively. Though both Missy and Alex play a believable couple you'll love to hate them mess-up and get lost in the woods.

Backcountry has beautiful moments of hardship, pain and horror, it's nice to see toe nails and skin and bones. Yet, the beast backs down and becomes a survival film. You'll still want to see our couple survive and Jenn has it worse with no experience in the woods, which makes her even more angry at Alex , whose suppose to be good at camping.

Director Adam MacDonald revealed that the creepy scene with a mysterious stranger in the woods, Brad. Where after just joining the couple in the woods tests Alex's manhood over dinner was taken from real life. An ex of Adam's had some random guy start talking to her at their table over dinner when he left to go to the bathroom. When he returned, the random guy stayed for dinner.

The wilderness becomes a scary and dire place to be for Jenn and Alex and worse when the notice they're being stalked by something. Do the woods and predicament reflect their relationship?

This film also enjoys a synth soundtrack as the director stated he enjoyed playing video games as a reason why he chose Frères Lumièresfor their musical accompaniment that and their the DP's high school friends.

For a sixteen day shoot much was accomplished, though this isn't a real horror film. It only plays one at the start. If a fan of Grizzly Man and ever wish it had a proper ending, look no further.

The director also mentioned how he prepped shots with an animal wrangler by sending a video of his cat acting out the scenes of a wild animal with a miniature tent. We need this as an extra on the Blu-ray release.

A fly wrangler also cried out for his flies as they were either dead or put into a vegatitive state by cold weather, leading the director Adam to put in CGI flies in the film and remember the sad, but funny efforts of the fly wrangler who just couldn't fly.