Thursday, March 16, 2006
A few words on films seen with M
So, M was here for a couple of weeks, and we saw a few films. Not as many as we usually see, but that's because the pickings were pretty slim.

First we saw Narnia, which I'd already seen but M hadn't. If memory serves, this made my list of the top 5 films of 2005, so I won't get into it again. But maybe M will have some observations.

Also we saw Hostel. I'd already seen this one as well, but totally didn't mind seeing it again for M's benefit. I can't remember whether I wrote about this when I saw it. The first time I saw it, I have to say I was pretty disappointed. It had been built up as a very brutal film, and the premise was indeed gruesome. But... I don't know, I can't explain it, it just seemed kind of flat to me.

Seeing it with M, I was slightly more impressed the second time around. Still, I don't think it was as great as it had the potential to be. Without giving too much of the plot away, I'll say this: it was like watching two films. The first half or so was a great psychological thriller which I found genuinely very creepy. The second half was just violence on top of violence. There were some specific elements of that violence which I found to be kind of cartoonish and over-the-top. I honestly couldn't work out whether it was meant to be black humor, or serious, or just gross for the sake of being gross. I think I'd rather see more of the psychological thriller, really. It was far scarier when they were hinting at what might be happening, rather than when they showed in explicit (and I have to say, sometimes ridiculous) detail what was happening.

M was far more affected by this film than I was. He brought up a lot of very good points regarding human trafficking and travelling to strange places. I hope he reviews it for y'all, as it's always interesting to get different viewpoints.

The other film we saw was Wolf Creek which M had seen but I hadn't. Before we saw it, he kept comparing it to Open Water, which I didn't really get into. He wasn't sure if I'd like Wolf Creek at all. It was a lot like Open Water, in that it took more of a documentary approach to the story. It's hard to explain... it was a lot more character driven than the avearage horror film. You really were able to get into the heads of the characters and understand their personalities and motivations.

Wolf Creek scared the crap out of me, and I'll tell you why: because that stuff can happen.

You've got three friends driving across the Australian Outback to see a crater. Their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and they have to rely on the kindness of a stranger who offers to tow them to safety and repair their car. Once he gets them back to his camp, he turns out to be totally psycho. Much torture-kill follows.

Here's a true story: last year, M and I were driving along and I got a flat tire. This was before I was smart enough to get a cell phone. M went off on foot to locate a pay phone, and eventually a tow truck was summoned. This bizarre hillbilly Deliverance type man put us in the tow truck and drove us back to his garage. From then, lots of things happened very quickly. It seemed to be instantly agreed that M would accompany the man to an ATM and a tire shop. There was only room for one passenger, and I ended up being locked inside the man's garage with only a small poodle for company. The poodle really gave the situation that whole "it puts the lotion in the basket" kind of atmosphere.

About two seconds after they left, I realized: hey, I'm locked in a strange Deliverance man's garage. He's separated me from M. It's hard to explain, but the situation just felt wrong. He could be out killing M right now, and then come back to finish me off. I panic. Really. I start looking around for evidence that he's kept or killed people in his garage before. It starts getting dark. Another man appears, beats on the locked door with a crowbar. Demands to be let in. I'm near tears. I realize I'm going to die in that garage, and nobody knows where I am or where I was headed.

Of course, the odds of crazy Deliverance tow truck driver being a torture-kill psycho are incredibly slim. He really did take M to get a tire, and the crowbar man turned out to be some random guy who needed his own tire changed. But my point is: it could have gone the other way. I've watched hundreds of horror films wherein people end up in these situations, and I think "how could they be so stupid?" But the reality is, when you're in the situation, sometimes you don't really have much choice but to trust a stranger. Things happen fast. So fast that an intelligent, level headed girl might find herself locked up somewhere before the danger impulse even has time to register.

So yeah, Wolf Creek scared me. That shit happens. Be careful out there, people. Oh, and also it was well-made film with three-dimensional characters and a compelling plot.

That's enough for now. I'm considering writing a lengthy analysis of every version of Pride and Prejudice that I've seen, but I suspect that I'm the only person who has any interest in that...