Tag Archives: Resolution

Fright Club: Addiction Horror

Addiction is its own horror story, which may explain why so many filmmakers use monstrous imagery as metaphor for addiction. We count down the best horror films that use addiction to freak you out.

5. Enter the Void (2009)

Gaspar Noe films from the point of view of Oscar, an American who deals drugs in Tokyo.  When Oscar is shot in a police raid, the camera follows his subconscious as Noe tries to illustrate a nightmarish link between drugs and death.

Noe’s trademarks – jarring opening credits, roller coaster camerawork, extended takes – are all here, and the result is a nearly two-and-a-half hour barrage of extreme violence, graphic sex, drug-fueled hallucinations and an often hypnotizing gloom that may leave you feeling physically beaten. It’s an experience. But like most of Noe’s work, it’s also hard to turn away from, even if you want to.

4. Habit (1995)

Writer/director/star Larry Fessenden explores alcoholism via vampire symbolism in this NY indie. Fessenden plays Sam, a longtime drunk bohemian type in the city. He’s recently lost his father, his longtime girlfriend finally cut bait, and he runs into a woman who is undoubtedly out of his league at a party.

And then he wakes up naked and bleeding in a park.

The whole film works beautifully as an analogy for alcoholism without crumbling under the weight of metaphor. Fessenden crafts a wise, sad vampiric tale here and also shines as its lead.

3. The Addiction (1995)

Like most of director Abel Ferrara’s work, the film is an overtly stylish, rhythmically urban tale of brutal violence, sin and redemption (maybe). Expect drug use, weighty speeches and blood in this tale of a doctoral candidate in philosophy (Lili Taylor) over-thinking her transformation from student to predator.

Taylor cuts an interesting figure as Kathleen, a very grunge-era vampire in her jeans, Doc Martens and oversized, thrift store blazer. She’s joined by an altogether awesome cast—Annabella Sciorra, Edie Falco and Christopher Walken among them.

Ferrara parallels Kathleen’s need for blood to drug addiction, but uses her philosophy jibberish to plumb humanity’s historical bloodlust.

2. Evil Dead (2013)

With the helpful pen of Oscar winner Diablo Cody (uncredited), Fede Alvarez turns all the particulars of the Evil Dead franchise on end. You can tick off so many familiar characters, moments and bits of dialog, but you can’t predict what will happen.

One of the best revisions is the character of Mia: the first to go and yet the sole survivor. An addict secluded in this cabin in the woods with her brother and friend specifically to detox, she’s the damaged one, and the female who’s there without a male counterpart, which means (by horror standards), she’s the one most likely to be a number in the body count, but because of what she has endured in her life she’s able to make seriously tough decisions to survive – like tearing off her own damn arm. Nice!

Plus, it rains blood! How awesome is that?!

1. Resolution (2012)

Michael (Chris Cilella) is lured to a remote cabin, hoping to save his friend Chris (Vinny Curan) from himself. Chris will detox whether he wants to or not, then Michael will wash his hands of this situation and start again with his wife and unborn baby.

But Michael is in for more than he bargained, and not only because Chris has no interest in detoxing. Directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson (working from Benson’s screenplay) begin with a fascinating and bizarre group of characters and a solid story, layering on bizarre notions of time, horror and storytelling in ways that are simultaneously familiar and wildly unique. The result is funny, tense, and terrifying.

Fright Club: Time Loop Horror

Ever feel like you’ve been here before? This week we celebrate that spooky feeling with some of the best horror movies to take advantage of time loop nuttiness.

5. Haunter (2013)

Nicolas Vincenzo (Cube) starts off with the standard Groundhog Day premise—surly teen Lisa (Abigail Breslin) wakes up to the walkie talkie sound of her brother playing hidden treasure with an imaginary friend. It’s not Sonny & Cher, but it’s not that far off.

But Vincenzo (working from Brian King’s screenplay) starts bending the time loop structure, blending it with a more recognizable horror trope and subverting expectations. Breslin delivers a solid performance, and Pontypool’s Stephan McHattie’s outstanding as the devilish Pale Man. Plus, excellent support work from Siouxsie Sioux’s big face on Lisa’s tee shirt!

The film does kind of collapse on itself by the third act as it gets all Frequency (or Lake House or Don’t Let Go) on us, but for a good chunk of time Haunter delivers.

4. Happy Death Day (2017)

Tree (Jessica Rothe) wakes up on her birthday in some rando’s dorm room with no memory of the night before, a raging hangover and an attitude. She’s murdered that night by a knife-wielding marauder in a plastic baby mask, only to wake up back in that same dorm room under that same They Live poster.

It doesn’t take too many déjà vu mornings before Tree decides there is a mystery to solve here and just like that, we’re off in Phil Connors territory: reliving the same day again and again gives you the chance to become a better person, right?

Director Christopher Landon (Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) wisely mines Scott Lobdell’s screenplay for laughs. Rothe boasts strong comic timing and a gift for physical comedy, a skill that transitions nicely to the demands of being repeatedly victimized by a slasher.

3. The Endless (2017)

There is something very clever about the way Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead’s movies sneak up on you. Always creepy, still they defy genre expectations even as they play with them.

Camp Arcadia offers the rustic backdrop for their latest, The Endless. A clever bit of SciFi misdirection, the film follows two brothers as they return to the cult they’d escaped a decade earlier.

It is this story and the pair’s storytelling skill that continues to impress. Their looping timelines provide fertile ground for clever turns that fans of the filmmakers will find delightful, but the uninitiated will appreciate as well.

2. Timecrimes (2007)

This one is nutty, and absolutely required viewing for anyone with an interest in space/time continuum conundrums.

Writer/director/co-star Nacho Vigalondo (Colossal) mocks our desire for control and our fear of the doppelganger with a very quick and dirty trip through time. So much can go wrong when you travel just one hour backward. The less you know going in, the better.

An always clever experiment in science fiction, horror and irony, Timecrimes is a spare, unique and wild ride.

1. Resolution (2012)

Not exactly a traditional time loop horror, Resolution plays with the concept of time in ways that are baffling and eerie.

Michael (Chris Cilella) is lured to a remote cabin, hoping to save his friend Chris (Vinny Curan) from himself. Chris will detox whether he wants to or not, then Michael will wash his hands of this situation and start again with his wife and unborn baby.

But Michael is in for more than he bargained, and not only because Chris has no interest in detoxing. Directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson (working from Benson’s screenplay) begin with a fascinating and bizarre group of characters and a solid story, layering on bizarre notions of time, horror and storytelling in ways that are simultaneously familiar and wildly unique. The result is funny, tense, and terrifying.

It Has Sprung

Spring

by Hope Madden

In 2012, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead made their filmmaking debut with the smashing Resolution – an intriguing rewrite of familiar “cabin in the woods” genre tropes. Surprising the audience even inside a well-worn genre by weaving into the story equal amounts of humdrum realism and bizarreness, the directorial duo offered a fresh and provocative flick. They took those same skills and showed off some new ones with their next effort, Spring.

Like Resolution, Spring looks and feels familiar but the filmmakers’ approach is anything but straightforward.

Evan (a spot-on Lou Taylor Pucci) has hit a rough patch. After nursing his ailing mother for two years, Evan finds himself in a bar fight just hours after her funeral. With grief dogging him and the cops looking to bring him in, he grabs his passport and heads to the first international location available: Italy.

It’s a wise set up, and an earnest Pucci delivers the tender, open performance the film requires. He’s matched by the mysterious Nadia Hilker as Louise, the beautiful stranger who captivates Evan.

The less said about the plot the better. Like Resolution, this film walks between two different genres, blending the two masterfully with a result that is not exactly horror. At its core, Spring is a love story that animates the fear of commitment in a way few others do.

On display here is a prowess behind the camera that Resolution did not predict. The look of the Mediterranean seaside is imposingly beautiful – appropriately enough. The film’s entire aesthetic animates the idea of the natural world’s overwhelming beauty and danger. It’s a vision that’s equally suited to a sweeping romance or a monster movie, and since you’ll have a hard time determining which of those labels best fits Spring, it’s a good look.

There are some missteps – a vulgar American tourist side plot rings very false after the authenticity of the balance of characters. Louise’s backstory sometimes feels slightly forced, and the film takes on an unusual comic flavor toward the end that doesn’t quite fit. But there is something so lovely about the way the filmmakers approach the dangerous but compelling glory of love and nature that sets this apart from other genre efforts and keeps you thinking.

Verdict-3-5-Stars

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcDMTbn_VeU





For Your Queue: Two More Reasons to Stay Out of the Woods

Chances are by now you’re well aware of the horror fun to found in The Cabin in the Woods (and if you’re not, what gives?) For a lesser known take on the “cabin” premise, check out Resolution, which is finally released to DVD this week. Much like the blockbuster, Resolution takes a self-aware approach to the horror genre, reworking popular plot conventions and metaphorically bringing the horror audience into the narrative. It also brings more true creepiness to the party, while still managing a healthy dose of humor, and tipping a hat to the art of scary storytelling with nods to films as varied as The Blair Witch Project and Cache.

And speaking of Michael Haneke’s brilliant, simmering thriller Cache, definitely see that movie. Though it’s an entirely different experience, Haneke’s work shares a sense of dread that comes from the knowledge of being surveilled. Haneke develops a looming, paranoid foreboding, a sense of silent menace the characters can’t shake. You’ll have trouble relieving yourself of it, too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS4VVUYsK44





Weekend Countdown: Top 5 “cabin in the woods” flicks

In honor of Evil Dead, we’re counting down our favorite “cabin in the woods” horror films that are not associated with that particular franchise.

5. Tucker & Dale Versus Evil (2010): This hilarious Shaun of the Dead-style send up of hillbilly horror entertains with every frame.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFFh25DmPNU

4. Resolution (2012): Self-aware, atmospheric and creepy, Resolution doesn’t rely on traditional slasher implements to get under your skin.

3. The Blair Witch Project (1999): There is, too, a cabin. At the very end, remember? After we lose Josh and Josh loses his tongue. Oh, you remember – Mike’s standing in the corner like a naughty child, and Heather…. poor, poor Heather…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D51QgOHrCj0

2.  Antichrist (2009): “Nature is Satan’s church.” “Chaos reigns!” “Keep her away from the hand tools.” (No one said that last one, but man, somebody should have.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBdDcQONmkM

1. The Cabin in the Woods (2011): Kind of a cross between Tucker & Dale and Resolution, this funny, wickedly clever, joyous deconstruction of horror tropes leaves you just giddy.