Sunday, February 9, 2014

Prisoners (2013)

Is Prisoners a horror movie?  Probably not technically, but this movie seriously freaked me out and therefore I am going to write about it.  So haters, go ahead and hate.

If you are planning on watching Prisoners brace yourself because it is a long-ass movie.  But for me, it is one of those that did not seem to drag, and I feel it used its minutes wisely.  This movie is about two families whose young daughters, Anna and Joy, go missing after a miscommunication during a holiday get together.  Basically, they end up leaving the house alone when they were supposed to walk with older siblings.  Immediately, a mysterious RV and its driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano) is suspected of the kidnapping.  After much interrogation, Alex reveals nothing, and must be released on lack of evidence.  But upon leaving the police station, he is attacked by Anna's father, Keller (Hugh Jackman).  After implicating himself in quiet statement to Keller, he and Joy's father, Franklin (Terrence Howard) kidnap Alex, with the intention of torturing the information out of him.

Meanwhile, the lead detective on the case, Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) has moved on from Alex to other suspects, including a creeper who buys lots of children's clothes, and runs from the vigil when Loki spots him.  Keller and Franklin continue to torture Alex for information, in some pretty sadistic ways.  There is also Alex's weird aunt, Holly (Melissa Leo) and a priest with a dead body in his basement.  Throw in some bloody children's clothes, a bunch of snakes, a guy who draws mazes all over his house, and a history of missing kids in the area, and you've got a movie with a lot of moving parts.

I don't want to give too much more away, but I really liked how this movie played out.  I sometimes find "plot twists" to be kinda predictable, but I was pretty surprised by the several in Prisoners.  Captivity of any kind always gets to me, so maybe that's why this movie resonated with me so much. Also, I really found it interesting to see the lengths a person would go to in order to protect/save their children, you know, like locking a kid in the bathroom and torturing him for days.  Either way, I would recommend Prisoners if you have a quiet evening ahead to really dig into it.

You're Next (2011)

You're Next for me was one of those cases of overhype in the horror world.  Don't get me wrong, I liked this flick.  But I kept hearing buzz of it being the best horror movie released all year, and I don't know if I would go that far.  I think my overarching issue with this movie was that the characters bugged the fuck out of me.  Like everyone was completely useless except for Erin (Sharni Vinson) who just so happened to have grown up in a survivalist colony, much to the chagrin of her attackers.

But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's start at the beginning.  A rich family gets together at a secluded house to celebrate their parents' anniversary.  They also bring along their respective significant others, making for a sizable group.  Randomly, one of the dinner guests, Tariq (Ti West!) gets shot by an arrow through the window and things quickly begin to go haywire, as masked intruders invade the house, bent on death and destruction.  But instead of getting their shit together and fighting back, most of the people in the house are dead weight, whining and sleeping when they should be helping. This amusing uselessness had to be intentional, because it was pretty funny.  Erin comes out of nowhere to be a total badass, while the others get picked off one by one.

We don't get a motive from the masked killers at first, but the deaths are quite brutal. However, Erin fights back just as hard...yay meat tenderizer!  Her "traps" are so similar to Home Alone that Scream King and I thought it had to be part of the whole cheekiness of this plot.  The reason for the melee, which is revealed sort of in two parts, brought everything together nicely, but leaves you to wonder how they ever thought this shit would work out in the end.

You're Next was a fun little gory romp, but I can't say I'd be in a rush to watch it again, or god forbid a sequel.  I do enjoy these movies that are a little intentionally silly, but I'm hoping we see some more realistic scares come out of 2014.