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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Beautiful Creatures/Warm Bodies/Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

There's been a great many lightweight supernatural films proliferating the listings over the last few years.
Let's call it the Twilight factor.
Vampires, werewolves, witches and demons have all had the blood drained from them and coursing through their dark veins is now a love for all things mortal.
Everywhere you turn there's a bogeyman from yesteryear looking to get down with a teenager of the opposite sex.
Not down and dirty, but instead the preference seems to be that they just want to gaze longingly with smouldering eyes, accompanied by a flick of the hair, at the object of their affections.
A vampire is now is more apt to facebook their mates than go out on a murdering rampage, while witches who have the power of the elements at their fingertips just want to neck with their boyfriend on lovers ridge as the lights of Anytown USA are spread out below them.

The problem is that while some bemoan the lack of horror in them they are really missing the point.
Without buckets of blood, or if not that some suspense, these films aren't really horror movies at all.
They are teenage chick flicks dressed up in alternative goth clothing to appeal to a demograph made up of mainly teenage girls.
It's boy meets girl or girl meets boy draped in the supernatural.
Not horror as we perceive the genre.
Every vampire boy could be a Montague and every mortal girl a Capulet.
It's just an age old tale retold ad infinitum.

However some are not without their charm.
The most recent I seen was Beautiful Creatures as my better half had read the book and had been impressed with it.
As the credits rolled at the end she aired her disappointment at how little it had to do with the novel, but for me it was a pleasant enough bit of escapist fun made better by the performances of Jeremy Irons and Emma Thompson.
As mentioned it was just the usual boy meets witch and falls in love with her to the abject horror of her family.
Much smouldering of the eyes as expected then takes place.
That's really about it.
The only thing that elevated it from being virtually identical to the over long music videos that the Twilight films are was some of the performances, and a nice side swipe at those who unquestioningly accept the word of the Lord as the be all and end all of everything.
Small town bigotry is actually well targeted, and the inclusion of mentions of Bukowski, Henry Miller and Vonnegut were for me a nice touch as if it leads to any singular teenager to explore these peoples works. then the film has sort of given itself a bit more worth.
So really one of those films that was better than expected, but not really anything to write home about.
Damned for eternity by faint praise I suppose.

Then there are the exceptions that prove the rule..

On the surface Warm Bodies is the same deal.
Only this time the zombie gets the hots for the warm blooded girl.
The main difference between this one and others of its ilk is that there's some intelligence on display.
The voice over of the internal thoughts of the main character are very well done, and in a very subtle way he is really extolling the existential question that is 'why are we here' and what is this all about', and it also delivers the love conquers all, even death, message in style.
While it has been pretty successful it's more quirky cult like than shiny MTV bright and that alone should be enough to give it a longer shelf life than Beautiful Creatures or similar films that have been making the rounds of the cinemas.
I would personally recommend it, and over the last few days I've seen quite a bit of praise being bestowed upon t from some unlikely sources.
I went in to the cinema thinking it would be one thing and came away realizing it was another.
Well worth checking out.

As is Hansel and Gretel : Witch Hunters.
This time we see them step cleanly away from the teenage love story and instead go for the throat, albeit with slapstick gore rather than any 'I think I may hurl at this disgusting spectacle' way.
Think a Disney action movie with balls, blood and severed heads and that's you in the mindset for this.
It reminded me of the marmite of movies that was Van Helsing.
A film that I have a very soft spot.
The only downside to an enjoyable couple of hours in the cinema was that it was the 3D version I seen.
There's not enough in it to justify it being a 3D release.
Better to save some cash and sit back and immerse yourself in the 2D version.

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