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Movie: The Rover (2014)
Rating: * out of *****
Notes: Guy Pearce plays a stranger pursuing his stolen car through a desert-like landscape populated by wretched souls. The prologue placard indicates the events take place a decade after an ambiguous "collapse" in Australia which placed the film in the "Mad Max" genre. The complete lack of exposition throughout leaves us ignorant of why there are cars, gas, money, maintained roads, bars and why our anti-hero is out in the nearly unpopulated landscape sparsely habitated by post-apocalyptic denizens. But it's the journey that matters, which involves conversations with 60-second pauses, staring off into space, a travelogue of barren wasteland, barely comprehensible dialogue, and the occasional sporadic murder, almost all of which are committed by our protagonist. There's about twenty minutes of actual movie overall, and there's even a point, but it turns out to just be a pun in bad taste that lacks credibility and wastes over 90 minutes of your life building up to it. All the emoting in the world can't help Pearce save this sad parody of deserted dystopia fiction.

Movie: Afflicted (2013)
Rating: ***1/2 out of *****
Notes: Despite both the found-footage style and the fate of our main character being as worn out as zombies and pseudo-documentaries, this outlier manages to be well-crafted and enjoyable in a comic-booky way, which is why it feels like a horror version of the outstanding "Chronicle". After a contrived one night stand during a pair of buddies' around-the-world vacation, one of the young men wakes up with injuries that evolve into physical changes that endanger both their lives. It initially comes off feeling like an sensationalist Travel Channel doc by a couple of frat boys, but it doesn't take long to go off the rails. With scenes that appear inspired by graphic novels and action sequences that appear inspired by video games, it's really not all that creepy despite a few predictable jump-scares. But it's well-produced for its low budget, and the makeup FX are considerably believable. If you're not sick of this sort of thing yet, it manages to be one of the more accessible entries of this ilk.

Movie: Borgman (2013)
Rating: **1/2 out of *****
Notes: Rousted from his subterranean dwelling, a disheveled mystery man insinuates himself into a wealthy family's life, eventually joined by his similarly strange compatriots. This Dutch film has a plot, but no exposition, which is almost always a crippling failure in my book. It's saved from being a complete discard by being startlingly obvious in its characters' malign intentions, even if they're not directly shown. There's clearly something dreadfully wrong with the Borgman character and his colleagues, and the film observes the family's downfall at their hands. So much goes unexplained - medical, supernatural, and manipulative occurrences are observed but completely without context, as well as background surreality (blink and you'll miss it). The sinister absurdism is fantastically intriguing, and there are some theories as to who these people are and what it all means, but the movie isn't going to be of any help by the rolling of the credits. Fascinating, but immensely frustrating to be left out of the loop.

Next: The Grey Zone, Witching & Bitching, Venus In Fur


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 3rd, 2015 01:49 am (UTC)
The Afflicted left me feeling kinda meh. I kept expecting more than it delivered. That said, I can't wait to read your review of "Witching & Bitching".
Nov. 3rd, 2015 01:59 am (UTC)
I didn't know what to expect from Afflicted and was hoping it would be werewolves, but it was just vampires again, blah. Yet it was still better than other found footage films.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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