Session 9

Session 9 is a really interesting movie for me. I liked the twist of events, but it all happened too slowly. I know it’s necessary to build up the story, but it still appeared a bit draggy for me. I was bored during the first half of the film almost put me to sleep. They could’ve made it a bit more exciting in the first scenes to keep the audience hanging on.

This film has a unique storytelling format. The tapes Mike found served as the narration of he story. The case of Mary mirrored what was happening to them at that moment. The filmmakers made it clear that there was indeed an analogy going on. It was seen by the way they featured each of the characters during the narration. They were deliberately matching the different personalities possessing Mary to the characters. Despite of that obvious analogy at first, it still got quite confusing in the end. Who killed whom? It was a close call between Gordon and Phil.

The asylum setting was sort of a give-away of what was going to happen. An asylum is a place for mad people; therefore, it’s not going to be a surprise if someone ends up being crazy. For me, it’s a bit cliché to have asylums as setting for psychological thrillers (e.g. The Crazies).

Instead of psychosis, this film revolved around a different mental disorder, which is multiple personality disorder. It was actually a nice break from all the mere psychotic films. Because of this, the hero also turned out to be the monster, and he wasn’t even aware of it. That’s something you don’t see everyday. This makes you wonder; whom would you side with, the hero or the monster? What if they were the same person? The audience is conflicted on how to feel towards the characters.

Who is Simon? He was the very reason this entire killing happened. He wasn’t just another one of Mary’s personalities. He seemed like a demonic possession. Simon is probably a representation of Satan. Simon said that he only refuges in the weak, in those who let him enter. Perhaps Gordon’s problems (money, marriage, and family) opened him up to temptation. He wasn’t strong enough to resist what was perpetrating him.

 

 

Let the Right One In

This movie didn’t appeal to me that much, mainly because I’m not a fan of vampire movies. These blood-sucking monsters are just too mediocre for me. There have been so many versions of vampires that the real essence of one is already lost. The variety of the characteristics of a vampire made it too unreal. When you her all sorts of different things about a certain thing (aliens, for example), you may tend to doubt its existence more.

One of the most striking revelations in the movies is the gender of the monster, Eli. Throughout the earlier parts of the movie, I thought of Eli as a mere little girl vampire. I’m sure it wasn’t only me. It was made to fool the audience into assuming that Eli is a girl. As it turns out, she, or rather, he was a boy. I think this caused a major turn in the relationship between the two. At first, their relationship seemed to be romantic. It seemed like puppy love, considering they were just a bunch of 11-year olds. But at the time of the revelation, it just seemed to be friendship, a deep, deep friendship. One may even think they’re getting in a homosexual relationship. I guess that’s understandable. I myself am on the brink of thinking the same thing. Given this, what’s really going on between the two? Was it mere friendship, or a romantic relationship?

This movie presents a marginalized hero, a kid who’s always bullied. Basically, the hero’s a loser. This kind of hero is quit common in movies, even in those not belonging to the horror genre. The hero is usually an insignificant person who rises up in the end. In this movie, the hero, Oskar, kills someone. If you don’t consider this as a rising up, maybe the scene where almost every one of the bullies gets killed should’ve convinced you. Technically, it wasn’t him who killed them. It was Eli, but Eli did that for the benefit of Oskar, so you can still trace it back to Oskar.

The ending is quite confusing for me. It was open-ended. Was it a tragic or a happy ending? I guess its up to the audience. It can be a tragic one since they seem to have committed themselves too much to each other that they can willingly kill others for the benefit of the other. It has become a quite possessive and obsessive relationship. It won’t be long before things go wrong. Of course, that’s looking beyond the movie, but it’s still a possibility and the audience might still ponder on it. However, it can still be a happy ending because they end up together. Maybe it’s kind of weird that the hero and the monster end up together, but the story evolves around their relationship.

It’s the kind of movie that leaves the audience either the feeling of disgust or satisfaction. It depends.

Tale of Two Sisters

This psychological thriller really did boggle my mind. I was thinking and analyzing the events throughout the duration of the movie. I know that’s what is expected of a psychological thriller, to mess with your mind, but this one was hard for me. I basically had no idea what’s going on. I was thinking that there must be that twist, but I didn’t even have the slightest hint what it was.

As what the title proposes, this is a story about two sisters. It’s obvious that we expect a story about sisterhood. The two sisters, Su-mi and Su-yeon, seemed to be the best of sisters. They always care and protect each other, especially Su-mi to her younger sister Su-yeon. Their bond may be compared to the one between Ginger and Brigitte in Ginger Snaps. These two movies relay the importance of having a sister who’ll be there you until the end. It’s you two against the world. I myself have a sister, but I can’t say I share the same strong bond. I love my sister very much, but I think the 11-year gap is what’s stopping us from having that kind of bond.

Aside from starring two sisters, another common element in this movie is the evil stepmother. We see that everywhere. We see too much of it that the society already tends to stereotype every stepmother as evil and wicked. This movie didn’t stray from that stereotype. It even took it a little too far. Eun-joo wasn’t just an evil stepmother, she seemed like a murderer. As it turns out, it really was just an exaggeration. It was all in Su-mi’s head. Since the incident, she has pictured her stepmother that way, and she has the reason to do so. Speaking of an evil stepmother, I wonder, why didn’t Eun-joo help Su-yeon? Did she really want her to die, or she just didn’t want to get involved? That moment when she stood at the balcony looking at Su-mi made me think that she wanted the accident to happen. But why? Then again, the stereotype of an evil stepmother comes to mind. She just wanted the father and wanted to get rid of the children.

Psychosis, like in most, if not all, psychological thrillers, is present. This is vital in this kind of movies because only this condition can create gravely unexplainable events that don’t seem to make sense at first.

I liked this movie because it had ghosts every now and then, although it would’ve been better if they put the ghosts in more scenes. I’ve always been a fan of those weird-looking, longhaired, creepy ghosts.

Given that I was in limbo the whole film, the ending was a relief, but at the same time, a very shocking revelation, although it didn’t give me that much needed information. There were still some blanks that needed to be filled.

 

The Orphanage

Out of all the movies we’ve watched so far, this has got to be the one I liked the most. There are so many things that distinguish this from all the other movies we’ve watched. One, it’s not a slasher film. The horror doesn’t come from the blood and dismembered body parts you see on the screen. Probably the only blood I saw in this movie is in the scene when Laura gets her fingers caught in the door of the bathroom and when Benigna gets hit by a bus. Two, a few people die (or turn into zombies) in the film, excluding those killed in the past. Well there’s Simon, Laura, and, as I’ve mentioned earlier, Benigna. Three, there are ghosts. This is my kind of horror film. I find the ones with ghosts and supernatural occurrences more interesting than those slasher films where almost, if not everybody gets killed. The supernatural realm has always been a mystery, and I’d like to have a visual on it even though it’s not true. Maybe it’s just something to excite me. Four, this one made me cry. Who cries in a horror film? Apparently, I do. And it’s not because of fear, but rather an overflow of emotions. I broke in that particular scene where the orphans started to come to Laura trying to figure out if it really was her. They’ve been like family, and I’m most emotional when it concerns family.

This movie somewhat comes from a twist of a certain children’s story, which is Peter Pan. This is not the first time a horror film was developed from a children’s story. There’s Red Riding Hood with different versions, one where she fights off the wolves that invade her town and another where she has sexual relationships with a bunch of wolves. This one is not that absurd, though. The film uses Peter Pan as some kind of epiphany for the audience. It is especially recognized in the part where one of the orphans compares Laura to Wendy, the character in Peter Pan who eventually grew up whereas all her other friends in Neverland stayed as kids. The orphanage was their Neverland. The orphans stayed there as kids, just like how the kids in various animal costumes stayed in Neverland. Also, even though Laura “left” them, they gained a new friend in her child Simon, which is the same as when Melody, Wendy’s daughter, joins the gang in Peter Pan. For me, it was fascinating to see this kind of analogy. When Simon brought up the story of Peter Pan, I thought it was merely insignificant, so it amazed me how it all connects in the end. This movie was totally unpredictable, but not in an absurd way where you think, “Where the hell is this all coming from?” Like I said, it was an epiphany—a sudden realization of how the small pieces of the puzzle fit.

Pontypool

Pontypool shows an interesting twist on the whole zombie apocalypse theme. It brought the zombie cliché to a new level. The zombie realm has been very predictable, but the filmmakers decided to take a drastic turn. At first, I thought it was going to be just a boring psychological thriller that’ll take a lot of thinking before I can appreciate it. I think the opening credits gave me that idea. What is up with that missing cat? It turns out it was the tape used to cover for Grant Mazzy’s walk out. I’m not sure if that meant anything. If it did, then I’m afraid I didn’t quite get it. I know I’ve said that what I love about these kinds of movies is the discovery, but I’d rather have them explicitly shown than to have me think deep.

What I liked most about this movie is the different approach to zombies. They defined zombies in a different way. Zombies are usually depicted as those gory, impressively strong, and wildly aggressive creatures that are always on the look for flesh and blood, but Pontypool zombies are different. Based on what I saw, they look relatively clean (meaning less bloody and less tore flesh) than most zombies, except for the part where Laurel-Ann, the technical assistant, drives herself to the glass window multiple times and eventually threw up at it. They actually look pretty normal if it weren’t for their blank gazes and endless muttering of words. Their senses and abilities also aren’t as heightened as that of other zombies. We always see zombies as incredibly strong creatures that can rip almost everything apart (i.e. I am Legend), and super fast that they can catch you no matter how fast you run. These zombies are different. Possibly the only thing enhanced in them is their hearing, but everything else stayed normal. Just look at how long it took them to enter the radio station and not even get to break into the soundproof booth, and how Dr. Mendez managed to outrun them without being harmed. They’re also easily killed. Well, for one, they apparently commit suicide when they don’t have a victim soon enough, and the kicks and punches from Mazzy and Sydney did the job already for the little girl zombie. In terms of aggressiveness, what makes them come to you is not you being some yummy treat, it’s your voice, specifically you speaking the English language. Of course, the yummy treat counts also. This may make them seem like lame zombies, but they’re the kind of zombies I’d rather be stuck with. Apart from their physical attributes, what makes them different from the rest is the way of transmission. It’s so unique that I couldn’t have thought of it in a million years. Tony Burgess, the writer, amazingly incorporated the most common form of communication, which is speech, into the horror genre. I find it ironic that the thing that connects most people is what’ll extinguish the species. And the antidote? It’s simply not understanding what you’re saying. It’s bizarre and mind-blowing at the same time.

Overall, I liked it. It’s different from anything I’ve seen before. It’s just sad that they get to die in the end anyway even after figuring out the antidote.

 

Halloween (2007)

I didn’t quite like it. It seemed to be just another gory killing movie for me. Nothing separates it from the others. As usual, there’s so much blood and dead bodies throughout the film, but this time, but these weren’t given enough reason. Why was he killing everyone anyway? In my opinion, he was just some serial killer on the loose. The movie showed little background on why he was doing the killing. And again, I don’t really like being uninformed. Perhaps that mystery is also a vital element of the movie, but that’s something I don’t sit comfortably with.

When I saw this movie, I easily thought of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I saw some common elements between the two. First, the serial killer is this humongous strong guy shrouded with mystery. They both wore some sort of masks and basically kill everyone in sight. Second, their motive for killing was unclear. They’re both psychopaths who maybe just hate everyone. I’m sure there’s a much better explanation than this, but perhaps it would be explained in the sequels of this movie. It should be, because if not, then this movie, and the series, won’t make any sense. Given these similarities, it’s needless to say that I wasn’t a fan of Texas Chainsaw Massacre as well, although being based on a true story gave it some edge.

Mental illness is a common element among serial killer movies. The reason, perhaps, is that it’s the easiest way to explain the killer’s behavior. The audience tends to think that it has got to be the reason, and thinking outside of that box is the filmmaker’s challenge. However, this film has failed to accept that challenge. They chose to stick with what the audience was familiar with. Maybe this movie being a remake of a 1978 version is a big factor. As a remake, the filmmakers can’t really change the storyline, but the way it’s just presented. Perhaps during the release of the first film, movies with the same theme weren’t that common. Unlike nowadays, you can see movies with the same storyline everywhere to the point that it already gets so predictable.

Just like mental illness, masks are also common in these kinds of films. The same can be seen in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Scream, Jason X, and many other films. These masks gave them some sort of different personality or persona. Somehow, I think the mask was what gave them the license to kill so many people since they feel they’re a different person anyway, or maybe don’t feel much like a human being anymore. This sense of mystery was what kept them going.

Honestly, after watching this film, I don’t think I’ll bother to watch the sequels. I foresee the same things happening all over again. Perhaps in the next films, he got more creative with his killing. I’d have to find out for myself, but only if I have nothing else to do. It’s probably just going to be a waste of time.

[REC] 2

This movie makes much more sense than the first one. I liked the first one, but I like this better. Of course, there are lots of zombies just like the old one, and the same cinematography was used, but this movie unveils a lot more mystery than the first one. To be honest, I like it when I discover things. I love those “Ahhh!” moments. It makes me feel like I’m going somewhere, and in this case, that the movie is going somewhere. It’s not just something to freak the audience out.

Just like the first movie, this one also kept me at the edge of my seat. There’s still this sense of fear on something that’s going to pop out even though you know it’s going to happen. It has kept my heart racing.

Although the first movie gave something out about the source of the infection, this sequel dwelled more on it. It’s not about not knowing anymore, it’s about finding the source and getting the antidote. It only makes sense to go to the next level than to have the same exact thing happen in a different setting (i.e. Saw—but I still love Saw, don’t get me wrong).

I sensed some kind of logic problems in the movie. Given that the infection was from a supernatural cause, a possession to be exact, how did it manage to be passed from one person to another through bodily fluids? It seemed like an attempt to sew science and religion together without much success, at least for me. Is it that it’s too evil that it transformed the original girl’s body into something dangerous and infectious? I also found it ironic that the priests are the ones looking for the cure using scientific methods, when as we see today, science and religion don’t really mix well. One more thing, I don’t get how they get to “see more” in the darkness. It seemed that certain rooms and structures only be seen in the dark. That can be quite understandable since it can be some sort of illusions, but to pass through walls and have tubs lying in the middle of the room that vanishes when the light is turned on is outrageous.

I must say, I didn’t really expect the ending of this movie. It shocked me when Angela turned out to be infected by the main source of the infection. I only started thinking about it when she started killing people already. Speaking of the source of the infection, what was that thing transferred to Angela? It was a worm-like creature. Most probably it was the devil in another form. Unlike Grace, which just left me freaked out, this movie left me wanting more. I would definitely watch the sequel if given the chance.