T'eyla Minh (teylaminh) wrote,
T'eyla Minh

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Film Review One of Many (Hopefully)

Well, today was certainly interesting.  Cynthia was on leave and Sandra was off ill, which just left me and Zoe manning (or womanning, I suppose) the office, except then Zoe went to minute a conference, and I was left on my own.  Which was of the good, in a way, because it meant I got a good few hundred words of chapter 5 of Come Forward done without having to watch over my shoulder.  And also of the bad, because I was left answering phones, trying to find out where the hell Breda was (she's the Chair who's taking over all of Judy's old cases; she tends to just not turn up to conferences) and counselling a decidedly stressed social worker in the process...  Oy vey.

Other than that, it was uneventful.  Except then someone phoned up looking for Dawn, who we hadn't seen, prompting Zoe to theorise that there was a great hole in the sky sucking up all of our Reviewing Officers...

After that, I met up with last_dance outside Lloyds TSB/Pij, so we could go and see The Grudge, her being the only feasible person I could see it with.  I also wanted to get some photos of the Wheel with the Hall of Memory in front of it.

That's Naomi's post-whisky face. :)

And then we saw the film.

So, The Grudge.  For those who don't know, it's a Hollywood remake of a Japanese horror of the same name, directed by the same man who wrote and directed the original.  It stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, along with Jason Behr (Max in Roswell High) and Clea Duvall, amongst others.  The Grudge in question is a curse; when someone dies in anger, the curse remains in the place of the death and follows whoever gets involved around until it gets 'em.

We spent most of it hiding behind our hands and squeaking.  It's one of those Leap-At-You films where the music gets scary and then things scream/howl/jump/bite your ankles/grab your feet.  The sequence of events all get revealed in reverse so that eventually you get the whole story and it all makes sense, and it's quite cleverly put together. I do want to see the original version now just to compare them, but it was far edgier and more intense than the Ring remakes, which counts for something.  The only bad point is it's completely impossible to take Sarah Michelle Gellar seriously this soon after Buffy, when she still, well, looks like Buffy.

Scary Things start happening pretty much from the outset, and then get worse as it goes along.  And unlike most ordinary haunted house films, you're not safe anywhere, because it follows you home, gets in your shower, hides in your bed, and then eats you.  Or, well, I'm not sure what it does, because part of the eeeeesh-ness of this film is the fact that it kills you, but you never find out how.  In that respect, it's a lot like The Ring.

I have learnt several things from this film, all things told:

1) There is nothing in this world quite so terrifying as small, pale, Japanese children.  Especially ones that don't say anything.  Children in horror films are generally quite scary anyway, but even more so in Japanese horror.
2) Rooms tinted blue are very, very bad places to be.
3) Cats are a Portent of Doom
4) When you hear scary noises in the attic, the best plan is not to go and investigate, but rather to run away very fast and not look back.
5) Scary Things can and will get inside your house without you knowing about it.

And I'm sure there's a lot more.  One of the things I did like is the one scene everyone's been talking about without talking about it, the one scene that means you won't get any sleep for a week without having to completely strip the bed.  Four times.  And leave the lights on.  And curl into the foetal position so nothing can bite your toes.  It takes the whole 'hiding under the covers' safety blanket away in one fell swoop, which is both unspeakably cruel and very, very effective.

Several random amusements:

1) Naomi and I both assuming the same protective stance at the same time: arms folded over stomach, clasping arms tight, legs crossed and clamped tight together.  Arms and legs are in suitable positions so as not to allow access to the body through any orifice usually unaccounted for.  It probably wouldn't have been so funny had we not done it at the exact same time.
2) Naomi randomly going "I hate you. I hate you." whenever things got scary.
3) Me decreeing that we both suck at horror films.  Seriously.  We became quite the clichéd wimpy girls, peering through our hands.  I was even making horror heroine gasping noises whenever scary things happened.
4) Realising that halfway through I was actually, honestly thinking, "I wonder how the MH team would handle this...?"
5) During one of the final scenes, feeling something touching my hair and Doing An Yvette.  I think it was probably the person behind me being an arse, but still... freaked me out a lot.
6) The realisation that simultaneously, you want to carry on watching, because it cannotgetanyworsethanthis, but you also want to leave right the Hell now, because OMGwhatifitdoes!  Horror movie psychology, dude.  Great fun.

And seriously, I have never seen a cinema audience get up so fast at the end of a film.  There was pretty much complete silence except for sighs of relief throughout, but at the end there was this unanimous groan of "Thank God that's over," murmuring, and everyone falling over each other to get out.  I think I had about five minor heat attacks in the first half an hour alone, and now I feel like I've run a marathon...

I suppose the one good thing about not watching this one at home is that you can leave it in the cinema... and watching any horror movie that takes place in someone's home at home is a recipe for sleepless nights, not that I won't be having those anyway.  Horror movies in stereo sound are fun, too.
This was going to be far more coherent, but I'm tired.  Other films I'm hoping to see this season are: Finding Neverland, hopefully on Saturday; Birth, with Nicole Kidman, my theory being that she's not in a film with Johnny Depp yet, but I can watch two separate ones and pretend; Ladies in Lavendar, because it looks quite interesting.

Apparently the Phantom movie opens in December.  The time, I fear, is upon us.  I think I'll probably see it, because if I don't I'll be curious forever, but... eh, I have this feeling I'll like it because it's a movie of Phantom, but at the same time I'll hate it passionately because I know it's not going to be as wonderful as it could have been.  And, like collie_wing, I fear the influx of teenypop illiterate fangirls that will inevitably follow.  I mean, I hate being elitist, but dude, stay the Hell out of my phandom.  I'm dreading the 'new' song that's been written for it (by Lloyd Webber and the original lyricist, admittedly, but it won't fit the flow of the musical, and I can pretty much guarantee they'll still miss out the bits that are missing from the OLC recording because of time constraints because people won't 'know' them...) just like I'm dreading the fact that if it gets nominated for Oscars at all, it'll only be because OMG it's a musical and they're, like, so the coolest thing evar and all these people can sing and isn't it amazing, not because it's a decent film in its own right.  And I honestly don't believe it will be.  There's such capacity for art direction in this, as well as location shooting, costume - I wonder if they've used the original costumier from the show, because her designs would translate well to film; somehow, I doubt it - interiors and exteriors, and each representing the other.  There's so much thought could go into it.  So much love, so much dedication, the kind of treatment it needs.

This movie, the whole concept of it, means so, so much to the phans, and that's why I'm dreading it so much.  We have high expectations, and rightly so.  This musical is a precious thing, that should be treated with the respect and reverence it deserves.  Instead, it's been batted around like a tennis ball without a care for those who made it what it is, who got it to this stage in the first place - the phans.  So if I'm dreading it, it's because I've given up hope.  I have no faith in Hollywood producers, and I certainly have no faith in Joel Schumacher after Batman and Robin (*shudder*) and the only thing I can honestly say I'm looking forward to is the fact that it's got Miranda Richardson and Simon Callow in the incidental cast.  At least, they were at the last check.

So, yes, I'll see it.  I'll love it, because it's Phantom, and because it's easy enough to let the music and the feelings wash over me and pretend it's as beautiful a creature as it should be... but I'll continue to hate it for what it could have been.  I never thought I'd see this day arrive... and now, I wish it hadn't.

So, yes.  I need to think about fluffy bunnies and happy things, for various reasons.
Tags: fandom: phantom of the opera, friends, photos & pictures, reviews: films, work: child protection

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