Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't Look Up

Don’t Look Up 2009
Director: Fruit Chan
Writers: Brian Cox and Hiroshi Takahashi
Starring Racheal Murphy, Reshad Strik, Eli Roth, Henry Thomas, Carmen Chaplin, Ben DiGregorio, Kevin Corrigan, Alyssa Sutherland, Luthaire Blouateau and Daniela Sea
This is the latest in a long line of Japanese horror film remakes and this film succeeds in some parts but fails in some others. The premise is good and at first is executed well until it takes a 360 degree turn at the end that totally kills the feel of the film. It has a unique feel, a very cool gothic atmosphere that really works and they just do not use that enough. The film is quite gory too and with a story like this you shouldn’t need gore to push the story ahead but this one does. It has a sotry that reminds me a lot of The Hills Run Red which was a far superior film. The cast was good though, with a nice cameo role by Eli Roth. I also really enjoyed Henry Thomas I the piece. The director is a great Japanese horror director, who did the excellent segment in 3 Extremes called Dumplings, but none of that genius is on display here. This is a film that probably looked good on paper but was a wash when it was filmed.
The plot basics are this, the film opens in Romania where a horror film is being filmed but something bizarre happens and the film is never finished. Flash forward to the present and we meet Marcus Reed (Strik) a director with some personal problems with a ailing ex girlfriend. It seems Marcus sees apparitions and is having mental issues but he receives a phone call from a movie producer (Thomas) to film a new version of this film that was never finished in the 20’s. He heads to Romania and the location is a run down farmhouse and soon strange accidents begin happening. It seems there was some old gypsy curse that plagued the girl the story is based on and it seems to be in full effect here. This leads to a confrontation with the vengeful spirit and Marcus that just ends strangely.
This is just a bizarre film that does not make a lot of sense. Chan’s direction is good, he has a good sense of what works in a gothic horror film. It just seems the film is far too bloody for the type of story it is, its like two halves that just do not fit. The script is not much better, it jumps all over the place and you never get much depth into Marcus’ character which really would have helped the story. The cast is good though. Strik is a good lead who makes you feel his anxiety throughout the film. Thomas is a good counterpoint in the film. I really enjoyed Roth’s bit role in the film. Sea as Tami was very alluring and had a femme fatale feeling to her which I really liked. The SFX and make up effects were great if I feel very unnecessary for a film like this. The score had a very ambient gothic feel that would feel right at home in a Corman Poe film, but just did not work here. This is just a film that failed on many levels as it tried to be like The Grudge but just did not have the right feeling to it.
This one gets 2 out of 5

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