A Night at the Drive In:  31 and Don’t Breathe

Hello Hello, everyone out there in web land, it is I The Vern.  Here to give you my thoughts on two recent horror movies for a new section I’m calling, A Night at the Drive In. Now to be fair I never did ask my handsome and sexy editor Nick Powell if I can host my own post, but with your support.  I’m sure we can win him over.   The idea is that every other week I will be writing up a double feature of some good horror and cult movies for you to check out. I have even bigger plans in October that you can help out with for Halloween.  So lets get on with the screams, shall we?

 

Rob Zombie’s 31

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First off, what the hell is up with the title to this.  Rob Zombie is not 31, he’s 51.  I know were all young at heart, but you’re not fooling anyone Robert.  The title 31 refers the game our hapless victims are about to play.  You see there are five carnival workers who are kidnapped and brought to this warehouse.  They are told by three judges in powdered wigs that they have twelve hours to survive, and that 6 homicidal maniacs are out to kill them.  So if I do the math right.

5 kidnapped carnival workers+3 powdered wig judges+12 hours+6 Homicidal killers= 26. I’m not counting the other carnival workers who were killed before the other five were taken because they never got to play.  That still doesn’t excuse why they call this game 31 or even what’s the point of it.  I’m guessing you take bets on which person will survive the longest.  But if that’s so, I don’t see the judges placing bets on anyone and they sure seem upset if any of them live.  At least in Hostel it was established that it was a business for the very rich to torture and kill people.  In 31, it looked like 3 people got really drunk and thought.

Hey, you know what would be cool.  We get a warehouse, and then we get a group of homicidal killers.  Oooh, let’s say six just to be sure,and we dress em up in funny outfits.”

OOOH OOH OOH.  Just like in The Warriors.”

The Warriors, I love that movie and then we kidnap random groups of people and bring them here for our maniacs to hunt.  It will be like our own modern version of The Most Dangerous Game.”

But why are we locking them inside this place if we are just going to hunt them.

Look, we get to dress up psychos in funny outfits and watch them kill people.  Will you stop being so negative, this is gonna be great.

You just want to remake The Running Man, don’t you.”

Uhhh No.  That took place in a television studio and ours is at a warehouse.  Big Difference.

As a horror film, this sucks because there is no tension for any of the kills.  You feel nothing for this group who got kidnapped and even less for the killers performing the act. As a straight splatter gore movie it sucks because the camera moves around so much you can’t see anything that is happening on screen.  I had to wait for a scene to end before I can see who lived or who died.    It’s basic storytelling to have a good protagonist and a good antagonist and this film has neither.

It’s great that Rob Zombie has a love of older horror films of the past.  But he really needs to study and watch how each of those directors composed their shots.  They didn’t wave the cameras wildly around at everything,now did they?  I shouldn’t be so negative on Rob Zombie’s directed works. After all The Devil’s Rejects was downright amazing and even though I personally hated his remake of Halloween.  At least he did something new and original with the property that has never been done before.  I really wish he would make his fake trailer from the movie Grindhouse into a real thing.  Werewolf Women of the SS would be awesome and it would feature Nicholas Cage as Dr. Fu Manchu.  I would buy tickets right away and you would too.

1.5 out of 10

 

 

 

Don’t Breathe

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Here is a horror movie with a simple premise and a great title.  Three thieves break into the home of an old blind guy who turns out to be much more dangerous they they thought. It knows how to establish tension very well because it has a great protagonist and an equally great antagonist.  What makes a good horror film great is one that is still believable no matter how bizarre it gets .  This is a very bizarre premise but you believe it because the characters in it do. Same thing goes for this movie.

Our great protagonist is Rocky, played by Jane Levy.  She just wants to do this one last job and then escape with her daughter to some place better.  The other two thieves are not written so well and the movie suffers a bit for that, but luckily we don’t spend a lot of time with them.  You know what happens to one guy from the trailer and the other remains just not in the same scenes as our main girl.  Jane Levy brings pathos to a character I didn’t have much feelings for at first.  If Maika Monroe (It Follows) was my favorite horror actress of 2015.  Jane Levy may be my favorite of this year.

A good hero is only good as her villain and for the roll of the blind man.  Director Fede Alvarez along with his casting director chose Stephen Lang and hee is really good.  So good that he doesn’t need to move to be scary.  Now that says something when your slasher killer can just stand still and evoke feelings of dread and fear in the audience.  I also love that they give him a back story, and it’s one that is plausible and I can buy into it.  I don’t like how the movie can make him appear any time it’s convenient to the plot,  but for most of it.   I really enjoyed his subtle performance.

The use of camera movements and sound design is really very cool.  There is one scene where the blind man turns off all the lights that gave me the same kind of shivers that The Silence of The Lambs did when Jodie Foster had the lights turned out on her.  For a movie that runs just under ninety minutes. It’s paced mostly well.  There are a few scenes in the third act that go on a little longer then they should.  I also think it was a mistake to open the movie the way it does, but you may disagree.  Despite it’s flaws this was a fun flick.

8.6 out of 10

Written By The Vern

Yes Hello people. It is I The Vern. Lover of movies, women, and whiskey, but not in that particular order. Besides writing for this site. I help co host The As You Watch podcast and help contribute to the world of films wherever I can.


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