Crawl

Horror is that dime a dozen film genre where there is maybe one out of a hundred exceptional films. It’s a genre that can be experimented with by wannabe filmmakers trying to make a name for themselves, but very few succeed in making a career out of them that people actually like. You can name the few that do it with consistency and I think by now we can add Alexandre Aja to that list. Because Crawl is really quite exceptional.

The premise of Crawl sounds as if it’s been made before, but it’s original. The plot sounds ridiculous, of a gator film in a hurricane. And yet, we are carefully pulled into the story feeling the claustrophobic spaces in the basement as our two protagonists try to outrun and outsmart gators. Even when the ridiculous, and I mean ridiculous third act begins we buy it because the filmmaker cared to make us really believe this world in the beginning. Crawl is a tense film that will inflict jump scare after jump scare on you. It was a great experience when I saw this on the big screen with an audience that was screaming, and it worked just as well again at home.

Crawl_Cast

Apart from the horror, the story surrounds an estranged father and daughter relationship. The daughter was a champion diver trained by her father to go the distance, but we see that in time the coaching seemed to strain their relationship and she doesn’t seem him until he is in life-threatening danger during the hurricane. This gives us people to care about, which is the hardest thing for most horror movies to give an audience.

Crawl_Kitchen

I hope we get more monster films like this that have so much care attached to them. If you happen to catch the special features on the Blu-ray disc you will find the set is almost entirely practical, which blows my mind as I thought for sure it would require plenty of CGI. I recommend checking it out when you’re next looking for a monster movie.

Robert Ring

Predator (1987)

When I was a child I watched a ton of 80s action films with my dad. I saw all the heavy hitters of the time, from Arnold to Sly. I thought I was meant to like them as a way of holding onto my masculinity card. Same thing with sports. I’ve watched hundreds of hours of sports to uphold my manhood among friends, peers, and family. Not anymore. Now I’m more considerate of me. Hell, I’ll watch Pretty in Pink over the next Transformers film and let it be known. Action films today don’t get much better. They have the same amount of cheese, but more CGI. So why is Predator different?

Most people have seen the original Predator by now. Simply put an alien comes to Earth and hunts a group of special ops soldiers after they blow up a guerrilla outpost. Predator is seventy percent of every action film, full of bad one-liners, excessive muscles, and lots of guns. The other thirty percent sprinkled in there are horror and science fiction. Watching it today, I think it’s a bit of a satire of the action film. If you take out the predator you still have the typical action film. A special ops team come against any number of men and wipe them out while smoking a cigar. Good prevails. With the addition of the predator, he takes out every one of the experienced team until it’s one man left. Even though Arnold will ultimately win, the predator still has the last laugh as he self-destructs and I think that is satire icing on the cake. For all things I hate in action films, I’m happy to say they don’t bother me in this one.

Predator

My girlfriend is one of those in the minority who hadn’t seen it. So I took her to see it on the big screen and she liked it. It still holds up well, 80s cheese included. The infrared predator vision also holds up because the voices we hear are digitalized making it turn up the frightening factor.

I’m excited to see what Shane Black has planned for us in his Predator film coming out in a few months. I would recommend checking out the original prior to it.

Robert Ring

Oldboy

I thought this was going to be a good movie, but I had no idea it was going to be a great movie.


Oldboy


The film begins with what appears to be a drunken jackass of a man, who within a short amount of time is kidnapped and held prisoner within a windowless apartment. Fifteen years pass in the confinement of this apartment and the man Dae-su, played by Min-sik Choi, is released (after undergoing hypnosis) and additionally he is told that his wife and child were murdered. Dae-su seeks revenge because he had his family taken away from him, his dignity, and fifteen years of his life with no understanding of why. Woo-jin Lee, played by Ji-tae Yu, is the antagonist who had him imprisoned, and released to provoke Dae-su even further. Oldboy starts with such a compelling beginning that you are taken with everything the film throws at you, and Dae-su is so psychologically broken that he doesn’t give a damn about what he needs to do to get his revenge. This mystery has it all with some of the most gut wrenching and insane fighting scenes to boot. You won’t forget this South Korean film if you give it a chance. There’s not much more that I can say without spoiling the end, but it has one of the most shocking twists you have ever seen.


Chan-wook Park has directed a very fine film that earns it’s place within the hundred greatest films ever made, and quite rightfully sits at rank seventy-one on the top movies of IMDB.


4.5/5 – Stars


Robert Ring