Breaking the fourth wall with “Resolution (2012)”

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Resolution (2012)

Writers/Directors: Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead

Starring: Peter Cilellaand, Vinny Curran, Zahn McClarnon, Bill Obserst Jr.

After the first viewing, I wasn’t sure how to rate it. It was meta upon meta upon meta. The characters broke the fourth wall and Resolution (2012) ended in a way that left me going “huh?” Not because I didn’t understand the conclusion, but because I just couldn’t believe the direction the writers/directors took an otherwise coherent plot line. The horror writer in me was irritated. “Clever,” I thought, “But why waste a perfectly good story by inserting this ludicrous twist? Are the filmmakers trying to be cute?” I appreciated the story’s constant misdirection, its irony, and brilliant performances by the two leading actors, Peter Cilellaand and Vinny Curran. The movie was great. But still I fumed.

And then I decided to watch Resolution (2012) a second time. Just like the first, the film challenged and forced me to see beyond the characters, beyond the narrative to the private joke played on my expense. But instead of fuming, I decided to play along, which is, I think, the point of this movie. This is a film that demands audience participation, not passivity. The ending is up to us, which even the characters realize and attempt to react to before audience expectations “kill” them.

It’s…literary. Experimental. And interesting. If you’ve seen Rubber (2010) it’s a bit like that…but without the absurdity.

What is Resolution about? Quite simply; it’s about a man who handcuffs a junkie to his remote cabin. The rest is…well…up for debate. Anymore will take all the fun out of watching a film like this. So just watch it. You’ll either love it or hate it. It’ll fly over some people’s heads, but if you read this blog, I’m assuming you’re into weird, thought-provoking shit. I’m giving it an A+ and will definitely check out Justin Benson’s and Aaron Moorhead’s new film, Spring (2015). They’re the same guys behind “V/H/S: Viral.” Definitely two filmmakers to watch. Adding Resolution into my personal collection.

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The Tortured: A Review

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Director: Robert Lieberman

Starring: Erika Christensen and Jesse Metcalfe

Let’s get on with the gory madness! A couple experience the most terrifying thing a parent can go through…the murder of their child. For sum unknown reason, their son’s killer get 25 to life with possibility of parole. That just won’t do. So they plan on kidnapping the killer while he’s being transported and torture him to death.  JUSTICE!!

I liked this movie because of how it presented the pain of both parents. Most movies focus on how the mother feels with the whole “I gave birth to him” speech. With this they show how the mother feels and the heartbreak of the father blaming himself. There’s also the point in the relationship where they blame each other. Until the killer is given his sentence and they decide that the only justice is making him feel the same pain their son went through.

The torture bits were pretty gruesome. Since the father is a doctor he had all kinds of med to keep the guy awake.  Watching this guy get tortured I didn’t know whether to be right there with the parents and cheer or be horrified that someone was being tortured. I can’t talk more about without spoilers and I promised myself I’d do my best to avoid spoilers. So I’d say that was good but not great. I’d give it a B.

In closing I pose some questions: Were they torturing this guy for justice or were they torturing him just because it made them feel good? If the latter then doesn’t that make them just as bad as the killer?

Crucible of Horror (1970) REVIEW

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Classic British horror at its finest. I must say, I really enjoyed this movie! This cult-classic flick was directed by Viktor Ritelis and stars Michael Gough, Yvonne Mitchell, and Sharon Gurney.  John Hotchkins provides a deliciously eerie score, and the music reminded me very much of the wailing theremin in Dark Shadows. Is the story supernatural or a crime-mystery? Not quite sure. But I won’t spoil the surprise ending by revealing too much, here.

First five minutes: Not much dialogue, moody camera closeups while patriarch, Walter Eastwood, incessantly washes his hands and stares at his blinking cat. All of this would have bored me to tears if not for the odd camera angles and the characters’ stifled movements. Right away the audience feels a sense of veiled oppression, which is fully-realized once Walter’s daughter, Jane,  kisses a business associate and is savagely beaten with a switch. The camera immediately snaps back to Walter washing his hands again. His wife, Edith, listens to disembodied voices in the attic while Jane sobs from her wounds. There isn’t much dialogue and we’re still not sure what’s going on , but the absence of information only adds to the mounting suspense. We learn Walter is as meticulous as he is cruel. He coddles his son, Rupert, while terrorizing his wife and daughter with physical violence. He seems fixated on his daughter (and her sexuality) most of all.

When she receives a letter at breakfast the next morning, Walter snatches it away and tells his family he will go to the family cottage by himself. Once his back is turned, Edith casually suggests that she and Jane should kill him. Only she’s not joking. The mother-daughter kill-team show up at the cottage that night with poison and a loaded rifle.

I’m not going to write what happens next–but, oh, dear! Things for Walter go downhill from there!

It’s easy to see why Crucible of Horror is a cult-classic. The family is horrifying because audience can relate to them. And the twist ending…you will NOT see it coming! It is strange. Open-ended. And leaves unsettling questions in your mind long after the credits have finished. I didn’t expect to like the movie so much, but I will certainly add it to my collection. I recommend this movie for folks who like mysteries, family horror, British actors, and psychological surrealism. I’m giving this movie an A+ for creeping me out!