Let the Right One In vs Let Me In

Let the Right One In
Directed By: Thomas Alfredson
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragner, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg.

Let Me In
Directed By: Matt Reeves
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Cara Buono, Elias Koteas, Dylan Minnette.

I’m not going to lie, there’s probably going to be a fair bit of spoilers in this review.  As always, I will try to not spoil too much, but we’ll see how that really pans out.  If you are absolutely set on watching either of these films with a clean slate, maybe just scan down to my rating to not spoil anything for yourself.

Since this review is more of comparison, I think for ease of writing and reading, I’m going to split it up into three categories I usually look at when I watch a film and compare them based upon those sections.
 
Characterization
In Let the Right One In, there is Oskar and Eli, and in Let Me In they are known as Owen and Abby.  Both sets of characters are similar as far as age and basic character traits, and aside from appearances, not much about who these people were was changed.  However, I really felt like Let Me In spent more time subtly building the characterizations of Owen and Abby; they are both more sympathetic characters in my opinion.  Oskar and Owen are the same character in essence, but both films took a different approach at developing their characters.  Oskar has a much more evident relationship with his parents, spending a much larger amount of screen time with them.  Owen’s relationship is shown to be strained, his mother is an alcoholic dealing with her divorce, and we don’t even get to see his father.  A part of who Oskar/Owen is supposed to be is an awkward young boy, bullied by his classmates, and meant to feel very alone.  Let Me In really intensified the bullying story within this character, showing the audience that he honestly has real reason to feel afraid, to be angry, and to feel like has no one to turn to.  Not until the end of the film of Let the Right One In did I feel that Oskar was in as much danger or going through as much as Owen did from Let Me In.  I just felt that Owen was a much more relatable and sympathetic character, and Kodi Smit-McPhee did an amazing job with the part. 

The differences between Eli and Abby weren’t nearly as noticeable as Oskar and Owen.  I found Eli to be more confident, and a bit less innocent about who she was – she felt more like a bit of a monster.  Abby was more sympathetic, more reluctant than Eli was.  It’s strange that I actually feel that way, considering near the beginning when Eli attacks someone, she actually cries.  Perhaps my feelings have something to do with Chloe Moretz portrayal; I think she’s really talented, and a simple look from her could say a thousand words.  This isn’t to say that Eli was a bad character though, I liked how distant she appeared to be, it made the love story more awkward, and a bit strange – but somehow kind of sweet.

Overall for the two protagonists, I enjoyed them more in Let Me In.  The romance seemed a lot more an actual attraction – one that was based upon innocence and a deep friendship.  Their characters did have more screen time together, which I think added to this relationship development, and probably why I enjoyed it more.

Both films have a lot of other minor characters.  Let the Right One In has this group of friends who live in the same apartment building complex that I just couldn’t really bother with.  I wanted to see more of Eli and Oskar, but the film spent too much time focusing on these characters, and it kind of annoyed me.  Let Me In had none of these characters, well, at least that I’m aware of.  A lot of the same deaths occurred, but the characters were different.  Instead of the film showing us them interacting and having a lot of forced dialogue with them, they show Owen kind of spying on them through his telescope, which I enjoyed.  I thought it was kind of like what a 12-year-old boy who is lonely might do – try to find a way to reach out to someone, anyone.  And with this, we get to know a little bit about those characters that unfortunately die without having to spend so much time with them.  One major difference was that Let the Right One In did not have the “policeman” character like Let Me In did.  I also enjoyed this bit; I felt it was a nice way to tie in the different characters and elements in the story.  And to show that the actions taken by Abby and her caretaker had consequences.

Speaking of which, her caretaker was a bit better in Let Me In, in my opinion.  I felt that without much dialogue, they gave him a lot of characterization.  Some subtle moments between him and Abby show that they had a very deep relationship, that was both uncomfortable and touching.  They even gave him a subtle back story if you are really paying attention. 

Overall, for characterization, I enjoyed Let Me In much more; I felt that the film fleshed out its characters a lot more without giving unneeded exposition or forcing it down the audiences’ throats.  The characters were more entertaining, real, and relatable, and all of the acting was superb. 

Cinematography
These films were very different in style as far as cinematography goes.  Let Me In had a much more traditional Hollywood cinematography, a lot of medium and close up shots, which work very well in this film.  I really enjoyed the use of reflections and line of sight in this film.  A lot of the time the camera would focus upon one of the characters, and the other characters around would be obscured by objects, out of frame or blurred by something.  I enjoyed this a lot, I think it drew a lot of attention onto whoever the camera was focused on.  This was especially effective for Own, because it reinforced the isolation of his character – that despite having people in his life, he was alone. 

Let The Right One In was very different for cinematography.  There were a lot of long shots within the film – often having just one or two characters on-screen.  This created a lot of “empty space” so to speak, and usually the characters were never centered within the shot.  I really adored the look of this film, and with this kind of cinematography, it gave it an eerie, surreal look.  I also think that with a lot of these long shots, it also helped reinforce some isolation for the characters.  When Eli and Oskar were together, all that empty space helped create the feeling that they only had each other.  One more thing this film did that I liked was filming things through windows.  It always made me feel like an outsider watching in, spying on something I shouldn’t be watching – I think it fit the characters well, because their love is something many people wouldn’t understand.

It’s hard to pick which one I enjoyed more.  I loved both films for cinematography reasons.  I think as far as reinforcing the characters and the story of the romance, Let Me In hit the mark extremely well.  However, Let the Right One In did an amazing job of creating an isolating atmosphere, and creating an eerie feel to the film.

Editing
The two films share the same story, but the plot differs for the two of them.  Let the Right One In very much follows a chronological telling of the events, which on all accounts is great.  I think with this simple telling it leaves the audiences to wonder what is going to happen, and to be surprised for the ending.  Let Me In starts the film during about the first third of the story, showing us something dramatic, and then cutting to sometime earlier.  This is also effective because it makes the audience want to know how point A got to point B. 

One thing I really enjoyed about Let the Right One In as far as editing is concerned goes hand in hand with cinematography.  A lot of the long shots are completely still, and there is often very little camera movement.  Therefore, there is very little editing.  You may see Oskar standing alone, and instead of the camera panning over to the bullies approaching or an over-the-shoulder edit cut of them, we merely see them walk into the frame.  I just really enjoyed all the long takes this film utilizes, a lot of films don’t do this, and because of it, it made the film feel a lot more uncomfortable, which I thought fit the story. 

Because Let Me In didn’t do as much as far as editing goes that stands out in my mind, I think Let the Right One In was much better as far as editing goes.  It was different, and a lot of the time, when a movie makes me think “wow, that’s really different”, I usually like it better.

Overall Conclusions
I just want to say that I really enjoyed both of these films a lot.  I know some people out there are automatically going to bitch about Hollywood remakes, I know I have in the past, but Let Me In is a very well made remake of an already well done film.  The way I look at it, it’s like two different people telling the same story – they’re similar, but not always the same, there’s always a different take on it.  I would recommend both of these films, and I just want to say that I don’t consider either of them to be “horror” films.  I considered them to be a dark romance.  There wasn’t anything particularly scary in either of them, perhaps a moment where I might have jumped from being startled, but other than that they weren’t scary.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed this love story, considering how Twilight has ruined vampires for me.  But after seeing them, I have hope. 

If you see both, yes, you will notice that Let Me In is a remake.  But it is not a frame by frame remake; it takes quite a different approach to the story, and keeps it fresh and new.  I would definitely recommend watching both of them, if not just to appreciate two different, but very great, styles of filmmaking and story telling.

If I had to pick which one I liked better, I suppose I would lean more towards Let Me In.  Overall I just enjoyed the characterizations better, and found that I was more moved by the characters.  That’s not to say that Let the Right One In isn’t moving, because it is, and as far as film making techniques, I think it’s very well done.  I know there are a lot of people whoa ready to judge it instantly, and already have, but seriously: don’t be a dick.  I’ve definitely been one in the past, judging films before I see them.  Example: Star Trek.  I thought it was going to be a piss-poor remake of one of my favourite TV shows, and decided to not see it.  My friend took me, and man, was I wrong.  Don’t be a douchey fanboy ready to hate something because you think it will never meet your expectations of how “awesome” something is.  Look at things with a clean slate, and make judgements based on their own merit rather than their predecessor. 

Let the Right One In
ScareMeter: 2/5 “It’s got some jumpy, startling moments, but my underpants are still clean”.
Overall Movie Rating: 4.5/5

Let Me In
ScareMeter: 3/5 “Gorier than the original, if you have a moderately strong stomach you probably won’t throw up”.
Overall Movie Rating: 5/5

Delay – Apologies and the What-Not

Hello everyone!  I’m writing this on Saturday, so technically yesterday for all you reading this today…wow that was confusing.  Anyways, I just wanted to apologize for not having the Let the Right One In/Let Me In review for today.  This week turned out to be busier than normal, and the time to sit down and write the review got pushed further and further back.  I was going to finish what I had today, but I got called in to work.  That’s life, but I am sorry – I don’t like missing deadlines.  I’m going to try my hardest to have the review up for Monday by 9am, and I really hope you stop by to check it out!  In the meantime, check out the trailers for both films if you’re interested.  Have a great weekend!

Let the Right One In

Let Me In

Asylum Review – This Movie Gave Me Loads of Suffering

Directed By: David R. Ellis
Starring: Sarah Roemer, Jake Muxworthy, Travis Van Winkle, Ellen Hollman, Caroline Garcia, Cody Kasch and Mark Rolston.

As always, this is a review, so expect some spoilers.  But I’m gonna let you know right now, I’m probably doing you a favour spoiling this movie for you.

After the movie finished and I turned off my TV, I sat in silence for a good few moments, before letting out a sad sigh.  There really wasn’t any surprise to me that this film was a direct to video.  I suppose in the back of my mind I had hoped it may have been one of those gems that didn’t get a wide release, or weren’t released in theatres here.  Or the subject matter was enough to make the MPAA have an aneurism and all that it could do was come out on DVD.  Sadly, I picked up a movie that was straight to video for the fact that it just wasn’t a good movie.

The premise of the film is very simple.  A group of college students, each with a troubled past, move into the “new” dorm that just opened up on their campus.  They find out it used to be an insane asylum, where a very disturbed doctor got rid of all the patients except for teenagers, and performed numerous of unethical “treatments” on them until they rebelled and killed him.  They are noticing strange things happening within their dorms, and one by one they are attacked by the ghost of the evil doctor. 

On paper, it doesn’t sound nearly as stupid as it actually is.  But trust me, it is.  I could go through scene by scene and describe each problem I had with this movie, but that really would take an extremely long time.  I’ll do my best to explain why I really didn’t enjoy this film that much.

My main issue with this film were the characters.  The main story follows a group of young adults, which is to be expected in a horror film – but what I really hated was the fact that every single one of these people had some disturbingly dark back story.  Madison, who is the main protagonist, witnessed her mentally disturbed father kill himself when she was a child, and on top of that, she is going to the same school where her brother committed suicide the year before.  Holt, the love interest, was a hardcore drug addict who blames himself for his younger brother’s death (who unfortunately drowned in a pool).  Maya is the token coloured character of the film, who used to have an abusive boyfriend.  String – yes his name is String – is the 16-year-old, computer genius prodigy who has a mentally abusive mother who doesn’t care about him.   Ivy’s story is a strange one – at first she is very much the stereotypical slutty girl of the film, always making sexual innuendos and hitting on the guys.  Then she confides that she cuts herself.  And the cherry on top of her story is that her father used to sexual abuse her.  Yikes.  And now for my favourite (see what I did there?) of these very forced characters – Tommy.  Tommy is this film’s douchebag, who tries ever so hard to be funny, but comes off as annoying, cocky, and inconsiderate.  His dark back story is the strangest – his obese mother and family would force him to eat and be fat when he was younger, which is why he is always working out now… Right. 

It’s not that any of these characters aren’t necessarily sympathetic ones, I feel bad for their stories.  And it’s not that the actors did a bad job.  It’s the fact that the characters are so contrived that it just blatantly pisses me off.  It is completely unlikely that all of these people would be in the same dorm, and be part of the same group of friends, and all have really messed up backgrounds.  And I would have possibly believed it, or even have forgiven this fact if it had anything to do with the plot, or there had been some reason why every character had a very disturbing history.  Instead, the film just tries to make us feel bad for them when they die.  But the audience can’t feel sorry for that many characters when the film keeps jumping back and forth between every character’s personal demons.  The protagonist is supposed to be Madison, but the film spends so little time developing her character beyond the first five minutes of exposition that I just didn’t give a shit if she lived or died.  For those of you who are interested – killing order goes: String, Maya, Tommy, Madison, Mackey.  Then Dr. Burke if you count that too.

Besides those characters, there are two others I’d want to talk about.  The first is Mackey, who is the dorm/school custodian.  He kind of just appears out of nowhere from time to time, dropping warning lines that would normally set up a sense of eeriness in this type of film.  I felt that his character was added as a way to keep the story going.  I’m wondering if the writer was having a hard time trying to make this film scary, so he tried the “old man is going to warn you and you don’t listen” routine.  It doesn’t work.  Also, a very forced story line comes in to play where after a few of the characters start “disappearing”, they suspect it is Mackey.  Why this doesn’t work is because you fucking see the doctor killing them in the previous scenes!  I’m all for dramatic irony, but not when it’s added in for no discernible reason, and especially not in a horror film – where you know, you should at least have some freaking suspense.  Mackey ends up saving Holt and Madison later on, and also explains that he used to be a patient at the asylum!  He says, that he had stayed away for years after escaping, but made his way back here and has been working at the school ever since.  I remember he said something along the lines of “I knew the doctor would return one day, so I had to stay”.  I actually yelled at the movie during this scene, I yelled “WHY!?”  I have never been one to understand why there tend to be these characters in films.  Why would you be compelled to stay a place where you were tortured as a child?  Why would you want to face the doctor that tortured you?  It’s not as though Mackey has ever sought him out to destroy the spirit of the doctor himself, so why bother staying around?  Why movie, why!?

The last character I want to talk about is the Doctor.  Doctor Burke was played actually really decently by Mark Rolston.  He’s been in quite a few recognizable movies and television shows, including what I recognized him from: The Shawshank Redemption – he plays Bogs aka the guy who rapes Tim Robbins.  He’s also been in Aliens, Lethal Weapon 2, RoboCop 2, Rush Hour, Saw V and VI – as well as appearances in 24 and Babylon 5.  I think Rolston did a good job in the film with what he had to work with.  Dr. Burke is nothing more than a Freddy Krueger, Jason, or Michael Myers character.  They are crazy and they kill people.  He was mildly creepy, although within the context of the film, I didn’t find him scary.  We don’t get to learn much about him as a character, we just know that he likes to torture his patients because he thinks he can “cure” them.  His catchphrase of sorts is “give me your suffering!”, and I found it quite laughable.  My problem with this character is that he was introduced way too soon into the film, and it really took away any suspense that could have been gained.  And because of this, it ended up becoming less of a creepy ghost story and more of a really cheap slasher film.

Overall, this film was forced, and though I’ve never written a film, there are a lot of things I know I could have written better considering I’m a fan of the genre and I enjoy good story telling.  The movie tried too hard to sell its scares, and while it tried to create a scary atmosphere, it instead rushed into everything like a teenage boy during his first time: it’s sloppy, it’s too fast, and it’s not memorable.  Within the first 15 minutes of the film, we learn about the whole back story of the doctor.  Oh, and of course the film used one of the most annoying film clichés ever: the young kid who is a computer hacking genius.  What is this, Jurassic Park?  Fuck!  Though String was the only character I kind of liked, because he was an adorable, shy, geek, I think he should have been omitted.  Why not have strange things happen throughout the beginning of the film – like the students seeing strange things, hearing things, and then decide to break into the asylum and find out the information in that creepy setting? 

Oh, small rant about that: why the hell did the school just leave the asylum as it was?  First, they call it a “new” dorm.  The main character actually points this out, she walks into the building, that has a “newly updated” feel, and actually points this out to the audience!  The film can’t even sell this stupid idea on its own damn characters!  And I have nothing wrong with the idea they used an old building for it, places do that all the time.  But there is a locked door that is supposedly a cat-walk in the process that connects to the school buildings.  Sure that makes sense, but why on earth did they leave all the asylum equipment, furniture, and oh, of course, the FILE CABINETS on the premises?  What, did the school run out of the new dorm budget to bother cleaning up that mess?  Also, it’s not like the asylum had been out of operation for a few years, no, it’s been at least 15 years.  Why weren’t those files taken by the police when they surely had an investigation of the facilities?  Or is this film under movie laws where there is no sign of realism?  Grr.  Oh, speaking of realism – you never see these students going to fucking class.  The film feels like it takes place within a day or two, like a weekend or something.  How stupid is that?  Oh, and when some of the students go missing, they are told they aren’t supposed to leave the dorm.  Right, that makes sense movie.  These are young adults, do you think they’re going to fucking listen?  And on that matter, I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to house arrest students living on campus.  Stupid. Freaking. Movie.

Asylum asked more questions than it answered, and the story telling is so sloppy that it makes my head hurt.  It tries to be so many other films at once that it doesn’t leave any memorable impression.  My first thought when they explained Dr. Burke’s story was House on Haunted Hill.  The way he kills some of these people, by somehow forcing them into a hallucination of their traumas made me think of some strange love-child abomination of Freddy Krueger and Pin-Head – combining a weird dream state with a kind of hellish state.  Why not try to make something somewhat original?  If the characters needed to be a little messed up, why not play with reality – impose some ambiguity about whether the story is real or if the protagonist is really within an asylum? 

Everything about this movie annoyed me.  The characters were bland and contrived, the plot was rushed and not well thought out, and the atmosphere was ruined by terrible choices in the soundtrack.  The film has such a blatant attempt to give off an anti-drug message that it really annoys me.  I don’t think people should be using drugs, but what bothered me a lot was the part where String, the 16-year-old, criticizes Tommy for smoking pot, saying it kills brain cells.  Two scenes later he shares a drink with the rest of the group.  So the film is saying that underage drinking is ok but don’t smoke pot.  Well, this isn’t a post about which is better or worse or what I approve of, but alcohol is a drug too – and for that matter, it too kills brain cells.  So movie, stop being hypocritical and shut up already – this isn’t an after school special.  I can understand fully why this film was a straight to video, no one in their right mind would want to watch it.  I really have no idea what I was thinking when I rented it.  I guess sometimes I can be just too forgiving and hope for the best. 

In conclusion, this movie blows.  And this is coming from someone who likes a lot of really supposedly bad horror films.  Don’t waste your time on it.  It wasn’t scary, it wasn’t even “So-bad-it’s-awesome”, it was just bad.  Maybe it takes more to scare me now, but I’m really thinking this movie won’t scare anyone, especially not fans of the genre.

I’m really hoping the next three films are better than this one.  Although, I don’t think any of them can even suck this much.

ScareMeter: .5/5 “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is scarier than this shit”.
Overall Movie Rating: .5/5

 

Trick ‘r Treat Review – “Charlie Brown’s an asshole!”

Directed By: Michael Dougherty
Starring: Dylan Baker, Anna Paquin, Lauren Lee Smith, Brian Cox, and a bunch of other people I didn’t recognize and couldn’t have been bothered to pretend to care about.

As with any review, I’d just like to point out before I begin that there is a great possibility of spoilers. If you’re really not interested in having the movie spoiled for you, then it’s probably best to avoid this review! I could try to avoid the plot, but what’s the fun in that?

Trick ‘r Treat is one of those films that didn’t get a wide release, but had quite a bit of internet buzz around it. I remember seeing the trailer sometime around 2007, but the film didn’t actually get released here in Canada until August 2009. So perhaps any lucky American readers that wander here may have had their hands on this movie much longer than their Canuck friends from the north. I can assure you, we are shaking our internet fists at you.

The film itself is broken down into sections: the opening, the four separate story sections, and then the closing. Unlike many horror films, it doesn’t focus on one specific protagonist, or around one antagonist. It contains four separate stories that are kind of “glued” together by one specific character that I was calling Sack Head or Creepy Kid throughout, but upon looking it up, is named Sam. I’ll talk more about his character later though.

I suppose before I can talk about anything else, I should explain the plot of the film first.

The first act centers on Principal Steven Wilkins, who is a serial killer. We get to see Wilkins poison a large, obnoxious, ginger kid who probably had it coming (the evil principal thing is my favourite TV/film principal cliché – think Snyder from Buffy). And don’t worry, Ryan and I covered all the “gingers have no souls” jokes whilst watching the film. What I really like about this act is the sequence where Wilkins is trying to bury not one, but two bodies (one of which is actually alive), which is an extremely humorous scene. Not only does he have to try to fend off his neighbour’s dog, but try to act inconspicuous as his neighbour comes outside. Plus, his annoying child keeps yelling out at him from his bedroom window (“Daddy when are we going to carve jack o’lanterns?” etcetera), so it was entertaining watching him try to deal with all those elements. This scene also had my favourite line of the film. Wilkins’ son keeps yelling from the window, and Wilkins yells up that his son should watch Charlie Brown. The son yells back “Charlie Brown’s an asshole!” Yes he is kid, yes he is.

The second act is about a group of pre-teens collecting jack o’lanterns as a type of “sacrifice”. I really thought they were going to try to summon the Great Pumpkin or something – which would have been super cool. The sacrifice is actually for their town’s legend: The School Bus Massacre. Every horror movie town has a legend it seems. Apparently this town frowns up on the special needs, as apparently the parents of eight special needs children had hired the bus driver to drive them into the rock quarry many years ago. It turns out however, that the group of stereotypically mean preteens were trying to scare a very odd girl named Rhonda. Following the natural progression of a horror movie fake out – the ghosts of the dead special need kids emerge and start attacking, and the only one to survive is Rhonda, as she ascends to the top of the quarry in the lift. I love when the outcast gets revenge in films.

The third act is primarily about Laurie, dressed as Red Riding Hood, who is self-conscious about being a virgin. That means in horror film logic that her friends need to fix that problem immediately. After separating from her sister and friends, she goes wandering through the woods alone (a very “uh oh! Don’t go in there!” moments). A masked man appears (who actually appears in an earlier transition – having killed a young woman), and starts to attack Laurie. Back at the promiscuous bon-fire in the forest where Laurie’s sister and friends wait, we see a figure thrown violently into the crowd of people. Another horror film fake out ensues, and it is actually the man who attacked Laurie, who appears mostly unscathed from within the forest. Two more fake outs ensue, and the masked man turns out to be Wilkins, and Laurie and her friends turn out to be werewolves.

The fourth act is about the town’s crazy, creepy, old man who lives alone named Kreeg. The simplest of the acts, he ends up being attacked by the Creepy Sac-Head Kid, AKA Sam. I have to say, there’s nothing more entertaining in a film than an old man fighting a creepy kid. Kreeg manages to shoot Sam with his shot-gun (which was the best part of the movie), and he takes off Sam’s mask to reveal his true face – which is what I think looks like a hybrid of a pumpkin and the ugliest child in the world. Let’s just say it is not attractive. Yet another fake out, and it turns out Sam isn’t dead. It looks as though Sam has the upper hand and is about to kill Kreeg with a broken pumpkin lollypop (don’t ask). Sam stabs him, and yet another fake out ensues, and it turns out he stabbed a large chocolate bar that had somehow fallen onto Kreeg’s chest. I suppose Sam took this as an “offering” of sorts and leaves. The camera pans over to Kreeg’s fireplace, and it shows some pictures burning, including one of the bus from the bus massacre, with all the special needs kids standing in front with the driver – leaving us to believe Kreeg was the school bus driver.

The opening and closing scenes are basically the same – showing one or two characters from each scene (Rhonda walking with a jack o’lantern, a car full of the werewolf girls back in human form, Wilkins son sitting on the deck handing out candy dressed like his father, as well as Kreeg opening his door). At the end you see Kreeg opening his door for trick-or-treaters, and it is the ghostly corpsified special needs kids he drove off of the quarry all those years ago.

The characters of the film were overall pretty entertaining. But considering that we never spend much time with one character or one group of characters for an extended amount of time, it’s hard to really care about what happens to them. This is both a good and bad thing. There were few characters that I felt I could relate to, and I often found myself saying “kill him! Kill him!” But the lack of emotional attachment also made the film very entertaining. I found myself trying to guess what was going to happen, without worrying if my “favourite” character was going to get hurt. I had fun watching it, rather than feeling scared or nervous. The only character I felt anything for was Rhonda. I’m not sure what was weird about her; she may have been special needs, or just a very peculiar girl. In either case, I was happy she survived – maybe because I felt sorry for her. And out of all the other characters in the film, she was the only who deep down wasn’t an asshole and probably didn’t deserve to get hurt.

Sam/Creepy Kid was overall a pretty interesting “antagonist” (if you can even consider him that). He wears a shabby costume and a burlap sack mask, and conveniently shows up in every story. I’m gonna be honest, if a kid came dressed up like this to my door on Halloween, I’d probably kick him in the face for being so creepy looking. I know that’s violent, but meh, it’s Halloween. I did some research about this character, and apparently he appeared in a short film the director had made way back when in 1996 called Season’s Greetings. Throughout the film he seems to be silently watching the mischief and horrors that unfold, but it is revealed that he also punishes people. Now I was talking with Ryan during the beginning of the film, so I didn’t really notice that there were traditions that “need to be followed” during Halloween – whoops, my bad. Looking them up, the rules are: handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, wearing a costume, and never blowing out a jack o’lantern before midnight. I think his character is interesting, however, I think the “rules” that he is supposed to enforce or uphold (and punish those who don’t follow them) are just plain silly. It seems that this character picks and chooses who he wants to punish and who he doesn’t. Why does he leave fate up to some people and punishes others? What exactly is he supposed to be? I suppose in movie logic it works, but that was something that always annoyed me. I suppose I just wanted the movie to explain that more.

Overall I did enjoy the film, but I didn’t think it was scary. Sure it had a few moments where I jumped up a bit, but I never thought the film was scary. To me it was more of a comedy than anything. That’s not really a bad thing either – the movie uses a bunch of horror film clichés (such as the “oh no, the phone lines are out!” bit) and basically makes fun of itself for it. Plus it has fun with twisting the normal tropes of the genre and in doing this it didn’t feel stale and overdone.  The amount of fake outs was a bit annoying sure, but it also seemed fitting for the film.  At least with the fake outs, the “twists” they were different, or at least trying to be different.  Also, one thing I really enjoyed about this film was the opening titles and the credits sequences; there was a really beautifully drawn comic-book style to them, and considering how the film was laid out, I thought it was a very fitting. The soundtrack was really great in my opinion as well. I noticed about half way through the film that a recurring theme for the score was “ring-around-the-rosie”, which is just a creepy sounding song as it is.

I would definitely recommend this film for most people. It really isn’t scary at all, but it is very entertaining. I think for the most part the writing was really well done, and there are some genuinely funny moments in the film. Though I spoiled all the plot, it’s still a fun watch.

ScareMeter: 1.5/5 “My pants are still dry and I’ll have no trouble sleeping tonight”.

Overall Movie Rating: 4/5

Film Review Schedule for October (Tentative)

  • Sunday, October 3rd: Asylum (2008) Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
  • Sunday, October 10th: Trick ‘r Treat (2007) Asylum (2008)
  • Monday, October 18th: Let the Right One In (2008) vs. Let Me In (2010) 
  • Monday, October 25th: Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
  • Sunday, October 31st: Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Movies I may review if I can get my hands on them: Human Centipede (2009), Deadgirl (2008), Martyrs (2008) and Grace (2009)