Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Pair of Yawns


Speaking of yawns (yay, a new label) I wasn't even going to put up posts about these movies, as I was wandering out of the viewing room as much as I was watching. They just did not keep my attention at all. But since they both had pretty much the same effect, and since I am having "fun" with StoVonD movies, why not roll them into one post?

Possession (2008, Joel Bergvall, Simon Sandquist, Netflix) is a remake of a South Korean film, and it really shows. So, no its not The Possession, which we (we? since when did I start talking about myself in the third person?) already reviewed. Its not the 1981 weird Sam Neill one and no, its not the sexy Gwyneth Paltrow one from 2002. This one has Sarah Michelle Gellar, because she has unfortunately been classified by the B-horror watchers as a good choice for Asian remakes, and a really really out of place Lee Pace.

When I said, "it shows", I was speaking to the aspect of Korean cinema that is so heavily focused on the melodrama around family tragedies. The horror of many South Korean (horror) films (I cannot speak for North, but I would love a chance to, should anyone know any sources) is often embedded with familial situations. When the ties that bind, are strained or broken, with some supernatural twists, more emotional weight is supposed to be carried. That is not absent in our own western horror, but it so much more defined here.

Gellar loses her husband (Michael Landes) in a head on collision with his own brother, played by Pace. There was already tension between the three, as Pace is the recent ex-con and has always been a creep to Gellar. That was the part I couldn't buy -- Pace just doesn't play the marble mouthed bad boy very well; he's just a bit too elegant sounding & pretty to pull it off. Anywayz, both are in comas, but Pace awakens with the memories and mannerisms of his brother. Cue spooky music; he's possessed !

But the brother isn't dead. He's still in a coma. And even with that argument against possession intact, Gellar still ends up fully accepting Pace as her new (but criminal hot bod) bed partner and they resurrect the relationship that was previously falling apart.

Walk out of the room a few times and you lose the thread, only to return to have Gellar discovering some elements that makes her doubt her previous "my husband's soul is in his brother's body" convictions -- like the love letters that say word for word, what Pace was saying in his brother's "memories".  Oh no, I slept with my icky brother in law !! From there it just falls apart but continues with some hints there is still some possessed type connection between the two. It was almost like the director(s)  had spent so much time developing spooky they have a connection elements that they didn't want to give them up, even after it was proven to all be the long con.

Bleah.

Meanwhile, we have Honeymoon (2014, Leigh Janiak, Netflix) a creepy movie about another type of possession set in the scary environs of rural Ontario.  Rose Leslie (Ygritte from Game of Thrones) and Harry Treadaway (Dr Frankenstein in Penny Dreadful) are a newly married couple driving from Brooklyn to her family's getaway place in Canada. You have to assume its Ontario, and we also assumed she must be Canadian to have a summer place on a lake, in Ontario.

So, first --- that elephant. I get that Dominic West and Ruth Wilson are both Brits playing Americans in The Affair, but both of them are already known for acting with gravitas, and not in their own accents. But Leslie and Treadaway are relatively unknown, so why not just cast some Americans or Canadians? Either way, they did a decent North American accent. What I didn't buy was that they were in love.

You know those scenes, in other movies,  where couple pretend to be married and act all over the top, lovey dovey buts it's obvious they are faking?  That is what all their interactions felt like in this movie. No. Chemistry. I thought the secret that made this a horror movie was that she was actually a person/monster/thing that lured people to the lovely lakeside cottage to eat them; that the marriage was a sham.

But that never is explained or played out. The "loving" couple start having immediate issues, when he notices her acting weird. Oh wait, that was only after he found her naked in the woods in the middle of the night covered in mucus. Nothing weird there; take some Tylenol and go back to bed. From acting weird to acting not quite his wife, he starts to question their marriage.

In the end (oh puh-leese, you are worried about spoilers?) she is a kind of monster but we never know if she had been all along (Gir's voice) or it happened after the naked mucus incident. I think she had the worm gestating in her all the time, but that is still just icky. Icky worm... inside her. With claws.  Eww. But maybe I missed something wandering out of the room.

In the end end, I still never bought that Treadaway loved her. He goes from lovey dovey to suspicion to downright stick-his-hands-rudely-there in less than two days. Just a wee bit mad, he goes. And yet, sobres up only after he yanks the clawed worm thing out of her there. THAT is the point I would have been running off into the night screaming like a loon (and he knows what they sound like, because it's a Canadian lakeside cottage) but no, he wants to know more. What happened to his wife? Where is she? Monologue to him please.

Aliens, possession, probing, metamorphosis, death etc.

Yawn.