thirty one days of horror part 4

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October 10: Train to Busan. 

SHOULD I? Status: Please, Definitely, Do Watch

Listen up, people. This movie is so good it deserved its own post.

This Korean-language film provides a fresh take on zombies, I mean a fresh take like no other. I hadn’t necessarily considered zombie films played out before, but I certainly didn’t see their appeal. My sister’s the zombie girl; I’m more of a haunted house sort of person. Zombie movies just never really introduced anything new to me; they seemed rather limited in their scope of the supernatural problem.

Train to Busan revolutionized zombies for me. Here, for once, we have a zombie film with equal parts gore and heart; in this film it feels like there’s something truly at stake, and the outcome isn’t clear from the start. In fact, the outcome still isn’t clear 10 minutes from the film’s ending. I loved it. My sister and I have been recommending it to friends heavily.

Please, please watch Train to Busan – you might even thank me for it.

– 2016; Netflix

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thirty one days of horror part 3

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October 7: The Craft: This is a classic that’s worth revisiting every couple of years or six. I bit my teeth on 90s-witchy-magic films and series like this (see Charmed, Angel, Buffy, anyone?) and so it feels like home. That being said, there isn’t that much which is terribly original or terribly finely done here. – 1996; Netflix


October 8: Raw: Now, Raw was more of an interesting kind of movie. It’s a French language film, which made my viewing partner happy (as we are watching through several languages now which makes us very multi-cultural). This film was different enough that I did a fair bit of research online about its critical reception and interpretation. I would say there is a fair amount of jump/body/gore horror, which I am not a fan of. However, as a whole, the film is interesting and worth watching. I’m not sure how great it hangs together, as either a whole or a whole horror movie, but it’s certainly decent enough. This is sort of a zombie film. – 2016; French language; Netflix


October 9: The Rezort: This was a re-watch for me. It remained OK. It wasn’t terrible, it was a relatively different way to approach zombies, except the movie really is “Jurassic Park but with zombies, not dinosaurs” – most heavily in the first half but the impact is felt even through the score. – 2015; Netflix


 

DEAD SET

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SHOULD I? Status: Would Watch

Availability: On Netflix

Zombies + Big Brother. British accents, a collection of cads. Who’ll be killed off next?

THE QUICK & DIRTY DEETS

  • No CGI, moderate jump scares
  • Zombie genre, NOT found footage, surprisingly
  • Zombie Deets: moderate speed, not daylight sensitive, drawn to ?? energy??, life??, not sound-oriented
  • Black humor

Bechdel? NOT SURE Blackdel? YES

THOTS

I really liked the concept of Dead Set; it’s about what happens on the Big Brother set when a zombie outbreak infects England. When I saw that, I started the miniseries immediately. That’s right – Dead Set isn’t a movie but a 5-part miniseries. Don’t let Netflix fool you with its “1 season” garbage. The series was released in 2005 and besides, Episode 5 doesn’t leave much room for hope.

Overall, I think Dead Set is a success. There’s a wide variety of personalities across the characters, who are complex while also believable. The unfolding zombie drama is interspersed with enough short flashes of comedy to lighten the tone, at times, somewhat. That’s a needful thing in this grim scenario, where nearly all our surviving characters are trapped on a set with no outside world contact and no knowledge or hope that anyone else is alive out there.

Because the characters have such strong personalities, the audience gets a nice glimpse into several possible reactions and different characters’ attempts to come to grips with their new situation. This is pretty satisfying, as it provides multiple options for any internal “What would I do?” which might be happening.

However, Dead Set isn’t a total home run. The major problem is, simply, time. Over the series’ first two hours(4 episodes), a lot of care is given to characterization, development, and connecting with the audience. This is successful; the first four episodes are genuinely interesting, build on each other, and increase their hold on our attention. Unfortunately, that leaves 30 minutes to deliver the whole of a satisfying conclusion, and that just doesn’t happen here. It’s a tall order, to be sure. Instead, the 5th episode devolves into shrieks and conflict noises so quickly as to become shrill, and the dialogue devolves until you might as well spare your ears and turn the volume down. Watch it if you’re want to, if you’re really really curious, but I found it a total turn-off.

If you like Big Brother, you’ll get a kick out of Dead Set.