Monday, February 6, 2012

Oh, the Horror! And the Horror Again!

I had quite an eventful Sunday, though it had absolutely nothing to do with football or the New England Patriots, and had a lot to do with horror movies.

A friend and I went to not one but two horror movies yesterday. We ventured to one neck of the woods to the extravagant, overly huge cineplex to see The Woman in Black, then ventured to a whole other neck of the woods to what I refer to as a "golden age" cinema, which was a great deal smaller than the cineplex (and with about a gazillion times the charm) to see The Innkeepers.

Both movies had strengths and things that I loved. The Woman in Black was basically perfect to me except that the story, though terribly sad and creepy, never really hooked me. I had this same feeling when I read the book years ago. In fact, the one plot point that really struck me from the book was changed in the movie.

But, as I said, other than this, the movie was really great. The grey, misty, wet atmosphere of the book was brought to the screen brilliantly. There's even a scene in the bog which is pretty sticky. I loved the way in which Eel Marsh House was envisioned. Lots of dark, richly painted walls (think deep, royal purples and blues and crimson reds). Tons of candles. The cast was fantastic. And to be honest, I kind of expected to be thinking about a certain boy wizard the whole time, and only once did he enter my mind. Daniel Radcliffe is without glasses in this role, and his bright blue eyes are very hard to miss. I thought to myself "did Harry Potter, the character from the books, have blue eyes?" And that was that. No more thoughts on the subject. I would definitely recommend The Woman in Black to anyone who loves a good ghost story set in the English countryside at or around the turn of the century. The 19th century, that is.

Ti West's The Innkeepers was entirely different than what I'd expected, though I should have had some idea having seen House of the Devil, also written and directed by West. The story is pretty straight forward. Supposedly haunted inn called the Yankee Pedlar is closing for good, and the staff has been scaled down to two: Claire and Luke. I'd say the movie is far more about these two than any ghosts, and not just because one of them in is every scene. Claire is really adorable and kind of a spazz (to use my friend's very apt description). She screams a lot, but in a comedic, Muppet-ish kind of way. Luke seems bored out his gourd and kind of grumpy, but clearly crushing on Claire. I really liked these two.

As for the horror element, it's there, though subtly. I was definitely startled a few times, seriously spooked once. On the whole, I found the movie funny and relatable, and more sad and tragic than scary.

All in all, it was a pretty intense (and fun!) Sunday. Next on the movie front: Kill List.