Category Archives: Horror

Re-Cycle : It’s The Never Ending Story for Abortionists

Ok, so I was initially turned off to the film as it stared at me in my NetFlix queue for a few reasons:

Re-Cycle

Eek! A face!

1) The hyphen in recycle is wholly unnecessary.
2) When the cover looks like this, I think ‘Swell. Initiate CG facerape a la Samurai Princess.
3) I live in Oregon. If this has something to do with the dude that checks my garbage for redeemable materials going apeshit because I didn't want to give him my 24 pack of PBR cans, I want nothing to do with it.

But then I watched it.

Story:

At least it wasn't anything too tired, but above all it was well executed.

An author is in the midst of writing a new novel. She's a suspense writer, by the way — I bet you didn't guess that. Anywho, she is suddenly in a creepy world that seems to be of her creation. OHEMGEE!!!

Ah, but you see that's where the story starts!

The non-spoiler version goes a little like this:
Lead: Holy crap! You’re not a demon!
Girl: Holy crap! I know! Here’s a wise old man!
Old Dude: Holy crap! You need to GTFO!
Girl: Word!
Lead: But how?
Old Dude: That’s why you’re here talking with me (/groanfart). Take this random thing, and this map I just drew for you out of magic — they may help you!
Lead: WTF?
Girl: Here, watch out for those fetuses!
Lead: OMFGWTFRTFMBBQ!
Girl: And watch out for those zombies!
Lead: I seriously can’t do this.
Girl: OH SHIT! That muthafukkin portal’s opening up!
Lead: You need to die in a fire.
Creepy Lady: Blah! I’ve come to do something to you!
Lead: EEK!

The End.

I promise you, though, the spoiler ridden story is effing fantastic.

Right down to the final scene…

Camera Stuff:
Holy crap. Well done. Some of the subtlety through imagery in the beginning is well played. There are a few scary moments that only grab you if you’re paying close attention. I like that.

The way the alternate universe looks rather radtacular. Backdrops to every scene are carefully primed to explode your eyeball holes. That said, I am guilty of watching this film four times the first week I saw it. It was terrific every time.

Sound Stuff:
Not bad. Crisp, light, good for fright moments.

I guess what I’m trying to say is it was pretty good, actually; It compliments well.

Scare Stuff?:
So, after seeing enough Eastern Horror, you begin to see patterns. These patterns lead to predictability. Predictability leads to boredom.

The scares in Re-Cycle are vastly formulaic, but I really don’t see the problem for this film. I think that it stems from how well the story took hold, and how the scary parts were more for effect.

I’d say it’s about a 3/5 on the spicemeter.


Closing Thoughts:

Re-Cycle is all about the story telling. The quest-like feel of the story brings some serious flavor to the film and is supported with dynamic imagery and decent scares. Yes, there’s a twist.

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I like Ju-On

I couldn’t say enough about this film. It is one of my all time favorite, and probably number one on my horror list.

So, I’ll keep this brief, and by the numbers.

Ju-On Poster

Albino kids need love too, guys.

I : Story

I like how American horror tries to tell a ghost story with gore. It seems that the far east loves to tell the same story, only with a story. Ju-On stands out in this regard. There’s blood, shock scare, sure. But there isn’t a lady running around with her jaw missing, bleeding everywhere. That’s a bit of a turnoff.

Instead, we are told about what ‘The Grudge’ is with a quick read and some fast cuts to draw us in, and from there they build up. The film is broken into short chapters detailing the experience of each character with the ghost/phenomenon. Each is tied to the next, which to me is key for a solid story. I only mention this because I’ve seen enough folks (myself included) write without such continuity, it seems like it should be mentioned.

The story crescendos into what is, to this author, one of the finest climaxes in film. It is built up with subtlety and garnished with a side of impending doom. More on that scene later.

And of course, the film ends with a nice scene that really ties the room together.

II : The Scene

A mix of intimate and claustrophobic camera angles create authentic atmosphere. It doesn’t feel like you are an observer for much of the movie. And some of the scariest moments are close enough you can smell it.

This allows for greater suspense. There are agonizingly long stretches where a character is forced to inch closer to a door/object for inspection. During this time, viewers are thinking the same as the character in the scene; We must guess what horrible things lurk among the unknown. This, to me, is a cornerstone of good horror. It’s the delayed punchline. The payoff.

Also, there’s not much to the special effects, really. This makes me happy. I look at it as an example of being able to do a LOT with very little. Less is more, one would say. Doing this, the actors are challenged to actually do their jobs instead of relying on a CG representation of them dubbed by a stock scream track. To this end, the players in Ju-On do a helluva job. Bueno.

III : Sound

One of my favorite elements in the film.

There isn’t a tremendous amount of added sound.

It. Is. Creepy. So, A+ for that!

Without music to distract, or crazy dissonance out of a string section, we have to deal with the organic, natural utterances of the cast and surrounding environment. This, coupled with the intimate imagery, makes for an authentic experience.

Also, the death rattle is out of control, and haunted me for days.

In American horror, it seems we rely too heavily on music to let people know when it’s time to be scared. I understand that as a companion element, creepy music can make a scene creepier. But that’s exactly it; Ju-On doesn’t have to rely on it, and it blew my mind.

The climax of Ju-On sports a scene that is limited to the rustles and thumps of our ‘antagonist’ moving coupled with the creeptastic death rattle, as well as the protagonists’ reactions to the phenomenon made real. It is chilling, and if you can watch the whole scene, it may make you pee a little. I might have. A little.

IV : Final Thoughts

I wholly recommend you see this movie if you are a fan of horror, especially of the foreign variety.

I, much like any horror movie, also recommend you watch it by yourself in the dark, or if you insist on having someone watch it with you, don’t talk too much during the flick. I feel that it fouls the ability to scare the crap out of yourself (read: get everything out of the movie).

Enjoy!

Ju-On on Amazon.com

Ju-On on Netflix