Monday, March 16, 2009

April Fool's Day

Huh. Okay...

First off, I want to apologize to my more book-oriented readers. I know my posts lately have been very movie-oriented. I'm always reading something but it's not always horror. I am a fast reader, but it takes significantly longer to go through a book than watch an movie. More are coming, just be patient.

Anyway, April Fool's Day. I've been wanting to see this one for awhile, given its dubious legacy among my people. Final Girl hearted it, so that's a pretty good recommendation, and I was finally able to sit down with it over the weekend.

My impression? Huh. Okay...

I don't honestly know what my reaction is, being as inundated as I am with other people's opinions. I had a genuinely good time watching it. I thought it was well constructed and fun, The acting and characterization was much richer than your average slasher movie. It lost me a little bit in the middle, but the movie was brief enough to regain the momentum.

It also had a great opening. Interviewing people through the eyes of a camera is an old and stupid narrative trick for my tech-savvy generation, but it worked really well here. The island itself looked great and had a fantastic atmosphere. That bit with the eyes in the painting was really cool. The improbably-named Muffy St. John was kinda hot.

But it was all building up to a surprise ending I already knew.

I love spoilers. I'm generally able to enjoy a work on its own merit, even if I know how it ends. It was nice to know, having found that I liked all these characters, that none of them were actually being harmed. At the same time, I think I can understand the anger of people who were caught unawares. I was always one of those kids who, when watching Scooby Doo, used to hope that they'd pull the werewolf mask and discover an actual monster underneath. What Muffy does to her friends is very fucking weird, but they all seem game (well, most of them. The movie has the sense to infer that a couple guests may have been put off by the whole thing) and it doesn't require a whole lotta cheating to pull off. Still, there was something vaguely off-putting about the whole thing. Maybe it was a sense of missed opportunity, especially in the way Muffy screwed with everyone's personal secrets, or maybe it was the general weirdness of the premise, but there is something off about it that I can't quite put my finger on.

I don't need everything I watch to be grim and grisly, and I do tend to look down at the nimrods who rail against this movie because it's not gruesome enough for their taste. FG is right; horror fans whine about encountering the same old thing over and over again, but they whine when people try something new.

I think I really enjoyed it. I wish I could articulate what threw me about it. I probably shouldn't have known the ending before hand. It was like I wasn't really watching it, but waiting for stuff to happen.

Oh, well. The ending theme song is fucking awesome! It should totally be classic-era Joker music.

20 Too Bad Youre Crazy (Jerry Whitman) - End Credits - Bernstein, Charles


dragonmanes said...

Hey, I'll take a "I think I enjoyed it"! Most slasher fans detest the film and blame it for killing the slasher genre, but I think it is very smart and well crafted, and makes for something fun and original. It isnt nearly as bad as anyone makes it out to be, and as you mentioned it has far superior acting and atmosphere to a large majority of the crappy slashers that hit the shelves in the mid to late 80s. That being said, DONT watch the remake if you treasure your life!

Creature said...

Hey Dragonmanes.

You hit the nail on the head with your comments. I could actually gush about the cast and the cool Agatha Christie touches and the fact that someone tried to do something new and essentially got punished for it. What I took away from the film was my weird ambivalence to it. I think it was really good, but I had a hard time connecting to it and I'm pretty sure because of what I brought to the table.

I was actually really curious about the remake. Does it keep the ending? Is it as bad as I've been hearing?

dragonmanes said...

It keeps the ending in the same sense that every post-80s film kept the ending and relies on approx 2-6 twist reveals that absolutely couldnt be predetermined based on the information presented in the preceeding 1h15m. Its resoundingly terrible, and thats as a stand alone film. As a remake, it easily ranks among the worst, alongside The Wicker Man and One Missed Call. The 30yr olds playing teens all range from shitty to more shitty, and the plot has a distinct "We wrote this on the back of our Egg McMuffin wrapper this morning before shooting" feel to it. You almost have to see it to believe it, but the film forgoes all of the strengths that are inherent in the original.

dragonmanes said...

Other than that its great though.