Movie Review: XX
One of my favorite horror genres, besides found footage and slashers are anthology films. Anthology films don't seem to get a lot of love for whatever reason. Well, the main reason I hear all the time is "they don't set up a good story" or "it ends too quickly before you get to feel anything" and to that I say "Phooey!" You can easily tell a good story in 5-10 minutes...if it's done right.
I will admit there are a fair share of anthology films that aren't good. But I feel as if there are more good ones than bad ones. And the genre feels like it's being slowly forgotten. Thankfully, we have tonight's movie.
Which leads us to another opening statement which is about women in horror. There's be a big resurgence of women making horror movies as of late and I think it's fantastic. Hell, a woman (Mary Harron) directed American Psycho and that was pretty gruesome at times. But over the past couple of years when I stopped blogging, more and more women have stepped up and made their voices heard in the horror world and I hope douche bags will finally listen. And again, that brings us to tonight's feature.
Not only is this an anthology film, it's an anthology film...entirely made by women! I'm down for that!
I should state right now that I'm going into this film with an open mind and going to treat it like any other film and not be pandering in any kind of way. What follows is my honest opinion about this movie, despite who was in front of or behind the camera. With that said, let's begin.
The opening, and the cut scenes in between the four stories in this movie, feature stop animation of a creepy gothic house with a doll's face on it walking around. Actually, it was very much like a Tool video.
First story revolves around a family near Christmas time. A boy, Danny, is with his sister and mom on a subway when he notices this creepy old man sitting next to him holding a red gift box. Danny asks the man what's in the box and the old man cracks it open and shows him what's inside. And inside is...BELIAL!!!!
OK no. We don't see what's inside. Instead, Danny goes quiet and won't say what he saw in the box. When they arrive at home, dinner is ready but Danny insists he's not hungry. He goes three days without eating, saying he's not hungry but otherwise he's fine. The parents take him to a doctor who think it's a psychological problem but otherwise can't find anything else wrong with him. A full week goes by with Danny not eating but soon he whisper's something to the sister and she too doesn't want to eat. The Dad gets fed up and makes Danny tell him why he won't eat, which he does and now The Dad also doesn't want to eat. The mom, meanwhile, feels left out.
Eventually, it's Christmas and everyone but the mom is reduced to skin and bones but Danny still refuses to tell her what was in the box. Soon, everyone in the family dies from starvation and the mom just rides the subway looking for the man with the box. And...that's it. The end.
We never find out what was in the box nor why it would cause 75% of the family to go without food. This story pretty much gives fuel to those who hate on these films cause we could've used a bit more. It's an interesting idea and I'm sure it could lead to something profound and meaningful, but instead it just rushes to the finish line and we're left in the dark. Or "hungry" for more! OH SNAP!! See what I did...
Rating for The Box:
2 out of 5
The Birthday Party
Mary wakes up and it's her daughter Lucy's birthday. She's in a hurry to get everything ready for a big party she's got planned but soon she discovers the dead body of David, whom I'm assuming is her husband although it's honestly never said. Instead of being normal about it (crying, calling the cops, etc) she proceeds to calmly hide the body, which turns this whole story into a dark comedy of sorts.
The entire segment is just Mary hiding the body from Lucy, an annoying neighbor, and even some chick who I guess is the maid but she's super weird. The Maid is super skinny, dresses like Mike Meyer's Sprocket's character, and talks in a deadpan tone and doesn't show any emotion.
The whole segment was just...weird. And didn't make any sense. Why did she feel the need to hide the body? What the hell was up with everyone's haircut in this film? I thought for a moment this was suppose to be happening in the '50s or '60s but they made a reference to medical marijuana so I have no fucking clue. And then the ending was just everyone at the party discovering the dead body stuffed in a giant panda suit and we get some title cards about how Lucy surpressed this birthday party and that's why she can't love or something. I don't know, man. I didn't care for this story at all.
Rating for The Birthday Party
1 out of 5
Four friends (well, it's a little more complicated then that, two of the women are dating I think and one of the women is the sister of one of the guys) are out hiking in a desert and messing around when they discovered some ancient drawing on a rock. Later that night, one of the women suddenly mentions a cut on her hand which I swear I never saw happen and I was paying attention. Anyway, the woman with the cut turns into a werewolf and kills her three friends. The end.
Despite the short and simple premise, this was the better out of the segments so far. Probably has something to do with the fact this follows that previous segment. But I didn't think this was that bad. It was pretty tense in parts and the gore was pretty effective. The acting needed some work and the CGI was pretty bad in a couple of scenes but overall, I liked it.
Rating for Don't Fall
3 out of 5
Her Only Living Son
Cora and her son Andy live in a small town and it's one day before Andy's 18th birthday. But Cora is noticing that Andy is acting more and more...strange. He's nailing squirrel's to a tree. He's ripping off other student's fingernails. And he's pulling off his own fingernails to boot. Everyone in town starts acting weird towards Cora and Andy and basically this is the spiritual sequel to Rosemary's Baby as we discover Andy's father is Satan and Andy is turning into a demon. This segment is my favorite out of the four, even though the ending didn't make sense (they squeezed themselves to death?) I stilled liked it. I almost thought this was a build up to Andy being a serial killer and thought that would've been interesting too but of course they had to go the Satan route.
Rating for Her Only Living Son
4 out of 5.
Overall, the movie was just OK. It's not the worst anthology film I've seen but there are far better ones out there. In fact, I'm going to make a companion video to this review sometime next week about my favorite ones so stay tuned for that. Again, this is just my honest opinion about the movie. I know someone is going to say "UGH! You only didn't like this cause it was made by WOMEN!! SEXIST PIG!!!" No, that's not the case. I went in with an open mind and wanting to love this because I love the genre but not everything worked unfortunately. I'm sure the four filmmakers involved (Roxanne Benjamin (Don't Fall), Karyn Kusama (Her Only Living Son), Annie Clark aka St. Vincent (The Birthday Party), and Jovanka Vuckovic (The Box)) are talented and I'm not super familiar with their stuff. But for me, I wasn't a fan. But if they ever make a sequel, I will watch it, again with an open mind and a hopeful spirit. If they do make a sequel, would it be called XXX....never mind.
2 out of 5