Tag Archives: movie review

Martyrs (2008) & Martyrs (2016) Movie Review

This review of Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs and its 2016 remake is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

Note: This review goes into spoilers for both films. You’ve been warned.

Pascal Laugier’s 2008 film Martyrs is perhaps the crowning achievement of the New French Extremity, as it ties together the disparate themes and generic components of the movement in the most cohesive and intriguing way.

The American remake of the film, directed by Kevin and Michael Goetz and distributed in part by Blumhouse, is not in conversation with the films and filmmakers of the New French Extremity. It is entirely removed. As such, it is merely an exploitation film.

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Now, Laugier’s Martyrs is no walk in the park when it comes to excessively violent subject matter. But for most of its running time it doesn’t feel like an exploitation film. It is a film about Continue reading Martyrs (2008) & Martyrs (2016) Movie Review

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Demonlover (2002) Movie Review

This review of Olivier Assayas’ Demonlover is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

The premise of Olivier Assayas’ 2002 film Demonlover sounds like that of a sleazy exploitation film: business suits battle over the corporate control of violent online pornography, some animated and some far too real. It is a similar premise to the 2008 American thriller Untraceable. One could call Gregory Hoblit’s film a remake if the cold-hearted white collar types where replaced with agents of the law.

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But Demonlover is much more fascinating without the white hat of the law. In the film, the law is so far removed that it feels as though these executives could do whatever they needed to Continue reading Demonlover (2002) Movie Review

Saw (2004) Movie Review

This review of Saw is part of the Saw Franchise Retrospective series in anticipation of this month’s release of Jigsaw.

The first image we see in James Wan’s Saw, now somewhat of a perennial torture porn classic, sets up the illogical world that this series is grounded in. A fitting introduction, one might say. We see Adam (Leigh Whannell, who also serves as screenwriter) underwater in a tub with a key dangling in front of his face. He is holding his breath, but also unconscious. When he wakes, he yanks open the drain and the key disappears forever.

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How long was he out? How could he be alive after Continue reading Saw (2004) Movie Review

Criminal Lovers (2000) Movie Review

This review of Francois Ozon’s Criminal Lovers is part of the New French Extremity Retrospective series.

Francois Ozon’s Criminal Lovers begins as a Bonnie & Clyde narrative, where two kids of 17 kill a man in passion and go on the lam, robbing jewelry stores and convenience stores to get by as they make their way into the countryside. Then, it becomes something more akin to a Hansel & Gretel tale of survival.

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Alice (Natacha Regnier) convinces Luc (Jeremie Renier) to help her kill Continue reading Criminal Lovers (2000) Movie Review

Gerald’s Game (2017) Movie Review

A sexually frustrated married couple, Jess (Carla Gugino) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood), travel to a vacation home in the forest to spice up their sex life. Two pairs of handcuffs (the real ones, not those fuzzy novelty ones that break when you really get going) trap Jess to the reinforced bedposts of a queen-sized bed.

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Jess stops Gerald as the sex game goes to far and starts treading into a rape fantasy that she was not expecting, but of course it can’t simply end there. As they fight about their broken marriage, Jess repeatedly asking for him to uncuff her, Gerald Continue reading Gerald’s Game (2017) Movie Review

Happy Death Day (2017) Movie Review

Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) wakes up hungover in the dorm room of Carter Davis (Israel Broussard). Glibly, she blows him off and leaves to her sorority house, where she continues to brush off people left and right. If you cannot yet tell, she is not a very nice college student. She doesn’t even care that it is her birthday.

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She goes to class (she is engaging in an adulterous relationship with her professor), comes home to prepare for a party, and leaves alone to get there. On the way, she is cornered by a masked knife-wielder and killed. But wait… Continue reading Happy Death Day (2017) Movie Review

The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) Movie Review

Over the past decade, The Poughkeepsie Tapes has become an artifact of horror fandom lore. Initially set for a 2007 release, John Erick Dowdle’s mockumentary profiling of a serial killer was pulled from the release slate and faded away.  In 2014, the film received a light VOD release and vanished again.

On October 10, 2017, The Poughkeepsie Tapes was given, for the first time, a proper release. It is currently available on DVD and Blu-Ray.

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In retrospect, the film feels like the found footage love child of The Blair Witch Project and V/H/S. Talking head interviews frame the story of a serial killer who Continue reading The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007) Movie Review