A (Very) Brief Realist Approach

  
A brief conversation on the comment board of someone else’s blog has triggered an answer to a question that I had been asking myself for the past week. The answer to, can realist cinema be effective to me? 

Realist cinema, a much debated style in the area of film, has an ever-growing following worldwide but is mainly produced in Europe. I understand the ideas behind it but still I asked myself, what is the point? 

In my opinion, films are created as a source of entertainment. We watch them to relax and unwind and not for any other reason. At least I believed this until I started to analyse the films that I have watched. I soon developed a new opinion on the subject due to a realisation that the majority of films I watch are ones that make you think. With that being said, I still was not fully invested in realist cinema. Clearly I am not opposed to watching a film that requires me to put my brain in to a different gear so what was the problem?

Taking some time to think was a great idea because it allowed me to step back and view the whole picture. I enjoy films that make me work but could it be, that deep down, I still believe film should use tools of manipulation to draw its viewers in? It was exactly that. 

The realist film in particular, The Kid With a Bike, didn’t use fancy camera angles, did not use a soundtrack and did not try to make me understand why people were doing what they were doing. Why was this hairdresser so intent on fostering a young boy who you would sooner slap than support? In any other film this lack of structure would send viewers in to disarray. They would proclaim that the script was weak or that there was no point to the story but somehow the Dardenne brothers made it work. 

Despite recognition at Cannes Film Festival, I still did not fully understand the point of realist cinema but maybe this was because I had the Hollywood way thrust upon me from an early age. No. I just don’t like it. What’s a film without a solid story? I want to be manipulated. It is an art in itself to craft an emotion from the audience using trickery; if I wanted real life I wouldn’t be watching a film.

So I have established my minor dislikes for realist cinema but.. What if.. 

What if the conversation today made me realise how valuable the realist approach could be to something like horror. Holy s*it. It could be the thing that brings horror to a whole new level. No cheesy 80’s soundtrack and no fancy tracking shots. Just a scary event and me being dropped in to the film as a voyeur. 

If realism can make me feel emotion in a film when I don’t even fully understand why the maker is trying to put things across in this manner, then think of the emotion it could stir in a terrifying situation. That, I do understand.

As all horror fans know, the biggest scares of all come from the fear of the Unknown; maybe less information in regards to a plot would reward us greatly because the narrative is where most films in the horror genre fail. The found footage film has helped to push horror in this direction but surely we can push the boundaries further and unlock the key to finding what scares us the most.

A new project I feel. 

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Just another day.. But Wait!

I didn’t go back to bed after my girlfriend’s alarm went off this morning and I am not sorry. Usually I would be complaining about how I needed that extra hour of sleep – I simply cannot survive without it.

But not today..

Let me give you a bit of background; I used to be up for work very early, 4am to be exact, and my alarm would always wake her up too; this is now a form of payback, i am so sure of it. She secretly enjoys the site of me being awoken before I need to be. Actually, it is no secret.

Today was different from all the other times – it is my before-day and tomorrow my birthday. My inner child was begging me to jump out of bed to investigate the presents that have already been wrapped for tomorrow. What the hell are they? Xbox fun? Cat related items? Maybe something to do with the ninja turtles? Or maybe something adult like socks. Cat socks. Honestly, I don’t have a clue despite grilling my mum for answers – she is the weak one.

catsocks

As the confusion over presents faded from my brain it suddenly dawned on me that my brain was wide awake. I was in the zone and ready for the creative switch to be flicked. The laptop was charged and ready to go and all of a sudden I was in a firm position to take on the feature length script that has been in the planning process for so long. I think that the aspect that we should take away from this should be that  I am far more productive when plied with presents – I know you are reading Emma.

So here I am in Starbucks; coffee fuelled and tapping away – nothing can stop me.

Wait..

Children. Everywhere..

Damn school holidays.

Needle and an Honest Portrait: Film Review

machinedeath

A lot of independent horror films have graced our screens in recent years but the 2010 film, Needle, showed me how the formula isn’t always perfect. I had a lot of hope for this film before hand as I had read a few good reviews but I can safely say that this film was not the one that I have been searching for all this time. I mean, ‘The Babadook’ was a great piece of cinematic horror; naturally I thought that an indie film from the same part of the world might satisfy my craving for the otherworldly – oh, how wrong.

The acting was drab, the characters seemed incomplete and the story just kind of bombed about midway through. I had no interest in the characters and I really tried, honest. I think the point in which I realised that I was in for a long night was an initial scene where I was introduced to a couple of the protagonists friends. I say the protagonist, because I genuinely do not remember any of the character’s names – they were pretty forgettable. The two friends happened to be lesbians; ordinarily this would not be a problem, but it was an issue because the whole narrative seemed to freeze before I was assaulted by scene after scene of them making out. Why would they not just act like everyone else? Why did they have to be putting on a show? It made no sense. As you can imagine I was disappointed and annoyed at the lack of script work and the lack of consideration for the two characters sexual preference. Was this written by a horny version of myself years previously? If so, I apologise..

The film moved on and the narrative  progressed and although I was not impressed, I found myself paying attention to what was happening. I was amazed because here I was complaining to my girlfriend about the film in one instance, before instantly telling her to be quiet while I was fed secrets that I never saw coming. Still, by the end I felt like I had wasted a part of my life, not because the film was poor, but because it appeared to have so much potential before it failed miserably.

Take the device for instance,  Le Vaudou Mort; The image of the device is above and it’s a pretty original concept and if used correctly this film could of been a lot of fun. In fact, in my opinion, the device is the thing that saved this film but also it’s major downfall. Needle used this prop as a means to create a murder mystery and I believe that this is what kept me engaged – I just wanted to find out who was committing all these horrifying acts. The negative factor was that  Le Vaudou Mort was not needed in the film. I’m sure people have been committing voodoo related atrocities for years without the need of this machine.

Regardless of what I surmise, Needle picked up an award at an underground Australian film festival and screened at Screamfest so somebody saw the potential in it. Maybe you will like it, maybe not. One thing is for sure – this is not the holy grail of horror.

On to the next!

The Hunt

  
As humans, we have an burning desire buried inside of us; this desire is the attraction to the things that we fear. We tend to approach these thing head-on without a care in the world of the consequences that may befall us and this truly amazes me. We build themed parks that are engineered with the sole intention of scaring us out of our skin; we race cars at phenomenal speeds; we jump from planes with little more than a fragment of material that we entrust our lives to; and we seemingly revel in the on screen suffering of others. Have we become a civilisation of psycopathic maniacs? Maybe, but probably not. More likely, we are just addicted to the buzz of adrenaline that flows through our bodies when fear grips hold. This fear is the basis for my love of horror films.

I enjoyed being scared to the point that it is now an obsession. If you have ever embarked on the journey that I have then you may understand what the hell I am going on about, if not, you are probably hovering over the back button on your web browser; either way I will explain. 

I’m talking about that search for the perfect horror film; the one that makes you scream in terror and cower in fear every night for the next 6 months before you go to sleep; the holy grail of horror. Can it exist? I’m not all that sure but I sure as hell will work my way through the most dire films of the genre to make certain. Maybe one day I will find it or maybe I will meet my end disappointed that I never came across it. What would it entail? I have no idea; I don’t even know what I’m searching for. Perhaps my innocent brain is not capable of imagining what would scare me the most. Even if it did exist, would my greatest fear be the same as yours? 

My Love of the Darker Things in Life

  
It’s a questionable hobby and one that I never really thought about until a short time ago. People ask me what I do when I’m not writing film scripts or googling various images and videos of cats on the web; I have the same hobbies as most other people. Oh but i forgot, I also like to see people terrorised until the point of death..

Thankfully, I’m not alone. A recent article about opening box office weekends gave me an insightful read, one that conjured up a wry smile as the realisation that i am not a sadistic f**k set in. The weekend that ‘Gone Girl’ come out was the same weekend that ‘Annabelle’ was released, although the latter was not terrible, it most certainly was not as well received as it’s creator, ‘The Conjuring’. Surprisingly, ‘Annabelle’ managed to take $37.2 million at the box office in comparison to ‘Gone Girl’s’ $38 million. Let’s just take a step back and put that in to perspective for a second..

The amount that ‘Annabelle’ took in that opening weekend is more than double the $15 million that the US remake of ‘The Ring’ took in it’s opening weekend; amazing if you consider that Gore Verbinski’s film is often paraded as one of the greatest horror remakes ever made! People have clearly taken a liking to the darker area of cinema.

This sudden boom in the attendees of horror screenings has prompted me to share my passion with everyone else and this is my reason for creating this blog. I want to reach out in to the depths of your innermost fears and cast my pointless opinions on the films that give cinema meaning to you. I want to observe the world of horror and everything it encompasses, drawing conclusions on the unknown and what makes it tick.

Wrong or right, horror gives you a feeling that no other genre ever will. It taps in to our hidden fears and begins to mess with our fragile minds all in the name of entertainment. I say that we rebel against conformity and let horror take it’s place amongst us; accept that it is always there, lingering in the shadows and join me in a celebration of one of the greatest things about this world.

To horror!

Without it the imagination would be boring..