Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller Split will not make audiences forget about the director’s most embarrassing missteps, but the film evokes The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable more than The Happening and After Earth. The film follow the abduction of three teenage girls by a man with dissociative identity disorder (DID). Known to us as “Kevin”, the man harbors 23 distinct personalities, and as some of them begin to run things, we’re confronted with a powerful force living inside Kevin – a 24th personality known only as “The Beast”. The film is commendable for its uses of classic camera techniques to disorient the audience and ratchet up the more realistic aspects of the film, while downplaying the more fantastic and silly elements. Aided by two spectacular performances (and a collection of other strong ones), Split is easily the best film Shyamalan has made in over a decade – and may be second only to The Sixth Sense.
“The quality of any creative endeavor tends to approach the level of taste of whoever is in charge.”
Ask fans of horror films how they feel about the current state of the genre, and you’re almost guaranteed to get a bunch of different answers. One group will point to the recent string of powerful Indie horror movies that have been released and conclude that it has never been a better time to get scared at the movie theatre, especially with the recent release of The VVitch. Another group may point to the existence of middling Hollywood horror with generic names like The Boy or The Forest and say that there is little of value out there from the big studios. You may even get some incredibly frustrated people who are fed up with manipulative garbage leaning on jump-scares and thin concepts (Ouija, anyone?). So, what the hell is happening out there? This fragmentation is the result of particular market forces which have dictated that films in the horror genre do not need to be of good quality to be wildly successful. As a result, the impetus towards quality comes from the aesthetic pride of the creators. Lacking that, studios are completely comfortable with churning out garbage for financial gain. Continue reading “Horror by the Numbers”
Now that all of the days of 2015 are safely in the past, it is an appropriate time for me to take my shot at one of those heralded “Top 10” lists. This list comprises only movies released in 2015, and only contains movies which I had the opportunity to see (alas, no The Revenant or Macbeth). I will provide links to the actual reviews I did of each of these films, as well as an interesting (well, I suppose that’s debatable) observation that relates to each film. Also, feel free to yell at me in the comments about the patently incorrect opinions that I hold, or to lobby for your favorites.