Saturday, February 13, 2010

Now That's a Knife

Wolf Creek.I like movies that toy with you.  You know, the ones that get under your skin and string you along.  The payoff has to be worthy of that tease, though, or else I get really pissed off.  Wolf Creek was one of those films.  It wasn't nearly as good or suspenseful as Haute Tension, but it got the job done.  It spent about forty-five minutes establishing the characters, which many consider to be the kiss of death in films like this.

And then the terror started.

I've always liked movies where the protagonists aren't smarter or more resourceful than the antagonist, and they don't get away.  I like that because it's closer to real life.  It gives the film a sense of despair and dread. 

When a bunch of dumb-ass teenagers can take down Jason Voorhees, how scary can he be?

In Wolf Creek it is the little touches that make the film.  The footage found on a video camera the killer has in his trophy room, what he has hanging in his barn, the way the killer talks about his old job -- all those things not only add an air of realism, they work to make the film more effective for the astute viewer.  It's obvious that some care went into making the film. 

The fate of the characters is in the air the entire time in Wolf Creek.  You can't honestly say you know who will live and who will die, and that sense of uncertainty is brought about by the way the film effectively toys with its audience.  There are far too many films that you go into and ten minutes later know exactly how it will end.  When a film can keep you on your toes, well, you need to respect that

There's no greater cinema crime than a boring, predictable film.  It insults viewers (who seem to enjoy boring, predictable films in huge number) and wastes their time.  It also says that the filmmakers don't have enough confidence in their skill.  They would rather go for the tried and true than take a risk.

I'll take the risk takers any day.  Because even when they fail they do it on their own terms in (often) wild, unpredictable ways.  Everything else is just painting by the numbers  

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