Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Monday, November 01, 2010

Could subtle scares be coming back in cinematic style?

As a Halloween treat,my sister and I went to see the latest horror movie sensations-she checked out Saw 3D and my poison pick was Paranormal Activity 2,in IMAX.

To be honest,I wasn't sure if this movie would be that effective on such a huge screen(which is an excellent display case for more energetic eye candy such as the upcoming Tron:Legacy movie)but it turned out to be quite the bonus. Like it's earlier film,PA2 requires the viewer to keep a sharp look out for small bits of business that hint as to what is not right with this set-up and the larger canvas allows you to do that more efficiently.

Also,the stronger sound system makes those big "BOO!" moments all the more startling to behold. That is not to say that folks seeing PA2 in a regular theater would be really missing out on something.

In fact,a smaller screening space would be ideal for a movie that slowly builds on easily brushed aside happenings until it's too late to stop the looming terror that threatens all in it's path. While I happened to catch a very early matinee and wound up watching the movie all by myself,it was just as sinisterly shocking as if I had a huge crowd of fellow film goers around me:

Meanwhile,my sister expressed disappointment over many of the special effects in Saw 3D,mainly that even without the obvious eye wear gimmick,the gruesome doings appeared to be faker than Charlie Sheen's excuse for what happened in his hotel room recently.

The proof is in the box office pudding,as this weekend's totals show that while Saw 3D was number one,it's take was only 24 million as opposed to the unexpected 41 million that PA2 took home in it's debut(it held on to the second spot with less than half of that gross).

Also,PA2 has been getting a solid number of positive critical reviews,praising the film's avoidance of losing the initial charms of it's predecessor as did Blair Witch Project 2,which abandoned it's intimate home movie mode for a more conventional Hollywood style.

This revival of small scale self made movie chills is catching on,as The Last Exorcism proved this past summer. Granted,it only reached as high as number two in the box office race,the film did hold on to the top five for awhile and also gathered up very positive reviews as well. The menacing mockumentary pace of Last Exorcism was key in building it's case for fear,as well as character development which too many genre films take for granted these days:

Granted,subtle scares can be as overdone and cliched as slasher films or action movies but when done right,they can fully engage the viewer by enticing their imagination into immediate overdrive.

I'm sure that many of the current crop of horror movie makers are looking to do more with their work than make a quick bundle of bucks. Like other artists in other fields,some of them are hoping to create films that bring inspiration as well as chills as did the flicks they saw growing up that made them get into this business in the first place.

We've seen the rebirth of gore films over the past few years and it's starting to lose some steam with fans and critics alike. Subtle small films may be the new wave for the horror genre to surf on,especially since their lower budgets mean bigger profits for their backers. Not that money should be the driving force of this trend yet with the financial pinch that we're all in(even the big studio guys),that could help someone in need of a shot at the big time get more than his/her foot in the door.

Instead of churning out costly remakes or pumping up tired material with high tech tricks,a smart studio might want to set their sights upon that tiny little gem of a script that demands only enough capitol to unsettle the steadiest nerves of any jaded audience and maybe even create a fear film that can stand the test of time. Pop culture pie in the sky,perhaps,but stranger things have happened,folks:

More than likely,the studios will keep on going down that same old path to profits until a major new trend jolts them out of their complacency and provides them with a shiny new bandwagon to jump on. Such is the way of the world,folks,but by supporting more interesting entertainment fare,you can influence that fork in the road decision there.

With any luck,we may get a few fun fright flicks out of this. Then again,the shadow of Scream 4 is hovering over the horizon for spring movie season while many of us are still trying to wash out the stale aftertaste of that franchise's third entry. Of course it might be better than expected since the theme of Scream 4 is combining the old terror tricks with the new. However,I get the feeling that the meaning of "less is more" is really getting lost in the shuffle here:

No comments: