The great thing about Netflix is that it gives you a lot of TV and movie watching options. The bad thing about Netflix is that it gives you…a lot of TV and movie watching options. So many that it can be overwhelming. I’d guess around ninety percent of our time spent on Netflix is scrolling through thousands of movies and TV shows, before finally deciding on something three hours after you’ve first logged on. The aim of this column is to provide easily accessible Netflix suggestions based on a different focal point each week.
Three more horror movies at home this week were joined by screening of Gone Girl, Men, Women and Children and Annabelle. With a fair amount of work on my platter and a barrage of visitors, my at home viewing wasn’t what it’s been lately. Nonetheless, I present a short selection of great, good and bad. Let’s get down to some Weekly Review..
KILL LIST (2012)
Part crime thriller, part imploding family drama, all visceral horror, Kill List is an experience in unchecked fear. Perfectly paced and brilliantly directed, what begins as an ambiguous exercise in tension building unfolds into a bloody road trip before exploding into a full blown panic attack. Questions pile up and answers are few and far between but Kill List is a movie that lends itself to deconstruction and theoretical questioning. Is it a religious parable about a modern day angel of vengeance? A commentary on an impending cultural apocalypse? Is it the devil’s coming of age tale? Or is it just threateningly vague to intentionally get you all in a tizzy? With music that is surely the soundtrack of Hell, Kill List burns itself into your subconscious, threatening to strike at the darkest hour. (A-)
HOSTEL: PART 2 (2007)
Sadistic and artless, Hostel: Part 2 is an antagonistic sequel that adds nothing to Eli Roth‘s gorily groundbreaking first installment. Meant to satisfy BDSM perverts, this unnecessary second addition is a xenophobic venture through Eastern Europe; home place of the sexually depraved; a backpackers sadomasochistic nightmare. Character motivations are as thin as “I like to kill” or “I’m annoying, so kill me” and nothing adds up to a satisfying or slightly original conclusion. The obvious red herrings are more noxious than clever, especially with a to-be murderer who has a sudden change of heart before turning on a dime again. Like the deluded fantasy of a sick and twisted rapist, Hostel: Part 2 is the kind of movie that’s made purely to show a guy getting his dong cut off with a rusty pair of scissors. That is, it’s pure snuff. (D)
THE SACRAMENT (2013)
The Sacrament is Ti West‘s stab at revisionist history. He amends the 1970s to now, asking what if VICE had documented the downfall of Jonestown. This time round it’s called Eden’s Parish and Jones is lovingly referred to as “Father”. Their just over 100 population is only a fraction of Jonestowns 918 fatalities and yet I don’t know if I could have stomached another 800 bodies. As much in a particular wheelhouse as West’s two prior efforts, The Sacrament is the horror auteur’s take on found footage. Starring AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg as a team of VICE documentarians who enter a guarded cult-like commune to bring their story to the world, The Sacrament takes you to the edge of darkness and will bring you to the edge of your seat. Add a haunting performance – down to the saggy jowls and nighttime sun glasses, Gene Jones (coin toss guy from No Country for Old Men) is Jim Jones. He speaks in seduction, his weapon is Christ. – and you have something that feels frighteningly like real life. Witnessing the downfall of Eden is haunting in its realism. It feels like we’re in Jonestown. And what a bummer that is. (B)