In which we review the films opening this weekend, just based on the trailer, to 100 percent accuracy.
AS ABOVE, SO BELOW
AKA: The Descent: Paris
REVIEW:Horror is a hard genre to get right, and seemingly more difficult every year. The movies that actually work are the ones that remember they’re movies first, and focus on the horror second. This means focusing on characterization, motivation, and following the logic of the world the film has built. AASB gets that right for the first two-thirds of the film, letting the characters explore the caverns and get to know each other slowly as the audience does too. That’s coupled with a slow ratcheting up of scares, beginning with the very real terror of claustrophobia (and being surrounded by fucking bones) before turning into to the whole gates of hell thing. The problem is with the shift. Like the Last Exorcism a few years ago, you can’t be a subtle movie and than throw in a giant fire demon at the end. It retroactively makes the whole thing pretty dumb. What I’m saying is this ends with a giant fire demon, and it’s pretty fucking dumb. It could’ve been three stars and they pissed that away for a bigger budget.
SPOILER: Based on a true story. A guy twisted his ankle once in the Catacombs.
RATING: **1/2(out of ****)
THE NOVEMBER MAN
AKA: The Bloody Bourne Flogging
REVIEW: Pierce Brosnan is back, and he’s lost his horse-half and singing, finally deciding to play the suave British badass he truly is. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a non-cheesy Brosnan, and a hard-hitting spy thriller isn’t that rare these days. But he brings a gravitas and amoral ambiguity to the November Man that is lacking in most gritty films of the genre these days. Instead of shaky-cam action scenes, it’s a slowly unwinding paranoid take on the spy game as the characters try to figure out who stole the month of November… and what they’re going to do with it.
SPOILER: Pierce Brosnan is in fact half horse.
RATING: ***(out of ****)