News is slow, our traffic is anemic, and the hype for this flick is so insane — compare its per-screen average at the B.O. to the rest of the top ten — that there’s no good reason not to post this. I saw it this weekend, so here’s the scoop. If you’re expecting the scariest movie evah, lower your expectations. If you’re expecting an overhyped sh*t sandwich like The Blair Witch Project, to which this flick is forever being compared, raise your expectations. It’s ten times as frightening and one one-thousandth as annoying.
I’d review it for you except that there’s not much to say. It’s basically a very, very special episode of “Ghost Hunters” with some barebones dramatic arc in the bickering between the girlfriend, who doesn’t want to encourage whatever it is that’s in the house, and her dopey boyfriend, who naturally wants to interact with it and egg it on. (Consider that dynamic an homage to slasher films, where the teen girl’s usually a bit wary while the teen boy takes the “it’s all good, babe” approach and they inevitably end up being impaled for his hubris mid-shtup.) If you do see it, a fun thought experiment while watching is imagining how much more each scene would have reeked if shot in traditional Hollywood style, replete with A-list actors over-emoting and ominous music beating you over the head with atmosphere. Those are all things that help take you out of the moment and relieve tension in a standard scary movie, but they’re absent here; the tension during the bedroom scenes builds as the haunting gets worse but there’s nothing familiar or predictable happening onscreen to help break it, so you end up squirming for an hour and a half. Simple but effective. In fact, I can write a full review in two sentences: “Yep, dark hallways and unexplained noises are still scary. And the lesson: If an alpha male wants your girlfriend, there’s not much you can do to stop him.” Worth a ticket.
I saw “Zombieland” this weekend too, which was everything I hoped for and more, but don’t go looking for scares. It’s part video game, part amusement park ride, and frequently really funny. The cameo from an A-list comedian who shall remain nameless is alone worth the price of admission. Plus, the opening montage is great, which only further confirms my suspicion that there’s no such thing as a bad movie with a great opening montage. (See also “Up”.) Exit warning: The comments are bound to include some people who’ve seen these flicks already and some of those people are bound to spoil the endings in one way or another, so proceed at your own risk.