Stuff I’ve Been Watching (gore & Megan Fox edition)

jennifer’s body
maybe it’s because megan fox was a part of the travesty that is transformers 2 or because i had no idea going in that the film was scribed by juno writer diablo cody, but i expected jennifer’s body to suck and suck hard. given such low expectations, it’s not a huge shock then that it surpassed them… but what was shocking was by how much. this is a damn good movie! a smart mixture of heathers, buffy the vampire slayer and the exorcist, jennifer’s body is a funny, bitingly satirical film revolving around the often unhealthy and parasitic nature of teen female friendships. while perhaps not oscar-worthy, megan fox turns in a surprisingly layered performance, deals very well with cody’s highly stylized dialogue and (as shown to the left) pulls off one hell of a creepy smile. not a perfect film, but highly recommended. just make sure to avoid the inferior theatrical version and watch the unrated director’s cut instead.

the butcher
referring to the snuff-film-within-a-gore-film in the butcher, a character says “i know we can sell it to the US. they’re always looking for something bloody.” and, you know… he’s right, because i was intrigued enough by the description of this low-budget korean hostel knock-off to cue it up on netflix watch instantly. and while there are a few unique disturbing images to be found in the butcher (a first-person view of a homosexual rape by a man wearing a pig’s head leaps to mind), all lose their impact due to poor setup of the situations, shoddy camera-work and the incessant and annoying babbling, squealing and whining of the main character. i have no doubt i would be reduced to a babbling wreck as well if kidnapped and tortured, but the primary victim in the butcher takes it to such ridiculous, comedic extremes that they should have just named the film a guy cries, yells, begs, spits and crawls around in the dirt for about an hour. the film seems to have few aspirations above qualifying for the label ‘torture porn’ and, in that, it does succeed. and while it may fit very squarely into that subgenre, it’s not a very noteworthy example of it.

wrong turn 3: left for dead
many seem to prefer the campiness and insanity of the sequel to the original film, but in my mind wrong turn 2 doesn’t hold a candle to wrong turn. while i will not deny the inherent awesome-ness in having henry rollins square off against a bunch of cannibal hillbillies in the second film, the original wrong turn had a terrifying atmosphere and vicious tone that the sequel lacked. wrong turn 3 follows in that trend, replacing style and scares with camp and over-the-top comic violence. the kills are entertaining enough, but both the script and characters (even the once-creepy cackling antagonist, “three-finger”) are dull and lifeless. wrong turn 3 didn’t bore me to tears, but left me wishing for something that more firmly built on the scares of the first film or was more successful at imitating the ridiculous antics of the second.

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