Ew ew ew ew ew!!! Man, was I let down by The Ruins. Excellent idea, kinda ruined by what I felt to be fairly awful writing. I first heard about the book through some review somewhere that was weirdly prescient… it completely predicted my reaction to the book. Starts out great, cool story, gross and scary, all that good stuff, but then the wheels fall off and you hate the characters and want them all to die and you wanna slap Scott Smith upside the head. Wish I could remember who the reviewer was; I’d never before known my own reaction to a book or movie to so perfectly mirror somebody else’s.
That said, the book made a mint, so obviously plenty of people dig it. Then again, plenty of people liked Paul Haggis’ Crash…
I did not see Open Water, but by all accounts it’s excellent. I think it would have been simply too dark (or wet or hopeless ) for me.
I’ve been looking (fairly half-assedly, since it’s tough to get a babysitter these days) for a good horror movie lately. Wasn’t into the Torture Porn stuff like Saw, came to hate the Found Footage shit (though the first Paranormal Activity was perfectly nifty, nobody needed to make any more of those), thought Insidious was dumb as a bag of hammers, really liked Cabin in the Woods and never felt the need to see another movie of that type ever again, though contrary to all my expectations, the remake of Evil Dead turned out to be genuinely too scary for me.
Check out the recent stuff Stephen King’s son Joe Hill has been putting out lately. The guy is a real talent.
Honestly, lately I’ve been wallowing in old favorites rather than new or recent stuff. Re-reading Joe R. Lansdale, Lovecraft, that sort of stuff. But if you dig noir, may I recommend Lansdale’s Hap Collins and Leonard Pine books. They’re not set in L.A. in the 40s (more like East Texas in the fairly recent past), but there are still heavy elements of crime and danger and snappy dialogue and fistfights and gunplay and all manner of good stuff. Not horror (though Lansdale does plenty of that), but still hugely entertaining.
I always come back to this, and it’s not all that recent by now, but if you haven’t seen Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers and you like werewolf movies you need to do yourself a huge favor and see it ASAP. My brother (who’s a horror filmmaker in his own right) still thinks American Werewolf in London and The Howling are the best werewolf movies ever made, but for my money, he’s mistaken. That opening scene with the tent zipper kills me every time.
That Nicole Kidman ghost movie The Others is great… a ridiculously old-fashioned, atmospheric, and nearly bloodless horror movie that manages to work like a charm of perfect creepiness. Also, Brotherhood of the Wolf has some amazing moments. There’s a great bit where a character is in the foreground, looking over the cameraman’s shoulder or something, and waaaay in the background, all out of focus, the monster comes casually strolling into frame, and the camera doesn’t even acknowledge it. You almost want to yell at the cameraman, “Look! There it is! It’s gonna come get ya! Get moving! Or at least rack focus and acknowledge that you see it too!” Nice touch.
Man, it’s been a long, long time since I saw a truly excellent horror movie. Was Cabin in the Woods really the latest one? I think it may have been. I’ll have to ask my wife. And I gotta get out more!