Thursday, December 29, 2016

5 things to love about The Neighbour (2016)

What’s it about:
Josh Stewart plays John, a man who lives with his girlfriend in a remote house in the woods. He makes a living changing car license plates for a low rent drug smuggling operation and has plans to run away to Mexico when he gets enough money. However, he has one problem. His neighbour who it turns out is doing something equally illegal on his property.

5 things to love:
1. The escalating tension in the first act is great. I particularly liked the way the neighbour comes over uninvited with a couple of beers and proceeds to nicely warn them to stay out of his business. I love these types of scenes in the film where characters say one thing but very obviously mean another.

2. Once again Josh Stewart is great in the lead. His weather beaten face and near constant look of fatigue really fits the character well. I’ve got to check some more of his films out.

3. The lighting really stood out. Director Marcus Dunstan is clearly getting better and better with each film. He uses lots of very vibrant blue, pink and yellow lights to keep the picture visually arresting.

4. The use of the telescope was great. Obviously, not as good as Rear Window but I’m a sucker for films that have the hero forced to use binoculars or telescopes (Someone’s Watching Me, Body Double) because it makes them really vunerable and unable to stop events.

5. There’s a neat little visual cue that’s repeatedly used in the film where it cuts to Super 8 footage. I enjoyed this and thought it could have been used a little more, perhaps during the more tense scenes to make them scarier.

1 thing it did need:
More originality. As much as I still enjoyed the film – it’s very solid – it does feel like a variation on the same themes as The Collector and The Collection. Bad guy has to save people from REALLY bad guy. I’m happy that Dunstan and Melton have dropped a lot of their usual gore but the neighbour and his secret activities aren’t anywhere near as intriguing as the collector which is a shame as it loses a lot of tension in the last third.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

5 things to love about The Collection (2012)

What’s it about:
Picking up from the previous film Arkin is released by the Collector into his latest trap/murder spree in a nightclub. He manages to escape and is taken to hospital where he is quizzed by the police. A man offers Arkin money to help him track down where the Collector lives so that he can rescue his daughter – the Collector’s latest victim. Reluctantly, Arkin agrees and together with a group of hired guns they track down the Collector’s hideout – a vast abandoned hotel.

5 things to love:
1. The film really ups the ante and has a much wider scope and scale. The writers (Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton) have clearly borrowed the blueprints of the movie Aliens. It has the same hero goes back to face villain with armed escort. And just like Aliens the hired guns are far less effective than you’d think they’d be.

2. The concept is great. I can’t believe no one’s done it before. The Collector’s hideout is basically like a serial killer’s version of the Batcave – complete with trophy cabinets and everything.

3. Needless to say the traps are even more gory and ludicrous. I won’t spoil any of them here. The film also throws in some nice twists such as a woman who the Collector has imprisoned and wants to help Arkin.

4. At just over 70 minutes this is really fast paced and doesn’t have an inch of fat. I wish more film were like this.

5. The fact you never see The Collector’s face. I thought this was incredibly well done, the camera avoids his face where he takes his mask off which means he retains and air of mystique and terror.

1 thing it did need:
Very few complaints about this film. It did exactly what I wanted it to. Maybe an extra 5 minutes to let the film breath would have been nice. The thing I really wanted is a sequel but apparently it’s highly unlikely the third film The Collected will be made.