Monday, November 12, 2012

2012 King of the Hill: Spooky October

The Mostly Spooky Entry
October is the month when all of the horror stories arrive in movie theaters.  To sort of fit the theme, I've been dedicated this month to catch up on some horror stories.  I've managed to make my way through three-and-a-half so far.  Of course, just because I'm dedicated to horror films and the like, doesn't mean that I'm going to exclude other genres from the month.  Hopefully that will help explain the oddball in today's review.

For those who do not know, the 2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge is my system for determining the best movie of year that I saw. One movie from each month will be selected and, at the end of the year, I will do a tournament style showdown where they will take each other on until the final movie has been selected. Bracket placement will be determined by the number of movies the monthly movie faced and won.

The Girl Next Door (2007) v Paranormal Activity
Holy fuck!  This movie is one of the most messed up things I have ever seen.  The story is centered on the neighbor of a older woman with a family of boys.  Two young girls move into the neighbor's home as their aunt is the only living relative.  David Moran (Daniel Manache) takes a liking to the girl, but quickly discovers that her life is not going well.  The movie is a human torture porn fest as the girl is put through some of the most disturbing acts of human cruelty possible.  When this movie had finally ended, I was left feeling hating all humanity.

First off, I'm not spoiling this for people.  If you've seen it, you'll recognize that there are a few "mistakes" in my review.  It's the easiest way to review the movie without spoiling it.  Paranormal Activity is a found camera footage film about a strange entity that haunts the home.  Found Footage is a movie recording method that is very, very difficult to pull off.  You have to be able to tell a story with either limiting it to logical reasons to have a camera present, or find ways to safely work the camera to critical scenes without destroying the viewer's disbelief.  For me, Paranormal Activity didn't do the best job with this.  The fact that the husband in the movie is a douchebag makes it easier to explain why he would take cameras with him while fighting with his wife.  However, this was not sufficient enough for every scene in the film.  One of the biggest credits I can give the movie is tension.  The movie starts slowly and begins to increase the tension more and more until the very end of the film when all hell is breaking loose.

It's a difficult call, but I'm awarding the victory to Paranormal Activity.  I can forgive the suspension of disbelief.  What I can't do is look past one particular act of torture in The Girl Next Door.  It wasn't horror, it was disturbing.

Winner:  Paranormal Activity

Paranormal Activity v Paranormal Activity 2
Paranormal Activity 2 takes place parallel to Paranormal Activity in timeline.  The movie departs from Paranormal Activity in several ways.  The tension is not a slow rise like the first film.  You will encounter more supernatural events as the movie progresses.  It is hard to get into this movie and what makes it great without spoiling this or the previous movie.  Suffice it to say, the reasons for the cameras in this film seem more natural.  And while I don't agree with the behaviors of the people in the film at all times (I would have moved out very quickly into the process), the movie is very entertaining.  I found the second film much more satisfying than the first.

Winner:  Paranormal Activity 2

Paranormal Activity 2 v The King and I
The King and I is not a horror film.  It is the only movie this month that I watched that didn't have horrific elements to it.  The King and I is a movie based on the musical of the same name.  It is about the King of Siam, Mongkut, who asks for a British lady to be the governess to help raise his children.  Anna, is the lady that is sent to raise these children.  The King and I is an interesting story that goes into the clash of two very different cultures.  It is filled with lots of vibrant colors, beautiful images, and wonderful music.  I really enjoyed watching the film.

Does Paranormal Activity 2 measure up to The King and I?  Yes and no.  The King and I is a phenomenal movie and it deserves to be seen for what it is.  However, it is not a movie that should be compared to Paranormal Activity 2.  One is a found footage horror flick and the other is a musical about a historical event that may or may not be accurate.  So, on an account of my theme for the month, I'm forced to rule in favor of Paranormal Activity 2.

Paranormal Activity 2 v The House of a 1000 Corpses
The House of a 1000 Corpses is a horror film that I have heard a lot about.  I've been told it is one of the scariest movies ever made.  I've watched it and I didn't find it that scary.  Don't get me wrong, the Rod Zombie film is worthy of the attention of horror fans.  The movie has some pretty fucked up moments and it is a horror film.  It is disturbing.  It is demented.  It wasn't scary to me.  Why?  Because I couldn't connect with any of the characters in the film.  Without my ability to connect to the characters, I couldn't feel the horror they were experiencing.

Winner:  Paranormal Activity 2

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