Teenagers are such ripe pastures for horror movies. We all remember the uncertainty, the angst of being that old if we aren’t in the grips of it still. The anxiety and fear of sex trailing about us, whether we want it or are just dreading it and trying to avoid it. It’s why so many horror films are set here, and It Follows is no exception. It takes hold of this and adds the extra layer of a monster trailing after you, only you can see it, and you have all that extra added pressure laid on top of sex. The first scene sets the tone with a young woman fleeing an unseen terror, finally coming to an untimely and gristly end. The inexorableness of It that follows them around through the rest of the movie, slowly and steadily and unstoppable, promising to make their nightmares come true.
For me there’s also the added terror of trying to explain just what is wrong to your friends. It speaks of anxiety that you just can’t explain, know that it doesn’t make sense and yet it haunts you and terrifies you to your bones. And knowing how illogical it sounds and desperately hoping that your friends believe you anyway, trust what you are saying, try to help you. You see it coming for you and yet you can’t do anything about it, not really. Just try to keep ahead of it, not let it catch you while you are resting and think you are safe. Your friends watching you battle something they can’t see and can’t really understand, but trying to somehow help you anyway. I know it should be a metaphor for the slipping away of innocence, of young people passing into adulthood, and yet it speaks to my own adult anxiety and social phobia.
The atmosphere of this film is superb – the music sets a slightly discordant and nostalgic tone (reminding me of Stranger things). The eerie effect of the pool in the final showdown upon the ceiling cementing the unreality of what’s occurring. The slow tension filled building of the terror. And I enjoyed the unsettled and open nature of the ending – it’s no secret to my friends that I enjoy movies that aren’t happily ever after or insist upon spelling out exactly what occurred. Hopefully the dread doesn’t follow me to sleep tonight.
Tonight’s drink was Slice of Life by B. Nektar Meadery. Very strong lemon (not lemonade, there’s only subtle sweetness there to my sugar tolerance, if you can call it that), very little cider underneath. I would have liked a more subtle lemon flavor and a stronger ginger taste (to me, nearly nonexistent).
I have this thing about zombie movies. Well, several things. I really need them to be fast enough paced to distract me from trying to think about how the zombies work in a particular world, but I also need them intimate enough to keep me from zooming out too far from the action and again thinking too hard about how the zombies work in a particular world (a personal failing of mine, I admit. My brain is sometimes hard to shut off). This movie is excellent in those regards. The action is quick and frenetic when it happens, tension filled in ways that often left me shouting at the TV screen. But it also gives you breathers to catch your breath, to let you take stock of what just happened and watch the remaining cast do likewise.
I dearly enjoyed watching Seok-woo change his perspective from watching out only for himself to trying to save as many as possible. Not to mention watching him come to grips with his actions and accepting responsibility for them. The setting of a train was used to excellent effect – the claustrophobic quarters giving extra edge and panic to the action, using the partitions between cars to break up sections of high action, and oftne used for dramatic effect. I am by no means a professional critic of any sort, but I felt like the editing in this film was very well crafted. The movie was well paced and didn’t feel as long as it was I was caught up in the action.
I watch zombie movies for two reasons – for that panic driven and adrenaline filled action, and to see all the different reactions of the characters when pushed to their limits. My problem with things such as the Walking Dead (and oh how I wanted that, and especially the prequel series Fear of the Walking Dead to be better than they were) is that they constantly have this nihilistic view of the world, and a view that the only survivors will be the terrible people. My opinion on how accurate that may be varies based upon my mood, but I don’t like watching that sorts of stuff primarily because it’s so boring. You have a whole range of human emotion and reactions to play with, whole other strategies that could work, and you default to the same depressing ones over and over. This movie didn’t fall for that – you do truly see a full range of reactions and motivations for survival (even including the obligatory jerk who thinks of nothing but himself and gets worse as time goes on).
Oh, and I’m Team Running Zombies for life. Shamblers can be used well, but for my money runners are far more tension filled. Highly recommend this movie if you are into zombie flicks!
Tonight’s accompanying beer was Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA by New Belgium. Definitely hoppy, but not overly bitter (and though I have punished my taste buds enough with IPAS a lot in the past I’m currently way out of hoppy beer tolerating prime so I feel that’s well, more trustworthy than usual, heh). Nice and citrusy in aroma and taste, and pretty smooth overall for an IPA.
It bears mentioned immediately up front that this isn’t a Halloween film, though it will pop up with almost any Halloween movie list this year. Probably because of the timing of Dia de Muertos and the skull imagery. I knew this beforehand, but decided to watch it within my October film fest for a few reasons. I had wanted to see, but hadn’t gotten to it before now. And I knew it would be a happier film, and I deliberately sprinkled a few less violent or jump scare filled films within my planned schedule.
And goodness, I haven’t shed this many tears while watching a film in a long time. Happy tears, for the most part, but still a lot of them. It felt good to cry with just the sweetness of it all. Pixar has a history of hitting heart strings just right, particularly within me as I get older, and they nailed it with this movie. And quite honestly, I feel on the edge of tears frequently lately so it was cathartic as well to be able to let them out in happiness and sweetness. The film is also gorgeous, so much color and life in every shot!
And I loved the story. Both complicated and simple, the pull of what you want to do with your life vs your family. Some of my tears were certainly bittersweet, as while the film resolves happily I couldn’t help but all those that had to make this choice and never got the resolution Miguel receives. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want the film to end any other way. It’s just hard to forget friends’ stories of less-than-happy endings while watching.
Tonight’s beer accompaniment: Odell Brewing Green Coyote Tomatillo Sour. A very nice sour, not so sour that it pulled an especially strong face from me but still decidedly a sour (not a tart or sweet overkill, which I’ve had a couple beers try to pull and call themselves sour before, for shame) (not that tart or sweet is bad, but if you call yourself a sour you should be SOUR damnit!), with a nice trailing and mellow sourness to follow that initial blast.
While I do intend to mostly focus upon cool phenomenon in the natural world, as I said before my curiosity and interests vary greatly. And truth be told, the reason I convinced myself to FINALLY reboot this blog with the worldbuilding focus was I came up with a side project. For reasons that should be clear to you, reality is incredibly depressing lately (no, I will not going into it here at this time. Maybe later). I need something to distract me more fully, and hopefully cheer me up a bit. I also like trying new things, especially food and drink. And I love Halloween.