Wide World of Horror

Wide World of Horror: ‘Varuh meje (Guardian of the Frontier’) – a lazy river with big ideas

A lazy trip down a river turns into a nightmare. It’s a plot that has been tread on many times in the horror genre, and even more in the adventure and thriller genres. Varuh meje takes an interesting approach to the old girl known as the river trip. It approaches the trip from a decidedly female and nationalist perspective. Suffice to say if the viewer has no interest in Slovenia or in the role of women in Slovenian culture, then they need not bother with Varuh meje.

Wide World of Horror: ‘The Dark’ – nonsense in the service of more nonsense

Much of The Dark fails to make any sense. This carries out through the resolution of the film, where the ultimate solution to the plot not making any sense is for the ending to not make sense. Horror can be ambiguous, there’s nothing wrong with a horror movie that plays in the realm of the nonsensical. However, there’s ambiguity with a purpose, and there’s a lack of being able to make your plot make sense. The Dark isn’t ambiguous, it merely doesn’t make any sense and Stephen Massicotte has no idea how to deliver a screenplay that makes sense.

Wide World of Horror: ‘El páramo (The Squad’) – once a soldier always a soldier

The basic conceit of El páramo is what ultimately holds the film back. Try as it might the film can never move past what it presents in its opening minutes. That’s not a good trait in a film, usually at least. El páramo tries to move past its opening scenes and present the squad as having been altered by their discovery, but that’s a lie within the film. There’s no reason that the film couldn’t have done something with its lie, but instead it tries to present said lie as a truth. The question that the film ends up asking is, how can a squad that doesn’t function properly be changed into a squad that doesn’t function properly?

Wide World of Horror: ‘247°F’ – if the heat doesn’t get you, the run time will

There’s almost nothing more upsetting than a film that overstays its welcome. Trim somewhere around forty minutes to an hour off of 247°F and the end result would be a pretty great short film. As it stands this film is far, far too long. There comes a point, about fifteen minutes after our three protagonists have become stuck in the sauna, when it’s all too clear that 247°F is already recycling ideas. A character will yell, then another will yell, then a third will tell the other two to calm down. Follow this with one of them coming up with a possible solution to their problem, and watch as said solution fails. Repeat that chain of events ad nauseum and the end product is the majority of 247°F.

Wide World of Horror: ‘The Caller’ – to answer or not to answer the phone

It creaks, it wobbles, but it doesn’t crack. That’s the best way to describe The Caller, a horror film that makes the most out of an interesting premise. The horror genre is not short on films with great premises, but it, much like the film world in general, is short on films that make the most out of their great premise. The Caller nearly blows it multiple times, but somehow Matthew Parkhill’s film manages to keep it all together and deliver on the promise of its premise.

Wide World of Horror: ‘Hell’ – the sun brings death just as readily as it does life

Dirty, grimy, and dusty, that’s how best to describe Hell. The heat can be felt, the dryness of the film comes off of the screen like a hot summer day in Chicago. Tim Fehlbaum takes a very tactile approach with his film, daring the audience to feel what his characters are feeling. The horror of Hell is that when the characters are hot the viewer feels hot. When the characters are struggling with thirst the audience feels like it needs a drink of water. Herr Fehlbaum asks a lot out of the characters he, and his screenplay compatriots, have created for Hell. He asks just as much, if not more, out of his films audience.

Wide World of Horror: ‘Dark Floors’ – Too many floors, not enough horror

Commercialism has been a part of the film industry for a very long time. It will continue to be an active part of the film industry until the day comes when there’s no longer a film industry. Movies are made to make money, that’s pretty much a given. Occasionally a movie can have its cake and eat it too; it can be a completely commercial product and still be a fine artistic enterprise as well.

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Wide World of Horror: ‘Aenigma’ – recycling ideas without any of the fun

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. By this point in his career Lucio Fulci was severely running out of steam. His titles were no longer met with any fanfare and even his most ardent supporters had begun to think less of his newer creations. With his best days behind him the once acclaimed director turned towards two different pathways to help keep his filmmaking career afloat.

Wide World of Horror: ‘Araf (The Abortion’) – a lot of people walking and not much horror

How did he know that happened? How long are they going to overlay them walking with music? These are the two questions that horror buffs will find themselves asking after they’ve finished Araf. Those are not two questions that are asked of a great horror movie, they are questions asked of a mediocre horror film. That should tell you about where Araf falls on the movie spectrum.

Wide World of Horror: ‘The Road’ – a road that should have stayed straight

Movies can be different, but they can also be very similar. There’s nothing wrong with being similar, but sometimes a trend develops within film that is not a positive. Twists are such a trend, a trope of the horror genre that has been running amok in the genre for years now. That’s not to say that all twists are inherently negative. However, when the twist overtakes the film and works against what came before the twist, well, that’s a problem.

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