THEY LOOK LIKE PEOPLE (2015, dir. Perry Blackshear) focuses on the social alienation of young urban professionals. All of them “look like people”. All of them are also “aliens” — they’re all alienated from each other. But only one of them can say that this situation is beyond his/her control.
Sun Choke is a horror film hiding behind the mask of an extremely efficient suspense thriller.
Retrospectively seen by film critics and scholars as one of the first films of the French cinéma du corps (also known as the French New Extremity), François Ozon’s suspense thriller See the Sea (Regarde la Mer, 1997) is a bit tamer than later extreme cinema would become. Nevertheless, it has its transgressive physical moments (both sexual and violent). What’s most interesting about the film is the individual psychologies of both major characters, Sasha (Sasha Hails) and Tatiana (Marina de Van), as they play out in the context of an increasingly strange relationship. The strangeness comes from various boundary-crossing moments that start small but add up to a gruesome finale and suffuse the narrative with an overall sense of impending horror.
Sometimes, lowered expectations win out over loftier ideals.
Despite the paradoxical gruesomeness and “what if?” curiosity of the premise itself, the entirety of The Purge series has possessed a through-line of altruism and nobility.
“Do you know the world is a foul sty?” In Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943), this line is Uncle Charlie’s (Joseph Cotten) summary opinion about earthly existence. Hitchcock goes on to show how the small-town American family can hide its participation in worldly corruption (in particular, its perversion of sexuality) behind a veneer of respectability. In Stoker (2013), Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, 2003; Thirst, 2009) draws back the veil that covers the dark underside of family psychosexual dynamics, a subject to which Hitchcock’s era allowed the Master of Suspense only to allude.
The central mystery of SPELLBOUND revolves around two questions raised in the film’s first act. Two later sequences are key to understanding this mystery.