DOASKDOTELL MOVIE REVIEWs of House of Wax, Motel Hell, Deranged, Boogeyman, Spider, Videodrome, The Brood, Identity, Cry Wolf, A History of Violence , Eastern Promises, Wolf Creek , Hostel  (I II), Turistas, The Ruins, Mill of the Stone Women , The Hills Have Eyes , What Lies Beneath, Eating Raoul; The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover; Basket Case; The Wicker Man

 

Title:  House of Wax

Release Date:  2005

Nationality and Language: USA, English

Running time: 105 min

MPAA Rating: R

Distributor and Production Company:   Warner Brothers/Village Roadshow

Director; Writer: Jaume Serra

Producer:

Cast:    Chad Michael Murray, Jared Padlecki, Brian Van Hold, Paris Hilton

Technical:  regular aspect

Relevance to DOASKDOTELL site: “male desecration”

Review:

 

House of Wax (2005, Warner Bros/Village Roadshow/Dark Castle, dir. Jaume Serra, R, 105 min) is touted as a remake of the 1953 horror classic with Vincent Price (dir. Andre de Toth), the first major studio release in 3-D.  The original was one of those movies that was supposed to be “bad for you,” that Mother wouldn’t let me see at 10—the boys would talk about this movie while swinging from tree limbs at summer day camp. I don’t think it ever showed up on the Saturday night series called “Chiller” in 1964 (I remember a lot of others: “Blood of Dracula,” “The Werewolf,” “Invasion of the Animal People,” “The Disembodied,” “The Crawling Eye,” “The Hypnotic Eye,” and even “Donovan’s Brain.” With some of these, you would wait for half the movie before something gory happened as a payoff. Same here. The “remake,” with the story by Charles Belden and screenplay by Chad Hayes, is more your “Motel Hell” setup where there is a hidden town or motel or place where people disappear into a horrible demise. (The original story concerned burning down the wax museum for insurance money.)  A few young people are wandering in the Southern pine forest wilderness, camping—this is supposed to be Louisiana, near Baton Rouge, as they head to the Superdome to scalp tickets (I have an honorable mention of the little Minnesota film “Scalper” here). But the countryside looks more like the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in Australia, which makes sense with Village Roadshow Pictures as the production company. (There are no such mountains in Louisiana.)  The script jumps around a bit, looking like The Last Broadcast (fact or fiction, anyone) or maybe a Blair Witch Project (the kids encounter a cesspool filled with carcasses and maybe body parts) before the story settles down as the kids break a fanbelt and head into “town.”  When they get there, well—it’s a set up, a bit like Phantoms.  (This film really should have come from Dimension, shouldn’t it.) They find a church with a funeral service and a suspicious pastor Bo (Brian Van Holt), whom we will learn has a Siamese Twin, or perhaps triplet (for a sequel) brother, face broken off when they were separated. Both boys were abused it seems, strapped and taped down into barber’s chairs (Bo shows scars on his wrists). Well, the kids stumble into everything else—the church, steeple, and “people,” and the unlocked, unsecured House of Wax itself. You can predict the rest. The wax figures are, well, alive—they are people who “got it” alive—shells live underneath, even if they break into a million pieces when hit. The whole town is off the map and all the people are transformed into museum pieces, get it?

 

Well, some of the kids have to get it, too. Wade (Jared Padalecki, the best looking male actor here and an obvious mark for erotic sadomasochistic destruction) has to go to the bathroom (like a high school kid asking the substitute teacher for a pass), but in the preacher’s house, which is part of the setup. He gets trapped, and then he gets it. It’s frankly homoerotic, to see him stripped, quick-shaved and waxed (even the beard comes off, but there is no laser available yet for further epilation). (Just before that destruction scene, Nick and Dalton have a car conservation about who “likes” Wade the most.) Some of the hazing happens in a contraption that is part dentist’s chair and partly out of Saw. Soon he shows up alive in the House of Wax, but his new body comes apart easily when tugged at. Then, for the other kids, things will roll. Carly (Elisha Cuthbert) loses a finger to pliers, and Blake (Robert Richard) gets decapitated, and Paige (Paris Hilton) gets a spear through her head. It’s up to Carly’s brother, Nick (Chad Michael Murray—Lucas from One Tree Hill—here he looks like a smooth-bodied, buffed Justin Timberlake) to save his sister and everybody else, along the lines of Remy Zero. He does, and carries off the role with a bit of charisma. (Sorry, Tom Welling would have had too much of a supersized soft edge for this part—the casting here is right.) There is one line of script that hints that Nick is gay, but curiously it seemed out of place. Oh, yes, the House of Wax burns down, as in the original, just as Nick and his sister crawl out, over the sign. Nick gets waxed, or perhaps punked, but his pants and shirt are still on.

 

We all know that Paris Hilton has had her troubles since this film came out. High school kids say that Paris Hilton is not a good role model. Likewise for Lindsay Lohan (Prairie Home Companion).

 

Check this flick out.

 

 

 

Motel Hell (1980, United Artists, dir. Kevin Connor, 100 min, PG-13) is a spoofy black comedy about cannibalism and, well, S&M, and you’ll see why it is reviewed on this page in a minute.

 

First, the tagline:

 

“It takes all kind of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters.”

 

Farmer Vincent Smith (Rory Calhoun) is a Normal Rockwell type (amplified by his dyke-ish wife Ida (Nancy Parsons), perhaps somewhere in the green coast mountains of CA, who runs his “Motel Hello” (the “o” is burned out) and sells his famous smoked meat fritters. But only locally. It seems that he does this by setting up road accidents and kidnapping his victims, and planting them, vocal cords sheared and covered with potato sacks, in a kind of onion field, ripe for grinding up and harvesting later. And grinding up.

 

Farmer Vincent keeps his business small and local (no national distributor)—for moral reasons? To avoid trademark disputes?  Or to avoid getting caught—Oh, I know. It comes to the same thing. 

 

Two of the critters are a heterosexual S&M couple who “rent” a room at the motel. Well, the girl is cracking the whip (literally), and then man starts to disrobe to his low-cut undershirt. Now, at her prompting, she starts shaving his own chest with a cordless electric, and then she preempts him by applying some goo.  (A depilatory?)  The only scene I know of in mainstream cinema where body shaving is shown for erotic purposes. But then again, this is horror-black comedy. Ida and Vincent immediately haul their delicious guests into bed to chloroform them. The fritters will taste good.

 

Netflix pairs this film on a double-feature DVD with Deranged: Confessions of a Necrophile (1974, MGM/American International, 82 min, dir. Jeff Gillen and Alan Ormsby). This is one of those pervious generation chop flicks that is “American International, of course.” A man (played by Roberts Blossom) is taking care of his ailing mother (Cosette Lee) in rural Wisconsin. She rails him about anything in his own life. {“The wages of sin is syphilis, gonorrhea, and death!—this movie was made severn years before AIDS was known.)  As he tries to force-feed her pea soup (remember The Exorcist) she vomits blood and dies. He becomes obsessed with her memory, her corpse, he exhumes her, begins to look for ways to patch her up with pieces. In the meantime, “The Old Rugged Cross” keeps playing on the pipe organ. The story is narrated. It is based on the real-life serial killer Ed Gein.

 

Here are a couple other “famous” comedies about cannibalism. There is Eating Raoul (1982, dir. Paul Bartel, Fox Searchlight, R) in which the Blands (Paul Bartel and Mary Woronov) find a clever way to fund a restaurant with a frying pan, until a burglar Raoul gets in the way (Robert Beltran).

 

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989, dir. Paul Greenaway, Miramax, NC-17, UK), well known for the totally nude shot of a roasted corpse. Richard Borginer, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren. The wife of a crime boss and a bookseller propel this comedy in four parts, thought to be a satire on Margaret Thatcher’s conservative policies in Britain.

 

Basket Case (1982, Analysis, dir. Frank Henenlotter). A young man (Kevin Van Hentenryck) carries around his deformed separated Siamese twin in a basket – it looks like a decapitated head – seeking revenge on the doctor who separated them. “What’s in the basket”? The guy’s life starts to pick up, when the twin really has plans for revenge. This movie was considered a riot when it played at the Inwood in Dallas.

 

There is a bit of “motel hell” in the plot of the genre horror film Boogeyman (2005, Sony Screen Gems [Sony’s distributor for independent horror films], dir. Stephen T. Kay, 86 min), which features an appealing young man and magazine editor, Tim Jensen (Barry Watson) as fighting demons from the past, where his father was kidnapped from a closet in his bedroom by the Boogeyman. Tim runs around between his inherited house and a motel with Kate (Emily Deschanel) in a sequence where he seems to be teleporting or going between parallel universes. Franny (Skye McCole Bartusiak) tries to bring him back with the innocence of a child. None of this quite works—if Tim and his adult girl friend had stayed at the motel for some “motel hell” the movie really would have gotten interesting.  Barry Watson plays medical student Matt Camden (the med student who doesn’t know how to turn off a cell phone, but who can deliver his sister’s baby in an elevator in Seventh Heaven).  Watson has had an interesting personal medical struggle (with Hodgkin’s Disease), described at http://mostbeautifulman.com/gossip/7thheaven.shtml and several other sites. In this movie, it seems as though his character could be explored a lot further.

 

A British film somewhat similar in spirit is Spider (2002, Sony Pictures Classics/Capitol, dir. David Cronenberg, based on the novel by Patrick McGrath) in which a mental patient named “Spider” (Ralph Fiennes) moves into a halfway house. For a long time the movie leaves one with the impression that he could be a terrorist, with weird symbols and webs and hidden diaries, and levels of reality and flashbacks. The director did an audience question-and-answer at the Lagoon Theater in Minneapolis in early 2003. This film bears no relation to the Marvel “Spider Man” movies.

 

Videodrome (1983, Universal, dir. David Cronenberg, 89 min, R) is another odd horror film exploring whether TV can “infect” people and monsterize them, with 80s video technology.  James Woods sacrifices his smooth chest. Blogger.

 

The Brood (1979, MGM, dir. David Cronenberg, 99 min, R, Canada). A woman creates “alien fetus” children with imagination to go after her enemies. Blogger.

 

Another kind of “motel hell” happens with Identity (2003, Columbia, dir. James Mangold) when ten strangers are stranded together at a cheap motel in the Nevada desert during a rare monsoon, and guests start getting knocked off. This, however, is anything but funny as lawyers are struggling to save a death row prisoner. How these plot threat connect up takes a long time to become apparent, but the whiz-bang film holds your attention as a real thriller. John Cusack and Ray Liotta are among the major stars.

 

Cry_Wolf (2005, Rogue/Focus/Hypnotic, dir. Jeff Wadlow, 92 min, PG-13; aka “Cry Wolf”- the official working title has an underscore as in a programming language)) is a low-budget (about $1 M) Halloween-style horror thriller filmed entirely around Richmond, VA. Universal seems to have a business relationship with this movie, according to the credits. The story is a bit of a layered gimmick: here we have The Kids, at a boarding prep high school, AP and Honors Kids who get bored with multiple choice SAT tests so they want to play a game of imitating a serial killer on campus. You can guess that there is a real serial killer, who may or may not be a faculty member. (Remember the infamous “Pieces”?) But rather than gross-out, this film goes for a kind of subtle erotic drama. Owen Matthews (young British actor Julian Morris) arrives as a newbie and quickly is invited to an initiation ritual (or “tribunal” maybe), where the Kids decide who is The Wolf.  A female pulls up Owen’s shirt and marks his chest through the sternal hair with blood (actually lipstick), and then the other kids show off, that none of them is The Wolf (even for the boys, the other chests are all smooth). The story then gets complicated, a lot of it communicated through instant messages and emails (it looks like AOL). An interesting sidebar is his relationship with a rather charismatic Tom, played by Jared Padalecki, who (just as in TheWB’s Supernatural) looks funny with his mouth wide open in amazement. Owen has a history of being a bad boy, which doesn’t exactly comport with his acting style.  There are some little photo glitches: Why does Jared’s forearm have a rash, and why does Julian seem to have slight love handles when dressed in a tight knit shirt while working a kitchen police job just before he is stalked. There is, in addition, a build up to a shower scene a la Psycho, and it doesn’t quite deliver. There is a great line to the effect that high school doesn’t mean anything, that it isn’t real life. The last word for The Kids is, who is going to survive Halloween? (Who can survive the Tribunals?)

 

A History of Violence (2005, New Line, dir. David Cronenberg, based on a novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke, 96 min, R). Mainstream studios are producing more artsy movies these days, and this is a good example. Sure, it is a grand conception, but is mainly manipulation of the audience through foreshadowing by one character. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) and his wife Edie (Maria Bello) run a family coffee shop in a small town west of Indianapolis. One day some thugs show up at closing. In front of his high school teen son Jack (a handsome Ashton Holmes), Tom suddenly turns on the thugs and shoots them. The media give him great coverage, but soon more thugs (particularly Carl Fogarty – Ed Harris with a great deal of makeup to depict scar tissue and a gouged out eye) stalk him and threaten him. In the mean time, Jack has been hassled at school as a “faggot.” This is never clear as a fact, but, if he ever was a sissy, he now seems to be catching up physically. He catches a long fly in right field to save a baseball game, and, after once turning the other cheek in a high school hallway (conceding his assailant “alpha male” status) beats up two of them suddenly, getting suspended from school. But then Jack saves his father, blasting Carl with a family shotgun – a great example for Second Amendment rights. Still more thugs, though, and Tom is now suspected of having been a mobster himself, and of living a double life. Indeed, he was once Joey Cusack in the Philadelphia mafia. So he drives 600 miles to Philly to finish them off. (They show the Interstate exits at King of Prussia.) In the final confrontation, there is some homoeroticism that leads one to wonder if the mafia boss is gay, or if this is just the way these “families” are. But the mobster asks him what it has been like to be married with kids.

 

Eastern Promises (2007, Focus, dir. David Cronenberg, wr. Steven Knight, R, UK, 100 min) presents another bizarre puzzle, with tattoos providing the visual function of the weavings in “spider.” Here a London midwife delivers a baby of a fourteen year old girl who dies, and then finds a diary in Russian. Interesting that it is physical and not on the Internet. The trail leads her to Nikolai (Viggo Mortensen) who appears to be a Russian Mafioso hit man. There is more than meets the eye, however, in his “family” including Kirill (Vincent Cassell) and papa Soyka (Aleksandar Mikic).  The hit men prep a corpse and dump into the Thames (near the Thames Barrier Floodgates, shown impressively in the film) and Scotland Yard finds the clues in the tattoos all over the otherwise barren corpse (the camera even lingers over the bald legs). If Nikolai is a double agent, he has to subject his body to the maximum possible abuse experienced by an actor (Mortensen, so handsome in LOTR), as it is shaved and tattooed (there is one tattooing scene where you can see the shave stubble; it is gross; the desecration reminds me of the “tooth fairy” in Red Dragon). Then there is a bathhouse confrontation and knife fight (with Nikolai nude and exposed) that is as violent ever filmed. (At one point the script seems to mix up two characters’ names.)  Driving the story, of course, is the fact that the original mother was underage, and that the perpetrator is a pedophile (or pederast, according to the script). This is an unpleasant movie to watch, but it has more lesson to teach. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that a mafia group like this could get ahold of loose nukes or uranium from the former Soviet Union and sell it to the highest bidder. If you wanted, you could even try to construe the film as a warning that terrorists could try to take advantage of or recruit sexual predators.

 

 

Wolf Creek (2005, Dimension, dir. Greg McLean, 99 min, R) is another one of these lured-into-a-trap stories. It’s supposed to be factual. This time, three backpackers (Andy McPhee, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips) head for a meteor crater in South Australia not too far from the mountains but in a semi-desert, the beginnings of the outback. They camp out, and their car goes dead as do their lights. Maybe an EMP effect from UFOs. A local (John Jarratt) shows up and offers to help. He drives them back to his hair where he binds and tortures them, crucifying the man, and threatening the girls with mutilation that need not be repeated literally. One girl shoots the man but doesn’t kill him. They try to escape, but after some car chase and crash sequences, they die. The young man is rescued, but since the perpetrator is not found, he will have to clear his name. HD video, with is surprisingly effective with outback photography.   

 

 Hostel (2005, Lions Gate/Screen Gems, dir. Eli Roth, exec. Prod Quentin Tarantino, R, 95 min) is a slick, widescreen gross-out of a thriller than first reminds one of “Pieces.” Frankly, the film is rather choppy, pun intended. Three grad students (Paxton – Jay Hernandex, Josh – Derek Richardson, OliEythor Gudjonsson)  touring Europe start out seeking fun and pleasure in Amsterdam and then head for a hostel in Slovakia where anything can he experienced. They meet a middle aged man on the train who makes a pass at Josh, and when they get to the hostel, they slide into peril. In the town there are roving bands of kids who taunt them, a reference to the gangs at the end of “Suddenly, Last Summer.”  They go to a disco and get drugged. Josh finds himself stripped an chained to a chair (his abduction is not shown, which is a weakness), with a torturer. This is not erotic or the sadomasochism that might have been expected; rather it seems like a carrying out of the morbid fantasies of Nazi experiments at Auschwitz. (Apparently the perpetrators are guests who "pay" to inflict sadistic horrors and play out unspeakable fantasies.) There is some mayhem (actually off camera) and the film switches to Paxton, who is also drugged. He wanders into the den but manages to overcome the captors. The last twenty minutes of the film is a frantic stretto, not making a lot of sense, as Paxton avenges the crimes. He looks to good for the wear, whereas he have by now been grossed out by a view of Josh’s vivisected, through the chest, corpse. Though technically whizbang, it’s not evident what the film accomplishes. Lions Gate Films seems to be venturing quickly into gross out ("torture porn") horror. (Saw I, II, III.) What is it that my cousin said at 11 when we made filmstrips as a hobby as boys: one out of six movies should be a horror movie? Lions Gate is doing better than that.

In 2007 LGF/SG released "Hostel: Part II" directed by Eli Roth (93 min, R). This time, you see the rich men “buying” fantasies getting notified on cell phones of the bid prices for female victims, as in “Trade” (that’s what Stefano seems to build his mafia crime empire on in “Days of our Lives” in one sequence). Although there is some genuine buildup in the beginning (even some hairless total male nudity for art students) it quickly slides into torture porn. Look at imdb’s list of keywords that match this (and other) movies.  Toward the end some of the businessmen get what they pay for, semi-literally, with two on camera castrations (one surprisingly bloodless), and another torn to pieces by dogs. In the last sequence, young boys, trained by one of the “businessmen”, decapitate a girl and play with the head as if it were a football, to lively classical music – the last image in the film is of a neck stump (there is an earlier one, too, with a cap licking it.)  Things roll in this film, all right (even more so than in the famous camp gore-fest “Pieces”), and Joe Bob Briggs would have said, “check it out.” There is an early conversation where a couple of the businessmen say, doing this will build their character and make them prove to themselves that they can do anything. Really.

 

Turistas (2006. Fox Atomic/2929/Cuban-Wagner, dir. John Stockwell, Brazil/USA, 89 min, R, Cinemascope) is a kind of “Hostel 2”. Some spoiled American “gringo” college kids on spring break (the ring leader is Alex – Josh Duhamel) get stranded in the Brazilian Highlands jungles after a bus accident, a rollover which is quite well done. It is set up to trap them. They are lured to a beach party where they are drugged with the drinks. (That can be a practical risk with mixed drinks at unknown venues.) They wake up to find themselves robbed. They go into the jungle, chase the kids, and come upon a house, a “hostel” with a menacing setup inside, including computers that run on a generator. It’s not kiddie porn, though; it’s kidnapping and then vivisection to harvest organs – and organ selling is a legitimate issue, since it is illegal in the US. One girl undergoes vivisection, on camera, alive, while both kidneys and liver are extracted. Then of course, the ring leader has to mastermind the escape, some one which is in a cave. The scenery, on location, is quite spectacular. Fox Atomic does not use the Fox fanfare theme, but it should. I think a polonium atom emitting beaming alpha particles would make a good animated trademark for the fanfare. Why did Cuban use Fox instead of his own label, Magnolia? 

 

The Ruins (2008, Dreamworks / Spyglass, dir. Carter Smith, novel and screenplay by Scott B. Smith, Australia, 91 min, R) Director Carter Smith explores the same horror concepts as in his gay horror “road movie” short “Bugcrush”. Here a group of friends are led to a mysterious Mayan ruins, and soon will learn that what killed the Maya is still around. There’s a clue when some local Maya show up and won’t let them leave (killing one when he touches a vine). The college-grad-med-student kids run up the pyramid and gradually learn, that as in Bugcrush, what lives beneath can dig into flesh and live there. Here, it is a carnivorous vine, and sends out flowers that imitate conversations, and eats flesh. One guy, already injured from a fall, has his legs stripped bald, and then amputated on camera to save his life, which doesn’t get saved after all, by med student Jeff (Jonathan Tucker). It gets pretty gruesome. As with “bug” the ending is not too happy and chances for escape are not good. The other thing, as in Smith’s gay film, is that some of the characters are really very likeable (Jeff has real charisma and you want him to make it --- sorry), and others are a bit gullible.  

 

Mill of the Stone Women (“Mulino delle donne di pietra”, 1960, Parade, dir. Giorgio Fironi, Ital, 90 min) was a classic black-and-white horror film for Saturday night “chiller” taking place in a Dutch mill near Amsterdam in the canal country. A mad scientist turns women to stone, like a collection of Lot’s wives. Hans (Pierre Brice) is the young adventurer who stumbles on the mystery. The film was wonderful music, including the Chopin g minor Ballade (used later in The Pianist), and a rollicking ¾ d minor waltz theme (Carlo Innocenzi) that I still remember:  A—A—A—D-B-A—gAgA  etc.  It’s an odd concept considering what the Netherlands has become since. The film was made shortly after the great flood of 1957, a lesson for New Orleans.

 

The Hills Have Eyes (2006, Fox Searchlight, dir. Alexandra Aja, wr. Wes Craven, R, 105 min) is a remake of the 1977 Wes Craven film (Anchor Bay). It’s being marketed as art and horror together, but it’s really another “Chainsaw Massacre” kind of film. It looks great on the wide screen, and the desolation of the Morocco desert where it was shot is more striking (and colorful) than New Mexico where it is supposed to happen. Actually, there is a scene at a Meteor Crater, which is filled with the wrecks of previous victims. An extended family towing a long trailer (without Lucy) takes a short cut, and runs across a tire cutter saw. Pretty soon they are running around and getting grabbed by mutants left over from the 50s atom bomb tests. Now I recall that a coworker in Dallas in the 1980s had written an unpublished novel about mutants taking over Lake Murray in Oklahoma. So it goes. Aaron Stanford, usually a nice young effete male (Tadpole), here is the roughneck and seems out of place. Dan Byrd is more convincing as the teenager. Stanford winds up in a mock town set up for the atomic tests and single handedly has to take on a lot of the mutants. This film supposedly almost got an NC-17, although I saw very little that was really that explicit. 

 

What Lies Beneath (2000, Dreamworks/20th Century Fox, dir. Robert Zemeckis, 130 min, PG-13) is a somewhat pretentious thriller and mystery that annoys the viewer with a lot of dead ends, as when retired cellist Claire (Michelle Pfeiffer) peers over the fence of the couple next door, where the wife has disappeared. The kid is away at school and Harrison Ford plays the professor in this idyllic New England setting. Now real life does have dead ends that emanate from stressful situations, and that is what is so tempting to the writer (the story is by Sarah Kernochan and Clark Gregg – I don’t know if collaborations will lead to as original conceptualizations that agents generally like). The title, though obviously referring to water (in more than one way) in this movie, could be used to ask what lies beneath a shirt, for example. It sounds provocative. But I picked this elapsed film for a short review because it illustrates a big problem for any novelist or screenwriter with a work nearing submission into coverage: tying off all the loose ends in the plot. That's a big problem. Ask any scriptreader or literay agent! 

 

The Wicker Man (1973, National General. / British Lion, dir. Robin Hardey, wr. Anthony Shaffer, 88 min, R). Most people know that a wicker man is a huge effigy in which the real animals or people to be sacrificed are placed. So much for the spoiler of this famous “musical horror” film. Scottish police sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) travels to the remote island of Summerisle (which is surprisingly tropical, headed by Lord Summerisle played by Christopher Lee ) looking for a missing girl. The island’s inhabitants seem to practice a pagan religion with elaborate, costumed rituals. He finds some clues, like a coffin with an animal, and wonders if she is alive, preparing to be sacrificed. He finds he is not allowed to leave, and gradually he becomes the sacrifice. The climax is quite compelling, starting with his being stripped. There is a 2006 remake (Warner Bros., with Nicolas Cage and his Saturn Films, directed by Neil  La Bute) in which there is a backstory, and in which the letter comes from the lost daughter of a former fiance.  The final “May Day” scene in the second film ties into the idea of how social insects and hierarchies work.  The first one is a famous British film, yet it still follows the formula of going to a risky place looking for trouble and finding it; yet, one wants to find more to like in the characters, so that the stakes are really higher.

Blogger discussion. 

 

Related reviews: Saw (I II and III); Suddenly, Last Summer   The Pianist   Hannibal  Bugcrush

 

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