A girl by the name of Jennifer Corvino, who is the daughter of a famous American actor, can communicate with insects. She is placed in a prestigious Swiss boarding school and learns about a serial killer on the loose, they happen to target girls her own age. She uses the powers she has to her advantage in order to track them down and solve the mystery, placing herself in danger.
What a disappointment. Maybe I’m being too particular, but the score was so intrusive that it made it really hard to take the movie seriously in a lot of parts. There’s nothing suspenseful about Motörhead or Iron Maiden, and while I’ll always appreciate Goblin’s sound some of it just didn’t fit in with the scenes, I feel. There were some scenes that made me feel concerned and on the edge of my seat, I did like Jennifer Connelly’s acting and character, but the weak aspects outweighed the good to me. There are a few parts towards the end that made me laugh (spoiler: they involve sudden decapitation that I spotted from the moment her savior started running towards her, and a chimpanzee that is featured earlier in the film.) I’m actually surprised a lot of people overlooked what I saw as major flaws, and even praised the aspects of it I kind of despised. (That mainly being the out of place score. Although to be fair, Motörhead or Iron Maiden in a horror movie will never interest me. But that might be due to seeing so many modern, really badly made, corny horror films over usage of metal and fast rock. And it always cheapening the experience.)
I have a soft spot for Argento, though. So I may re-watch this in the future and see if it holds up better for me.
I don’t know if I ended up loving this movie because I expected less of it, but I thought it was fantastic. It follows a plot that was reminiscent of District 9 but strays far far from where that movie is taken. Which I was glad about because I was worried it was going to be a mindless, action packed sci-fi movie. (Not that District 9 was, but I was worried that due to the seemingly similar plot it was trying to possibly capitalize off that movie. This is far from the truth.)
In this alternate world, six years ago a deep space probe from NASA, that was gathering samples to find alien life, crash lands in Central America. Due to that incident creatures begin to develop, and half of Mexico is put under a quarantine zone. In the present day it is still a battle to keep the creatures contained, and a fixture known as “The Wall” is built between Mexico and the border of the United States, in order to keep the creatures out.
The story follows an American journalist by the name of Andrew, escorting his bosses daughter, Samantha, to safety, and back to their home. I like the way this movie handles the creatures. This is one of the very very few instances where the CGI didn’t make me feel like rolling my eyes, or instantly place me in the realm of watching a cut scene in a video game. I’m in the school of thought that less is more. Especially when it comes to these types of films. When the creatures make their appearance it is sufficiently creepy. Usually in these types of films, after having the monster slink in the shadows and catching brief glimpses of them the director decides that they should no longer be hidden in any way. So, naturally, the viewer becomes desensitized to the threat it possesses, and it kind of becomes boring. At least to me. Most of the time you hear their eerie sounds, or hear news of them being close by, or see the aftermath of their damage. It plays on a common fear, in my opinion. When you think danger has passed, only for it to rear its head once you let yourself relax.
The ending, involving the creatures, is very beautiful. Watching these two octopus-esque giants communicate in melodic tones, accompanied by graceful swaying is transfixing. It makes the viewer wonder if their behavior is naturally aggressive, as it is briefly mentioned by a soldier that they only seem to attack when provoked. The last few minutes between our protagonists is very somber, to say the least.
Although I personally gave this 3 out of 5 stars on mubi, I did appreciate a lot about this film.
Jarring yet delicately handled, its presentation is disorienting with very interesting themes. I’m going to go ahead and categorize it as sci-fi due to how the plot develops. It starts off with our female protagonist, Kris, being drugged by someone only known as Thief. The drug leaves her in a highly suggestive, hypnotized state, and she is made to give her money over to this person. It’s very reminiscent of the drug, Devil’s Breath, and has a similar modus operandi to how the victims stories usually go, albeit longer.
The drug contains a worm, and as it grows inside her it makes its appearance known in a very subtle but disturbing scene. In a confusing turn of events she is with a person known as The Sampler who resides on a pig farm. We are not shown whether or not she was given to The Sampler by the Thief, or if she was coincidentally also kidnapped by him. I only assumed that him and The Thief have a relationship that consists of these exchanges. We are shown that over the course of a few days the man removes the worm and transports it into a sow.
Kris is returned, on the side of the highway, in an SUV. Fired from her job, and soon figuring out that all her life savings are gone, it is suggested that she ends up starting her life over with a new job, and a shorter hair cut. She meets a man, Jeff, and they are oddly drawn to one another. The movie then shows the connection between them and the pigs. I think that in a literal sense I understood what was happening with most of this story despite the confusing way the visuals were handled, and the story was told in general. However, I feel like I probably missed certain allegories and themes.
While watching this I kept thinking of how the surreal aspects were soberly handled, and yet it was still weird, and striking, and at times beautiful. I did appreciate the viewing experience, and the odd plot. I plan on watching his previous film Primer to get a better idea of who Shane Carruth is as a director.
With all that being said, I probably wouldn’t watch this again.