In horror movie circles, much is made of the genre's roots. Hatchet and its sequel were marketed as "old-school horror," and House of the Devil was released on VHS to celebrate its '70s feel. Perhaps it's a response to all of the soulless horror remakes -- Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Last House on the Left -- that have been coming out of late, which would make Insidious's existence even more interesting. Director James Wan and screenwriter/actor Leigh Whannell, who set a new template for how to tell horror stories with the first Saw movie and created one of the most profitable horror franchises in history, have traded knives for ghosts and made a scary-ass film that pays tribute to some of the creepiest movies of yesteryear, full of half-glimpsed faces, music stings and old-timey spectres.
If you've been following the Watchmen movie news, you may have heard that there were recently screenings of preview footage in Los Angeles and New York. Luckily, we were invited -- okay, we begged to be let in to the New York screening, where director Zack Snyder and original comic book artist Dave Gibbons answered our questions and showed us some mind-blowing stuff. Well, we took notes on everything, and we've posted a detailed description of the footage in our Mondo Extras blog! Check out our detailed recap, then check back to read the Q & As and hear our critical commentary.
Already well on its way to becoming the most divisive work in geek history, Zack Snyder's film adaptation of Watchmen, the most revered comic book of all time, may best be approached as a giant -- you guessed it -- Rorschach test: you either see a pretty butterfly, or you see a dog with its head split in half. The naysayers are certainly out there in force, in both the mainstream publications and the fanboy blogs, and I don't begrudge them their sometimes valid, often contradictory, occasionally deeply flawed points of view. All I can do is report that when I gazed at this dense, two-hour-and-forty-minute-long inkblot of a movie, I saw the butterfly -- I saw a brilliantly realized, richly textured pop-fiction spectacle; candy for both the eye and the brain. Is this theatrical version a perfect cinematic treatment of Watchmen? No, and I'll explain why below. But in the final analysis, seeing this beloved story come to life in a completely fresh, unexpected way gave me the same sensation I felt when I first read it in its original single-issue form over 20 years ago: pure astonishment, quickly followed by a burning desire to experience it again and again. Nothing ever ends.
Lakeview Terrace isn't as bad as you probably think it will be. And that's about the highest endorsement I can give it. Which is higher than I expected to give it after watching the trailer.
Things to like about Lakeview Terrace: Honestly, Samuel L. Jackson. He actually plays this part perfectly. He doesn't overact until it's sort of appropriate to do so. And... that's pretty much the end of what's good about the movie.