Monday, October 25, 2010


With Halloween approaching, I've been watching some scary films to get the spook on. I will admit that since I watch most of my movies alone with earphones and at night, I am somewhat scared of the horror category. So I've been watching movies of moderate scariness. :D

Das Experiment
First up, Das Experiment a 2001 German film. Despite this film being made in 2001, it looks a lot older than it is. It has the aesthetics and pace of an Eastern European film. Anyways, the story is based on the Stanford prison experiment of 1971--a psychology experiment that selected 10 men to be prison guards and 10 to be prisoners. The experiment gets out of hand quickly and we are left to see how the guards act and how the prisoners react. Das Experiment has a moderate amount of violence and is a thriller. The director tries to give the film some depth by teasing us with hints of the protagonist's past and emotional struggle, but those moments were really brief and not enough. I like Das Experiment for its storyline--it's interesting to see what happens and how the guards act with the authority that they are given. I also like how it is suspenseful and violent but not grotesque.

I watched Zombieland just before bed last night. It's a really great film to watch on Halloween if you are looking for something gross and funny. It is like the American equivalent to Shaun of the Dead. Jesse Eisenberg plays the leading role (I am sad to say I still haven't seen The Social Network) as a geek who is one of the few people still alive in Zombieland. He meets some interesting characters played by Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin. There are some really great and funny moments in the film, and the directorial style adds to it all.

Lastly, I started watching Shutter on FX half way through the film today. Like many recent American films, Shutter is a remake of an Asian film--this time a Thai horror film. I thought the film was alright, nothing really special about it, but it does have a good twist and ending. I am sorry to say that these American remakes of Asian horror films get lost in translation. America does not have the strong cultural superstition to make films like this work. I am particularly bothered that the film had to incorporate a Japanese element into it to heighten its fear factor. American horror films have a long history in being violent and gory. But Asian horror films are more psychological and build on cultural superstitions. Hence, Asian horror films don't translate well by Hollywood.

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