Monday, September 26, 2011

The Book Hunter Watches a Movie

I took a break from reading Darkness Falling to watch a couple of movies with Jyg and Izzy this weekend. Because Halloween is just around the corner, we decided on something a little scary.

Kevin Smith has hung up his comedic gloves - setting aside the dick and fart jokes of his View Askew films - and created something politically driven. Not quite a horror movie, but not your conventional film in any sense. He's managed to take a very real thing and shined a light upon it, highlighting the darker parts. 

In Red State, Smith introduces us to the Five Points Church - perhaps an allusion to the pentagram? - a twisted version of the Westboro Baptists - if they could possibly get any more twisted, that is. Like Westboro, Five Points Church makes it a habit of protesting at the funeral of gay men. They feel they're driven by the hand of god. They preach hate and brainwash their children. Unlike the Westboro Baptists, however, the Five Points Church takes the next step. They kill in the name of god, to cull the earth of its sinfulness. When the ATF gets involved, all hell breaks loose. The only thing that can end this stand off is the hand of god itself.

There are no good guys in Red State. From the victims to the sheriff to the ATF team lead by none other than John Goodman, the line between right and wrong is blurred. And that's the point of Red State, I feel. How far do our freedoms run? How far is the government willing to go to shut down something it doesn't agree with? And how long until the hand of god reach down and the trumpets of Armageddon blare? The answers are all revealed in Red State, which you can watch now on Amazon Instant Video.

Ghost hunter shows are a dime a dozen these days. We have a romantic affair with the paranormal. And several TV producers know that we're willing to eat it up, so more and more shows are created. The whole way through, the cast, crew and network heads are laughing and counting the money. The shows are obviously fake, their crew obviously actors paid to play a role. None more notably than Ghost Adventures, which states the lead was a nonbeliever who had an encounter and - yup, that's right! - decided to cash out on it.

That's what Grave Encounters begins with. Actors putting on a show, paying "witnesses" for their testimonies about the things that paranormal occurrences that plague a mental institute. Much like their "real" counterparts of Ghost Adventures - scam artists, by the way - the ghost hunters of Grave Encounters also have a penchant of locking themselves inside. They have static cameras set up. They have a paid "psychic." They have everything a good ghost show needs. Except they never have a real ghost - look, another reference to Ghost Adventures. That is, until something strange starts happening. And things only get worse.

Now a lot of first person films get labeled scary as hell - think Blair Witch Project, think Paranormal Activity and it's lame sequel - but Grave Encounters really takes that cake in that department. Where the Paranormal Activity films lack in actual horror, Grave Encounter lacks in boring moments.

If there is one movie you watch this Halloween to scare the bejesus out of you and your loved ones, make it Grave Encounters. You won't be disappointed.

Until next time, keep on hunting.

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