Slacking on the entries! Yikes! Let me catch you up on what I’ve been doing…which is watching stuff.
The Awakening is a good old-fashioned ghost story. Set in the 1920s, it is the tale of Florence Cathcart, author, debunker, and educated woman in a time when that was a remarkable thing. She is asked to investigate a possible ghost at a boys’ school, and interesting hijinks ensue. It’s a great story, told in sepia tones, with props I wish I had in my house. I would especially like to have a seance like the one that opens the film–lots of atmosphere and sneaky tricks. I enjoyed the whole thing, from the tone, to the acting, to the rather hot Dominic West, to the unexpected and well-done conclusion. Highly recommended if you like them quietly spooky.
Genre: Catholic Horror; Subgenre: Exorcism. I love a good Catholic horror movie, and I seem to be drawn to the exorcism stories. Exorcismus is a good addition to the genre. Somewhat quiet, and easy on the special effects, it’s the story of 15-year-old Emma, who finds herself blacking out and hurting those she loves. A little levitation finally involves the priest, her uncle Chris, who has a troubled past with a prior exorcism. Solidly written, acted, and paced, it ends up not being about quite what you think it was about. A few cliches (because really, who can resist the crucifixion float?) didn’t ruin the film, and as long as you can handle Emma being very 15, it’s a good watch.
Now, I like a quiet ghost story well enough. But not too quiet. The Last Kind Word left me trapped in a 90-minute Mazzy Star video. It wasn’t horrible, and Brad Dourif turns in a good performance, but the pacing had me checking facebook while I watched. It’s the story of a family who moves back to Kentucky to take a job on a friend’s farm. Dad is a violent alcoholic, so Eli, his son, spends a lot of time wandering in the nearby woods. The script was reasonably tight until the end, when corpses show up in odd places for no reason, and the protagonist makes an emotionally nonsensical decision. Someone didn’t think something through. Unless you’re rabid for Dourif, I’d give this one a pass.