This seems to be becoming a series! In July I saw: In The Earth, Things Heard & Seen, Deerskin, Black Widow and OLD. I won’t be including any non-new films from now on, or these posts would literally go on forever.
In The Earth (2021)
I really don’t know where to start with this. The plot is pretty simple (on the surface). A young scientist (Martin) and his guide (Alma) head into a forest on a 2 day trek to connect with the camp of another scientist (Dr Squires) who hasn’t been heard from in months. Ensue weirdness.
In the Earth could be interpreted as Ben Wheatley’s take on COVID. There’s a sickness going round and everyone is subject to intense sanitisation. It could also be seen as a comment on the environment. However, the surrealism pushes those into the background and makes the film more about the characters than the themes.
There are certainly gory scenes (sewing up a cut foot, for example) but this isn’t a gore-fest. It’s more a classic are-they-going-to-get-out-of-this horror.
Akin to films like Mother and Midsommar, I think I need a second watch to really decide if I loved this or not. Really it’s either a 3 star or a 5 star and it could go either way. So I’ll leave it up to you.
Things Heard & Seen (2021)
Things Heard & Seen is essentially two stories. The first is of a young couple whose marriage is falling apart, largely because of how much of a douche the husband is. The other is of a haunted house that the couple live in.
Things Heard & Seen is basically another horror/thriller movie about a woman being gaslighted by her male partner. It’s a classic ‘she doesn’t leave because of the kids’ with a few twists. It includes some classic horror tropes, such as a bird SMASHING into a window, but not enough to pin it as a classic horror.
It does pick up at the end and subverts some of your expectations, but the ending is a bit like…’what?’ I actually watched the last two minutes twice.
Honestly, right now, Deerskin is one of the best films in cinemas. Even though this is a 2019 film, because of the pandemic, we’re just getting it now.
It follows Georges (Jean Dujardin) who is obsessed with his Deerskin jacket. He poses as a film maker while he stays in a remote town. He makes friends with Denise (Adèle Haenel), a barmaid who is also an editor and together they “make the film”.
I honestly, loved this film. It’s beautiful and weird and had elements of horror. It’s also short, which means the storyline is super compact.
Warning: there’s some gore moments.
Black Widow (2021)
Natasha’s (Scarlett Johansen)’s origin story. Kind of.
Set in the middle of the marvel movies, post Civil War, you finally get to understand where Black Widow has come from and meet her “family” including the awesome Yelena (Florence Pugh) as her “sister”.
Natasha and Yelena set out to free the other widows from the grasp of Dreykov, the mastermind behind the mind control programme.
I liked the tight story. I liked the comedy of the “bad dad” (David Harbour) and I always love Rachel Weisz, the action, however, is a bit sloppy and got a bit headachy. The leading lady is sharp, sarcastic and hot hot hot, but for me, Pugh was the standout and I can’t wait to see where they take her character.
OLD is bat. shit. crazy. And honestly, that’s what I wanted.
OLD tells the story of a family who get stuck on a beach with a number of other holidaymakers. The beach, however, is MAGIC and ages everyone by one year every half an hour. This, obviously, affects the children more than the adults and they end up as teenagers for the majority of the film. Can they find a way out? You’ll have to go and see it to find out.
The first 40 minutes or so are PURE COMEDY (unintentionally, obviously). Then there’s a boring bit. Then more comedy. THEN it’s like OK M. Night Shyamalan, I SEE WHERE YOU’RE GOING WITH THIS. Then 20 minutes or so of completely unnecessary wrapping up. There are some really great actors in this too, like Tomasi Mackenzie, but the dialogue is just SO bad. For example, at one point one of the characters has to swim, and he says something like “I can do it, I was on the swim team”. We really didn’t need to know that.
OLD is definitely worth a go if you’re a Shyamalan fan, which I am. The boring bit was totally worth the hilarity of the rest, even if that’s not what MNS was going for.
3/5 stars overall