Another banger from Jordan Peele! If Get Out was his Sixth Sense, then this is his Signs.
The trailers are somewhat deceptive as to what kind of movie this actually is, and the film itself is quite cryptic about it for the first half, before properly settling and letting you know for real what you’re watching.
It’s very well written, shot with creativity and style, and brings enough unique character, humour and strange flavour to the table to make it really stand out. Minimal locations, clever and striking low-key production design.
Less horror film, more creature-feature. It’s really fun, definitely worth a watch.
Absolutely lives up to its reputation … as one of the worst movies ever made.
The writing is staggeringly awful, with characters introducing themselves by name and profession, entirely unprompted. Not a single line of dialogue feels natural, it’s all hilariously stilted and weird, even coming from notably excellent actors. Characters are so badly written and shot that it’s easy to forget they even exist when they’re not in frame.
Plus, the coverage and camera choices are baffling. Frequently the person speaking will be blocked or half out of frame. Important plot points are delivered off-screen as if hastily added as an afterthought (“The dog has died!”) and then never brought up again. Sometimes the camera will do these long, 360deg tracking shots with literally zero motivation. Nothing is happening that the camera is capturing. Maybe the cinematographer wanted to spice things up, after being sick of shooting the entire thing in mid/closeup.
There’s several shots that just slowly track or zoom into nothing! Three characters talking and the camera just drifts off to empty sky like it can’t be fucked paying attention to them. And why would it? The idea of a beach that makes you old is hilariously dumb in its own right, and the “explanations” never add up to anything.
People rapidly aging—the entire premise of them movie—is wildly inconsistent. Two six year olds rapidly mature into teens, get pregnant and have the child (yes, it’s a weird and gross as it sounds because they’re mentally still basically six) before one man who has been on The Beach That Makes You Old for hours ahead of them even shows a single wrinkle. Oh, and then the baby dies a minute later and is dust by nightfall. Note again that this happens to someone that was literally a child themself barely six hours earlier. Old seems to think hiding people off camera is a clever way to disguise their changes, but all it does is make for a confusing, disjointed mess. The only saving grace is that it’s so bad that it becomes fascinating.
Maybe they could have improved things by having the twist (because of course there’s a twist) be interwoven throughout, ala Cabin in the Woods, but really that’s just putting a bandaid on a whole pile of bandaids. The idea that the beach is inescapable begs the question: well then how do people know it exists?
But asking questions of Old just opens the floodgates of questions on questions on questions. Why doesn’t their food rot immediately? Is the kid autistic? Does he just grow out of it, then? Wouldn’t the rush of hormones into a teenager’s body cause hair to spring up everywhere? How does a cop on holiday somehow mount an international investigation based on some random book he’s given? What happens to the survivors, who have now had 50 years of life taken from them and have to reintegrate into the world with no identification, record of their existence, and what are functionally and experientially the minds of children? How does M Knight get reputable actors to be in this insane trash?
It also continues the tradition of Shyamalan casting himself as an important genius in his own films. It’s really hard to tell if he genuinely thinks he’s making something clever, or if this was just an excuse to write off a trip to the Dominican Republic during the pandemic.
Falls firmly into the category of awful films that are incredibly entertaining for being grossly incompetent at everything they set out to do. A perfect movie to drunk-watch and heckle your outrage at with mates.
Finding this post-cancellation was a damn shame, since it fairly abruptly comes to an end while it has so many balls still up in the air.
As a comedy, it’s perfectly written. There’s an expert balance with saccharine tone and dark subject matter that really works here — it’s a champion of the “yes, and” ethos in that it’s continually building off itself and reintegrating throwaway gags into the overall plot.
But, as mentioned, it died an unceremonious Netflix death while it still had a comfortable season or two worth of steam left in it, which is a damn shame. Not a lot of shows manage this level of sharp dialogue without feeling overwritten or trying too hard.
The practical effects are horrifyingly over the top, but it’s all anchored by Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant’s brilliant comedic timing (the whole remainder of the cast is pitch perfect too).
If you can handle the fact that it doesn’t have a satisfying conclusion, this is a really fun one and well worth your time.
Everything on show is bigger, wilder, more ambitious… and dammit if they didn’t manage to pull it off. It’s crazy that they can put together what is essentially an entire season of mid-budget movies and not have the thing collapse into itself like a dead star.
Of course, the performances and production design do a lot of heavy lifting, along with some incredible VFX and makeup work.
It’s always worn its influences on its sleeve, but more than any other point in its run, it really feels like its cohering into something more than just slick aesthetics and a stack of well-executed homages. Finally, it’s leaning confidently into itself, and is all the better for it.
If you like the show but thought the last two seasons were lacking somewhat in direction and growth: good news! It’s great.
There’s not a lot to say, really. It takes a leaf from Stranger Things (literally, if you factor Finn Wolfhard’s casting) by putting the focus on kids chasing a supernatural mystery.
It’s most interesting when it’s doing this, and kinda loses steam in the back half when it more or less becomes a beat-for-beat recreation of the original film, but with a few creative spins.
It’s weird to think of “how tasteful is the fan-service?” as common consideration in modern filmmaking, but here we are. And it’s fine. Lots of callbacks and cameos and references, nothing too egregious or eye-rolly.
Perfectly servicable legacy-quel, and not much more. Worth a watch, don’t think about it too much.
Unsettling A24 folk-horror, with fantastic production value and a third act that will split audiences entirely in half with how little it decides to explain itself.
Thematically, it’s very plainly about the abuses that men visit upon women and how they trap them, but it’s how it refracts this idea into vague abstractions and the supernatural that make it symbolic, creepy and grotesque.
There’s a good deal of confronting imagery, a bunch of body horror, plus depictions of stalking, gaslighting and psychological/emotional abuse that will turn a lot of people off immediately.
It’s confusing and oblique, while also being very direct and almost literal. An extremely subjective movie that I enjoyed a lot, and will spend a while trying to entangle exactly what the fuck happened.
Messy and weird, with Sam Raimi’s fingerprints all over it.
Yep, Marvel finally actually let a director push out against the edges of its age rating. It’s got weird camera angles, honest-to-goodness horror, and actual gore! This is absolutey the least kid-friendly of any MCU—at times genuinely disturbing and frightening.
At its best when it’s at its most Raimi. Some really fun and creative sequences, mostly packed into the back half. Suffers from some pretty blunt exposition and clunky dialogue, but it’s aiming right for that sweet spot of hammy and cheesy, and mostly lands. It’s kinda schlocky!
As a multiverse film it’s… surprisingly underwhelming? But coming off the back of the absolutely exceptional masterpiece that is Everything Everywhere All At Once, any multiverse film is going to feel lacking. There’s the usual rollout of Marvel cameos and teases, but here it doesn’t feel so much like an obligatory setup for the next set of films as it does an excuse for some ridiculously violent action sequences spiced up with fan service. Honestly, I wasn’t blown away by the four or five big cameo appearances (beware spoilers online!), but it also didn’t feel like it was trying to drop them as gotchas so I kind of appreciated that. Ends up meaning far less for the MCU going forward than I was expecting, but that’s actually good?
Overall, a big fun carnival ride. It’s different enough from standard superhero fare, while also feeling like a distinctly superhero film. Danny Elfman’s score really elevates it into this too, and there’s a few sequences with really fun use of music in the action.
Deviation from MCU norms mean that it won’t be for everyone, but those out-there moments are when it really shines. I’m curious to know how successful it’ll be, given the focus on horror elements, and I’m glad they actually took a chance in this direction for once.