Sunday, February 19, 2006

A little more optimism

Some more theatre I'll be able to see in London that occurred to me last night: The Cut, the world premiere of Mark Ravenhill's new play starring Sir Ian McKellen. The revival of Phaedra with Claire Higgins. And last but by no means least, the upcoming revival of Hay Fever starring the one, the only, Dame Judi Dench. Still responsible for the greatest night I've ever spent in the theatre with the final London performance of Amy's View, I'd go see her read the ingredients off of a soup tin.

Also, I finally got around to watching Wolf Creek the other night. I absolutely love horror movies and the recent crop (House Of Wax, Hide & Seek, The Descent, Switchblade Romance et al) have really been underwhelming and the upcoming remake avalanche (When A Stranger Calls, The Hills Have Eyes, The Omen 666, The Wicker Man, Black Christmas and so on) don't really fill me with much hope either. But the reviews that Wolf Creek received made me think this could be a really fabulous creepy movie. Meh.

It puts its foot wrong from the very beginning by saying it's "based on actual events". Poor choice of wording when even the most cursory glance over those events reveals that the film bears not even the slightest resemblance to any of them. A more accurate term would be "inspired by". But that's by the by. Point is, the first half of the film following the three soon to be horribly killed backpackers around is boring, and the second half with them being horribly killed (well, one survives), is truly unpleasant and difficult to watch, but it's never frightening. There was just something that didn't quite work about the film, and I don't quite know what it was. But what I do know is I lost ALL patience with the two female backpackers. See, one of them is quite resourceful and distracts the psycho killer by setting fire to a car in the yard. Well done. Then she sneaks in to where he's torturing the other girl and attempts a rescue. Smart girl. When Nasty Killer Man returns, she grabs a rifle and shoots him. The bullet grazes his neck, making him bleed but CLEARLY not killing him, though for some reason he is knocked unconscious. She goes to shoot him again but there's only one bullet in the gun. So after ineffectually hitting him between the shoulders they attempt an escape. It doesn't work, he kills them both. And while he's doing that, the male backpacker awakes and escapes. Now, why did I lose patience with the girls? Well instead of one half hearted swipe to the shoulders, wouldn't you, oh I don't know, smack him with the butt of the rifle until his head was hamburger? Or perhaps get one of the many knives laying around and slit his throat with it? But no, they steal a car (not even running him over with it) and when he gives chase, pretend to have driven over a cliff. And then they wonder why he kills them.

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