FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Dec 28, 2006

I can keep a theecret

If you read my little random facts about me that you probably don't care about but I feel the need to write something profile over there to the right, you'll see that I've admitted to wearing my favorite clothes until they literally fall apart. Trust me, I didn't write that in some sort of misguided attempt to make you think I'm cool- I know you already think I'm wicked fuckin' mega-cool, right? Right? Yes. Well then. No, I wrote that little chestnut because it's absolutely true. It's ok- I draw the line at wearing clothes outside of the house with holes in them. I mean, I'm not exactly ready to cross over into full-on vagabond mode, although I do carry my possessions tied up in a bandanna on a long stick in lieu of a purse. When I get hold of a shirt or sweater I like, though, it'll take nearly total garment disintegration to pry it from my hands. Frayed collars, frayed cuffs...they're comforting, what can I say?

There are some movies out there that are the cinematic equivalent of those threadbare t-shirts. They're not great or anything I'd trot out if I wanted to impress someone, but they're familiar and comforting...and dammit, I know they're not good but I like 'em anyway. I'm not talking about movies that are so-bad-they're-good...I'm talking about movies you've seen 800 times before with slight variations in character, setting, and circumstance. I'm talking about movies that adhere to a formula but you don't mind so much because you like the formula to begin with.

This is exactly the case with the Korean flick Nightmare (aka Gawi, 2000), a movie that could easily be the result of a night of sweet sweet romantic lovemaking between I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Ring. In a nutshell:

1) Friends have secret! They done did a bad, bad thing and someone ended up dead.

2) Dead person comes back to kill friends! Dead person has long black hair. Dead person pops up unexpectedly and acts all starey.

"Oooooohhh! I am a totally new screen sensation unlike anything you've ever seen before!"

Voila! How many times have we seen this plot played out? A gazillion, at the least. In don't quote me on this, but I'm totally 100% sure that the friends kill someone by accident but decide to keep it a secret and then the dead person comes back for revenge idea was first brought to life in It Happened One Night, way back in 1934. I'm just going by the title, of course, but what else could that movie possibly be about? See? It's a veritable chestnut of a plot! Timeless!

The point is, there's absolutely nothing in Nightmare that won't be completely familiar to you. I mean nothing. No, really, nothing. It's all been done before, often much, much better. Did I enjoy watching the movie? Well, yeah, I most certainly did. It's a supernatural slasher flick that's got competent direction and more-than-competent acting. What's not to like? Perhaps only the fact that it treads absolutely zero new ground...

I won't much remember it beyond the time it takes me to write this review, but spending 90 minutes with Nightmare was...enjoyable. Nothing more, nothing less. I simply happen to enjoy movies wherein people do foolish things in an attempt to cover-up a crime and their secret comes back to bite 'em in the ass. It's a weakness, I admit it. It's like midget porn...I just can't seem to control myself.

There's a few almost-creepy moments (yeah, "almost-creepy" is about as creepy as it got) and the kills are surprisingly bloody. Though they're not really worth the wait, the last moments of the film are the best moments of the film. I must say, however, that the film does have what I'm pretty sure is The Most Beautiful Female Cast in Any Movie Ever (that needs to be capitalized because, well, all the women in this movie were...uh, sort of retardedly beautiful). Still, though, I can't really recommend you seek this movie out or make an effort to catch it. Unless maybe you're like me, and you've got frayed cuffs. I give it 4 out of 10 I'd rate it higher because I liked it but I know it's such a total retread and if I rated it higher and people sought it out because of the higher rating then they'd get all mad and be like "Hey, what the fuck? That movie was a total retread!" maybe I should just rate it a 4 but really a secret 6.5 out of 10s.


Anonymous said...

Being a Frank Capra fan, I'm glad someone of your stature in cinema criticism has the BALLS to publicly appreciate his entry in the accidental killing/deliberate vengeance sub-genre of horror. Claudette Colbert's hysterical emotional breakdown after an increasingly intense series of paranoid and guilt-ridden episodes, culminating in her hallucinogenic roadside striptease is practically a blueprint for Jennifer Love Hewitt's character arc in IKWYDLS.
But all people want to talk about is "Capra corn!"
The man was an unprecedented suspense genius!

Stacie Ponder said...

I liked best the part where we all thought Claudette Colbert killed Clark Gable and she put down the knife but then he surprisingly got back up and came after her and there she was without a weapon! I swear, the theatre was FULL of people all like "Bitch! He ain't dead! DOn't put that knife down!"