Tuesday, 10 July 2018
Cthulhu You Think You Are?
Directed by Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead
Arrow Blu Ray Zone 2
Okay so... this is a movie I’m watching that’s technically an extra from the film I actually bought. I wanted to see this new horror movie called The Endless because the trailer looked good and I knew Arrow were bringing out this limited edition set the day after its, almost impossible to see, cinema release. Well, looks like I made a good call on that one because the set sold out on its initial run (I think before it even got to some customers... they may be repressing, which of course completely kills the point of having it as a limited edition in the first place) and it turns out there’s an older film by the two directors included as part of this set called Resolution.
Then I found out that the film, although The Endless is not technically a sequel, shares two characters played by the directors in that the two leads of The Endless are seen for about a minute as the same people in Resolution. So, yeah, I say it’s technically not a sequel but, frankly, any movie which shares a character is a direct sequel as far as I’m concerned (which is why Scream 3 should be called Jay and Silent Bob 6).
Anyway, I wanted to watch these things in order and so I gave this one a spin and... you know what... I’m still not 100% sure how I feel about it.
I looked on the IMDB after I’d seen it to try and gauge the reaction and it seems to range from 1 star reviews calling it the worst film ever to 5 star reviews calling it a masterpiece. I don’t think it’s either of those things but the fact that I’m still thinking about it a day after means I probably kinda liked it, I guess. It also allows me to feel happy that I wouldn’t resort to giving anything a ‘star rating’ because, you know, what would even be the point of writing a review if you’re going to kill it off with a hierarchical rating system.
I think the main reason this film works is because of the chemistry between the two lead characters/actors... Mike (played by Peter Cilella) and Chris (played by Vinny Curran). And, apparently, these two characters also turn up in some capacity in The Endless too... although whether it’s just repeat footage from this film or something else is not a question I can answer yet (I’ll hopefully watch it sometime this week). These two seem to go great together and the writing is of a quality that it all just works... at least in terms of these two.
The plot set up is very simple. Chris the artist has managed to alienate himself from all of his friends and is slowly killing himself with drugs in a patch of desert land on an Indian reservation. Mike is sent a video of him in this state and drives out to try and get him to go into rehab. When he doesn’t, Mike tasers him (done for real, apparently, at the insistence of the actor) and handcuffs him to the radiator for a week, staying with him at his dubiously acquired shack as he goes cold turkey. However, as the week goes by, an unusual trail of artefacts start showing up which initially show some kind of strange, cultish rituals before things get a little closer to home in what they’re depicting such as an old, dusty, unearthed record (possibly a 78 RPM by the looks of it) which has a distorted conversation of it on there... which only took place a day or so before between Mike and Chris.
It’s intriguing and it almost made me forget that the movie doesn’t have a musical score, for a while. Time passes very slowly and... you do kind of feel that to a degree (the person I was watching this with couldn’t make it past the 20 minute mark before he wandered off to do something else) but it kind of holds together due to the fact that the two lead characters are fairly likeable. Also, it’s got one of those ‘almost but not quite subtle’ hand held camera things going on where almost every frame is moving but, often only a little bit in reaction to things going on in the screen (which television has been doing for a while now and which has almost become a cliché in itself). Although a cameo scene from Bill Oberst Jr. as a somewhat sobering character called Byron seems to call for a rock solid, unshakeable attention from the camera in order to make one clever(ish) shot with a mirror work better.
I think it would be true to say that the dynamic between the two characters and their possible descent into madness brought on by supernatural shenanigans could be called a trifle Lovecraftian and certainly, as far as I’m concerned (although this movie is way open to different interpretations) the film gets a little Cthulhu like in its denouement... if denouement is not too strong a word for the final sequence in this movie.
Also, there are a fair few times where the media we are watching this on kind of jiggles around and has little glitches which brings into question the whole nature of the reality of the thing we are watching and, combined with some of the stuff which shows up on Mike’s laptop in the last third of the picture, certainly gave me cause to think of the camera itself as maybe being a camera-eye version of one of H. P Lovecraft’s Ancient Ones. One almost wonders if one of the books that Mike finds is a battered, old copy of the Necronomicon.
At the end of the day, Resolution is not an earth shatteringly great movie and, neither is it that scary but, putting some of the clichés of the way the media relates to the found artefacts aside, it is a kind of thought provoking scenario, at least in the sense that it doesn’t try and dish out a specific set of answers to the questions it keeps asking. I would say, however, that the idea that Mike does not want to leave danger and almost certain death and go home to his wife at one point is kinda silly when the video email that he received at home is obviously already part of the events that have been set in motion. It’s already at your door, man... not going home won’t stop it from including your wife in events. That being said, it’s the kind of poor logic that doesn’t stop the movie from staying credible within its own set of rules... you just have to figure out what those rules might be as you go along.
So, not the best movie I’ve seen but certainly something I’ll be thinking about for a while and, hooray, now I can watch The Endless (which is something I’ll hopefully be reviewing on here sometime in the next couple of weeks).