January 27, 2017

Count Down to Colette's Birthday: Horror in Foreign Countries

Well I've been horribly sick, how have you been? The only nice thing about being sick is catching up on movie watching! We watched a couple this past week that inspired this mishmash list. These horror movies seriously couldn't be further from each other in tone or subject matter, but they are all fantastic examples of what kind of horror we're missing out on by only watching movies that take place in familiar surroundings.

Under the Shadow: Atmospheric, set in 1988 Tehran, war and oppression looming over an effectively creepy haunting story, this movie caught us off guard with it's straight forward set up but it's unwaveringly good from start to finish. The filmmaker's use of social commentary adds to the tension in ways we will never (fingers crossed) experience first hand here, giving us unique perspective on what day-to-day life looks like in a war torn (and oppressive if you're female) country. It also gives interesting insight on what happens behind closed doors in polite company vs. with your friends and family while living in oppressive regimes. And it does all this while also being a genuinely creepy haunting movie. Seriously, I hope this perspective-changing haunting genre catches on because so far, I'm on board! 

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night: This one we'd seen before, but I've been listening to the soundtrack a ton lately (because it's one of our favorites of all time), so it makes the list! Unfortunately for me, the movie the soundtrack is attached to doesn't fit neatly into a description. Start with the fact that it's an American film set in Iran with everyone speaking farsi, add that writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour pays homage to every film genre under the sun (and does it exquisitely well), and the best way to describe this movie is that it's an arthouse vampire flick. But that doesn't really do it justice. There's nods to westerns, gangster movies, classic horror, it's a love story, it's very dark, entirely black and white, and it's gorgeous from start to finish. The film's uncatagorizable nature is also sewn directly into this movie, as Amirpour and star Sheila Vand are both Iranian-American and were very aware they were making neither an American or Iranian film, but a unique combination of the two. Inside and out, this is a singular movie and we love every single inch of it.

Train to Busan: I had no idea this was a zombie flick when we watched this one, and I'm glad I didn't because I might not have watched it at all. Zombie movies have become less exciting to me as the genre becomes more heavily focused on effects over social commentary. Not that I have anything against that balance per se, but it's not the balance I love in a zombie movie. But, in Train to Busan, interesting social commentary and relentless action share center stage making this movie refreshing and fantastic. Characters have interesting arcs, they're properly motivated, the deaths of their loved ones effect them all (not just a select few), they come together in ways that make sense; really it's a whole package zombie movie. The social commentary is also satisfyingly present and interesting (though, we can't help but wonder what we're missing because we don't know anything about South Korea's societal intricacies). Really, I can't remember the last time I watched a zombie movie with such a high body count that left me so thoroughly satisfied! Having said all that, PLEASE DON'T WATCH THE TRAILER! Partially because it's a poor representation of the film, but also because spoils some fun stuff. Just trust us, if you like fast-moving zombie movies*, check this one out.

*don't freak out, we also like slow moving zombie movies

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