Rating: R, Time: 1hr 28min, Director: Fede Alvarez, Cast on IMDb
So how suspenseful was it?
I think overall they did a good job of developing the creepiness of breaking into a house only to be barricaded in the same house. It's a classic turn of events where the villains become the villains. It reminded me of the scene in Pulp Fiction where the bank robbers are confronted with hard-core mafia hit men. These kids break in and find the best prepared villain they ever faced. It's great in that in today's world generally old guys and the blind aren't respected. Here they turn the tables to show how badass a blind Iraqi vet could be. Of course, this film would really freak out some young kids of 15-17 years old.
Did they develop the characters well?
The development of the kids is really well done. It leads into why they become criminals being from all types of broken homes except one kid that is hanging around the wrong kid. Now they are ready for one last job that ups the stakes in their criminal experience. The best of the gang is Money (Daniel Zovatto) with his really undereducated and obvious D/F grades type of kid comes across. He is basically the ring leader of the whole gang. It's a real shame he gets taken out early in the film, of course you have to start somewhere. Plus to take out the ring leader really shows how far the tables have turned the gang to victims. The friend of the gang comes off a bit meak, but that is his character.
What did you think of the villain?
For the villain, they use some simple photos and basic explanation. They possibly could have snuck some more back story here before the chase begins, but probably wouldn't make sense since the kids are there to case the joint only. The house is like the third character as it really shows the paranoia of a war vet especially being blind and having all kinds of locked doors and secrets hidden away. Another character makes an appearance, which really heightens the plot and the craziness of the lead villain with his long history. It exposes a truth in life that the long-game always beats the short-game. Also the loss of his daughter humanizes the villain and his vindictive nature, which flows together with his life as a former vet. Although Stephan Lang plays this character well, he's even better in Avatar as Colonel Miles Quaritz. It's nice to reuse him in this take on an Iraqi vet, as it connects to all we feel for him in Avatar --- one bad ass mother fucker.
Colonel Miles in Avatar
Any elements to improve?
Well, as the villain as blind his senses of sound, movement and smell are heightened, which he uses to great effect about half way through the movie as the characters move around in absolute darkness. He did have a bit of the smell incorporated as the villain finds their shoes at some point. The question would be how to film the smells, which he likely would have sensed. I suppose the director could have used colored air, but it would have been hokey using that if it isn't a cute fantasy film.
Any plot holes?
Well for the uncovered victim in the house, there was no toilet downstairs, so that is kind of an issue. Of course, since there is never a scene involving a toilet, you can overlook that flaw.
Anything really annoying about the film?
If you go see it, right before the movie starts there is a scene of the director thanking the audience to come to the movies for his film with some scenes of making the film. It rings a bit desperate, probably from the cinema theatres insisting on it. The worst part is in the background he is showing how he made the movie. Luckily, I figured this out quick and closed my eyes to avoid seeing how they made the film. This is what you put in a DVD after NOT in the film. I would make sure you close your eyes to avoid this ruining of the film as it unwinds the suspense. He could have just done it in the house maybe. It's a big flaw in my mind.
As far as the issue he is addressing, that crowds are watching movies in theatres less and less, the reality is true. However, it really is the fault of movie houses not competing with the HD quality TVs we all have nowadays. These guys need to make EVERY cinema in IMAX quality, top sound and better food offerings. Additionally, they need to make the price maybe $4 to compete. In the old days, say as late as the 1990s, you could pack in a movie theatre and make all the money on the popcorn and cokes. By overcharging and having slightly better than TV experience they will continue to lose. All these theatres need to have massive screens, 60 MM film, mostly 3D, top sound etc to compete with today's sound system.
Do you plan to make any painting related to this film?
Although I think this is a fun suspense film, it's not really a classic. If I ever did a horror film, maybe Omen, Day of the Dead or some film like that. This film is a good, fun suspense film though; good for once a time viewing. The only type of horror I have even thought of is around the Halocaust and Victor Frankl. He survived the Halocaust be constantly writing his book in secret at the camps even though the Nazis destroyed it 2-3 times.
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