Flip Through

Monday, June 15, 2009

The good, the bad, and...well, there's just the two today

The Good:
Drag Me To Hell, Sam Raimi's new flick, is good. Seriously good. Not as good as the Evil Dead trilogy (because really, what is?), but leagues better than, say, Spider-Man 3. The Chin does not make an appearance, but that sweet Oldsmobile does, and who can possibly complain about an ancient Gyspy crone cursing Alison Lohman's cute little blonde Aryan self? Justin Long is charming as always, and it's frankly nice to see a caring, devoted, trustworthy boyfriend in a horror film, isn't it? Furthermore, as in the case of Ash, Lohman's character reaches a certain point in her harrowing now-demon-cursed life where the getting flung around the kitchen and being used as a teething ring by said ancient Gypsy crone just becomes TOO MUCH--as, I venture, it would in reality--and she starts fighting back (hint: it involves a kitten!). And therein lies the glory of Raimi's films: they push the hero/ine so far that eventually the character becomes, not quite a villain, but an anti-hero/ine. Watching this movie, half of you wants Lohman to escape the curse and the other half is almost glad when she does get dragged to Hell, and that's reality for you; how far can the survival instinct go before the person trying to survive turns into a self-serving asshole and slaughters kittens, debates whether or not to curse a dying old man with a nebulizer, robs graves? Drag Me To Hell, like most of Raimi's horror films, examines the line between physical and spiritual/personal preservation.
The Bad:
Terminator Salvation, the newest installment in the Ah-nuld robot vehicle, is bad. Really bad. And what's worse is that it has potential, but staunchly refuses to exploit it. I went in expecting that Marcus, the cyborg character, would be the fulcrum of the story, the turning point of the war between the machines and the humans--plainly, the future: that the film would acknowledge humanity's debt to and reliance on machines, and would find a workable future in hybridization. Nope! Instead, the movie may be summed up as "the difference between us and the machines is the beating of the human heart" (and if you want to hear that in Christian Bale's Batman voice, so much the better). Backward! Hypocritical! In short, so ten years ago. Salvation is a sad entry into the Terminator canon, marginally better than T3 but so much less than the first two. Skip it and reread Donna Haraway's "Cyborg Manifesto" instead.
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