REVIEW: Lady in the Water (2006)


Lady in the Water: F

At first, after seeing all the trailers and being brainwashed by marketing, I thought this was going to be the “Death of a Salesman” of fantasy-horror movies where some archetype-defying low-man (played by a great actor) is the unlikely hero, and the genre is forever affected, but I was wrong as fuck. Instead, we get typical M. Night Shyamalan with his signature “twist” in the final act. This movie is just another tragic point along the director’s steep decline.

I always like the trailers for this guy’s movies and I am usually intrigued during the first fifteen minutes or so, but then everything falls apart. His movies remind me of a five course meal gone wrong. The appetizers are always good as hell and get your hopes up, but then later, he takes the lid off of a dogshit casserole that he spent the whole night disguising as prime rib, even though it smelled like shit for most of the night and all the guests KNEW they would be eating shit. Then while you are sitting there bloated and sick, feeling worse than you’ve ever felt in your life, for dessert, he dumps melted ice cream in your lap while flipping you off.

There are some neat camera angles I guess. I don’t know. I’m trying to think of something redeeming about this movie. Sure, Giamatti is a good actor, but that just makes it even more painful to watch this guy try to sincerely deliver this garbage movie he’s stuck in. I wonder if his agent called him and was like “it’s going to be like The Neverending Story except it’s going to suck really bad” and Giamatti was all “finally! A challenge worthy of my skills!”

I want to give Shyamalan some credit for being ambitious, but the movie was too hideous and ridiculous. I think maybe he was trying to make parts of it overly-simple or silly to give it a “fairy tale” vibe, but he is inconsistent with this; just when you start to think he is committed to a simple “fable,” the plot gets so sloppy that it was a challenge to watch the whole thing.

There are lots of characters, but not a single lovable one. Avoid at all costs.

REVIEW: Devil (2010)


Devil: D-

The old lady is the Devil. There. Now you don’t have to watch this movie.

This long stupid monotonous movie is about a group of people trapped in an elevator. One of the people in there (it’s the old lady) is the Devil and everyone is wondering who it is. The premise isn’t awful; if this movie was distilled down to  Twilight Zone episode or a chapter in an anthology movie, it would probably be good, but as it is, it is too drawn-out and repetitive. At times, it reminded me of Cube, what with all the claustrophobia and paranoia, but those were only flashes in a very boring pan; weirdly, this premise/atmosphere is never developed. The movie relies on jump-scares instead of any actual story or horror.

The suspense is spread too thin and it just doesn’t work. Once this thing gets rolling, you are literally just waiting for the next jump-scare. Look, I really want to stress this: it’s the old lady. She’s behind all the killing. She’s the Devil. That’s the whole twist. I wish someone would have just told me that before I watched it.

I’m trying very hard to think of a movie version of the Devil that I liked less than this one who hangs out in an elevator (disguised as the old lady) killing people when the lights go out, but I’m having a rough time. All that comes to mind is Elizabeth Hurley in Bedazzled, but I think she was probably better. George Burns was better.

There’s this part where the “wise elder” character points out to the audience that “sometimes [the Devil] tortures the damned on Earth before claiming them.” For some reason, there are also about a dozen other arbitrary rules that the Devil must operate under like only attacking in the darkness. This is a pretty painful 80 minutes of exposition interrupted by jump-scares. I’m just glad they didn’t find any ancient scrolls or whatever.

The token Shyamalanian “twist” at the end is there, but I doubt you’ll care (not just because you know that old lady is the Devil; I didn’t, and I did not care one fucking bit).