Monthly Archives: October 2010

Movie Review Saw 3D

by Dan Fields
First published October 30, 2010 by the California Literary Review

I get it. It’s a clip show.

Saw 3D was one blow to my Halloween spirit I would sooner not have taken.

Let me say off the bat that they sent the wrong guy to this movie. Your enjoyment of it presumably hinges on your appreciation of prior Saw installments, and the series never made a fan of me. However, when the franchise took off I did watch the first two films a couple of times each, searching for hidden dimensions that I had initially missed. Instead, I found that the story actually loses depth with successive viewings. After that, the series got so convoluted and ridiculous that I only glanced at parts three through six with half an eye and ear – no grisly wordplay intended, I assure you.
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Movie Review: Paranormal Activity 2

by Dan Fields
First published October 23, 2010 by the California Literary Review

Demons: “They’re just, like… evil.”

If you are investigating Paranormal Activity 2, either as an audience member or simply a reader of reviews, you probably exposed yourself to the original Paranormal Activity, a monumental disappointment made in 2007 and unleashed on most of America during the summer and fall of 2009. There are two ways to look at a franchise like this. The first is to wonder why audiences keep falling for the “scariest movie ever made” marketing campaign. The less cynical (and probably more correct) attitude is to consider the appeal of getting a bunch of friends together to act rowdy and ridicule a film like this. The audience seems to be in on the joke, but I don’t think the makers of the movie are. I think they sincerely intended this film to be taut, edgy, and full of terror.

The director establishes the familiar false documentary format with home videos of a family moving into their new home. Meet Kristi, the sister of poor Katie from the first Paranormal Activity. She has a lovely house, a clean-cut teenage stepdaughter, a generally inoffensive dork of a husband, a faithful German Shepherd, and a sweet new baby boy named Hunter. It’s the modern, upper middle class ideal family, perhaps like the ones in your own neighborhood. We know these are real, ordinary people because they talk and act just like real, ordinary people, not like carefully written movie characters. Because that’s interesting, right? Wrong. People trying hard to act like regular people is boring and stupid. There, I’ve said it. It was the biggest failing of the first Paranormal Activity, and it doesn’t help here.
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Movie Review: Let Me In

by Dan Fields
First published October 02, 2010 by the California Literary Review

Embrace the monster, baby.

Legendary horror studio Hammer Films is back from the dead and going strong. After many dormant years, the British motion picture company that made stars of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing is back in the business of feature films. Fittingly, one of its first major projects is a vampire film, though not the same sort they used to make. A remake of the Swedish novel and film Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In), Hammer’s Let Me In is a touching and rather sad tale of how a brutal world makes monsters of ordinary people.
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