11 October 1999 | Old_Abe
Late Night Surprise -- Suspense!
I couldn't stop watching this movie, though it was far past my bedtime.
Comparisons to Hitchcock are deserved -- this thing really plays with you. It walks a wonderful line between real, immediate suspense and a dark, distancing humor. Like many of Hitch's heroes, our doe-eyed mute witness has innocently stumbled into something truly horrific -- and we are taken on quite a ride with her, at turns identifying totally and feeling her fear, at turns watching in thrilling suspense as she is placed further in jeopardy.
The filmmakers have put in a lot of tender care in working this out. Right from the opening shots, they engage and challenge you to determine what is real and what is fabrication; who is to be trusted and who is a monster. The plot twists and turns unpredictably. Suspense is created with a combination of carefully chosen camerawork, imagery, music -- but most simply THE EYES of the characters, which sends raw fear right into you.
A warning: there is some frighteningly real gore, as well as some nudity. The horror scenes are done in an emotional way that make them far more scary and disturbing than in any teenage-slasher pic.
And a teen-slasher pic it AIN'T. The characters are quirky and feel like real people, for one thing -- a couple (including the heroine) you may even find endearing as I did. There will be no mistake you're watching a movie made for grown-ups. I mean, Alec Guinness is in it, briefly, and you know he didn't NEED the work!
Pop this in the VCR some night when you can't sleep. . . and don't want to, yet.