A Ghost Story (2017)

Sheet happens…

In an exploration of legacy, love, loss and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased white sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try and reconnect with his bereft wife.

Raise your hands if you love A24! raises both hands, amen!

The studio famously behind such personal favourites; The Witch, Ex Machina, Green Room, It Comes At Night, The Monster have released yet another stunner with, A Ghost Story. David Lowery reunites with Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara for his poignant, yet curiously haunting tale which comes from the perspective of a ghost. This definitely will not be for everyone’s taste. It is film that demands great patience and an open mind. It’s a piece that requires no thought, but instead an almost Zen like state of mind.

A Ghost Story is so god damn beautiful. The cinematography gracefully floats this way and that way, whilst the atmosphere holds a sense cosmic lyricism. Lowery’s depiction of what happens after we die is achingly sad, his expression of what life, love, loss and time means is an inventive and artistic expression that leaves you feeling emotionally devastated. In what feels like a very personal film, Lowery angles the film at a voyeuristic approach. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara share such an incredible screen presence and chemistry between each other, at times I felt like I was intruding on a private moment between the two.

With its tongue in cheek Halloween costume approach, A Ghost Story is an ethereal piece that is original, profound, and good… it is devastatingly good… you just have to let yourself sink into the story.

8.0 / 10

“What is it you like about this house so much?”
“History”

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The Orphanage (2007)

 

Creer esta viendo…

A woman (Belen Rueda) brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

Stepping back into 2007, J.A Bayona delivered an exceptional directorial debut with producing partner Guillermo Del Toro with the Spanish chiller, The Orphanage.

What could only be deemed as a beautifully crafted haunted house horror The Orphanage is a merited cult classic that is genuinely chilling, exceptionally detailed and most importantly a clever script that delves not only into spooks but into the real terrors of loss, bereavement and parental responsibility. Not only is the script remarkable, but the cinematography is gracefully breathtaking and the movie is soaked in a constant rich tense atmosphere.

Belen Rueda is riveting here and while constantly dealing with her ghosts that are both literal and figurative, Rueda always seem to be on the edge of an emotional breakdown.

The Orphanage is an emotional horror that surely packs a punch in its final act. It has all the clichés there, but Bayona handles them with such care and elegance that at its core this haunting ghost story is not only beautiful but tremendously sad.

 7.5 / 10

“Seeing is not believing. It’s the other way around. Believe, and you will see”

Personal Shopper (2017)

New ghost, who dis?

A personal shopper (Kristen Stewart) in Paris refuses to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text messages.

Olivier Assayas teams up with Kristen Stewart again in poignant supernatural drama, that is both stylish and mysterious. Personal Shopper is a slow burner, a delicate tale of grief and just how vulnerable we become in those moments.

Kristen Stewart is a dream here, no doubt her finest performance yet. Her on screen presence is mesmerising, intimate and handled with such grace.

Personal Shopper is a moody piece, with a narrative never fully explained. The audience is left with more questions than answers. It’s certainly ambiguous and the tone shifts rather back and forth from horror, psychological thriller to family drama, but the essence of the film is rather a soft old fashioned ghost story, that plays out to be hauntingly beautiful.

At times Personal Shopper can feel frustratingly slow and horror buffs looking for your usual thrills may leave disappointed, but for those you can allow themselves to sink into this aching story will be pleasantly treated. Just don’t expect any answers.

6.5 / 10

“So we made this oath… Whoever died first would send the other a sign”

I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House (2016)

Wordy title? Check. Slow story? Check. Broody literary atmosphere? Check. Check. Check!

A neurotic young nurse Lily (Ruth Wilson), takes care of an elderly horror novelist Iris Bloom who lives in an eerily haunted house.

Oz Perkins, son of horror icon Anthony Perkins, comes through with his very atmospheric sophomore film, I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House. A beautifully made elegant thriller which thrives on moody texture in its retro setting. The Pretty Thing has an air of old romanticism to its story, undoubtedly due to it alluring poetic nature that evokes a dreamlike manner.

A distinct literary voice runs throughout, setting a mouldy beyond the grave like tone which is matched with a unique style of graceful cinematography. The eerily framed scenes prolong extreme unease causing this gothic chiller to feel like a poetic nightmare.

The film may be too unusual for casual film goers and horror buffs seeking traditional scares may very quickly run out of patience as the film is an exceptionally slow burner. Unlike any other ghost story though, this has a unique rhythm and if you let yourself get carried away you are transported into a haunting ghost story that is ultimately rewarding.

Ruth Wilson (Lily) is a dream here, her performance resembles a 1950’s neurotic housewife, babbling to herself at moments of tension. The Pretty Thing is spectacularly moody, this ghost story within a ghost story may not be pleasing to everyone but its final primal scream alone is worthy of an audience.

6.5 / 10

“The pretty thing you are looking at is me”

Poltergeist (2015)


Poltergeist is a poor and unnecessary remake, eager to jump on an established brand of the cult classic from 1982. This bloodless horror lacks creativity and originality and overkills it with CGI.

A family whose new suburban home is haunted by evil forces must come together to rescue their youngest daughter after the spectral creatures snatch her.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it… Was anyone actually asking for a Poltergeist remake? For the Director, Gil Kenan, it’s an unfortunate tumble into the Hollywood system of regurgitating classic films, and spitting back up something foul. At no point do you feel the people behind this film are there for artistic passion or creative drive. Kenan’s previous animated children’s horror, Monster House, has more heart and spooks then the latter.

It is a bold move to take on one of the pioneering horror gems, and the always ill-fated remake falls flat. Nothing feels fresh or new, the only exception is that they’ve adapted the story to embrace the use of technology for todays tech savvy generation. The original details are kept, but no new mythology is established. The unimaginative excessive use of CGI also detracts from forming any real build up of fear for the story or characters. Everything feels just a little too tame, the characters are far too passive once realising the youngest has been taken, their blasé attitudes create a lifeless and rushed ending.

Even, the magnetic appeal of Sam Rockwell can’t save this script.

Poltergeist is a dull unwarranted remake. The best thing that can come out of this movie is directing a new generation to the original cult classic.

2.0 / 10

“This house is cleaned!”