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Dissecting The Director: Patrick Lussier

04.17.2012by: Marcey Papandrea
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"PATRICK LUSSIER"

Patrick Lussier is a true staple of the horror genre, not only is he a director but he is an editor and a writer. He has edited some of the most well known genre films, and more recently he has made a great splash with some classic 3D genre films. The man is genuine and he knows his stuff, there is a great appreciation from him to the genre and I do think it has truly benefited from having him as a part of it. I have been a big fan of Lussier's for a long time, his work as an editor is bar none fantastic. But how does he fare as a director? Let us take a look shall we?

BEST WORK


Get Drive Angry on DVD here
Get Drive Angry on Blu-ray here

I just want to go right ahead and introduce the film I believe is his best by simply stating … Nicolas Cage will DRIVE ANGRY! Isn't that just the best tag line? DRIVE ANGRY is an incredibly fun film; it mixes all these different elements together and some how they just seem to work.

This isn't a film to be taken seriously, it is a crazy and fun ride and you will not enjoy it if you take it seriously. Unfortunately the film didn't do too well at the Box Office, which is a shame. I don't think it was marketed correctly. It does pain me to see this happen with films that actually have a lot of effort in them and deserve it. DRIVE ANGRY has found a home on DVD and Blu-ray and it has certainly found an audience. Lussier tackled this with a lot of heart, co-writing it with the awesome Todd Farmer, the effort really shines through and I admire that a lot.

The film is a vengeance fuelled ride, with Nic Cage being the man filled with the rage. His daughter was killed and he is after the cult that did it and whom have also kidnapped his granddaughter. Along this journey he picks up Amber Heard (Why in the blue hell wouldn't he?) whilst being chased down by a mysterious 'Accountant' (William Fichtner). That is all you need to know plot wise, it is so much fun to watch this unravel and get engaged in the action.

The performances here are incredibly enjoyable, this is the Nic Cage we all love. He plays it perfectly and this is one of the better-written roles he has taken recently. Amber Heard really shines, I absolutely loved her in this role and she really brought it. Plus she looks amazing, and I couldn't take my eyes off her. The real star though is William Fichtner, he steals the show and his performance was easily one of the best of last year. I would have honestly nominated him for Best Supporting Actor awards.

Lussier really crafted something special with this, his direction was right on the mark and he did exactly what he set out to do. The scenes are crafted with such precision and there is a natural humor there as well. Honestly if you haven't seen this, you really must and indulge in the greatness of Lussier and if you have, re-watch this beast!

WORST WORK


Get Dracula II: Ascension on DVD here

Honestly even at his worst, Lussier is still pretty decent. Out of everything he has directed, his weakest his clearly DRACULA II: ASCENSION. I didn't like it as much as the rest of his work and it was missing that spark they all have. It is rather goofy at times and unbalanced, however it does have some cool ideas and there are some pretty good scenes.

This is a sequel to Lussier's DRACULA 2000, which like DRIVE ANGRY is such a great time and a pretty fresh take on Dracula. It had a great cast, and it told an interesting story. Unfortunately for this one, its cast was watered down and the story really didn't reach great heights despite the ideas. In the grand scheme of things, this is actually a decent direct to DVD sequel, and that surprised me. The third entry into the series DRACULA III: LEGACY kind of knew what this films problems were and tried to fix them and I enjoyed it a lot more.

This film picks up where the previous one left off and some medical students find Dracula's remains. Figuring out they have a vampire, they go about resurrecting him in order to study him. On their tail is a rather mysterious Priest, so what will happen? Watch the film and find out yo! The set up is pretty simple; I like how the students want to study the vampire and the consequences that follow. I just don't think there was enough meat there to fill it out and the more interesting part of the story (the Priest) was kept in the background.

The performances are pretty kooky; I wasn't a big fan of how most of the actors played it. The script was decent, so I don't think the blame can be fully attributed to that. I am just not sure the talent really meshed well with their director and those that did certainly came out on top. Jason Scott Lee, Diane Neal and Stephen Billington brought their A game and I enjoyed them a lot. As for Lussier, I think the man did a decent job in the director’s chair, and major props to the man for returning. One of the films biggest strengths is with its visuals and Lussier really paid close attention to those. The film looked bigger than it was, the man has a great eye for pulling that off. This one is a mixed bag, and while the beginning isn't too good it gets better and the pacing certainly comes together.

TRADEMARKS


Get My Bloody Valentine on DVD here
Get My Bloody Valentine on Blu-ray here

Lussier's bigger trademarks would be his writing and editing, he has written (or co-written) most of the films he has directed and also edited them. He has a great understanding of editing a film, and it only makes sense that he would put his own together and of course make it work. As an editor he has worked with Wes Craven, and having worked with the man on so many things, there is a hint of that Craven touch in what he does.

A great constant in his work is the structure of his films, and I think this can be attributed to that editor background. They have their clear-cut beginnings, middles and ends and the flow is generally very good as is the pacing. It never really falters from one film to the other and it is a strong element for him as a filmmaker. He has a very strong style, some scenes are quite memorable on every level and others have that strong visual flavour. Lussier knows how to suck an audience in and he really does that with his visuals, his films all look fantastic and there is always so much to look at and embrace.

Last but not least, Lussier knows fun and he puts a lot of that in his work. With DRIVE ANGRY and MY BLOODY VALENTINE, he knew exactly how to utilise the 3D and he did it. He knows what that gimmick is there for with the genre and he took it to a great level. Want things flying at you? Its there! Want big boobs in your face? Oh it is there!

HIDDEN GEM


Get White Noise 2: The Light on DVD here

I have to hand this honor to WHITE NOISE 2: THE LIGHT although I think I just want to refer to it as THE LIGHT. The film has nothing to do with the original WHITE NOISE (it is also a better film) and I think that title was only there for marketing reasons. The films are not related at all and THE LIGHT is a stand-alone.

I had heard the film was terrible, and thus I ended up avoiding it. It was only recently that I checked it out and it wasn't that bad at all, in fact it was a pretty good film! Sure it had problems but on the grand scale it was enjoyable and there was some heart there. It told an engaging story, it was great to look at and the performances were solid. Lussier certainly used his strengths to bring this film to life and where it sort of fails is on a script level and those issues could have easily been fixed.

This one sees Nathan Fillion as Abe a father whose wife and son get murdered by a man and then the man turns the gun on himself. Abe then tries to kill himself but survives and comes back with the power to see when people will die. He takes it upon himself to try and save them but there are consequences for his actions. This is kind of a FINAL DESTINATION type, but it feels a lot darker and a bit more serious.

There is a great sense of mystery and it certainly had me hooked in. It took a while to warm up to Fillion's character because the events at the start are quite quick, but he does a great job. Katee Sackhoff has an infectious smile and I adore her so much, she was really good here and the pair had nice chemistry. The script, which Lussier didn’t write, had some issues and I could tell that Lussier could feel that and he tried his best to fix those with how he edited it. I have to give the man props for that, and the film could have been a lot worse but he really made something out of it and it is well worth checking out.

NEXT PROJECT

Lussier has been attached to the pending HALLOWEEN 3D film with Todd Farmer for quite sometime, and who knows if he still is and whether that will actually happen. However it was recently announced that Lussier will be scripting a film with Laeta Kalogridis! The story will be an original sci-fi adventure and it seems like a great thing for the pair to be doing together.

OVERALL


Get Dracula 2000 on DVD here
Get Dracula 2000 on Blu-ray here

Seriously, I adore Lussier! The man has a nice filmography, both as a director and an editor, he does such good work and with a lot of heart. It is nice to see someone give so much of themselves in their work and it shows with Lussier. His stuff for the most part is a lot of fun and very entertaining, and certainly it is meant for us fans and I think they have the ability to bring in new fans to the genre as well. He has been a welcome addition as a director after branching out, and I am certainly glad he did. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next; his is a name I get excited for!

A big thanks to James (Rebellion_Reborn) for this suggesting this weeks director!

Is there a director you hope to see Dissected? Feel free to send Marcey your suggestions to marcey@joblo.com

Extra Tidbit: Patrick Lussier edited NEW NIGHTMARE, A VAMPIRE IN BROOKLYN, SCREAM, SCREAM 2, SCREAM 3, CURSED and RED EYE for Wes Craven!
Tags: dissecting

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2:30AM on 04/21/2012
You're welcome Marcey. Honestly, I'm just glad you took my suggestion to heart! Patrick Lussier is one of the most underrated horror film maker around today, so to see you give him the respect he deserves made my day. You know a guy is pretty awesome when you praise his worst work! I will admit, I'm surprised you chose Drive Angry as his best work, but I can't argue with you on that. Drive Angry is just fucking awesome. This is one of your best Dissecting the Director columns, and NO I am
You're welcome Marcey. Honestly, I'm just glad you took my suggestion to heart! Patrick Lussier is one of the most underrated horror film maker around today, so to see you give him the respect he deserves made my day. You know a guy is pretty awesome when you praise his worst work! I will admit, I'm surprised you chose Drive Angry as his best work, but I can't argue with you on that. Drive Angry is just fucking awesome. This is one of your best Dissecting the Director columns, and NO I am not biased because I suggested it. It's badass because you get him.
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+1
10:59PM on 04/17/2012
I agree Drive Angry is his best work, and several times better than both Ghost Rider movies combined. Lussier and Farmer obviously love horror and love B-movies. They know there's nothing wrong with being populist and making 'popcorn' horror when it's done well. With Drive Angry and MBV, you sense that they were made with some heart (pun intended in the case of MBV) by people who enjoy making movies and want the audience to enjoy them too. Whereas with most mass-market horror (Saw sequels or
I agree Drive Angry is his best work, and several times better than both Ghost Rider movies combined. Lussier and Farmer obviously love horror and love B-movies. They know there's nothing wrong with being populist and making 'popcorn' horror when it's done well. With Drive Angry and MBV, you sense that they were made with some heart (pun intended in the case of MBV) by people who enjoy making movies and want the audience to enjoy them too. Whereas with most mass-market horror (Saw sequels or newer found-footage franchises) you know they're made by people with graphs who enjoy money and want the audience to hand theirs over before they realise the film sucks.
Lussier understands the importance of humour. Not ironic or postmodern digs at the genre but actual humour. That one cult member's wig in Drive Angry is one of the funniest things I've ever seen. You know the one I mean. And while I don't think he's the right man to handle Halloween, I do hope to see more from Lussier soon. And remember, "Aim for their tiiiires" ;)
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5:07PM on 04/17/2012
Nice article, though again I'd say MBV was his best work. Drive Angry left me a little disappointed but otherwise I agree he is a very talented film maker his editing background definately shows in a positive way in his finished films.
Nice article, though again I'd say MBV was his best work. Drive Angry left me a little disappointed but otherwise I agree he is a very talented film maker his editing background definately shows in a positive way in his finished films.
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4:49PM on 04/17/2012

Good Stuff!

But yeah, My Bloody Valentine 3D would have to be my favorite of his also.
But yeah, My Bloody Valentine 3D would have to be my favorite of his also.
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4:05PM on 04/17/2012
Awesome article, Marcey! I love this director, but I'd personally say My Bloody Valentine 3D is his best film...but in the end slasher films are my thing :P
Awesome article, Marcey! I love this director, but I'd personally say My Bloody Valentine 3D is his best film...but in the end slasher films are my thing :P
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