Horror Ten Spot: My Most Anticipated Summer Genre Movies 2012
It sure seems the summer blockbuster season kicks off earlier and earlier each year, and with May now firmly upon us, we're only two weeks from BATTLESHIP stirring the din of massive-movie spectacle. As such, we thought it wise to use this time as not only a preview of things to come in the next 4 months or so, but how highly anticipated some of these films actually rank around here. Look, it's mighty easy for us cinephiles to remain cynical about the soulless, saccharine dreck that Hollywood churns out of its ass each summer, but this year is a little different. First off, the irony of having my most anticipated predominated by sequels and reboots is not lost on me. That said, I feel there's enough original counterprogramming to balance the heft of the movie behemoths. Here now is m Top Ten most anticipated summer genre movies of 2012.
I could have thrown a couple of needless reboots or sequels in its stead, but when it comes down to it, I'd rather see Jennifer Lawrence and Elisabeth Shue fend for their lives in HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET. Nothing wrong with that, is there? Besides, director Mark Tonderai made waves with his first feature HUSH, so for no other reason to see if he's really someone to keep an eye on moving forward, HOUSE seems worthy of checking in to. Yes, I do have concerns that the script came from the guy who gave us EDDIE and DREAM HOUSE, and that the movie has been tagged with a PG-13 rating, but overall, I'd rather see sexy damsels in distress over more of the same old bloated CG abominations the summer breeds in spades. Fuck all that noise!
If for no other reason than its originality, I've always dug horror flicks predicated on a horrific real-life scenario. The Oren Peli produced CHERNOBYL DIARIES clearly fits that mold, as it examines the deadly fallout of one of the world's biggest nuclear disasters. Of course, major creative license is taken here, hyperbolically inferring the ill effects of radiation to be even deadlier than they appear. Actually, if you think about it, it's actually an exploitation film of a pretty sore subject. How far the metaphor is taken will likely determine how enjoyable the film is; will it treat the Chernobyl disaster with care and integrity, or will it make a mockery of the situation with tasteless, insulting insinuations about what really happened or resulted from the occurrence? All very interesting in my eyes. Of course, a first time director and a cast of international unknowns has its pros and cons, let's just hope the weight of the former outgains that of the latter.
Call it a morbid fascination, call it protecting my investment, call it an unhealthy infatuation with Ashley Greene - but because I visited the set of Todd Lincoln's THE APPARITION well over two years ago - I must, repeat, MUST see the flick when it finally hits theaters this August. The setup isn't a novel one, a good looking couple becomes increasingly tormented in their home by a malefic specter. Thing is, after speaking with the Lincoln, Greene and Sebastian Stan, it's clear the reference points are taken movies we all grew up with and love. Therefore, a more drawn out, character building approach will fill the first half of the runtime before all hell is unleashed by the final frame. Of course, constant release shuffling offers cause for concern, as does the PG-13 rating for terror/frightening images and some sensuality. Still, ghost movies needn't rely on blood and guts to achieve their desired effect.
A haunted airplane brimming with fine ass women? Go ahead and book my ticket this instant! 7500 is the new flick from THE GRUDGE director Takashi Shimizu, and while it may not be SNAKES ON PLANE ludicrous, certainly appears to be a cheesy good time up in the air. Seriously, Leslie Bibb, Jamie Chung, Nicky Whelan, Amy Smart, Christian Serratos and Scout Taylor Compton...just to name the principals? Shit might as well be SORORITY ROW 2! Granted, since helming JU-ON, its sequel and American remakes, Shimizu has submitted a rather checkered resume. Moving away from the genre at times, SHOCK LABYRINTH and TORMENTED marked returns for Shimizu, though his indulgence with 3D technology probably did more harm than good. Put another way, no one's clamoring for American remakes of those flicks, a la JU-ON. A Japanese porn parody of 7500 on the other hand? Yes!
Like most I'm sure, a resounding WTF echoed through my brain upon the announcement of a TOTAL RECALL remake, but given the actors involved, the elaborate sets, the modernized storyline, the consensus at this point seems to be the flick looks pretty damn cool. So for that, I will make concerted effort to see this bastard in the theater. Not that I need any real reason to see Biel and Beckinsale on the big-screen, mind you, but it'll also be interesting to see how much of the Philip K. Dick's source material shines through and how much of Paul Verhoeven's adaptation will get reiterated, if any. And while I've grown to like Colin Farrell over the years, I'm still not ready to equate him with Arnie when it comes to this type of physically demanding role. I was pleased to learn dude wasn't a midget like most actors when I met him on the set of FRIGHT NIGHT.
Since he successfully crammed Ryan Reynolds in a pine-box for 90 minutes with BURIED, I vow to see what paranormal shenanigans Rodrigo Cortes has up his sleeve with RED LIGHTS. Not for nothing, here's a genre movie studded with perhaps the greatest to ever recite lines, Bob De Niro, but also the great Sigourney Weaver, the always solid Cillian Murphy and the revelatory ingénue Elizabeth Olsen. Movies of this ilk don't generally attract such talent, which speaks even louder to Cortes' credentials, including sole writing credit of this particular screenplay. And at almost exactly 2 hours long, it seems RED LIGHTS will take its time to develop a story, not simply rush to meet certain beats that fill out a forced 90 minutes. All that is speculative of course, but general word following the films Sundance premiere has been positive, noting the atmosphere and mystery as strong suits.
So how do you top the utter action-extravaganza of 2010's THE EXPENDABLES? Add another 6 to the chamber and let that shit spray! With Van Damme, Norris, Hemsworth, Nan Yu and bigger parts this go around from Bruce and Arnie...THE EXPENDABLES 2 promises to ratchet up the adrenaline fuelled thrills and kill-a-minute intensity. And as satisfying as the cast additions are, nothing pleases me more than the back and forth between Sly and Norris over the official rating of the picture...ultimately retaining what fans really want, a hard-R shoot'em up! My only real concern is the fact Sly relinquished directorial duties over to Simon West (CON AIR), which may hinder the overall quality. Then again, THE EXPENDABLES is little more than glorified B-movie itself, so it's not like West has the unenviable task of outclassing CITIZEN KANE or some shit like that.
4 years after THE DARK KNIGHT shook the earth, I fully understand why the last leg of Chris Nolan's Batman saga is atop many people's most anticipated of 2012. And while I too am more than intrigued to see what Tom Hardy's Bane has on Ledger's Joker, I'm really neither a Nolan sycophant, nor an ardent follower of The Caped Crusader. In fact, I'd argue Nolan's best are still MEMENTO, THE PRESTIGE and INCEPTION. Still, the cerebral approach to comic-book movie making Nolan has instilled in the franchise is not only refreshing, it's starting to become the industry standard among the genre. Add Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anne Hathaway to an already studded ensemble and here's a quarter-billion dollar movie that actually has a smart script translated by some of the best actors in the biz. What a novel idea!
Granted, I'm much more of an ass man, but how I could I ever resist the voluptuous bust-line of John Gulager's PIRANHA 3DD? Won't happen! Besides, as intentionally campy and kitschy as Aja's redo was, it's pretty clear Gulager and company are fully reveling in the silliness and cranking this bitch up to volume 11. I mean, with Gary Busey and David Hasselhoff given starring roles, the joke is certainly not lost on the filmmakers. Moreover, with SAW vets Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton one the keys, the marriage of excess between them and Gulager should be nothing short of astounding. Remember, all three men worked together on FEAST, which still holds as a beloved single-location horror comedy. Hopefully the men have grown as craftsmen yet retain the unapologetically sleazy sensibility we've come to know and love in their work. And by sleazy, let's be clear...I wanna see Katrina Bowden peel of the bikini!
How could any true movie fan over 25 NOT list Ridley Scott's PROMETHEUS as the #1 movie to see this summer? Not only is the cast one of the best of any film this year (headed by my girl Charlize), we're talking about the precursory exploration of one of the all time best films ever recorded in ALIEN...shepherded by none other than the man who originated the material to begin with. Put simply, if this movie had to be made, at least it's made by the RIGHT people. The hauntingly sterile tone of Scott's 1979 masterpiece seems to be restored to great effect in PROMETHEUS, which comes as a much needed breath of fresh air away from the campy, MTV edited, ever increasingly bad sequels (ALIENS too suffers from this a bit) the series has suffered. My only concern about PROMETHEUS is the overuse of CG, which was never an issue with the original. If Scott keeps the FX practical for the most part, as organic and germane to the story as he did to begin with, I have zero doubt the flick will have a lasting impression.