Dear friend,

here’s my roundup of the films watched this week - or at least what I could manage with a sub-optimal internet connection

  • Anna external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. though the title cards say Mindscape (come on, there are too many films called Anna or Hanna or Hannah): a 2013 Spanish-produced and directed (by Jorge Dorado), bizarrely without a single Spanish actor (and the only Latin-American plays a minor villain). Which at least leaves space for Mark Strong to be the lead, for once - which is a good thing. Also in the picture are Vera Farmiga and Brian Cox, and an interesting starting point (Strong plays John Washington, a ‘memory detective/therapist’ that enters the minds of his patients/client to better understand them and the crime scenes they were on). But of course our lead character also has his own traumas, that are difficult to set aside, and easily exploitable. Unfortunately it unravels into an Inception-ish noir, the outcome of which many can predict. Overall, it’s not so bad - but its writers, Guy and Marcia Holmes, have no other credit. See on Netflix - ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Damien - Omen II external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : picking up after last week’s The First Omen, I wasn’t able to get a copy of the actual first Omen (Gregory Peck and all) to rewatch it, but Disney+ offers its sequel, so I had to give it a watch. I may not have a great memory of the previous film, but this one feels like a pre-Final Destination affair, where it doesn’t matter who or what you have around (mainly ravens), it can kill you. Also, a bit repetitive in its schema: person x casts doubt on Damien, person x dies shortly thereafter, who’s next? Too bad that Lance Henriksen walks here and there looking threatening, but does nothing. Also, who would have thought that ruthless capitalism and armed forces would support the rise of the Antichrist! I would have liked more internal struggle from Damien, but for some reason I really loved the ‘marching band’ sequence - ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

  • Train To Busan external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : I finally gave up on the hope to get to watch this celebrated Korean zombie film in its original language (with subtitles that I would understand), so I surrendered to a dubbed version. As good as I’ve always heard it was, not extremely original for what concerns its characters, but really well made - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

  • Wish external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : really too generic, lacking everything it should have instead: an interesting story, good songs and great characters. Maybe I’m not used to cartoons anymore but even the voices sounded a bit off to me. It would have been nicer to put together a real celebration of Disney’s 100 years instead of what ends up being an uninspired motivational film based on an idea from Pinocchio - ⭐️⭐️

  • Prom Night external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : but if Wish is uninspired, what to say about this 2008 slasher on Netflix? I think nothing in its premise (’teens’ going to their prom night and being chased by a killer that used to stalk one of them) makes sense, so much so that even the script at times has to work really hard to convince itself. Sorry for Brittany Snow, Idris Elba and James Ransone (and Ming-Na Wen!), and the three-four young actors all looking the same to me, but this was almost unwatchable. I’m told it’s a reboot of a 1980 film series external link to Wikipedia but the plot sounds quite different. Director Nelson McCormick and writer J.S. Cardone went on to re-make The Stepfather the following year - ⭐️½

  • Deadstream external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : hailed by journalist Louise Blain as her favourite horror of 2022 in the Best Horror Films of 2022 external link episode of the The Final Girls Podcast external link , this was a fun streamed footage film, a bit gross and with very low budget, but it’s the film Death of a Vlogger and Dashcam wished they were - ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

  • Ring external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : another ‘classic’ I had not yet seen, the most famous of J-Horrors goes quite fast and doesn’t care about not explaining everything. The famous video is actually really creepy in its Chien Andalou-ness. Maybe it gets less under scrutiny, thanks to its Eastern setting, about story consistency and shortcuts (your ex-husband is a psychic? How handy), but the craziest, the better. Great to find a young Hiroyuki Sanada. Now if you don’t get a Weekly visions next week, you know why - ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • The Ring external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. : of course I had to follow-up the original with the US remake (which I had seen 20 years ago). Love Gore Verbinski, love Naomi Watts but I prefer the leanest original (what with all the additional horses stuff here? Was it in the book?). The video itself is longer and more explicitly horrorific, which de-powers it a bit in my opinion, as do the on-camera interviews with Samara. I’m not sure whether this will give me seven days more, or cancel out the curse at all, we’ll see. And we close the week the same way we started it, with Brian Cox - ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Statistics for this week: six horrors (a sequel, two remakes, an adaptation, two originals), a thriller (an original), and an animated film (an original). Two Brian Cox(es). The two Asian films take the crown of best movies watched this week, with Train to Busan being the actual film of the week.