Dear friend,

the past week marked a small change in terms of lifestyle - meaning essentially I started a diet, tried to do a bit more exercise, and meditation as well. Inadvertently, with fewer calories came a lower intake of films as well. Still, it wasn’t too bad…

  • The Stone Tape external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Peter Sasdy, UK, 1972: after Quatermass and the pit last week, another film written by Nigel Kneale and centered around a modern scientific investigation of paranormal events: the ambitious R&D team of an electronic company moves to a renovated Victorian house hoping to come up with a new system for storing data; when they discover the house is haunted, they speculate that the ghost is not a supernatural presence - just a recording somehow stored in the building’s stones. They then scientifically proceed to try and replicate the phenomenon through their advanced equipment (some magical devices called ‘computers’). I found the idea intriguing, and this time (compared to Quatermass) the third act is mostly satisfying, but the whole film would deserve a better execution: constant shouting, background buzzing and a grating electronic soundtrack hurt my ears, and the acting for most roles is not exactly top tier (Jane Asher is an exception). ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Friday the 13th part III external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Steve Miner, USA, 1982: the director of Part 2, which I liked last week, is back, but he’s virtually the only continuity element (aside from the apparently mandatory five-minute-recap at the beginning, which is super useless because the events of the previous chapter aren’t of any consequence here). The film is a victim of the 80’s 3D craze, being essentially just a series of pointy objects shoved in front of the camera. No plot at all: another bunch of anonymous teenagers, killed one by one. Though if we want to find something specific, this is The One With the Biker Gang and/or The One With the Inexplicable Survivor (one of the girls had a previous encounter with Jason, failed to escape, then lost consciousness but woke up safe and sound in her bed, with no explanation). But hey, if you want to know now Jason got his hockey mask, this is the place (spoiler alert: he found it, he put it on). ⭐️

  • All of Us Strangers external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. written and directed by Andrew Haigh, UK, 2023: this film, though beloved by critics, wasn’t treated too well in Belgian cinemas, so I was happy when it appeared on Disney+, but I also knew I had to find the right moment to watch it. This is such a heartbreaking film. I love the way Andrew Scott shyly smiles with his eyes only, I can’t understand how he didn’t win all of the acting prizes. I actually can’t understand how the film didn’t win any BAFTA, and wasn’t even nominated for Academy Awards. I loved the final transition. I am also surprised at myself because I failed to recognise Claire Foy the first time she appeared on screen, but I recognised her voice. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Abigail external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, US, 2024: I agree that probably it would have been better to see this film without watching the trailer first, and the characters could be a bit more well defined or less stereotypical, and that at time it reminds too closely of Ready or Not (same directors, a shared writer - Guy Busick -, same setting of people trapped in an old house, and a superior film), but still I had a lot of fun. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. directed by Joseph Zito, USA, 1984: The One With Practical Effect Boy-Genius Corey Feldman, or The One With Crispin Glover Practicing Playing George McFly. New director, new writers, same old boring stuff: three minutes of recap, 80 minutes of nonsensical killings, eight minutes of vaguely interesting stuff. On the plus side, the addition of a family to the usual expendable teens is a welcome change.  But is also amps up the sex factor and continues the tradition very quick uninteresting kills. Thankfully, it’s the Final Chapter, right? ⭐️⭐️

And then there’s the series…

  • Baby Reindeer external link to Letterboxd Created with Sketch. created by Richard Gadd, UK, 2024: look, I’ll be honest… I don’t share the enthusiasm of the rest of the world on this. I found the series well-executed, but excruciating to watch, never compelling. It’s a story of mental health issues and addiction, so if it helps someone better understand their own situation and seek help, I’m glad. But I feel the whole success of this series hinges on it being a ’true story’, which clearly is only ’true’ up to a point, because Gadd has admitted taking several creative liberties, such as amping up the situation in the interest of ‘creating more tension’. Maybe that’s my problem - I don’t like biopics exactly because they are never faithful to the facts - but I feel that insincere sincerity is overrated. ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Statistics for the week: four horrors and a funeral (actually a very good drama), plus a series. Two sequels, two original films, a book adaptation and a so-called biopic. Film of the week is All of Us Strangers.