Tribeca Horrors 2010 Wrap-Up: Tetsuo, The Bullet Man; Dream Home; The Killer Inside Me
It's been an insane year for horror already, and now that the summer convention season is approaching, news and event reports will continue heating up! Amid all the chaos, we did manage to take in an offering or two from the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival. This year's lineup was fairly light on the creepy offerings, but we caught three films getting a fair amount of buzz. Here's the skinny…
Tetsuo, The Bullet Man - Fans of the original Tetsuo, The Iron Man probably still find it hard to forget. I, myself, have used the movie to warp the minds of punk friends on many a drinking night. Now, many moons later, Shinya Tsukamoto brings his tales of biomechanical transformation back to the big screen, and it seem so … familiar. Point of fact: If this were made by another filmmaker, we'd call it an homage. Bullet Man contains the shift in music from industrial to 50's, those David Byrne-esque silhouette sequences where the actor just sort of twitches in front of a strobe light, and the all-important transformation of one unassuming, well dressed man into a cybernetic nightmare.
In this installment our hero, Anthony (Eric Bossick), has his life thrown into chaos when his son is brutally killed, triggering the change within him. When the killer returns with a pack of well armed delivery men, Anthony and his wife race to discover the truth behind these acts and, more importantly, why he is turning into well dressed machine man. If you've seen the first film, you'll not only get those repeated images I outlined before, but you'll also notice the same pacing in Anthony's transformation. Even the nonsensical rantings of the film's featured baddie will seem familiar, though this new nemesis seems a little long in the tooth to be battling a cyborg while sporting shorts and an emo hairstyle.
What's missing from Bullet Man is the one thing I was most looking forward to: progress. New technologies are ignored in favor of camera tricks and physical action. Even the freaky stop-motion of Iron Man is left behind so what we are left with is sort of an older, American cousin of the first film who is far too reserved to be completely insane. Without the shocks, epic cybernetic battle, gore, and general freakiness, all that is left is a revenge tale we've seen many times before with a twist that was fully expected and a robo-hero that isn't much to look at.
1 1/2 out of 5
Dream Home (Wai dor lei ah yut ho) - The failing housing and financial markets can make us a little crazy. For one office worker with a monotonous, thankless job, the dream of owning an apartment overlooking the water is the only thing keeping her going. When she returns home, what awaits her is a terminally sick father and a pathetic boyfriend who is already married. We follow this woman's courageous struggle through her impoverished life, multiple jobs, and self sacrifice, struggling for just a moment's peace. Hers is a life lived precariously perched on the edge of insanity. It would only take one tiny mishap to push her off. Cue the bloodshed.
Our heroine is no supernatural killer possessing ninja-like skills, nor is she even particularly skillful in carrying out her chaotic plans. All she's got is a tool belt full of pain and the will to inflict it. If she doesn't get the drop on her victim, she takes more than a lump or two. This is where classic horror sensibilities kick in with one part Army of Darkness slapstick and a heaping serving of 90's style violence.
You may have to suffer through some prime time TV drama to get to the red stuff, but when it happens, you won't be sorry. Watch for this DVD when it makes its way over to the States.
3 1/2 out of 5
The Killer Inside Me - Journey with us back to a time in the South when a cop would take you off your feet with a night stick, then help you to your feet and help you locate your hat, apologizing for having knocked your tooth free. It's a world ripped from the pages of dime store paperbacks featuring a woman in a pencil skirt cowering before a smartly dressed shadow. One such tale, penned by Jim Thompson, is the infamous The Killer Inside Me. In this, the second film adaptation, Casey Affleck plays lanky West Texas deputy sheriff Lou Ford. He's an unassuming man with a baby face and an ease to his walk. You might mistake him for a good-natured gentleman … until you cross him. Quick as lightning, this man turns evil and burns down everything in his path, then goes back to playing the easygoing hero seconds later. It doesn't help matters much that he's also cleaning up messes for the town bigwig, encouraging him toward further chaos. It's just like throwing lighter fluid on a house fire.
We follow Lou as he romances a prostitute (Jessica Alba) while courting his public girlfriend (Kate Hudson) and turns a simple payoff into a bloodbath. The level of physical violence in this movie is extremely hard to watch, made worse when you realize 90% of it is man on woman with bare fists. I understand that to convey just how evil this man is, you've got to show what he is capable of through an unflinching camera lens, but it is definitely not my cup of tea. In a movie like American Psycho you've got a charismatic animal who is a natural predator (or maybe he isn't), and it almost seems logical when he takes his turn into insanity. In the agreeable face of Casey Afflek, we are given no warning when he goes bloody and caves in someone's face with gloved hands and the disturbing calm of Hannibal Lecter. Unfortunately, the film doesn't really go anywhere beyond that. It's a small town tale with "salt of the earth" people perusing a killer standing right behind them, executed with the pacing of an old guy by the roadside giving directions to the interstate. Lou Ford doesn't run to evade detection; he sits back and enjoys the view.
If you like watching an evil man do reprehensible things in a 50's pulp fiction fashion, you'll love this film. If you thought the raw scenes from Fight Club were a little too real, you haven't seen anything yet. This one is going to be talked about for some time -- if it gets a proper release -- which may be a hard sell when your poster is Casey Affleck hitting Jessica Alba in the face.
2 out of 5
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