Story Reviews

Movie- The Signal (2007)
Genre- Psycho/Cataclysm

The movie plays out in three parts... The premise is simple: something in airwaves has over-ridden all transmissions (TV, phone, radio). People who hear/watch it go psychotic/paranoid/delusional and lose their inhibitions.The movie opens on a young couple in bed, the woman reluctantly leaves to meet her husband. The movie develops from there.

Like all good movies of this type, it's about people and society. There is some graphic violence that will turn some people off and there is a fairly bleak outlook on human nature. This certainly won't be to everyone's liking... but I quite enjoyed this mind trip and the fact I finished watching at 2am only added to the experience.

In some ways it reminded me of a Heinlein story. A vague science fiction device that is used to set up situations for the characters to go through. At times this story managed to be funny, grim, dark, and trippy...
I expect most Romero fans will find something to like about this movie, even though it isn't about zombies.
I suppose that the premise is like that of "The Crazies" but the plot is more like that of a good zombie film, a microcosmic view of a large scale event and a trip into the heads of  a small number of people.

"Are you aware you are talking to a severed head?"
"I don't have the crazy!"

 Movie- Pontypool (2009)
Genre- pandemic/zombie/Psycho thriller

Never heard of it? Neither had I. But wow, that was a great movie! A canadian movie with the trappings of a zombie apocalypse/pandemic flick but with a, dare I say it, healthy measure of originality! And a good dose of character acting. Special effects are at a minimum and this is a good thing, a very good thing. A lot of the action takes place off screen, the movie focuses on the view point of a small town radio team broadcasting from the basement of the town church. As you'd expect, they get trapped down there and hilarity ensues.

I've seen this movie qualified as horror, but I'd argue that there is very little horrible about it. Ok, there's a little blood and a little gore... But this story has wonderful dialogues, an original take on a tired devices, a plot that works on several levels that you won't guess the outcome of five minutes in. It works the way Orson Welles doing the War of the Worlds worked.

Syndey: "We're not talking, I'm drunk. This is how my last relationship ended."

Grant: "Should we be... Talking about this?"
Sydney: "What are we talking about?"
Grant: "Should we be... talking at all?"


Movie- Pulse (2006)
Genre- Horror

Oh dear, oh dear... I suppose it was inevitable that this movie should irk me... The thing is that Kairo, the movie this is a westernized copy of, is on my list of favorite movies. That said it wasn't actively bad and the actors make a pretty game attempt. This movie does star the awesome Kristen Bell, whom you may remember from Veronica Mars, among other things. The problem is with the execution of the concept and the script. It's as if they had taken the key events of the original story, and the key visual scenes from the original movie and connected the dots with a bland crayon or a nonsense pencil. That's already starting to get me hot under the collar... But then try to "explain" things, and add things in so doing make it so that the story isn't coherent! The ghosts aren't ghosts they are other types of beings that exist on radio waves.. Uh ok... Was that really necessary? I suppose it makes it easier to demonize them... And that what Pulse does. There is zero ambiguity, "they" are the bad guys, and the heroes are the good guys. Completely two dimensional where the original movie was a kaleidoscope of nuances and intents.

All this movie makes me want to do is watch Kairo again. And yet, I can understand that pulse might be better suited for its market than Kairo could have been.

Kairo is a psychological kick to the brain and a stab to heart, it is not an easy movie to watch.
Pulse is just another run of the mill horror flick with generic skin monsters that aren't supposed to ghosts but look like dead people anyways. It's easy to watch and poses no threat, no challenge, and has no strong message. 

Why was this film made?
Will they never learn? Whyyy!
PS: Don't bother with this movie, go see Kairo! 
; j