The Descent (2005)

The-Descent

What Dies Beneath

Though it enjoys a positive reputation as such, The Descent can only be called a monster movie with a major caveat.  Like The Blair Witch before it, it wrings at least half – if not more – of its horror from its ominous setting.  In this case, it’s the labyrinthine caves of North Carolina, an alien, impossibly dark environment that’s one of the movie’s most indelible characters. Continue reading

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

birds of prey

A No-Quinn Situation

The first thing one notices about Birds of Prey is its title: a nineteen-syllable mouthful that’s messy, unwieldy, and has way too much going on.  Regrettably, it’s also a sign of things to come. Continue reading

Annihilation

annihilation

Annihilation is a hard movie to categorize; not because defies genre categories, but because it samples so many of them.  Like the strange creatures that inhabit its world, it’s a hybrid; blending together science-fiction, drama, and horror to potent effect.  The structure of its first-act setup is pure adventure, beginning with the return of Lena’s (Natalie Portman) husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) long after he went missing on a classified government mission.  It’s immediately clear that something is very wrong with him, both physically and mentally.  When Lena tries to get her husband to the hospital, the government swoops in and abducts them both to a secret location, where they isolate her and reveal what’s responsible for his condition.  Continue reading