#Alive

NEET of the Living Dead

One of #Alive’s most welcome assets is its knowledge that its audience has seen plenty of zombie movies, and thus doesn’t spend any more time than necessary before things go haywire.  The movie hits the ground running, only lasting a few minutes before the inevitable outbreak; just long enough for us to get a brass-tacks introduction to Oh Joon-woo (Ah-In Yoo), a twentysomething slacker living in his parents’ apartment.  Home by himself when the pandemic hits, he watches powerlessly from his fourth-floor Juliette balcony as sprinting, ravenous zombies devour the residents of his neighborhood.  Securely barricaded in the apartment, he tries to contact his family and find a way to get rescued.  But Joon-woo’s food and water are in short supply, putting an expiration date on his isolated haven.

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Sputnik

sputnik

Red Scares

Despite its name, Sputnik is not a space-set horror movie.  Most of it takes place on Earth, within the confines of a claustrophobic military laboratory.  We open aboard a Russian satellite, with two Soviet cosmonauts preparing for their descent back to Earth.  After technical trouble and a run-in with an unseen creature, the spacecraft crash lands on Earth, with Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov) the sole survivor. Continue reading

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

The Platform

the platform

Hole Foods

One of Netflix’s latest film releases, Spanish sci-fi/horror movie The Platform is enjoying a minor splash on the streaming giant, which is the most one can hope for in the reign of Tiger King.  Though never stated outright, the movie is presumably set in the future, where the shadowy “Administration” runs a sadistic institution that’s half prison, half social experiment. Continue reading

The Host (2006)

the host 3

Heart and Seoul

I will admit to taking some petty pleasure in being able to say that I knew about Oscar sensation Bong Joon-Ho all the way back in 2007, when I went to go see The Host at the age of 15Though not an obscure indie by any means – its budget was over ten million dollars, and it broke South Korean box office records – it received a limited release here in the states, and certainly wasn’t a household name among foreign movies of the time.  With Parasite getting unprecedented media attention, I thought I’d look back at Bong’s unconventional monster movie. Continue reading

The Wandering Earth

wandering earth

The Best-Laid Planets

Of all the cinematic trash I have a soft spot for, few genres are closer to my heart than the save-the-world disaster movie.  Give me your Armageddons, your Day After Tomorrows, your Cores; I cherish them all.  I suspect that’s because the genre is one that so readily lends itself to corniness; how can one be expected to tackle a premise as melodramatic as saving the world without, well, melodrama? Continue reading