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 House That Jack Built

the house that jack built

Killer Pad

Among his other virtues, Lars Von Trier has always been something of a troll.  His movies often act as playful middle fingers to his harshest critics, gleefully confirming their accusations with a devil-may-care attitude.  The approach has a rebellious appeal, but it’s also overshadowed some of Von Trier’s lesser works, which have made the mistake of putting shock value above quality.  The House That Jack Built sees Von Trier’s devilish style at its best; it shamelessly aims to offend, but backs up its intentions with original, exciting filmmaking. Continue reading

The Predator

predator

Unlike its counterpart and occasional crossover property the Alien series, each of the Predator movies has been essentially standalone, their only common thread the titular extraterrestrial.  While the Alien series’ best entries undoubtedly surpass those of the Predator franchise, it’s also stagnated thanks to uninspired diminishing returns after Aliens.  Meanwhile, Predator’s sequels have proven to be a more eclectic and interesting bunch, never content to self-plagiarize their celebrated predecessor.  After the jungle-bound antics of the first movie, Predator 2 moved the action to the city and expounded on the aliens’ lore, while Predators had a similar structure to the first film but flipped the script by dropping its band of warriors on predator turf. Continue reading