Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Brief History Of The Horror Movie

Ils (Them)"Ils" or "Them" is a new French horror movie firmly rooted in the 'isolated home-invasion' sub-genre. Guardian offers a quickie look at how we arrived at this point in the evolution of the creepfest (excerpt):

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre works precisely by removing any reassuring cultural scenery, dumping you in an American nowhere populated by freaks who wouldn't have heard of Old Europe.

But the template for the modern slasher film was created by a British director steeped in expressionist cinema. Alfred Hitchcock worked at the Berlin studios early in his career and especially admired the great FW Murnau, director of Nosferatu.

This movie has that euro-thing going -- a realistic setup that plays out with style, and camera technique that is a pleasure to observe (you could watch this one with the sound off and still enjoy it). There's something about this picture that suggests it would be an attractive property for a Hollywood remake. I certainly hope not as such a project would surely lack the charm of the original. Subtlety and intelligent dialogue would be replaced with on-the-nose this-is-what-I'm-thinking (just in case there was any doubt) blather and super-slick crash/swipe/zip camera pans, punctuated with this-is-the-scary-part...right...HERE shock music stings. Oh, and let's not forget the script alterations -- yielding a palatable squeaky-clean Americanized ending stripped of any ambiguity that would confuse an audience. Oh, and there's the...

Wait a minute. I've put the cart before the horse. I haven't even seen "Ils". It could be guilty of all the things I've condemned Hollywood remakes (and sequels) for. Maybe I should just wait. Meanwhile, here's a trailer.

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