3rd: The Poughkeepsie Tapes
How does one define what`s in the mind of a serial killer? How often did it happen to you, that you just walk on the street and see a suspicious looking person and ask yourself how do I know whether he`s a murderer or not?
This might seem like a rough type of approach towards someone who`s most probably innocent but it`s not entirely a lie that we`ve asked ourselves the very same question at some point in our lives. This movie exploits this sometimes irrational fear of ours and when it was presented at the Tribeca Film Festival you can be sure that it made its victims – but rest assured, not in the fatal way.
If you analyze the movie, you`ll just categorize it as a horror movie. However there`s more to it than just a series of gruesome murders. I wouldn`t recommend this movie to an easily frightened person as it proves that anyone can hide behind a mask and easily deceive people and also that the police is sometimes helpless. The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a movie that exerts a morbid fascination.
The criminal is constantly changing his behavior making it impossible for the police to come up with a psychological profile. In addition to that we can also observe how the tapes affect those who watch it, for how can someone view the heinous acts of another human being and remain impartial to it? You won`t be able to stop watching it without reaching the conclusion.
Unlike the usual detective stories, we`re not starting with the first murder and watching the race between the criminal and the law. No. This movie revolves around the town of Poughkeepsie, where the police found over 800 VHS tapes after a house raid. What they view on those tapes is enough to freeze the blood in your veins.
The tapes contained greatly details recordings of murders. You can imagine that a great force had been immediately deployed to get to the bottom of this particularly grim collection. However the only thing they were able to do was to recover the victims. This movie won`t stop and give you a break to recover. As it progresses, things just become more intriguing and consuming and some sequences will no doubt haunt you for a very long time.
Behind the Scenes
I don`t think even specially made torture videos are as disturbing as this movie. Director John Erik Dowdle has struck gold with this film, that`s for sure. There`s a lot of emphasis on Cheryl Dempsey, one of the victims. Stacy Chbosky delivers a special mention, considering the performance she gave, that is as haunting as the movie itself. Even as a horror genre veteran you`re still not protected from this movie`s blow.
True Story or Not?
Everyone is probably asking themselves this by now. We all want to hear the answer but only if the answer is a definite “NO”. The tapes being true would make a horrifying reality. The answer is, however, neither yes nor no. It`s true that there has been at some point a murderer from Poughkeepsie, Kendall Francois, who had a similar way of operating to that presented in the movie but fortunately we can`t slap the “based on a true story” tag on it, as John Erick Dowdle claimed he had no knowledge of Francois until after the movie was released.
2nd: Requiem for a Dream
Have you ever had that movie-enthusiastic friend that always insists you should watch a certain film until they drive you crazy? You tend to just read a quick summary and tell him that he was right about the movie without actually having seen it but if you ever get this as a recommendation, you should definitely not pass on it.
You can almost call this brutal. It`s true the movie is also about drugs, but there`s so much more to it. This movie shows how damaging addiction and over-indulgence are and how they can lead you to disaster. Bottom line, if your mind is weak, so is the rest of you. After watching this movie, it won`t be easy for you to forget this lesson.
We all have hopes and dreams, and so do the main characters of this film. Requiem for a Dream tells the story of 4 people, a woman looking to recapture her youth, a young couple struggling to achieve success in the business market and their friend who comes up with what he considers the fastest and easiest way to make money.
Despite so many different dreams, there`s one thing they have in common, and that is using drugs as a booster towards achieving their goals. Whether they could see it coming or not, their addiction brought them down the path of self-destruction and even if it wasn`t clear for them, we can easily notice how drugs slowly eroded their minds.
Sure, the movie will give you chills down your spine, but even the greatest plot is nothing unless the cast can match its potential. Word are not enough to describe how deep the scar this movie will put on you is. Director Darren Aronofsky brilliantly depicts the downward spiral that is the life of his characters and the actors that he picked to star in his movie knew how to live up to our expectations.
Ellen Burstyn stars elderly widow Sara Goldfarb. There`s probably no actress who has been more unfairly cheated out of an Oscar. She was the spitting image of what loneliness can do to vulnerable people. Even if we tend to focus on the young characters and their chaotic lives, there`s no doubt who stole the spotlight of this movie. She went all out in her role and she never backed down. It`s clear she had the guts for it, otherwise how else, given her age, would she have allowed the cameras so close to her face!
Fortunately, Jared Leto is not only into the music career, otherwise the role of Harry Goldfarb might not have been so memorable. We might not have noticed his potential in Fight Club or American Psycho, but Jared sure proves his worth.
Unlike the previous two movies where he was just physically mutilated, Harry Goldfarb gives him a bigger bowl to swim into. What we see uncoiling right under our eyes is the deterioration of his whole character, life and soul together. Jared gives the audience a performance that far outweighs their money`s worth.
Jennifer Connolly stars as Marion Silver, a rebellious suburbanite chick that happens to be Harry Goldfarb`s girlfriend. We can consider her performance in this movie the best of her career yet. Despite going through some pretty intense moments, she`s still able to maintain a stunningly beautiful and noble composure. With this role, Jennifer has been free of all her smaller projects that just constrained her potential and she was able to give us the winner performance of her life, which is the role in Requiem.
Malron Wayas has certainly set aside his comic side in this movie. He has landed on the role of the controversial Tyrone C. Love – a boy trapped in a man`s body. He has yet to disappoint us, being able to master both comic roles (Shorty Meeks in Scary Movie) as well as this dramatic one.
If you are a horror genre addict, this movie must not escape your “have watched” list. Martyrs will become the most terrifying 95 minutes of your life and you definitely don`t want to watch them on a full stomach. Movies such as SAW or Hostel fade in comparison to this French masterpiece. You might think you`ve seen everything there is to be seen about torture in movies, but this one will leave nothing to your imagination and nothing was too taboo for the writers of its script.
Leave it to the French to introduce you into a bleak, unforgettable landscape. Under the direction of Pascal Laugier, the movie receives a very polished look, while at the same time, it remains dirty. You won`t see another film that will keep you so tense and frightened.
When this movie is done with you, you won`t know whether to feel repulsed or fascinated with it. It`s not an experience recommended for those faint of heart.
Why Is This Movie Here?
This isn`t a top of horror movies – that`s probably what you`re thinking right now. But if someone`s deliberate experiment to toy with people isn`t horror, as well as psychological, then how do we define the “horror” genre.We leave behind the mass-murderers and ghosts stories that we are so used to, that they no longer scare us, and we step into the world of a man who shows us just how evil people can become for the simple pleasures of scientific research.
The movie begins with Lucie as she escapes from a factory where she had been imprisoned and abused. Young as she was, she was naturally placed in an orphanage where she befriends Anna, friend who soon discovers that the new member of her family believes she is being haunted by a macabre creature, a horribly disfigured woman.
As time passes, they maintain their relationship until one day, 15 years later, when this friendship is put to the test by Lucie`s peerless request.
Behind the Scenes
This movie probably wouldn`t have had the same impact, had the actors just followed up some unwritten acting laws. Instead we are faced with a performance that is so credible, that at some point their emotions become palpable.
Both Morjana Alaoui and Mylene Jampanoi have delivered career-making performances in their leading character roles. I`m sure none of us would`ve liked to be in their shoes considering what they went through with making this movie.