6th: Panic Room
Panic room is a good example as to why you should be very careful about what house you move into. Our imagination tends to go wild when we move into a new place. Who lived here before? What were they like? Did they forget any hidden treasure? But we don`t give it much thought after a few minutes of brainstorming.
This movie is the nightmare of any claustrophobic person. We might find the “escape the room” games from our phones fun but not many movies with such a plot become as exciting. As a thriller, the movie takes care of our basic needs – it doesn`t lack tension or scares, and it manages that without the classic add of monsters or homicidal maniacs.
The frightening part is probably the fact that, while you might not have a secret room in your house that you can get trapped into, the rest of the movie is pretty plausible.
So what we`re basically dealing with are a recently divorced mother and her daughter moving into a deceased millionaire’s house. While it seems unlikely that such a pair could afford a house like this, that`s not the point of the movie.
After moving in they receive a visit from a most unexpected nocturnal guest – Junior, the previous owner’s grandson. He had some unfinished business to take care of but is interrupted by the girls moving in earlier than he had planned.
The realistic element kicks in now. We`re not dealing with a professional, perfectly trained team of break-inners. What we have is a team of 3 men so flawed you`d think it`s possible that they break into your house next. Junior is leader of the little party but you have to admit his intellect isn`t one of his merits.
Raoul has a bit more wit than his boss, but that is also doubled by a sinister aura around him that you cannot ignore. He`s the type of person you`d expect to be the root of this evil plan. Burnham is the genius designer of the house. How he ended up in the same pot with the first two, that`s hard to imagine. But money can drives us all to do things we don`t necessarily find good.
The situation you find the characters is almost comic if it wasn`t all so tense. You have 2 groups separated by an impenetrable door and they each wish they were on the other side of it. When Nicole Kidman had to step down from the role of Meg, Jodie Foster comes forward to save the day.
She gives the performance of her life as a single, claustrophobic mother that just woke up in the middle of what seems to be the fight of her life in which her daughter Sarah, played by Kristen Stewart, could become a collateral victim. We all know the reviews Kristen got after the Twilight Saga and thus we`re really hasty to judge her acting skills in a negative way. But you`ll find out that in this movie she has been utterly amazing.
Everyone knows Stephen King doesn`t let down and this movie is full proof of that. Misery manages to accomplish something very few modern horror movies can: it`s both scary and classy at the same time and easily entertains you. Be warned, this isn`t entirely easy to sit through, as William Goldman is renowned for developing bizarre torture scenes.
However, even the most horrendous moment of the movie ends with a laughter. This sounds ill-tasted but this movie doesn`t seek to entertain you through violence and humor is the best way to break the tension of this nightmarish scenario.
Coincidence or Not?
This movie probably depicts any famous person`s nightmare. Paul Sheldon is a bestselling romance novelist who gets too meet one of his most passionate fans – a meeting he could`ve easily lived without. Annie Wilkes is a retired nurse and what`s a better way to spend her free time than following the career of her favorite writer.
We`ve all felt the heartbreak of one of our favorite characters of a book or TV series dying and Annie is no stranger to that either. However unlike us, she ended up in a position where she could make demands.
When Paul Sheldon had a car accident while travelling to the countryside, who was better to look after him than an experienced nurse with too much time on her hand?
Misery is without a doubt the best adaptation of one of Stephen King`s novels. It didn`t need monster or special effects to describe to us what true horror is like, just Kathy Bates.
She stars Annie Wilkes and her performance is so disturbingly amazing to watch. Even in her most crazed stages, Kathy still managed to make her character seem so innocent and cheerful.
You might doubt that such a thing is possible, but she has one of the only tree Oscars ever awarded for a horror movie performance to prove it. At a point it seems that the relation between the nurse and novelist is just like any normal thing between a man and woman living under the same roof. We have to thank James Caan, the man behind the unlucky Paul Sheldon, who makes the illusion possible.
The chemistry between him and Kathy in this movie is unrivaled – it will almost be like watching a really intense game of cat and mouse. I don`t think it was easy for him to play the victim in this movie, given the fact that he has spend his entire career playing tough characters. The contrast of making such an energetic actor appear in the helpless role gave birth to a most appetizing to watch performance.
4th: The Cabin in the Woods
Who wouldn`t want to escape the noise of the city and escape into the nature? We`ve all seen, at least once, pictures of houses or offices built in the middle of nature and wilderness and thought “This would be so cool“, but how many of us would actually like to live in the middle of nowhere? After watching this movie, even the more optimistic of us will have second thoughts.
Don`t be disappointed that this is another cliché horror movie where some mad man hunts them down one by one. This movie is so full of twists you won`t know what`s the acceptable reaction you should have anymore – screaming or laughing.
Recipe to Disaster
We have 5 friends, Jules Louden, Curt Vaughan, Holden McCrea, Marty Mikalski and Dana Polk, casually spending their weekend at a deserted cabin in the middle of the woods. What can you expect from a bunch of college students, if not heavy alcohol abuse and perhaps a bit of smoking the interesting stuff?
But what you expect is not what this movie is going to give you. As I mentioned earlier, no masked, axe wielding lunatic will come after them. Instead, they become lab rats to a couple of technicians who manipulate the fresh residents of the Cabin by intoxicating them with psychotropic drugs.
Cast and Crew
The movie becomes progressively more intense as it plays on. This is the type of movie that the more you watch the more you discover. From the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly comes now yet another phenomenal production of Joss Whedon`s. You can literally see the love he put in every little detail.
Each actor casted in the movie has acquitted himself in their performances. Not only did they have to embrace their stereotypes (the athlete, the virgin, the scholar, the whore and the fool), but at the same time they also had to reject it. By diving each teenage in a certain class this movie launches a challenge for viewers all around: Can you guess who is who?
We tend to totally hate the bad characters in the movie and wish they lose the fight but this instinct should not stop of from noticing the absolutely fantastic performances of Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford.
Their performances seem effortless and the dialogues are simply priceless. Beside them, you`ve probably also recognized Chris Hemsworth.
We might know him nowadays as Thor, but have you ever wondered what his life was like before becoming a most powerful Norse mythology god? I`d say not so well and I’m sure he appreciates the upgrade!