[EXPRESSO] Dos (2021) | Flesh Sewn Shut

Browsing Netflix new releases and this caught my eyes, i mean, the simple title made me curious and i’m always in when it’s a spanish horror thriller about two complete strangers waking up to found themselves literally sewn together and placed into a room.

It’s not human-to-walrus surgery, but i will indulge regardless, it’s also fairly short, clocking just above 60 minutes (plus credits), quite surprising some other bloated films Netflix has as exclusives.

It has definitely an arthouse feel (the finale with the title reveal it’s really indicative of director Mar Taragona’s ambition), but the bold decision to compact it all in a shorter runtime pays off in spades, both for impact and in cutting out the fat from the narrative.

The main mystery keeping the story going is the identity of the culprit, and of course the purpose of joining together two people by literally sewning their flesh together, which is ultimately not the Saw-esque random ass gruesome torturer with a deviant penchant for justice and retribution you might think it’s gonna be revealed. It’s not that… exactly, and it’s a shame because the script never properly explore the themes it tackles, nor manages to fully utilize the isolated setting and premise, going for an arthouse ending, with some impact but ultimately not that satisfactory.

A shame since the movie is already intriguing before that, with plenty of questions and the grisly circumstances, while the two are trying to make sense of the really uncomfortable – even more since they’re butt naked – situation they’re in, leading to some good drama and time spent with this likeable and relatable “surprise duo”.

Shame it hasn’t much depth to it as it clearly wanted, (i’d guess it was originally meant to be a lot longer), but it’s a decent watch.

[EXPRESSO] Escape Room 2: Tournament Of Champions (2021) | Sequel Gauntlet

Why i’m even reviewing this one, since it already released here months ago? It’s because it was so scarcely distributed that just NOW it hit theathers in my region, i mean, it’s not like it reviewed well at all, and clearly even distributors didn’t gave much of a toss about the sequel to “non-horror PG Saw” .

I didn’t expect i would actually get another chance to see it in theathers.

I did enjoy the first Escape Room for what it was, a non-horror version of Saw made more for a teen audience, it was pretty obvious what they were going after, if the pandemic didn’t happen i’d figure we would already be at Escape Room 3, as this one was greenlit in hope to milk sequels emulating Saw and other popular horror series… while sidestepping the “horror” label.

Frankly i’m not even sure this series will even be able to count to three, more due to relatively bad timing and diminishing box office returns, as this one ends with an even more direct cliffhanger.

Whatever, is the movie itself any good? Not really, and not entirely due to the usual case of diminishing returns, as this one really doesn’t care about any kind of crescendo or building up to anything, just being a rollercoaster ride of deadly escape rooms scenarios, from beginning to end.

The upside it’s that the plot moves really fast, the “trap scenarios” are actually entertaining, varied, quite fun, but everything else surrounding them is as stock and predictable as ever, as the big brain characters manage to somehow still don’t see the obvious “twists” coming, despite them of all people should know better. They don’t.

It’s far from boring, but it just comes off as a worse version of the first movie…….. not quite ideal for a sequel.

[EXPRESSO] Malignant (2021) | Downright Malevolent

New horror movie with James Wan actually involved in writing the script? I am SO in.

This time we have the story of Madison, a woman haunted by the visions of horrible murders that aren’t just scarring waking nightmares, but do happen in reality, and she’s just forced to witness them as they take place, by some mysterious force.

Worse, Madison also becomes aware of who is acting them out, as the name or her imaginary friend from childhood, Gabriel, rings again and unlocks her suppressed memories, letting her know he was not imaginary, after all.

Of course, there’s more, and from Wan you would expect a big, excellent twist lying in wait…. and OF COURSE i’m not spoiling it here. I mean, you do expect it, but in a good way, and it doesn’t disappoint. You think you could somehow predict it somewhat… until you don’t, and out loud say “holy shit” as the actual twist unfolds, and things get more grotesque as more is revealed.

What i can say is that it’s not a demon-possession thing, there’s no reincarnation of old evil spirits or any of that, it’s actually – mostly, anyway – a lot more grounded in disgusting reality, with some concessions (like some very foggy scenes or an old castle clearly showing Wan’s love for the classics) that ultimately make the whole angle a lot more entertaining and creepy.

I could say more, make some comparisons, but i fear accidentally giving hints, and this is a movie that you would like to go in as “blind” as you can, even if it’s quite good and doesn’t rely entirely on the twist itself, there’s good acting, some good drama, and a marvelous combo of Wan’s direction and scriptwriting that does not disappoint.

Just go see it. GO!

[EXPRESSO] Spiral – From The Book Of Saw (2021) | Uzumeki

I have been a big fan of Saw since forever, so i was looking forward to this new one, liked the casting, and you know, it had to work hard to be even worse than the pointless and neutered Jigsaw/Saw Legacy. Plus, we have Darren Lynn Bousman (who directed Saw II, III and IV). So yeah, i’m in.

The plot sees an old cynical detective getting assigned a freshly promoted and entusiasthic rookie as partner to investigate on a series of gruesome murders that look unsettingly inspired by one of the more sordid serial killer stories to ever happen in that city, the Jigsaw Killer. Helped by a veteran cop, they soon find out that they are stepping on a spiral of mistery and traps set up for them.

Yeah, plot wise it’s not exactly a reboot, as in this continuity The Jigsaw Killer was a thing of the past, but it doesn’t make clear if the events of Jigsaw even happened or mattered, so it also works as a new take that doesn’t really rely or require seeing the other ones, and this installment does indeed give the series a new direction, focusing more on the detective/police drama, dedicating more time to flesh out the characters directly instead of a heavy “flashback diet”.

The traps are actually creative, vicious, and deliciously sadistic as expected, with a lot of gore and gruesome details, already making this a lot better than the bloodless boring shit in Jigsaw. But as far as actually reimagining and reinventing Saw as a whole.. no, really no, Spiral sticks to formula with decent results, not really feeling that eager to reinvent itself in the first place, after all.

Not bad, but it lacks the ambition to really try something new with the series and potentially fail.

Shark Week (2012) [REVIEW] | Jigshark

Shark Week 2012

Yeah, more shark movies from Christopher Douglas-Olen Ray, this one called simply Shark Week (like Discovery Channel’s popular series, because marketing), a title that cuts to the core but doesn’t really tell you what exactly you’re about to see (besides the fact it’s like 3 days, not a week, but i’m just being pedantic).

It’s basically a mixture of Saw and a shark movie, or the Asylum version of that. Continua a leggere “Shark Week (2012) [REVIEW] | Jigshark”

[EXPRESSO] Escape Room (2019) | Playing Games, Makin’ Names

 

Escape Room 2019 movie poster.jpg

NOT to be confused with the omonynous 2017 movie directed by Will Wernick, which i didn’t see (it was supposed to screen in my country just before this one, but i guess it didn’t, at all).

Anyway, “Escape Room 2019” is about six vastly different individuals that receive a strange cube containing the invitation to an exclusive escape room by a company named Minos. After they all gather in a waiting room, they soon realize the game has already started, and the team must scramble and work together to solve the riddles and proceed to the next room, in what soon appear to be challenges with one goal: survival, at any cost.

It’s basically a non-horror (kinda, there’s some blood, but not gore) take on Saw, which i like even if it’s quite obvious, since here we also have a team of people that seems random at first (but isn’t, at all), and we see them try to cooperate (or not) for a common goal of surviving a deadly challenge of intellect and action, set up for unknown reasons by a misterious, evil mastermind, watching from the shadows.

Heck, even the way it starts is so typical of Saw. 😉

But it’s better than most of the late entries in the Saw franchise, it’s a better written movie than the disappointing Saw: Legacy/Jigsaw we got back in 2017, and it’s actually better than expected, with some surprises, good atmosphere, and mostly decent-to-good performances.

What stops it from being “good”/more than decent is the characterization, with some characters never actually growing out of the clichè they seem at first, and the shameless (but kinda “honest”) way it sets up a sequel, one in what Sony wants to be an annualized franchise. Again, like Saw, which isn’t a promising scenario.

We’ll see, i guess. :/

decaffeinato-icona