The Wes Craven Retrospective: The Last House On The Left (1972)

It is commonly understood that when Wes Craven embarked on a mission to write and direct his debut feature, he was inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring. Some attach a caveat that he was merely adapting the same Swedish ballad, but it is abundantly clear he was intentionally hitting the same dramatic beats as Bergman. But more often than not – apart from remarking upon the film’s exploitation aesthetic, cultural notoriety and the fact some parts of it have been lost forever owing to widespread censorship – this is where the discourse surrounding The Last House On The Left ends. But there’s much more to be mined in there.  

Continue reading

The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (2020)

Taking a politically-charged subject and turning it into a film rarely happens by way of sheer inertia. There is a reason why Steven Spielberg’s The Post, a modern-day companion piece to All The President’s Men, was released at the time that it was. Similarly, Spike Lee didn’t just happen upon the story of Ron Stallworth and turned it into the eponymous BlacKkKlansman. By no means do I want to insinuate any degree of cynical opportunism was involved in creating these movies, though some filmmakers do fall into this category; what I am trying to articulate is the simple fact that filmmakers and storytellers are sentient resonance boxes capable of capturing and amplifying the sound of the zeitgeist.  

Continue reading

Understanding Michael Haneke: The Seventh Continent (1989)

This article is a part of a comprehensive journey through the cinema of Michael Haneke, an often-overlooked auteur whose cutting critical analysis continues to be relevant to this day.

Michael Haneke’s transition from the highly regimented and thematically constrained universe of television was allegedly catalyzed by a short news article about a regular Austrian family whose members decided to end their lives, seemingly without any valid reason. The Seventh Continent is Haneke’s attempt to wrestle with this moral puzzle.  

Continue reading

The Hunt (2020)

Although it is highly unlikely, it would be interesting to imagine that The Hunt originated as a spin-off to Adam McKay’s Vice. What I specifically have in mind is the film’s final scene where a brawl erupts between attendees at a focus group meeting. Someone is called a ‘libtard’, somebody else gets accused of ‘hiring an orange cheeto to be president’ and then it comes to blows. This film, directed by Craig Zobel (Compliance) and co-written by Damon Lindelof and Nick Cuse, honestly feels like a spiritual successor to this scene – a fantasy where somebody gives these folks guns and watches as they blow each other to smithereens.  

Continue reading

Saint Maud (2019)

The renaissance of horror continues unabated with more and more unique voices jumping into the fray. Directed and written by Rose Glass in her feature debut, Saint Maud fits right in with the tonal frequency of the genre and saturates a seemingly prototypical story of possession with poignant social commentary. However, in contrast to such juggernauts as Get Out or Us, Glass’s film hides its true aspiration a bit deeper.  

Continue reading