Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

The final shots of the Michael Bay-produced remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre set up a sequel in the baldest way possible, and also one of the stupidest: relying as it does on a character who very prominently lost his arms suddenly being able to jump out of the dark with a chainsaw. Yet somehow, […]

Although it absolutely does suffer from having as its protagonists a pair of idiots idiotic even by the standard of an Idiot Plot, The Strangers absolutely deserves this much praise: it is a ridiculously well-crafted scary movie. Maybe not good enough to rise to the pantheon (the last film to reach that height, I’d wager, […]

The short version is: no, Michael Haneke’s new version of Funny Games does not need to exist. Regardless of its inherent quality or lack thereof, it serves essentially no useful purpose. As to the useless purposes it serves, well, that’s the long version. In 1997, the German director made his first major international splash with […]

I am certain that I saw Untraceable. I have the ticket stub right here, so I know I paid for it, and I can recall a couple of scenes that weren’t in the trailer. But the film itself just shot right through my brain without leaving more than a ghost in my memory. And that […]

I suppose that it’s fair to say that if you have so far been a fan of the Saw series, you will most likely enjoy Saw IV, at least in part. You are also a sick and deviant monkey-fucker. Why did I pick monkeys? I cannot say. But I expect that people who would deliberately […]

First, I want to mention how very much it amuses me to read review after review proclaiming that Captivity is such a filthy pit of swill that not even the most stalwart masochist could possibly suffer through it, and that it so wholly lacks even a trace of invention that it surely must mark the […]

Joking is all well and good, but the surprisingly virulent controversy around Hostel, Part II perhaps deserves some consideration. By the way, the first thing you’ll see after the jump? Not safe for work. Caveat emptor. If we follow the official narrative, you had one of two reactions to that poster: you thought it was […]

I was already worried about having Psycho flashbacks just from the premise of Vacancy, in which two people are terrorized by the weird proprietor of a tiny hotel miles off the main highway in what appears to be California, so when the main titles started up, looking very reminiscent of the work of the late […]

Categories: horror, torture porn

Because sequels are meant to be sure things at the box office, they are not often very innovative. The great majority of second films, even the good ones, are essentially just the notes of the first film played louder and bigger. In one key way, Saw II is actually a bit original, then: it clocks […]

Stripped to its bare essentials, the first Saw, from 2004, could have been a pretty great little film. Two men are trapped in a grimy bathroom, chained to pipes, a dead body lies between them. There are a handful of clues tossed around the room about what they need to do to get out, and […]

Proof yet again that nothing good comes out of Sundance anymore: David Slade’s monumentally unpleasant Hard Candy. I saw the poster first in January. “Holy shit!” I thought, “that’s one hell of an image! I have no idea what the film is about, but the Little Red Riding Hood imagery? Brilliant!” Well, the little red […]

A year from now, when I am putting together my list of the great films of 2006, near the top of the list you can surely expect to find Hostel, Quentin Tarantino’s Eli Roth’s delicious satire of innocents abroad, a social farce as wry and pointed as the best work of Evelyn Waugh or Oscar […]