Rating: 18 Length 1h 41 Release 12.12.1997 Director Jim Gillespie About Four high school teenagers try to cover up a hit-and-run case. A year later, they start receiving anonymous letters and each one is attacked by a mysterious man who knows their deep, dark secret.
The four leads are what make this film; then and now. I like that the film doesn’t have them walking the halls of a high school and instead have them on their own paths.
Johnny Galecki was a cool spot back in my teens, having grown up in the Rosanne household. Even now, though, he’s still that guy you know from Big Bang Theory. Man can he do creep well, too.
I love the setting that’s Amity but not quite. Its not new, but it does feel refreshing. For me, it also adds to the lack of community I felt watching it. That this isn’t a town that talks to each other.
The music! At the time it was perhaps “eh, its cool”, but now it has that hit of nostalgia. This is up there with Scream 2 for awesome credit song choice.
The hunting of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Helen is movie perfection. This is the actress I knew as Buffy, so seeing her vulnerable and afraid was beyond disturbing. Then the editing of the whole scene; from the diversion of the cop car that’s taking her home to her almost making it to the crowded streets is phenomenal.
Johnny Galecki’s Max was killed off too soon. In fact, the most frustrating part is that they spend so long building up suspicion of him, to resolve it so suddenly, its almost anti-climactic. There’s also the massive plot blunder of him in the car boot. Yes, I totally get its attempt to build on julie’s unravelling and I guess our sense of smell does not transcend celluloid, but it is improbbable the killer could have cleaned that boot as impeccably as the film wants us to believe.
The final showdown reveals the killer’s mood board of the friends. Well, what do you know, the killer has not only managed to do all the damage he has; he’s been able to get candid photographs of the day developed too. Not something I caught the first time around, but it stuck out like a sore thumb this time.
I so feel like there’s a lake of interaction between our four targets and the rest of the town. I mean, Barry is the jock but there’s no posse?! Ray is given that loner persona, but there’s no one else for the other’s to hang out with. So, aren’t they loners too? It just makes the whole thing feel superficial and that no one is really going to miss these kids when they meet their maker.
I’m not sure I buy the killer’s motivation. In fact, I find the whole thing a little convoluted watching it as an adult. Perhaps I wasn’t distracted by the next “death” as I once was; it certainly wasn’t that I remembered the story.
That ending in the showers. Yawn. Made even worse if you’ve seen the sequel.
It’s a film that fairs better the less you think about it. Just watch the pretty people make dumb life choices and Gibb’s mentor weild a hook, give Edward Scissorhands a run for him money in the hair department and be an absolute motherfucking hypocrite.
Rating: 18 Length: 1h 49 Release: 27.10.1989 Dir : Wes Craven About: A serial killer uses the electricity from the electric chair in which he was executed to return from the dead. Later, he sets out to exact revenge on a football player who turned him in.
The music is my absolute favourite part of this late 80s gorefest. It’s rock and ‘heavy metal’, and feels really ironic. I’m pretty certain that wasn’t the intent, but it certainly works much better here than in Christine (1983).
The final act is amazing, rather meta and absolutely bonkers. If anything, I wish everything that came before was more like this. The final act plays out like the love child of Ghost in the Machine and Last Action Hero. It’s this section that really does open the story up to Craven’s original intent: a tv series.
Johnathan Parker is our ‘final girl’ in Shocker. It’s a refreshing change of pace to have a male lead in this sort of genre movie and in the role of the ‘final girl’ no less. While some of the choices for this character aren’t perfect, and I’ll look at those below, he still offers something other than what viewers might be used to.
Mitch Pileggi playing the mass killer is mind boggling brilliance. Anyone who has seen him in X Files would be forgiven for not recognising the actor, however those familiar with his time on Supernatural will understand upon watching this, why he got the role.
It’s not a smooth plot and each of the three acts feel like they are directed by three different directors. Between the dodgy audio, lack of subtitles on Amazon Prime and what I would say are questionable editing choices, I really did struggle when it came to following at some points. The biggest issue of course being the connection between Pinker and Johnathan. It was something I suspected, and something revealed in the movie. However, it was only upon reading up on the plot after the fact that I’d had it confirmed.
The conflict between Johnathan the ‘football star’ and Johnathan the goofball who knocked himself out at practice. I don’t get why he’s so goofy. This guy is meant to be so amazing, that his ‘football status’ is in many news reports throughout the film. That doesn’t mesh with this guy who walks into things and trips up on his own feet.
There’s a little too much overlap with Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street in terms of Johnathan having premonition type dreams about the killer. I’d have loved if instead these dreams revealed his past and his connection to Pinker, just to remove itself from deja vu.
The comedy element is a little in limbo for me. It’s too much and not enough at the same time. The film holds back, leaving the comedy a little lukewarm and slightly off kilter. While I welcome the comedy, I did want more.
Read any blurb on this movie and it boils it down to Pinker being dead and wreaking havoc. That, I must say, is the most enjoyable parts of this movie, however it ignores the fact that it takes almost half the film to get to that point. There’s so much build up and establishment of the character of Jonathan. For me, I’d have opened up at the point of execution and had more of a reveal to Johnathan.
It’s flawed, its a bit of a mess, but damn I love it. There are little bits I missed due to the quality, but that’s what a rewatch is for, right?!