Sunday, October 03, 2010

Fear(s) of the Dark

(2007) ***1/2

I had to get an oil change yesterday, so while I was waiting, I walked over to this hole-in-the-wall video store that often has some pretty cool rare finds. Came across this beauty and snapped it up. It's a compilation of shorts from 6 graphic artists (I'm not familiar with any of their work) all based around the general theme of fear of the dark. I had mild hopes that this might be a 4 or 5 star classic, but really it falls into the "fun, worth finding a copy" category. The trailer here is worth checking out, in any case:

The animation is by far the best thing going on here. It's a fucking gorgeous movie--all blacks and whites with lots of really cool use of shading. Reminded me a bit of Persepolis--huh, wouldn't be surprised if the guy who helped Satrapi with that is one of the artists involved here. I'll check that.

I counted 4 narrative type stories here, and then another 2 more expository exercises that are intercut between the other stories throughout the whole movie. I'm ambivalent about this fairly difficult structure--on the one hand, the two non-linear stories work well as kind of chapter breaks, but they do also kind of keep distancing the viewer from being emotionally involved. However, I have a feeling that this structure might offer further rewards on repeated viewings.

Perhaps the biggest drawback here for me is that I generally am prejudiced against "compiliation" movies even before beginning them. They always feel more like "exercises" than movies. Like each director got an assignment, and this was what they came up with, rather than an individual auteur grabbing hold of some story that she just has to get out, and thus sets off on the huge task of getting funding and collaborators and so on.

That said, I really liked the first story about a kid who becomes a sort of incubating pod for huge intelligent insects. It's crazy creepy, maybe moreso because I used to have an ongoing fear of fucking guinea worm while in the Peace Corps. And there's an awesomely cool episodic story about some 18th century madmen walking a pack of wild dogs, and he keeps letting them go, one-by-one, to attack various poor saps. Ultimately, of the 6 stories, 2 didn't really work for me, and they were smack in the middle, so there was a period where I felt it dragged. But the final story about a guy who stumbles into a haunted house is pretty well done, so it ends on an up note.


Catfreeek said...

Nice review. I reviewed this last season and gave it the same rating. It's a nice obscure change of pace. I've made animated horror my second theme this year so expect a few more oddities.

Whirlygirl said...

I have this on board. It's part of my French list. I'm sad to hear that it's not fantastic.

Julie said...

Cool. Sounds like an interesting find even if it wasn't brilliant.

Octopunk said...

I watched the final story some time in the past year, and I thought it was genuinely haunting. I'll have to check out the rest some time because I'm a toon head.

Digging that picture of the dark-eyed kid.

50PageMcGee said...

ditto on the dark eyed kid pic. the images alone make this one seem worthwhile.

DCD said...

Even though it wasn't totally great, it looks really damn cool.

Man, I wish we had hole-in-the-wall rental places around here. Since all the Blockbusters have gone out of business it's Redbox or Netflix only. Drag.

Landshark said...

Well, DCD, by "hole-in-the-wall" I mean a sad little place run by 3 old Asian women who mostly rent porn.

But they do order all kinds of obscure foreign stuff.

DCD said...

Ha! Okay, I guess I can do without that.