27 September 2009

6WH: September 27th

Week 2 begins:

Tales from the Darkside: "The New Man" (1984) directed by Frank DePalma
The premise is interesting: a boy goes to his father's workplace and the father doesn't recognize him at all. The man's a former alcoholic, so his family blames that for him not recognizing the boy, though he hasn't had a drink in years. This leads to the man's divorce and the loss of his job. The boy then shows up at the same workplace, claiming to be the son of a different ex-alcoholic. I suppose he's a sort of demon that really hates ex-alcoholics for no apparent reason? The story didn't make too much sense. Creepy smile by the kid in the freeze frame at the end, though. (6/10)

Session 9 (2001) directed by Brad Anderson
I'm glad someone was able to film a movie at Danvers State Hospital. This was probably the creepiest place on the planet, until much of it was torn down a few years ago. We have a similar institution in my home state, which I was lucky enough to be able to walk around a little and film. It's hard to see how such an intense building design wouldn't make the patients even crazier.

The movie, unfortunately, did nothing for me. I had no emotional reaction to the goings on in the film. I really wanted to like it, just for the setting alone. Alas, the film is very slow and spends quite a bit of time with the men simply working on their job. I began to find myself absurdly worried that the men weren't working fast enough to get their bonus, rather than feeling any tension from how the building was affecting the men's minds.

In the end, it turns out one of the men is insane. Everything in the movie has a human explanation. Would I have liked the film better if the supernatural had been involved? I'm not sure. I can see the argument for making it a realistic commentary on mental illness. I can see that the building didn't need any ghostly help in being scary by itself. Still, there was something kind of disappointing that it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy guy responsible for the horror. (6/10)