Opening Weekend: Horns, Crawlers and a Decade of Saw
Looking to get scared this weekend? You have plenty of options. Maybe you want to let out your wild sinful inclinations with the star of your favorite childhood book franchise? Or, maybe you want to unhinge with a deranged crime scene photographer and get lost in the black void of the Los Angeles night? Really though, what we all need is a revisit to that ticking time-bomb puzzle of a film that has forever turned us off to the question, “Would you like to play a game?”
The opening weekend of Halloween has some excitingly twisted offerings for those in the pure spirit of things.
Part mystery, part horror, even part dark comedy, Horns finds Daniel Radcliffe, a suspect for the rape and murder of his girlfriend, finding himself one morning with horns–yes, like, devil horns. These horns bring out the vice in everyone who encounters him, and will play an integral role in solving the true mystery behind the heinous act. Despite a pleasing supporting cast including Juno Temple, Max Menghella and James Remar, the consensus for Horns seems to conclude that Radcliffe is the real saving grace for an otherwise problematic film. However, his performance may be just entertaining enough for this to be worth a watch. Afterall, we may have seen the guy under circumstances of accusation and appearance-altering curses, but most likely not to this depth of darkness.
Jake Gyllenhaal continues an exciting run of starring roles, after his stellar back-to-back performances in Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners and Enemy, with what looks to be the most intense role as the eccentric Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler. Although not a horror film by genre, the story follows Bloom as he is sucked into a dangerous free-lance job (called “nightcrawling”), which involves following police scanners and beating the law to crime scenes in order to get the most profitable photographs, even at morally reprehensible costs. Gyllenhaal seems to be burning with similar flames of early Pacino as he spirals out of control. The scariest thing about Nightcrawler may turn out to be the dark sides of getting the story first, a notion that is increasingly hard to keep up with these days.
One of the most exciting things about Halloween can be just turning out the lights, locking the doors and marathoning all your favorite horror movies. Well, theaters nationwide want to enhance that experience for you with the rerelease of James Wan’s highly influencial Saw, celebrating the film’s 10th anniversary. Saw has not only spawned its own franchise in the last decade (7 movies, 2 video games, 1 comic, and apparently 3 theme park rides), but also served as the catalyst for a divisive era of films dubbed “torture porn” by critics. In the aftermath of Saw, America’s deeply embedded, Cronenbergian desire for watching pure violence has blown out of proportion. We met Eli Roth and his over-the-top Hostel films, and have imported the likes of Tom Six and his Human Centipede series. Seeing how director James Wan has since turned the trend more in the direction of stark, unnerving suspense with The Conjuring, maybe the legacy of Saw was not his intention. Still, the film deserves its spot in the canon of horror cinema, and this rerelease should surely satisfy the desire for intense cringing this Halloween weekend.
Also opening: If those films are not enough to keep you awake for days, check out The ABCs of Death 2, it might be so ridiculous that you enjoy it. If horror is not your bag, the psychological drama Before I Go To Sleep hits theaters this weekend as well.