Powered by Blogger.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Review: Nightmare Cinema

Director: Alejandro Brugués, Joe Dante, Ryûhei Kitamura, David Slade, and Mick Garris
Screenplay: Sandra Becerril, Alejandro Brugués, Lawrence C. Connolly, Mick Garris, Richard Christian Matheson, and David Slade
Year: 2019

Synopsis: Five strangers converge at a haunted movie theater owned by The Projectionist. Once inside, the audience members witness a series of screenings that shows them their deepest fears and darkest secrets over five tales.

"Nightmare Cinema" is a horror anthology that gathers five horror directors to create short movies. These short movies are shown in an old abandoned theater by The Projectionist to people who are drawn by the theater. What’s curious about these shorts is that they have as protagonists those that see it and the story revolves around their fears and anxieties.

The first short comes from director Alejandro Brugués (“Juan of the Dead”) and is titled “The Thing in the Woods". This is the faster paced and maybe the most violent short, rivaled with “Mashit”. In “The Thing in the Woods" a group of friends is chased by a murderer known as The Welder. This short has a style reminiscent of 80’s slashers, with a slightly campy tone, frenetic pace, and very creative deaths. It was a good choice to put it first, as it is useful to show the overall violent and imaginative tone of the anthology.

The second participation belongs to “Mirare”, directed by Joe Dante (“The Howling”). Given the great career of this director, I was expecting his short to be one of the best, but really it was the one that I least liked. This short explores the vanity of people with their looks and how this vanity can take a dark turn. The short is good and entertaining, but I feel it needed more impact.

“Mashit” is the third short, directed by Ryûhel Kitamura (“The Midnight Meat Train). In this story, we are taken to a Catholic school, where a demon known as Mashit torments children until he leads them to their suicide. Besides the topic of possessions, it is also explored in a limited way the double standards of religions. As I had mentioned, this is one of the most violent segments, where there is even a part when we literally see limbs flying on screen. It also has the most frightening images of the movie, and while it crosses to campy levels, it never loses the dark and uncomfortable tone. Definitively this is the segment that I enjoyed the most.

The fourth short movie is This Way To Egress” from director David Slade (“30 Days of Night”) in which the mental decay of a woman is explored. Here we can see the surroundings from the perspective of the woman, who can no longer differentiate between what’s real and what’s not. This short has a tone reminiscent of “Silent Hill”, with overrun structures, alarmingly disfigured people, and nasty bathrooms. The pace of this story is slower than the previous ones as it is more focused on the mental state of the woman. This was for me the most interesting short and I would like to see it become a full-length movie where these ideas can be explored and develop to a greater extent.

The fifth and last short is a product of director Mick Garris (“Sleepwalkers”) and is titled “Dead” In this story, a teen is shot during an armed robbery in which his parents die. He was also dead for a few minutes until doctors bring him back to life and now, he has the ability to see the dead. With this new ability, the line between life and death becomes increasingly blurrier in a story that seems to be inspired by “The Sixth Sense”. The pace is a little slow, but the ending of the short is rewarding.

All the short movies in “Nightmare Cinema” were really good. Every story explored a different area in horror movies and, although each director brings its own unique style, they interlock well as a single movie. The character of The Projectionist is key in this, as he is used as a pivot to make the different stories make sense as a whole. The group of directors, writers, and the wonderful cast makes this one of the best horror anthologies I have seen in a while.

No comments:

Post a Comment