-Article by Paul Ewbank-
I want to preface this by saying that a) Liz thinks this article is a great idea, and b) she’s sitting right next to me as I type.
So Liz and I are incredibly well matched. We both like Pokémon, we both appreciate a good ale but more often than not settle for cheap cider by the four-pack, we both enjoy apocalyptic and dystopian fiction to the extent we felt the need to start a blog about it. We do, however, differ on several key issues. I drink Monster, Liz drinks Relentless. I like teh metulz, Liz likes…not teh metulz. I like good films. Liz likes bad films. Genuinely, I see no pattern to her tastes other than that the films she likes are generally… not very good. Ok there are a lot of exceptions but there’s been many a time when I’ve been told I simply HAVE to watch this or that brilliant film, only to be left clueless as to what all the fuss was about. And so, for no other reason than to ritually annoy the woman I love in a public domain, here is a list of films she likes, which actually suck.
Tucker and Dale versus Evil
A bunch of kids go camping in the woods and meet a couple of scary looking deranged hillbillies. The hillbillies are really just well meaning, awkward losers, but the kids mistake them for twisted murdering psychopaths. Sounds like the setup for a funny, insightful twist on the ‘cabin in the woods’ horror gimmick. Except that nothing remotely funny, insightful, frightening, or even particular interesting happens. At all. This film is a total non-event. Every time a potentially funny or interesting situation arises, the dull script and screenplay diffuse it into dreary cliché with frightening efficiency. And no, having Wash from Firefly in your film does not automatically make your film good. Unless your film is A Knight’s Tale.
This is another film I was promised was totally hilarious but ended up being a massive letdown. I’ve never been into Tim Burton in a big way and this one has a look and feel that really rubs me the wrong way. I think whatever was funny about it rather passed me by. Badly rendered aliens making weird noises and failed attempts at genre satire aren’t my idea of a fun time. Like Tucker n Dale this is film which has a very annoying ‘oh, aren’t I just hilarious?’ kind of attitude without having anything remotely amusing happening. Alternately boring and disturbing, this one might appeal to a certain type of person, I just haven’t worked out who that might be.
Liz used this one as a threat for quite a while. Just from hearing the basic synopsis I knew I was going to hate it. And so ‘I’ll make you watch Dead Snow’ and ‘If I do X, you have to watch dead snow’ became common phrases. Eventually I resigned myself to watching it, just to have the looming threat off my back once and for all. And Dead Snow turned out to be exactly what I expected it to be: full of gore, badly made and not very interesting. I know a lot of people have a kind of fascination with this kind of B-Movie but I’ve never understood it. So far as I can tell it amounts to watching bad films, knowing they are bad, but pretending they are good. Um…no thanks. And no matter how many times you throw fake intestines around on screen, it isn’t going to get any funnier. This film is just bad on all levels. Clearly whoever made it has watched a few horror films but has totally failed to understand the nuances of pacing, structure and character. Dead Snow follows the time worn notion of a bunch of kids going to a remote place formula to the letter (and pointing this out in the film but then proceeding to do it anyway doesn’t excuse you) but where a good film would use the first act to establish character personalities, develop the world and build tension, Dead Snow does none of this. As such the first hour is excruciatingly, agonisingly dull, and when the requisite Zombie Nazis show up, you won’t care one hoot about any of the people on screen. There’s one bit near the end that made me chuckle a bit, but it was nowhere near enough to stop Dead Snow being little more than 88 minutes of drivel I will never get back. I just looked up the fact that it lasted 88 minutes. It felt a lot longer.
Ok so this one isn’t apocalyptic or dystopian so I won’t linger too long on it. But still, this film was marketed to me by Liz as being ‘better than Die Hard’. I should have known. Ok to be fair it’s not awful, perhaps if it hadn’t been so insanely oversold to me I wouldn’t have found it so annoying. ‘Better than Die Hard’? That’s like saying ‘worse than Dead Snow’. It just can’t happen.
How can a film about angels running amok with automatic weapons be so boring? Well a good starting point is to have such a low budget that all the scenes of heaven or otherworldly power look just plain awful. Then, have all the main action be between humans and other possessed humans, thereby reducing the supernatural element to background noise. When the climactic fight between your two angelic rivals finally arrives, why not have them fight by vaguely flapping their wings at each other? That won’t look ridiculous at all. Throw in a story that’s both boring and ridiculous and a cast of wooden, dreary characters and you’ve got yourself a sure-fire dud. Congratulations. Now go and do something else with your life.
That’s all for now. Love you Liz!