didn’t expect much from this latest pang brothers (eye, eye 2, etc.) effort, but was pleasantly surprised. the film draws from sources as disparate as the grudge, dark water, the others, and amityville horror, yet isn’t cliché.
the framing of many shots helped keep your eyes moving and your mind guessing. for example, if, in a horror film, we see a woman walking from left to right and looking behind her (to the left part of the screen) and the frame doesn’t show any space to the right, then you can expect that she will walk into someone or that something will scare her from the right part of the screen. this is fundamental horror film directing. the pang brothers use that knowledge of the audience to keep things tense without having to use up a scare. so, you might have the protagonist as described above, but the frame will vary – sometimes centering her face, sometimes framing her face to the right (to indicate a scare is imminent) and sometimes framing her face to the left of the screen. this creates an ebb and flow of the audience’s inner tension. it’s somewhat like having the music get tighter and louder as if to indicate something is about to happen, but then not having anything happen; only more subtle and smart. they do all sorts of things in the framing and editing that keep the audience “on the edge of their seats;” to employ a cliché.
another thing they will do is edit on movement, rather than waiting for something to come to rest. editing on movement is a great technique that can be used in all genres of film, if employed correctly. in dreamgirls it was done poorly, in an almost obligatory fashion. in die hard, it is used perfectly to keep up the energy level and make the film more dynamic. here it is used to keep the film scary. horror film audiences are somewhat more savvy than most. not because they’re smarter or anything, but because there’s just an intuition that is developed through seeing a lot of horror films. so, in order to really scare these people, you need to mix things up. cutting on movement is one of the things this film uses to do that.
while i enjoyed the direction of the film, i felt the script could have used some work. there were some bad lines and the story had some trite elements. overall, though, it was a pretty good flick with some nice direction.Watched in theater