Silence, skin and sorcery: movies viewed

A QUIET PLACE (2018) is a nail-biting horror/SF film in which a family (Emily Blunt is Mum) struggles to survive while hunted by blind horrors who’ve apparently preyed on everyone else in the area already with their super-acute hearing. Even with sign language for communication, can the family stay quiet enough to live?

This is a really great film, though I found the monsters a bit too CGI. As we don’t get an origin for the creatures (ET? Mutant? Gen-engineered weapons?) I’m not sure if this qualifies for Alien Visitors but it fits the classic 1950s monster-film template very well, just from a different angle. By the time the film starts, the monsters have already attacked, people have done the panic-and-flee (or just died) and we end with the human survivors figuring out the way to kill the enemy. As the movie avoids talking for most of its length, Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie might make a good double-bill. “I didn’t say anything.”

I was much less impressed with UNDER THE SKIN (2014), in which ET Scarlett Johansson drives around the streets of Glasgow, picking up men for sex but actually to lure them back to her flat where her magic pool drains them of everything inside their skin. This has cult status, but I’m definitely not in the cult; to paraphrase one critic, it feels like the kind of cryptic, incomprehensible film you’d make if you wanted to start a cult. Part of the problem is that midway through the film, Johansson’s hunter changes personality, becoming much more vulnerable and afraid, and I don’t see why. “Have you ever had a girlfriend?”

THE SORCERERS (1967) is a good British horror film starring Ian Ogilvie and Boris Karloff. The latters plays a hypnotherapist whose work was discredited (unfairly, he says) years ago, but now he’s back with something better. Using his new treatment, he and his wife (Catherine Lacey) can not only control man-about-town Ogilvie, they can telepathically dominate him at any time. Unfortunately, having a strong young body becomes intoxicating to the wife, who delights in sending Ogilvie out to commit random acts of violence. Can either of the men find the willpower to stop her? A good contemporary horror film. “It will be insured. Things like that are always insured.”#SFWApro. All rights to images remain with current holders.

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