Sunday! This was a light day for me, at least movie-wise – for the second year, my company scheduled its employee appreciation day where they rent out Six Flags Fiesta Texas on a Fantastic Fest day. I have a nine-year-old so I took off the day to take her to the amusement park – but after a day of 105 degree heat, there are still two movie slots to go after her bedtime! Feeling woozy, I attended…
Penumbra (6/10) – In this Argentinian movie, lisping Spanish real estate executive Marga isn’t a nice person, and the promise of easy money keeps her hanging out in an apartment she’s trying to rent while one, then two, then four people are there acting more and more freaky. There is nothing surprising at all about how the story unfolds, but it’s well done and you get to enjoy seeing them uppity wimmen get their comeuppance!
Rabies (7.5/10) – The directors discussed their path towards this, the very first Israeli horror movie! The funny thing is, they don’t understand why it’s the first either. The dialogue goes like this: “We want to make a horror movie!” “Oh, with how bad we have it, who wants to see those bad things? We want escapism!” “But, all our country’s movies are about war and stuff, isn’t that even more depressingly like the horror of our lives than some slasher flick?” “I don’t understand your moon-man language.” I don’t get it, and luckily neither do Navot Pupushado and Aharon Keshales, because they decided “screw it we’re doing it.”
Anyway, man this is a smart and deconstructionist take on a horror movie for the very first horror movie out of a country! I mean, you’d think they’d try to just execute a couple tried and true formulas to prime the pump, but no, this excellent film mixes tense slasher/all-fall-down thrills with “OH SHIT NO YOU DIDN’T” kills as well as nearly Scream-level self referential deconstruction of the horror genre. Want an example? Even the film’s title, RABIES, has nothing to do with the film. There’s no zombies or outbreak disease or anything. “We called it that to fuck with people’s expectations,” say the directors. Anyway,this film is more clever and cutting (in all senses of the word! Ha! Get it?) than all our current stock of wide-release slasher movies. It is way, way better than “our first one!” has any right to be. Go scary Jew power.
So, a short but fulfilling day. It was impressive – Juan of the Dead was a stellar first Cuban horror movie, and now Rabies is a great first Israeli horror movie. Where’s next, Chad?