Tag Archives: Guillermo del Toro

Antlers Holds Up a Monster Mirror to America’s Ailments

With the film delayed by Covid for nearly 2 years, shuffled during the Fox/Disney studio merger, and overshadowed by a crowded field of horrors in October, you’d be forgiven if you missed Antlers. What’s been overlooked, though, is a fascinating fable with a dread-inducing momentum toward a spectacular climax few films nail. Much like Guillermo Del Toro used the contrast of fantasy to depict fascism in Pan‘s Labyrinth, Antlers uses the horror genre to face the nightmares of contemporary America in intimate and historic terms.

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Comic-Con Round-Up: Spider-Man Amazes, Del Toro’s Best Effing Robots & Monsters, & Coppola Edits Film Live

Movie Buffs, Comic Book Nerds, and Dorks in general can find plenty to love every July in San Diego during its annual Comic-Con. I haven’t yet paid much attention to the news that stems from this event, as most of it didn’t concern my particular tastes. That is, until this year, when major announcements were made by Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro, and the folks behind the new Spider-Man movie. All in all, quite exciting. Continue reading

My Sixth Sense is Tingling: Two Eyes Staring (Zwart Water)

Lisa and Peter go see what's hanging out in their basement.

From the haunted happenings of Poltergeist to Guillermo Del Toro’s excellent The Devil’s Backbone, children in film have been regular objects of ghostly terror.  Two Eyes Staring continues this tradition, with decent results.

Christine’s mother wills her a small mansion that her husband Peter loves, and her daughter Lisa loathes.  Peter convinces Christine to move in, but the house, and Christine’s past, are steeped in mystery by Christine’s evasive attitude concerning her mother.  As Lisa copes with the move and the subsequent loss of friends, she hears strange noises emanating from the basement.  Insert creepy music here.

Without spoiling the film, it does deliver fair horror atmosphere, with the accompanying jump scares that have become a staple of the genre.  The relationship between Lisa and Christine is deftly displayed as strained and cold, in comparison to how difficult it is not to smile at the warm relationship between father and daughter.  The mother is too interested in work, but dad’s affections come through in his respect  and familiar attitude.  The establishment of these cold and hot relationships supports the film’s final act – which delivers more than most horror tales.

However, the film’s length blunts its edge.  POSSIBLE SPOILER In an effort to firmly establish the reality which is then overturned, it spends laborious amounts of time hitting the same key.  SPOILER ALERT OVER In short: The length could have been trimmed to keep taut the flagging tension.  Further, the music crowds what could develop into deeper moments of terror; these items undermine the development of atmospheric and psychological creepies.  The Sixth Sense did an impressive job of generating  mystery, sustaining tension, and horrific scares sprinkled throughout. Two Eyes Staring is almost of that caliber, but not quite.

Even though the film makes some missteps, it’s by no means a bad ride.  It leaves you unsettled and your mouth agape with “Holy Sh*t!”-ness, which is more than most films are able to achieve.  Just give it some time.