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Belittling Horror Excessively: Following01:30 AM -- Mon October 3, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: Well, there's this guy, and he follows people. For fun, sorta. He ends up following the wrong person, and of course gets embroiled in a crazy mixed-up scheme. It's very much a 50's style (made in 1999) noir crime thriller. Black & white even. It feels a lot like episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents to me, and it's not much longer than one!

Scariness Type: None. See, here's the deal... when I set out to make this list of movies to watch, first I went through our Netflix queue and pulled out the horror movies already in it. I quickly noticed that there were very few of them, and thought "That's odd, I'm always sticking horror movies in here!" That's when I discovered that half of them were listed as "Foreign Movie" or "Thriller" instead of horror. So I began plucking those out. In retrospect, I'm not sure why I grabbed this one in the process (a Thriller), because even before watching it I knew it wasn't really horror. Anyway, the rest should be much more spooky. In fact, almost all the rest feature some sort of supernatural troubles, with maybe two or three serial killers thrown in. I like ghosts.

Rating: 4/5 Claw Hammers.

Good Stuff: Christopher Nolan doesn't really like things to go in chronological order, and you know what? I as neither well do! When you watch a movie that isn't linear, it engages a whole other chunk of your brain, as you have to put together parts from different scenes and connect it all. I enjoy that. So yeah, this is good with twistiness and all that. It's not a simple movie. It's also quite fast-paced.

Bad Stuff: I don't know if this is really bad because it all makes sense in the end, but it took several back-and-forths of time before I even realized it wasn't chronological. There's no indication, it just goes from scene to scene, with people in different moods, knowing different things, and in different physical condition. The haircut helps give it away. So I don't know if it's my IQ level that's the problem, or if the movie should've been more clear about it. The other bad thing, which I have to say without actually giving anything away, is that the overall plot really is too convoluted to have ever happened in real life. It's one of those kinds of things that nobody would've ever actually planned, simply because they'd know that not everything could possibly go according to plan (and they'd be right!). I don't mind seeing ghosts eat people, but it always grates a little when something is seemingly realistic, but doesn't feel like it could ever happen. Kind of an Uncanny Valley of plot. I enjoy that kind of thing in like an Ocean's 11 movie where it's all silly, but this was a gritty crime drama.

Oh, and lastly, I really think there is a movie you could make about "Following". This movie just had that as the most minimal jumping-off point (it's the reason the main character - who has no name, by the way - gets involved in the situation and meets the other characters), rather than actually asking "What would happen if somebody made a hobby of following other people around?" I really expected to see that, and I think it would be good. Of course he'd end up witnessing a murder, or becoming more obsessive until he's doing worse things... there's a million ways it could go!

Other Stuff: You know the old saying - if an earring goes missing in Act 1, someone better have previously taken it in Act 3!

My Take: I really feel like I don't have a lot to say about this one! It's a good movie, people should see it. Not fantastic, I would say. I think Let The Right One In is a better movie, but this is a much easier one to watch. It really hearkens back to 50's Hitchcock, right down to all the violence being off-screen. But it takes place in roughly the present (there are music CDs mentioned several times). Not that it isn't a warped present with a lot of very old style - the main character uses a clacky old typewriter and there's not a computer or cell phone in sight. There is a cordless phone though.

Artistic Nonsense: I think the moral here is quite simple - don't follow people around! Clearly, it can only lead to you being embroiled in seven layers of schemes and counter-schemes. Ya mook. It's a cautionary tale.

Tomorrow we slip into horror movies proper with a true classic of modern cinema, Jason X. Or as it should've been titled, Jaaaaaason.... Innnnn... SPAAAAAAACE!!
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