Split (2017)

directed by m. night shyamalan
blinding edge pictures/blumhouse productions

After watching this feature, I think I can better understand the opprobrium I’ve often seen hurled at its director in discussions of his oeuvre. Not that this is a bad movie, mind you; it does what it does fairly well, but it has a … credibility issue. I mean, I found myself not buying the central premise. At all. Don’t get me wrong; I am not denying the possibility of traumatic onset of multiple personalities, or dissociative identity disorder. The theory involved in this picture, however, takes pseudoscience directly into the realm of the comic book, in my professional opinion. (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor.) Furthermore, I usually am not seeking stories concerning supernatural physical characteristics or characterizations, such as found in superhero or -villain flicks. In addition, I found the scant inserts providing backstory to be both clumsy and stereotyped. THEN it turns out it’s somehow part of a trilogy-of-sorts – or a tripartite narrative, maybe. And it’s also a little too long, if only because it gave me time to realize all this.

why did i watch this movie?

I appreciated Shyamalan’s previous effort, The Visit, and noticed this one receiving positive attention on a few year-end lists.

should you watch this movie?

It’s interesting, but ultimately unbelievable. Upon further reflection, I think it’s supposed to attain that effect … but I think it would best serve an action/thriller audience, and it doesn’t have a whole lot of what generally is termed “action.”

highlight and low point

I would suppose the main attraction of this piece to be the leading performance by James McAvoy, which is presented as though one is to regard it as a tour de force and not a display of ham. The final movement is preposterous.

rating from outer space: c−

Unhinged (1982)

produced and directed by don gronquist
megastar films

Ya know, I could swear I saw a capsule review of this one that claimed it was at LEAST as good as Halloween, a true forgotten classic of the genre and … yeah, no. Not really. Kinda dating itself in that not a whole lot of action takes place – killings or anything else – Unhinged is mostly an atmospheric study of some creepy people in an old house in the middle of nowhere, where three young women wind up secluded after a suspicious auto accident. (At least, I gather it was to be perceived as suspicious, in the fine cinematic tradition, but I couldn’t actually tell what caused it.) The SHOCKING TWIST ending in this one is not all that shocking, and neither is it all that plausible, even for a movie of this sort. This information probably should not come as any sort of surprise to you.

why did i watch this movie?

In what may become a noticeable pattern, I was quite taken by the title, and further investigation – reviews such as the one mentioned above, a few still shots – made it sound a lot more interesting than it proved to be.

should you watch this movie?

It is most likely that you could find a better use of your time, even if only to check out a better movie of this ilk.

highlight and low point

It’s always fun when a picture apparently forgets a character along the way, and it is likewise often aggravating when one seems to hint at an intricate web of hidden secrets when there may, in fact, be no such thing. Could be I’m reading too much into minor points that only exist to flesh out the running time.

rating from outer space: c+

Hide and Go Shriek (1987)

Directed by skip schoolnik
new star entertainment

Now, here we have a prime example of why we watch ’80s slasher films. Start with the excellent title, then examine the questionable setup, in which a group of friends decides to celebrate high school graduation by spending an overnight in a … furniture store? (It’s owned by one of their fathers, you see.) Along with some teen sex hijinks, toss in a red herring and some mannequins, and by the time the gratuitous nudity splashes across the screen, you will be eagerly anticipating the SHOCKING TWIST at the end. I hope I haven’t spoiled it for you.

why did i watch this movie?

It’s titled “Hide and Go Shriek,” for crying out loud! Plus, it’s from 1987, a golden year for the Slasher film.

should you watch this movie?

I wholeheartedly endorse this movie, and should you choose to view it as though it came out of a time capsule, its presentation of the styles and sounds of the late 1980s will be informative, to choose just one adjective.

Highlight and low point

Why don’t they leave the furniture store, you may be wondering. Well may you wonder; such caprice of fortune propels this admirable genre, does it not? And so as not to reveal too much about the denouement, I merely question whether it would fly in today’s hypersensitive environment.

rating from outer space: a-