8:00 PM, 27th October, 2012
Five teenagers head off for a weekend at a secluded cabin in the woods. They arrive at their remote destination to find themselves completely isolated, with no means of communicating with the outside world. When things start to turn eerily ominous, their idyllic holiday turns into a struggle for survival. Sound familiar? Like the set-up to pretty much every horror film ever made? That's the point!
Writer/director Drew Goddard (best known for Cloverfield and his work on JJ Abrams's sci-fi/action shows "Alias" and "Lost") teams up with uber-geek writer Joss Whedon ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer", last semester's The Avengers) to create a self-aware, meta-horror movie that is so twisty-turning that to describe it any further would ruin the experience. This may seem to cover painfully familiar ground but once the five main characters arrive at the titular cabin, it becomes a film very much unlike any other. Simultaneously gory, witty and intelligent, this is not just a scary movie (or, thankfully, Scary Movie). It's also a commentary on itself, the genre and all the associated clichés; while still upholding the true horror movie spirit (think Shaun of the Dead only more madcap).
You don't need to be a horror devotee to enjoy this. If you've seen any horror film, ever, or even just heard about one, you have the background to more than appreciate this movie for its many merits.
Avoid the trailers, forget this review; just come see it: the less you know, the more fun you'll have.
9:50 PM, 27th October, 2012
This is quite an obscure Fritz Lang movie but it is definitely a movie that deserves to be better known. Novelist Stephen Byrne (Hayward) makes a play for his housemaid and unwittingly kills her when she rejects his advances. Enlisting the help of his disabled brother, John (Bowman), to dispose of the body in the river, Stephen suddenly finds that the publicity surrounding the maid's disappearance starts to increase his popularity. But as easy as Stephen finds it to have no conscience, the opposite is the case with John - and with the river refusing to hold its secrets, something is going to give.
House by the River is a dark and intense movie with one of the most despicable characters I have ever seen. Although this film doesn't rank as one of Lang's major films, such as M or Metropolis, this morbid melodrama about murder most foul (I've always wanted to use that phrase in a film review!) contains enough of his characteristic themes to make it rewarding for Lang fans. These older films are getting harder and harder to see on the big screen so don't miss the chance to experience House by the River the way it should be seen.