Wednesday, August 24, 2011

'Do you wanna see some blood?' Things Review

by Yojimbo

I’m going to begin this particular review by stating that very few of the following words will hardly be appropriate to articulate why director Andrew Jordan’s first film Things not only exists, but why it works.  Shot on the beautiful lo-fi super-8 (R.I.P.) in 1989 by possibly brilliant, perhaps deranged, absolutely under appreciated beer-swilling Canucks, this movie got buried and lost into obscurity until Intervision Picture Corp. and Mondo Video gave it a proper modern release on VHS!  

On any given day, 83 minutes is a pleasant, brisk span of time to power through a low budget Canadian horror film.  Not on the day you decide to feed this thing (ha!) into your VCR.  The most awe-inspiring aspect of Things is that, more than Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Star Wars or even Night of the Living Dead, this film absorbs you into its world.  This isn’t a voluntary assimilation, but a forceful, malignant and stupefying transportation into a completely alien version of the real world.  Think of the chalkboard explanation in Back to the Future II or the end of Evil Dead 2/ beginning of Army of Darkness.  You’re there, and you’re screwed.  Deal with it. 

There are few horror movies that nail tone so perfectly.  Some may dismiss Things’ poor (read: horrific) ADR and cheap, knockoff Suspiria lighting techniques and nearly plotless story and practically indecipherable dialogue and fuzzy, off-focus cinematography as poor filmmaking and/or budgetary constraints. Screw the naysayers says I!  There is absolutely no way that all of these things, that every aspect of the filmmaking process, was unintentionally skewed.  These were madmen seeking to slyly make others nutty via home video in a clamshell case.

But let’s pause, get grounded, and discuss the story.  I guess it’s about a woman who had some unseen malpractice that makes her give birth to giantspiderant creatures in some cabin for some reason, and a couple of guys drink beer, argue and try to deal with the situation... or something. 

None (not one) of the explicit horror tropes succeed.  The blood doesn’t even look like food-colored corn syrup or even ketchup, but more like watery Aunt Jemima.  The creatures are not bad looking; their appearance being somewhere between purposefully manufactured for the film and oddity toy store fare.  Obviously whatever budget existed was for beer and thing effects.  That being said, they hardly make one even bat an eye.  Oh, and of course there is full-frontal nudity from a woman wearing a plastic Satan mask, which is odd, but not a contributing factor to the subversive punch to the gut that this film delivers. 

This film really has to be seen to be believed. Scratch that.  You need to watch it, but you still won’t believe it. Pardon my French, but it's going to fuck you up. Bad.

Some may say that this film is not for everyone, or some may not enjoy it, or that it’s only for deranged, tasteless, obese cinephiles, but I say this flick is for the whole family.  Pain is gain.  Invite your girlfriend/boyfriend over, I guarantee your relationship will grow because of the experience, and what could be better than mutual bonding through the art of cinema?  Nothing, that’s what.

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