Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Overlook Theatre Reviews: Nick Simon's The Girl in the Photographs

of 9 viewers "Liked" "The Girl in the Photographs" (USA, 2015)
Here's what the creatures had to say:

The Berkeley Blazer - "Let's get the negative out of the way: the conclusion to this film was utter garbage and accounts for the loss of a full star. Its brilliant use of genre is undercut by the very demands of the genre, and this did not have to happen. That being said, I loved this movie. Each character is strongly embodied and presented by their respective actor in a compelling way. Kal Penn's comic "shallow photographer" character is a perfect example. This delightful, vulgarly pompous cad has some of the best lines in the film. Early on he perceives the aesthete main villains as adversaries not on moral grounds, but as competing artists. This conceit is carried by Penn and comes across as surprisingly organic, and this is true of the entire cast who fulfill their characters perfectly. The overt themes of voyeurism, power, and obsession don't come across as an after thought but rather an intentional theme the creators chose to meditate on, albeit in a thoroughly entertaining manner. I will be watching this movie again for both the hilarious dialog as well as the philosophical subtext; I will simply just have to remember to turn it off about twenty minues before the credits roll." - 4 Stars

KillDozer - "Hearing that this was the last film Wes craven was a part of will obviously peak the interest of any genre fan. Directed by the one of the writers of the amazingly awful The Pyramid, I went into this film both intrigued and frightened by what I might see. I am happy to say that this was a fun horror movie experience. This movie had solid yet obvious social commentary, plenty of dark comedic moments, and a well laid out plot that was not new but still interesting. Fun practical gore and a very real late 90's slasher feel made me feel nostalgic. I had a good time with this film and even though I won't be adding it to my collection I do look forward to sharing the title with friends." - 3 Stars

Speed Demon - "Wasn't expecting a lot of what happened. Actually a lot wasn't really explained either. All in all great film. Cleaver ideas throughout the film made this chilling and entertaining. Not gonna lie, there was one particular kill scene that was extremely intense. Always great to add a little humor throughout a film that focuses on being a slasher. A must watch. Awesome!" - 4 Stars

Book Wyrm -*Spoiler*- "I liked the aesthetics of this movie but at times it felt a little show. I enjoyed the movie, it was suspenseful. I was shocked that everyone actually died. The actors were good and the stalkers were creepy. I want to know what the deal with the big fat guy was though." - 4 Stars

Dabbles - "This slasher has an interesting formula but dragged a little too much. The kills where really good though. The characters helped this movie pull off the effects of the fear/ridiculous clichés. Great cast, great story, script, just the pacing killed me." - 3 Stars

Math Mage - "The most important thing for a slasher film is to make the audience care about the cast. This film succeeds at that." - 4 Stars

The Creature of the ComiCombs -*Spoiler*- "I was a bit unsure about this early on but a great performance by Kal Penn drew me in. There were some good kills in here and a few cringe worthy moments. I can see where people might dock this, as the plot doesn't really open up the way I had hoped and instead goes the way of just killing everyone off. Sometimes things are better left unsaid and I think this movie benefited from leaving some things up to the viewer. Overall this was an enjoyable movie and one I recommend watching." - 4 Stars

Lord Battle
- "A throwback to 90's slashers, The Girl in the Photographs takes pride in punishing a voyeuristic audience. The strong misagynist themes about how women are viewed through a camera ring true in a disturbing manner, creating an interesting tug-o-war between a hipster and a slasher. With Wes Craven as an executive producer and cinematography by Dean Cundy, this film will not be the one you're imagining. Much like both artists respective first films, The Girl in the Photographs will come to gain proper respect in the coming years. So grab your thinking cap and check this one out!" - 4 Stars

Huntress - "The Girl in the Photographs got a couple of interesting things right, things that I never really thought about before. The slasher's mask was awesome, but more importantly, his face was just as creepy. I thought the casting in general was pretty unusual, but I didn't have a single complaint about it in the end. There's no lack of amazing shots in this film, and I definitely want to rewatch it in the future." - 4 Stars 

The Overlook Theatre Final Rating*
(Below is for after you've seen the film)

The Girl in the Photographs isn't the easiest film to digest. Between the odd casting, subtle themes, and strange premise, we should all take a chance to rewatch and ponder this work. So instead of trying to write something interesting that's semi-related to the film I've taken 3 questions from an interview did with  director, Nick Simon. I think his answers offer some good insight into what we should be paying attention to, as far as themes and metaphors, when re-watching the film. You had already directed and co-written the movie REMOVAL with Osgood Perkins. So what were the origins of THE GIRL IN THE PHOTOGRAPHS? Was this an idea you’d been thinking of for a while? Or just something that came together rather quickly?

Nick Simon: Oz and I started writing this right after REMOVAL. The idea came from just driving round Silverlake and seeing all the American Apparel ads everywhere and thinking it’d be interesting to do something that involved photography and something that was a throw-back “slasher,” if the girls in those billboards were actually terrified looking back at you. We started working on this script in 2009 and wrote back and forth. When you were working on this story, were there any specific influences you guys were pulling from? Because it’s a weird hybrid of a modern “slasher,” and yet it feels like a home invasion horror, even though that’s not what this is at all. What were some of the things you and your co-writers were talking about in terms of tone?

Nick Simon: I think we always wanted to tonally be a cross between HALLOWEEN and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. Where all these characters and their backgrounds were based in a real situation, but also have it be an homage & similar vibe to the earlier “slasher “ films that we loved, like HALLOWEEN. Those are the movies that made me want to make films! We wanted to come up with a current story that reflected now. We touched on the photography element of it, and the idea of objectification and trying to keep that theme all the way through, in particular the objectification of woman in advertising. The way you perceive models, and also the idea of the woman that works at Starbucks and has to deal with this creepy guy every single day who has built in his head this relationship they have that she has no idea about. He goes in every day and talks to her and sees their relationship as something more. I’ve seen it happen. I used to work at a Suncoast video for 5 years back in the 90’s and there were a few creepy guys that would come in specifically when this one girl would work. I don’t know how they figured out her schedule! But they’d stay there for a little longer than was appropriate. Let’s talk about the “look” of the killers. They both wear pretty unsettling masks in the film. Wasn’t that something that Wes suggested originally?

Nick Simon: He did. We toggled back and forth in the script about whether they should wear masks, or wear like a pancake make-up. I talked to Wes about it and he had this entire great backstory about the importance of masks in these types of films. He’d explain how they go back to ancient man and how it separates the killer from the victim. Wes had a very elaborate and detailed explanation on how important it was, so we went with masks. And then it was one of those things where I thought long and hard about how to get the masks right. If you’re trying to do a horror movie where the killer wears a mask, they’ve all been done, right? So you’re trying to come up with something interesting and something that will stay with you and tell a story at the same time.

             - BlumHouse web interview

If you'd like to read the whole interview, you can find it here.

- Lord Battle

The Overlook Theatre Materialized in a residence for Double Feature Thursday on 6/2/2016
*Based on the star ratings turned in by character reviewers, others viewed and got to "Dislike" or "Like" but that does not effect the rating.

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