August 9th, 2019

Anya final stand, S7

horror consumed

I have to do this now before my list gets any longer! I'm making this a horror-only post so that it's not TOO long.

Movies
The Perfection (2019). The previous darling of a prestigious cello academy meets its shining new star, both women. This was absolutely fucking bonkers and I LOVED IT. It's got incredibly fucked up canon femslash, and it's hot, grotesque, gorgeous, and operates on a completely OTT logic all its own. I confess to being a little sad that it didn't end up going in an eldritch horror direction (and it was SO CLOSE to doing so!!), but man I loved the whole thing anyway. I may request for Yuletide.

If you're thinking about watching it, it's not particularly gory and has almost no jump scares. However, it merits a wide variety of other Collapse ) Feel free to ask me for details.

The Ritual (2017). Four English schlubs goes go hiking in Sweden in memory of their mutual dead friend and get chased by a monster. I had this recced to me a lot, but it's literally just another story about a bunch of hikers and a monster. We even encounter the apparently inevitable monster-worshipping Swedish hillbillies. I was underwhelmed. I will grant that the monster's design is extremely cool, though.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016). A coroner (Brian Cox!) and his medical tech son (Emile Hirsch) try to determine the cause of death of a mysterious young woman. I wanted this to be a lot better than it was. Cox and Hirsch have good chemistry - very important when half your movie is basically a two-person narration of an autopsy! - and I was invested in their characters' relationship. The movie didn't take it anywhere interesting, though, and the supernatural end of things (helpfully spoiled for me by the Netflix genre tag) was underwhelming. I guess I'm just not into the "person unknowingly stumbles across the supernatural, suffers painfully" as a genre.

TV
Dark. I watched the first couple eps of this German-made Netflix original about... time shenanigans? They were very moody and atmospheric, which I liked. OTOH it felt really slow, and I wasn't invested in any of the characters. And then in episode three, Mikkel's whole situation just stressed me out, and I stopped watching. When I don't know what's going on with a story, sometimes I want to keep watching and find out, and other times I just feel like there's no reason for me to care. This show is definitely an example of the latter.

Prose
The Sick Land. This is a daily blog chronicling the activities of researcher Alex Case exploring the "Sick Land," a deeply strange, largely unknown, possibly unknowable region of land in an indeterminate location. Think the Shimmer from the Southern Reach books, but with less clearly-defined borders.

I read this because it was recced as cosmic horror and because I like fiction framed as documents/letters/journal entries. It did indeed have cosmic horror, but overall I wanted the writing to be a lot stronger and more vivid. It never specifies where the Sick Land is located, which meant I had no clues as to ecology, weather, etc except what the story itself gave me, and the story was really vague and avoided specificity. The journal entries also spend WAY too much time on dreams; probably 25-35% of the entries are just the researcher talking about what they dreamt the night before. Dreams are a hard sell in fiction! Deploy them sparingly!

I also wanted at least a few more crumbs about Alex Case. I assume the author had a reason for never identifying their gender, but that just left me feeling like I was missing part of who Alex was. In fairness, I also wanted to know a bunch of other things about Alex that I didn't get.

This makes it all sound like I hated it, but mostly I found it mediocre? It did have some nice instances of body horror, there's a great time loop sequence towards the end, and I enjoyed the series of revelations in the final fifth or so of the story (especially the source of the machinery). And I liked the end, even though I was a little confused by the thematic significance of how we got there. If you want a slow descent into madness and weirdness, you could do worse.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)