Nato – Area 407
The horror, oh sweet baby Jesus the horror! Not the good horror either, like the “I can’t believe I’m recalling this shitstorm” type of horror.
You can find my hatred of Area 407 here on my Worst of 2012 Horror So Far list, here on my personal blog’s full review, or right here as I’m about to delve into the least rewarding film I ever wasted money on in my life.
Let me set the scene. The film starts out as two sisters are about to fly across country for some vacation or something – sorry, I’ve blocked as much of this garbage from my mind as possible – and the annoying younger sister feels it necessary to record everything and shove her personal camera in every passenger’s face. She’s annoying, babbles about nothing important, and is completely horrid to listen to. Then, the plane crash lands in a desert. A few people survive, including the sisters, stumbling around battered and bloodied.
Each character just unwatchable as the next, our survivors start looking for help, until they realize they’re being stalked by something. What is it? Well, if you blink during the split second its head appears, you’ll never know besides a tail which slithers off-screen every so often. A killer tail. I’m shaking in my boots!
So where does it go wrong? EVERYWHERE. First off, let’s note this fact – Area 407 was shot in 5 days and the actors ad-libbed most lines. Oh, well at least that makes sense as to why the dialogue was so mind-numbingly dull. Characters consistently shout over one another, dialogue is delivered with hesitation and zero fluidity, and conversations are nothing but emotionless jabbering and jawing. Not a single character makes the film redeemable, and were worthless amongst the joke production.
As for the horror, Area 407 commits every major crime amongst found footage. The camera work is blurry and incomprehensible at times, characters dying simply means the camera pans away and when it returns the character seemingly vanishes without a trace, the creature stays off-screen and never offers anything to fear, the creature’s size scale changes scene to scene, and the whole production is pretty much unwatchable. It took about 35 minutes alone just to establish any danger at all, much of that time spent with boring talking and yelling.
Enough, I just can’t anymore. Area 407 should be banished to the depths of horror movie hell, never again to prey on the poor saps who recklessly flip it on – like me.
Remy – Chernobyl Diaries
For me, there have been few movie experiences in the last year as disappointing as Chernobyl Diaries. I feel like it used every “found footage” trope that has ever been used, but did NONE OF THEM right. The very idea of having Chernobyl as the setting was, in itself, brilliant, and was a key element in getting me excited about that film. From the odd, creepy terrain to the sordid history, it’s literally a perfect setting for a horror film. There is just so much potential.
So what did they do wrong and how did they screw up so badly? Well, they wanted to be everything to everybody, and that was their downfall. Was it a monster movie? Was it an urban exploration movie? Was it a ghost movie? Even the movie didn’t know what it was. You could feel that the film itself had no idea where to go, especially toward the latter half. The initial pacing and tension is good, but then, once it picks up a bit, everything deflates, culminating with an end result that went absolutely nowhere.
My thoughts about found footage horror is that if you don’t intend to bring something new to the table, don’t bother coming to the table at all.
You’re left waiting for a payoff at the end of Chernobyl Diaries, so you stick with it (at least I did), but you get a stupid, obvious ending that makes you despise what you just watched that much more. Oh, and there are scenes that make NO f*cking sense. For example, the scene with the little girl. I won’t spoil it here but that was nothing but trailer filler and proved just how stupid the film really was. Why was she there? What was she? In the context of the film, when it all ends, it makes even LESS sense, and those are the worst kind of movies of all.