“Who’s watching Oliver” will certainly not be appreciated by everyone. It’s a film about voyeurism, sadism and total insanity. At first sight, the film seems meaningless in terms of content. But as the film progresses, you’ll conclude it contains a more pronounced message. The moment Oliver (Russell Geoffrey Banks) begins to abuse and torture a girl like a madman, under the watchful eye of his authoritarian mother (Margaret Roche), who’s watching the whole show via a webcam, you assume that this is the umpteenth morbid torture film. But as soon as the handsome Sophia (Sara Malakul Lane) comes into the picture, the storyline tilts slightly. From that moment on it is no longer the Oliver who has to tolerate the whims of his mother, routinely take his two pills and goes off to search his next victim. No. Now he’s the Oliver who realizes that there may be a way out of this violent existence.
Now that’s what I call crazy …
Is “Who’s watching Oliver” an excellent film? Well, I wouldn’t say that. But it’s a damn shocking and confusing film. Needless to say that I found the acting performance of Russell Geoffrey Banks sublime. The way he portrays Oliver is magisterial. That foolish expression on his face with his protruding lower jaw and crooked teeth. His silly glasses and backward combed greasy hair. The retarded mumbling and the in-mouth muttering. All this makes him look like a mentally disturbed individual. And the moment he bursts out laughing is both touching and frightening at the same time. The laughter of a fool or a schizophrenic madman. It’s also obvious that Oliver’s condition is directly related to his mother because she’s on the same level. Also a totally insane woman. Even though we see Margaret Roche only on a monitor. The way in which she addresses the victims in a denigrating way and laughs with them felt outright diabolical. And the moment you find out what happened to her husband, you realize just how crazy this woman is.
What does a fine looking girl like Sophia see in that nerd ?
And then you have the naïve and angelic Sophia who spontaneously seeks contact with Oliver in the amusement park. A place where Oliver comes to rest on a daily base. In retrospect, she’s just another restless soul who’s seeking comfort. It’s not that you get a pronounced explanation about her past. But between the lines, you can assume that she also knew a past full of abuse and grief. Why Sophia approached him, ultimately remained a mystery to me. The final scene provides a variety of interpretations. Will Oliver escape from the grip of his mother at that moment? Or did he find his “partner in crime”? Your guess is as good as mine.
A slasher film with a brilliant twist.
And there are more of those ambiguities. Why is Oliver wandering around in Thailand? And where does all that money to lure girls to his room come from? “Who’s watching Oliver” is such a film where you as a viewer can’t predict which direction it’ll go. But if you leave out the explicit nude and bloody scenes, a fragile love story remains. But in a bizarre way. Everything feels rather absurd. Especially with that cheerful jazzy music playing while Oliver chopping up the dead bodies. And the daily trip to the amusement park in this Asian country emphasizes the absurdity of the whole. For those who love slasher films with a psychopathic character whose ruthless behavior causes bloody situations, this is definitely a must see. But this flick gives it a brilliant twist as well. Therefore it’s no surprise this film has already won some rewards at a few film festivals.
My rating 6/10
Crawl: A Nerve-Racking Horror In Which The Perfectly Computer-Generated Alligators Scare You
You’re not my coach anymore, dad.
That top predator crap doesn’t help.
Did you think the last “Lake Placid” episode from the eponymous franchise was downright worthless, stupid and nonsensical (like I did)? Well, let me put your mind at ease. Despite some laughable facts, this reptile-horror “Crawl” isn’t bad at all. You can even call it exciting at times. And compared to “Lake Placide“, the bite-sized animals are frequently in the picture and the CGI ensures that they look frighteningly realistic. You just have to use the same ritual as with “Hobbs & Shaw“. Namely, give your brain for safekeeping when entering the movie theater. It’s not of the same absurd level as “Sharknado“, but if you don’t do that, you will be annoyed about multiple idiocies.
How stupid can you be?
There are of course many “How stupid can you be?“-moments. For example. You can’t blame the day-trippers in “Jaws“. They were just enjoying the summer sun on the beach and the refreshing water. Did they know that this giant white shark was planning to consume a few splashing bathers? It’s a pity they ended up as lunch. But, you can’t say the same about Haley (Kaya Scodelario), who, after a disappointing swimming performance, comes up with the grandiose idea to see if everything is okay with her father Dave (Barry Pepper). Nothing earth-shattering, were it not for her to enter a restricted area controlled by the authorities because of a destructive hurricane of category 5. Even a roadblock by the local police didn’t stop her.
It doesn’t take long before the suspense begins.
The advantage of “Crawl” is the short playing time (87 minutes). Nowadays it’s perfectly normal for decent films to exceed the 2-hour limit. It seems that quality nowadays depends on the total duration of a film. Fortunately, there are exceptions to that rule. Not that “Crawl” is of high quality, but an advantage is they don’t spend too much time to bring the necessary suspense. After around 20 minutes, Haley and her father are already in a difficult situation in the basement of the parental home. Dave is badly injured. And three giant alligators are impatiently waiting for their feeding-time. Time for the second “How stupid can you be?” moment. What would you do if you had to leave your safe hiding place to recover a lost item? In any case, after getting hold of the trinket, I would return to that safe place again. Logical reasoning is certainly not Haley’s strongest characteristic. She does the opposite, with all its consequences.
Not a complicated film.
“Let’s not make it too complicated!“. That’s what the creators of “Crawl” thought apparently. Everything takes place at one claustrophobic location. And the entire film is carried by just two main characters. Occasionally, a few additional characters appear. But their function is limited to playing live fish food. In other words, they usually do not remain intact for long. And for the lessons “Logical reasoning”, these good-for-nothings didn’t get high grades either. And the way in which they involved the alligators in the story is also simple. A hurricane that causes rising water and you are stuck with a whole swarm of those bloodthirsty monsters in your backyard. Only the discovery that Haley made in the basement wasn’t 100% correct in my opinion. Coincidentally there was a pregnant alligator who used the flood to shamelessly dump her eggs in Dave’s basement at lightning speed. Well, in this way there was also an explanation for the aggressive attitude of the nest of primitive reptiles.
A nerve-racking horror.
There were a few things in the movie that really annoyed me. First, there was the contrived and corny father-daughter relationship. They are both sitting there with torn limbs and shattered bones, and still, they need to philosophize about what went wrong in the past. I also thought it was a bit unbelievable how they endured the brutal attacks (with the necessary injuries) and apparently afterward had absolutely no problems with this. Even after a heart massage and mouth-to-mouth breathing, one jumps back into action in a short time. And I will never bet my money on a swimming competition between an alligator and a trained swimmer. I’m sure that the streamlined body of the reptile will ensure that it wins effortlessly. Even without a swim cap and aerodynamic Speedo swimming trunks. But still, “Crawl” is a nerve-racking horror in which the perfectly computer-generated alligators scare you. Most original in the film I found the bathroom scene. Believe me, after this film, hearing the song “See you later Alligator” by Bill Haley will scare the hell out of you.
My rating 6/10
Netflix: Rattlesnake | Official Trailer -HD
Drama, Horror, Mystery
October 25, 2019
Carmen Ejogo, Theo Rossi, Emma Greenwell, Richard Lippert, Arianna Ortiz, Joy Jacobson, David Yow
When a single mother accepts the help of a mysterious woman after her daughter is bitten by a rattlesnake, she finds herself making an unthinkable deal with the devil to repay the stranger.
Aterrados: A Spooky Story Full Of Terrifying Images And A Creepy Atmosphere
They were human voices.
What did they tell you?
That they were going to kill me.
In Argentinian, they say “Aterrados“. It’s “Terrified” in English. And yes, some will be terrified while watching this masterful horror. I can’t really describe why it is such an excellent horror. However, there are no earth-shattering new ideas being introduced. If you look at it as a whole, it seems like a fusion of different topics from other horror films. Take specific scenes from “[Rec]“, “The Conjuring” and “Paranormal Activity“. Shake these all up a bit. Dip it all in an Argentinian sounding sauce. And you get the end product “Aterrados“. The biggest difference with the random list of horror films (with possessed houses as the central subject) is that “Aterrados” isn’t about an isolated case. No, it isn’t. The terrifying phenomena occur in several houses at the same time.
Not an ordinary horror.
I had never heard of this movie. It’s a coincidence that I came across it while searching through the offer of horror-movies on my Netflix account. I wasn’t really expecting much of it. And when one of the women in the film started to complain about voices she heard in the sink, I was already afraid that it would be such an absurd film as “Deep Dark“. Well, I was really wrong about that. Before I knew it, I was watching such a shocking scene, that I couldn’t help using the rewind function. Magnificently portrayed and provided with sound effects that appeal to the imagination. You hear, as it were, the smashing of limp, dead flesh including accompanying sounds of shattering bones. At that moment I realized that “Aterrados” wouldn’t be just an ordinary horror. And believe me, from that moment on it’s a rollercoaster of shock moments and paranormal events.
Once again no explanation.
However, don’t expect an explanation about the events. Or an explanation of the creatures that make life hard for both Clara (Natalia Señorales), her husband Juan (Agustin Rittano), and neighbor Walter (Demián Salomón). When the three scientists start investigating the houses to find evidence of paranormal phenomena, they come up with a not too meaningful explanation. Something with dimensional surfaces, slices of orange, and water. It won’t really make you any wiser. The fact that the events take place at different locations was an asset. You can see it as the three “The Conjuring” films, each with their own haunted house, compressed into one film. This provides the necessary variety in terms of shock moments and creepy entities popping up.
It’ll scare you to death.
Anyone who has already seen a huge amount of horrors about paranormal activities and haunted houses (“Poltergeist“, “Paranormal Activity“, “The Amityville Horror“, “The Entity” … Too many to mention) won’t be blown away by this film. And this because the movie resides in familiar territory. But the way in which it’s portrayed and the subtle build-up of tension can certainly be called commendable. The pace is generally very high (except it slows down a bit halfway) and the jump scares follow each other at rapid speed. And it’s especially the timing that is just perfect at moments (the subtle little movement of the boy at the dinner table, for example). “Aterrados” is a spooky story, full of terrifying images and a creepy atmosphere. Perhaps it is narratively difficult to follow and you’ll probably Won’t really know what’s going on (Is it about paranormal events or simply things that everyone experienced because of a certain fear?). And perhaps you might not really like the open end. But in the end, “Aterrados” only tries to accomplish one thing. And the film certainly succeeds in that task. And that is, making sure that you are sitting in front of your screen scared to death. I bet you won’t dare to look under your bed that same evening!
You can watch Aterrados on Netflix now!
My rating 8/10
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