In Their Skin (2012, 1hr 40 mins.)
This pixie is quite frankly, getting annoyed. I don’t know if I have super high standards or super weird standards as my previous posts will reveal, but the last few horror flicks I’ve watched were good, but I wasn’t blown away. A few days ago, I checked out In Their Skin, a home invasion, identity theft thriller that got touted as a horror and was part of last year’s Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Selma Blair and Joshua Close play Mary and Mark, a tension wrought couple taking their son Brendon (Quinn Lord) on a trip to their large, luxury cottage. They have recently suffered the loss of their daughter, and are haunted by that and their crumbling marriage. Early one morning, Mark hears someone in his yard and discovers Bobby and Jane Sakowski, and their son Jared, bringing them some firewood, and inviting themselves over for lunch. They seem strange, and Mark is not quite sure about them, but he falls for their desperate to please act, and welcomes them into his home. The lunch gets weirder and weirder, and Mark finally has to kick them out, which brings out incredible malice, brutality, and the real reason the “Sakowskis” have come to um, play. I have to say, I was annoyed from very early on. First of all, I am suspicious of people lurking around my place early in the morning. They were clearly casing the joint, and perhaps a call to the authorities was in order. Secondly, and I’m generalizing here, but the first thing that came to my mind was “Rich people can be really dumb”. Maybe Mark felt bad for being wealthy and wanted to do good for someone, but these people were clearly not right. Just not right. Working with the public for over 25 years has given this pixie pretty good Spidey senses, in fact I can smell a wild card a mile away. Anyway, having said that, all the performances were really great, especially James D’Arcy’s portrayal of the maniacal and creepy Bobby. A nod goes to Alex Ferris who played Bobby’s rather large 9-year-old “son”. The vacant look in his eye coupled with a slack-jawed smile really gives you chills. The dining room scene was also pretty amazingly shot with its precise mirror image placement of the characters.
Citadel (2012, 1 hr 24 mins.)
I also caught Citadel, a bleak Irish horror ( and another T.A.D.F.F entry from last year) about an almost abandoned housing project, or council estate, that is being terrorized by hooded youth ghoulies. When I first saw this trailer a few months ago, I thought it might be a rip off of Heartless (T.A.D.F.F 2010), an original psycho-thriller/horror starring Jim Sturgess where he is attacked and haunted by hooded demons and must deal with his fears and mental state. Heartless is one of my favourite films, so I was glad to find that I was wrong. Tommy (Aneurin Barnard) and Joanne (Amy Shiels) are moving out of their condemned apartment building to a nearby townhouse. Expecting their first child, they are young and hopeful (or about as hopeful as you can be living in one of these neighbourhoods). Unfortunately, Joanne gets attacked by three hooded youths and by the time Tommy can get to her, she is badly beaten with a syringe stuck in her pregnant belly. She is rushed to the hospital where the baby is saved, but Joanne stays in a coma for 9 months. As a result of the trauma, Tommy has become agoraphobic, and has trouble dealing with the outside world. He must conquer his anxiety to take care of and protect his daughter, deal with his wife’s fate, and stand up to the attackers who turn out to be some weird human/demonic thingys. A near mad priest (James Cosmo) is his reluctant guide to the underworld of the council estate, and a large piece to a terrible puzzle. Aneurin Barnard gave a pretty great performance as the trembling, shattered Tommy, with saucer-like eyes and slight shaky build. I had, however, a huge problem with the hooded ghoulies. It looked like they were a uniformed, zombie-like soccer team. So they all had hoodies? Someone kept the supply of hoodies going for the new recruits? Really? Yes, I know they were supposed to make a social commentary of the lost youth in the council estates, but I feel like they would have been more convincing in torn, tattered clothes instead of those hoodies. I’m sure they were working with a tight budget, and I give them credit for that and the film they produced, but it didn’t quite work for me.
They were something to watch as I wait for some more goodies to come from amazon.ca so I can get jazzed about a movie again. Stay tuned for something ridiculous to come your way soon…
Most Memorable Line: In Their Skin: Jane, with her cracking, weirdo grin says to Mary, “Bobby and I just want to know what it is you all do to be like this…we want this.” AAAAAAAH!! RUN!! RUN!!
Most Memorable Line: Citadel: The Priest sets Tommy straight when he sees Tommy make the sign of the cross before their battle with the ghoulies and says, “Only got yourself to believe in Tommy…that way we got a fuckin’ hope”. This. From a priest. Not your best representative for the church. Just sayin’…