Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Films of Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith Is a youngish British horror movie director who is obviously very smart and knowledgeable about the genre. I’ve seen three of his films recently, all with one word titles, CREEP 2004, SEVERANCE 2006 and TRIANGLE 2009 and unfortunately like most contemporary films of this genre they tend to come undone and fall apart around my feet. Still he does have an original streak in his filmmaking and is full of good and odd ideas. He sets his films in places that one would not want to be caught dead in: a deserted “ghost ship”, an isolated cabin in Eastern Europe and the tunnels of the London underground and peoples them with very good attractive, and vulnerable (a given in this genre) young actors who are usually set upon by crazed maniacs and killers. Sounds like the usual set up for grizzly horror movies, but Smith has more going on in his vision and has more juice and talent than most directors who slosh around in the genre. Creep pits an attractive, but not particularly nice or endearing strong young woman against a horrible creature (and I do mean horrible, wait until your peepers get a gander at him) who lives in the London underground and kills at will. In Severance a group of young employers from a multi-national weapons company on a sales retreat get lost in the mountains of what might be Slovakia or Hungry and are killed off one by one a scary rogue group of soldiers, and in Triangle which is the most supernatural of the lot, a young group of friends go sailing and encounter very serious problems on the open sea. Sometimes droll and tongue in cheek, the films do offer up quite a few jolts and jumps without resorting to extreme violence and gore. Now that opinion is mine, a seasoned and hardened horror aficionado and some people might still find his films too violent and gory for their taste. If they do they have no business loitering around this genre, because yes there is blood and gore, but he also mixes in a nice blend of humor and an unexpected political awareness that is particularly evident in Severance. There are also lots of loose ends along with big gaps and holes and unexamined and unexplained threads in the plots but these are common defects of the genre and not just his films.


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