Wednesday, 9 April 2008


Honestly, with Alexandre Aja co-writing this parking lot terroriser, I expected more. Switchblade Romance was a deliciously gore-soaked, nerve-shredding, twisted slasher flick - it should be noted that France doesn't "do" horror movies 99.9% of the time, but Switchblade showed there was no reason they shouldn't be.

Then Aja followed that skull-crushing blood feast with a remake. Now yes, in this day and age there's far too many remakes, however not all remakes are bad, some pretty effective...but many are gash and uninspired - at least of late, most of which circle the horror genre like a starving Hyena. The Hills Have Eyes was the target this time, a pretty fair one at that. The original film wasn't incredible, but nor was it atrocious, and this time round Craven was back on board - a much better situation than the name-raping bucket-of-shit crap-fests sticking themselves to George Romero's coat-tails (Day of the Dead 2008 - need I say more? How about Day of the Dead: Contagium ... or Creepshow 3).

Indeed, Hills 2006 was a production of respect and genuinely went for a terrorising thrill. The flick went for the audience's jugular, not as gimmick, but from pure and honest intention. In some ways Aja's vision improved on the original (I personally preferred the new third act - taking place in a mock American town circa the Cold War - over the original's mountain-based escapades). In other ways it simply matched the original's nasty attitude, with the odd hint of cheap scares here and there. However, over-the-piece it was a surprisingly genre-loving effort from Aja & Co.

Now here we are with P2. Prior to this we've had the most visceral throat slice ever committed to film. We've had decapitation by chest of drawers, axes hacking off limbs, the whole KNB-riffing side show. P2 however, despite being nestled amidst the adult ratings of respective territories, feels neutered. Only two significantly gory set pieces shadow the 90-odd minute running time.

What happens for the rest? Nothing much, the dark parking garage setting is spooky, but not menacing. The antagonist feels Dawson's Creek bad guy, rather than deranged nutjob ... what it feels like, is a diet meal. You've had a taste, but now you're ready for the main course ... only then do you realise this is a bit like if Weight Watchers made a horror movie. Gore isn't everything of course, but in horror you have to have tension and chills, but this is sadly lacking those as well.

It feels like it could have been a sinister, rather crafty short subject, but nothing more than that. Mind you, Aja merely co-wrote this piece ... but still, considering his name is splashed all over it, you honestly expect more.

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