Sunday, June 10, 2012

Two Boring Movies... ugh... DEADLY BLESSING & THE WICKER TREE


When I was a kid I saw the commercials for "Deadly Blessing"... I was six or seven and the commercials scared the heck out of me. A spider drifted down from the ceiling and entered the mouth of a poor innocent victim, some woman gripped from behind while a pair of hands held her jaw open. So I remembered the film for that, but never actually sat down to watch it... which is odd, because it was directed by Wes Craven. As a big Nightmare on Elm Street fan I loved watching a lot of his work back in the day. But I kind of avoided this one because of that childhood fear.

I shouldn't have worried. That scene wound up being a dream sequence, and the rest of the movie largely bored the hell out of me. It wasn't bad, it wasn't quite insulting, but nothing happened through a fair majority of the film. The deaths were largely boring, including a stabbing of one character who at least could have been a decent red herring when all was said and done. The concept could have been engaging, but it didn't really go anywhere or build on itself. A former Hittite, shunned by his community for marrying an outsider and taking up with modern ways, dies and leaves all of his land to his pregnant wife. The community blames her, of course... but the tension is really minimal. Her closest neighbors are also persecuted for being outsiders... a woman and her daughter. The wife is joined by her two friends, things happen, and there's a rushed resolution with terrible transitions regarding time jumps. It fell flat on it's ass and never bothered to actually do something interesting with its' concept.

3 out of 5.


On the tail end of one boring movie and on to the next boring film... the official follow up to the original "Wicker Man", a film called the Wicker Tree. This film also suffered from boredom but for a completely different reason... in the first film, a devout Christian Police officer heads to an island where he's to be sacrificed by a pagan community. There are so many things to love about that film, from the pacing to the bizarre characters to the intricate manipulation that leads our protagonist to his final fate. In this film, a pair of American Christian Missionaries travel to another secretly Pagan community where they're presented with "honor" of fulfilling specific roles in their community celebration. The problem here is that we, the audience, are already aware of what's going to happen before it ever happens. And then we have almost two hours before anything really does happen.

There were some key differences between the films, however. The leader of the community is also the cause for much of their suffering, having poisoned the land himself and created the radiation problem that's sterilized so much of the community. He also doesn't necessarily believe that any of the rituals will actually work and expresses as such in private with his wife. Additionally, the protagonist couple don't really add much depth to the film. They're such average people and they're acceptance of the other culture gives them a "Tourist" feel, but nothing is really done to play with that concept. There are scenes that could come off as quirky and amusing, but I think the fact that we're already aware of the "punchline" well in advance works against us. A different twist could have helped build on what was happening, but the ending was fairly predictable.

2.5 out of 5.

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