Thursday, January 19, 2017

Bye Bye Man and Monster Truck

Bye Bye Man

So I’ve been looking forward to this movie for the better part of 2016. Originally filmed with a release date in November, the film had gotten a lot of horror hype as being a new vision and introducing a new Iconic character that would haunt our nights. And as the release date came closer, the news was that they were pushing for a hard “R” rating and that the film was going to seriously deliver the goods… and then the date got pushed back. And they announced it was going to get a PG-13 release. And the film was pushed back to January 2017… for those who don’t know, January is kind of a dumping ground for film releases. It’s where studios tend to shove their tax write-offs and films that have little to no expectation for seeing a return. It’s a realm of dread for many horror fans, because that’s when we know that something is going to be “wrong’ with the film.

“Don’t Think it, Don’t Say it.”

Bye Bye Man has all the foundation to create an interesting and effective film with a fairly solid script, decent direction, and great practical effects. But then the film seems to diverge from itself in post-production. Poorly rendered CGI, ill placed audio stings, and butchered editing of scenes obviously intended for a mature audience undermine the efforts of the director to pace and maintain a sense of dread throughout the story. The practical effects make-up of the titular character are incredibly effective but then diffused by the presence of a “dog-like” creature that never truly receives any sort of explanation. Follow all of that up with a bevy of the usual tropes (Séance, house party, little girl at risk, library google search, and a visit with the knowledgeable old lady) and the film becomes much more of a parody than an effective horror film.

5 out of 10 and a very low priority rental.

Monster Truck

Monster Truck is another January release that had been promised an earlier theater run but reshoots and effects work kept pushing it back. But what we do see is far better a film than it has any right to be- it’s a solid PG action film with monsters, much in the vein of Amblin-esque films and lighter sci-fi fare. While I went to the drive-in to enjoy some time with my family, I cannot say that I really paid much attention to the film itself. I had a massive headache, took a nap halfway through the film, and woke up just long enough to see that many of the earlier tropes introduced in the film were turned on their heads a little. So, keep in mind that I only saw about half of the film… the first fifteen minutes and the last half hour or so.

A young man lives in a modern era “oil boom” town with his mother and her live-in boyfriend, the local sheriff of their small town. The nearby drilling station has hit a deep water pocket, releasing three unknown lifeforms and endangering the profit margin of their project. Two of the creatures are captured while the third manages to escape.  The young man and the creature encounter one another, the creature hides in the shell of a truck the man had been working on, and this is how we really get things started.

The film seems straight out of “paint a plot by numbers 101”, yet suddenly veers in a few different directions regarding the characters themselves. Almost as if recognizing the depthless tropes they’re supposed to represent, the characters move beyond the caricature and fill greater depths without the cheap attempts to play on heart strings that many films rely on. But, be it as it may, this is still a children’s film at heart. An exploration of that depth isn’t really necessary and we move along at a fairly quick pace to the climactic rescue of the other creatures.

5.5, low priority rental.

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