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when i first saw the trailer for this film i couldn't be more stoked. a new horror film by john carpenter? hell yeah!! after the wonderful in the mouth of madness and the discovery and acknowledgement of john carpenter being one of my favourite and one of the best director's everi couldn't of been more excited.
so me and my horror movie buddy at the time went to the theatres as soon as village of the damned came out. neither of us had seen the original and based on what carpenter had done with the thing we expected this ti be great. sadly, it wasn't.
now it's 2013 and i have seen the original and i've seen bits and pieces of this one here and there on television. never have i seen the whole thing again and nor have i wanted to. i was disappointed as it wasn't scary, it wasn't gory, it wasn't the most exciting or the most well acted film i had ever seen.
before i regale you with the thoughts i had from my most recent viewing i will say this. having now seen the original i can honestly say that carpenter did a pretty decent job of recreating the film. he didn't do anything new, like he did in the thing, but he kept the tone and feel of the original fairly well and it actually makes this a better film than i previously thought.
so this time i watched it and because i had seen the original (see above paragraph) i actually thought it was better than i had given it credit for. it kept the same story, it had the same eerie feel and it had a good pace. but it still wasn't great, it's a fun movie but it's plagued with problems.
first and foremost it feels is if it is basically a colourized remake of the original, which is from the 60's and is very sanitized for today's audiences. the make-up and costumes and wigs were a little off. the acting is mostly of the tv variety. christopher reeve gives it his all and is fun to watch and he gives the best performance out of everyone (except the kids who are great but they are not really the focus).
it's not just the tv acting, but the whole movie and production. it feels like a tv movie from the nineties. it's as if they wanted to remake the original and had a tv hack write a tv screenplay and had a bunch of perfect for tv actors hired and then somehow john carpenter signed on direct (on autopilot) and then they said carpenter: let's put this in theatres then.
there is some nice slick photography as per usual in a carpenter film and the music is decent but nowhere near as good as a classic carpenter score and the sets and locations work well but in the end the film is just barely passable entertainment. there is nothing here to distinguish it from the original and nothing that modernizes it at all.
this is carpenter's first misfire. like i said, it is still watchable but really unless you can't get your hands on the original or you are a carpenter completist or you happen to see it playing on tv there is no real reason to watch this film. it'll pass the time when it's on but there are far better films out there that are similar to this. invasion of the body snatchers (1956 or 1978) comes to mind.
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