Thursday, October 2, 2008
This is one of my absolute favorite horror movies of this decade, and it was good watching it again after maybe about 4 years or so. For me at least, it's in the upper ranks of suspenseful movies. The movie starts off more fun, sets up some likable characters, and then steadily builds tension right up through the nail-biting climax.
People give Paul Walker a lot of shit. I don't think he's a great actor, but he has a likable and earnest screen prescence, and that along with his chemistry with Steve Zahn goes a long way toward making this story work. You like these characters, therefore you give a shit about what happens to them. Good job Paul, although Zahn does steal the movie from you.
Director John Dahl is great at ratcheting up the tension, using all sorts of different tricks. I like the scene early on where the characters hear some weird noises in the hotel room next door, and it's too quiet to understand but sounds vaugely ominous. And of course there is the ending, which is a bit DePalma-esque in the way slowly but surely all the shit seems about to hit their respective fans at the same time.
I'm guessing from his visual style here, and from his movies The Last Seduction and Red Rock West that Dahl is a noir fan. In fact, some of the stuff he does here with the lighting and shadows is pretty cool, and makes me wonder if it would work in black and white, sort of like what they did with The Mist. I'd like it at least if someone made a good b&w horror movie in this day and age.