I’ve always found it difficult to write about serious movies that I like, which is kind of how we got to Film Miasma – my shitty and stinking writing about mostly shitty and stinking movies. You will very rarely me watching any of that Academy Award nominated bullshit or other arty crap because – well – I just won’t like it and – even though I use too many dashes and ellipses in one sentence all too regularly – I would probably just hate it and would rather spend my time just watching… crap. It is also VERY VERY rare that I happen to watch TWO movies’ in a row that I really like and that just happened so, if you’re keeping a tally or tic sheet at home, I just ran across TWO that were really good, this one and Swallow. But I have watched FOUR things since I started writing this piece. Will we cover them here? I have no idea. I have this thing coming out real soon that I’m really excited about so who knows. But I did want to try and tackle this one because – I thought it was really good and – it scared me.
Now – I’m not seven years old so, no, it didn’t scare me like Halloween or The Shining did when I was a little boy Aside from not at all wanting to see some of those fancy things other people and film critics adore, it’s because, and I don’t want to get personal out here, it’s because if there’s one thing in my life that scares me on a personal level it’s that I’ll end up with Dementia. No one (that I know of) in my family has had it so it’s not something that I think is looming around the corner or anything, it’s just one of those things that fucking scares the shit out of me. My mom has been scared of cancer her whole life (also not a family trait) and this is something that just really gets to me. I think I’m just afraid I’ll end up the same way poor, old Syd Barrett did.
I can’t watch those award winning movies where the man forgets his wife and family or the wife vice versa because it makes me so fucking sad and scared that I just can’t do it. That’s why I – when I blather about my ephemera – it’s because I don’t want to forget. In a way, this place here is my movie ephemera – a place where I can talk about what I’ve seen and some of the things I’ve done and not have it on some old and broken computer that I can’t be bothered to go restore. Like all of those short stories I wrote back in the 00’s that “literature” magazine immediately rejected without even reading.
So – now that that eternal intro is out of the way, this is a horror movie about Dementia and if I had known that, I probably wouldn’t have watched it but – it really worked for me.
Aside from sentimental worries, what do we have here? A woman and her daughter show up at her family’s vast house out in the woods to check on the grandmother. Turns out she’s been gone for a few days, everything’s in a state of dust and trash and there are sticky notes all over the place, reminders of what things are and what to do. This is, of course, a big flag and the neighbor boy comes by stating he can’t go in there any longer because of some ‘things”. As they are dealing with their own sentimental worries, the (elder) mom shows back up in a state of disarray, although seemingly nice and shit but, what they don’t see is that she’s got a big black spot growing on her chest.
All of these things are important – aside from the fact that they made this into a horror movie for horror people. I haven’t (and won’t) watch that thing with Anthony Hopkins losing his mind but, here, the grandma fades in and out from nice to mean and crabby, from lucid to doing some dancing in her living room, to loving and then burying her photos out amongst the trees. To boot, there’s an even worse off old cabin out in the woods that an even older member of the family built with his own hands, lived alone in (for the most part) and then went insane in and died. All of this is ominous and foreboding and no one told me I would be sad but, being packaged as a horror movie, we get to see glimpses of things like this below that, for fuck’s sake, represent the decay of the human body and mind.
I think, if you want to give this a look, you might run into trouble during the “third act” – and no, I don’t go around using phrases like “the third act“. I’m not that kind of writer. But the last thirty minutes or so of this thing will probably cause people to either not like this, not get it (it’s not some sort of confusing arty bullshit) or think – what the fuck is this and why did this movie go that way? I can imagine watching this with [NAME REDACTED] (Mister Pubes) after a doob or two and him going off the rails about how it made no sense and what in the world. I’m going to attribute this to two of the producers (I watch credits) and not mention their names because this is a good movie and shouldn’t be sullied by something that shouldn’t sully it. If you see it and want to talk about what happens in that house, let’s talk! I’ll make you a couple (or three) Old Fashioneds and we can get a buzz and make some sense of what we just saw.
The thing that did me in was the ending – the last ten minutes or so. I’ve left this bit until the bottom of this post because this movie means something to me but – SPOLIERS. After they leave the grand-mom for dead (for reasons) and the mom sees that note that reads “You are loved” and she goes back for her, it kind of broke my heart. Further, after she peels off all of that dead skin and reveals what’s left, those sad fucking eyes and face killed me and…. man. I won’t say I was a crybaby but, fuck. Jeez. I can’t end up that way.
Can you really classify something about a movie like this as “FUCK YEAH, SON!” I don’t know but, sheesh. I loved it. I guess I could complain about a few things but this wasn’t a FUCK YEAH, SON! type of thing. I guess I’ll stick this in the THEY ALMOST MADE IT TO THE HAPPY FINISH file but there’s no Happy Ending here.