• Melissa (1966)

     

    I remember that I have seen this mini-series on an autumn night because there was nothing else on the television. They showed the whole three parts of this mini-series in one single movie. I didn't expect much from this film and I began really slow paced like most of the traditional thrillers of the seventies but the more the movie advanced, the more interesting, disturbing and intense it became. I remember that there were many interesting twists in the movie. The best thing about this movie, when we watch it nowadays and not in the time of the sixties when this mini-series has been a real big blockbuster in Western Germany, is the creepy atmosphere created by the black and white shooting that gives this movie an original charm.

    If you like the legendary German Edgar Wallace movies of the sixties and the British Agatha Christie movies that came out in the same decade, you will surely like "Melissa" too. This movie is nothing mind blowing or shocking any more nowadays, but at least an interesting piece of history and culture and a very charming, atmospheric and entertaining long movie.

     

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  • Mindhunters (2004)

     

    This movie is probably my favourite psycho thriller of all times. The film inspired me even to begin again to write novels after I have watched it. I have seen this movie at least three times and I get always drowned in a very special atmosphere when I listen to it and never get bored watching it.

    I know that the idea of an isolated group in an isolated place where a murderer is killing one after the other is nothing new indeed. But that is the only critical point about this movie, that it is nothing innovating, surprising or unique. It is not the originality that makes this movie one of the best ones of its genre to me, but its intense atmosphere and the characters realistic behaviours.

    The rest of the movie is just brilliant. From the beginning on, there is a good tension and dark atmosphere in the movie. The characters are all doing a very solid job even if they are not playing the roles of their lives. But especially LL Cool J, who has often been criticized as a weak actor and Val Kilmer, about whom many people think that his days of glory have passed a long time ago, do a credible job and are the most famous actors of this movie. Only Patricia Velasquez is doing a less convincing job after all.

    This movie takes the time to introduce each one of the characters but doesn't take no prisoners and gets you quite fast in a dark mood. When the murderer begins its bloody work, you are always thinking and analyzing what might happen next and it is the original and stunning way the murderer chooses how to kill each victim and how he or she announces when to kill the next one what makes this movie very interesting. Each time I watch this movie, I am not able anymore to stop watching the movie or even take a break, it addicts me completely and my eyes seem to be glued on the screen. There is a lot of realistic psychology in the way each one of the characters acts as the tension raises. There are many twists and riddles to be solved in this movie and you get a surprising and satisfying showdown in the end of this intense movie.

    If you like classical psycho thrillers, you will surely not live a deception with this one and get one hundred minutes of intense entertaining.

     

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  • Mulholland Dr. (2001)

     

    This movie is another surreal piece of art by David Lynch, but it's not as great as the amazing and twisted "Lost highway" or the wonderful "Twin Peaks" series. Those movies ore episode are simply over the top. But it is still a movie that is more intense, intelligent and surprising than most of the other so called psycho thrillers and is worth a ten star vote.

    A little advice: You must also watch "Lost highway", because this movie is like a twin of this unique masterpiece! Now, let us begin with the bad points, because there aren't very much. This movie is not as twisted, surreal and surprising than "Lost highway". That doesn't mean that you might be able to understand it when you have just watched it once, but your not that literally lost as in "Lost highway". I also think that this movie copies the structure of "Lost highway" a lot and is less innovating. There is also a slow paced beginning, then a key event, the looking for the truth beyond dream and reality, the sudden change and the twisted ending connecting the end of the movie with its beginning. With the scenes of the house party in the ending, Lynch gives a lot of possible solutions and keys to the viewer and doesn't let him or her just stunning and without any clue like in his previous work. But if you think by now that this movie is easy to understand than David Lynch gives you such a strange element in the last scene of the movie that makes you desperate and that makes you think that you are back in "Eraserhead". But why should Lynch change his style after he had created a true masterpiece a few years ago? We should just see those points as minor critic points. It is not an ten plus extra star masterpiece but just an excellent ten star movie.

    Now, there is another negative point that I have to mention in a more general way: David Lynch wanted to start a new series around "Mulholland Drive" and this would have been such a great experience as "Twin Peaks" was or even better and David Lynch put all his creative imagination and dedicated a part of himself to the project - but Americas blockbuster-minded, easy-watching-commercialized Hollywood bosses didn't believe in a success and didn't accord the necessary amounts to one of their genius - the series might not have been popular and a good sell. That's why David Lynch was never able to finish his dream of a new series and we might have never seen parts of his filming if some French investors wouldn't have supported him and convinced him to make at least a movie out of his filming. David Lynch got financial support and an open-minded entourage and that's why he turned some new scenes, worked out a slightly new screenplay and created this new movie. A big thank you to the French supporters and thumps down towards the American film industry which let fall one of their best talents. And maybe all those complicated circumstances are the reason why Lynch made cartoons and worked as a producer in the next years and we had to wait seven years before he came back with the low-budget semi-masterpiece "Inland Empire", it's a really sad thing.

    Now, let's talk about the very positive parts of the movie. It has a little bit less dark atmosphere in the beginning than "Lost highway", but there is a key event and some action right after the introduction that make this movie easier to watch - the "accident" on the Mulholland Drive. But after this happen some really strange scenes that create a really thrilled atmosphere and that make the viewer of that movie think, guess and analyze - the strange old couple, the guy who has strange nightmares, the killer who's doing some stupid mistakes... There are many interesting details in this movie, even more than in "Lost highway" and the viewer becomes somehow an analyzer or detective. This movie requests multiple viewings and personally, I discover new elements after each viewing and I have seen the movie at least three or four times by now and it wasn't the last time. You really see that Lynch was supposed to do a series with this one because of all the well thought details.

    "Mulholland Drive" lives also from the great acting of the two feminine main actors, especially the really charming Naomi Watts who does the job of her life. Every character is unique in this movie even the smaller roles like the nightmare guy and this point is even done better and more intense than in "Lost highway". Only the role of the cowboy has a lot of similarities to the role of the mystery man in "Lost highway", it is just a pity that he has not much space in this movie.

    And there is the same advice that I gave for "Lost highway": expect the unexpected! That may not be as clear in the first three quarters of the movie, it is less disturbing that other works of Lynch, but in the last one, you should better be prepared for some weird stuff that was worth the wait. I agree with critics who say that this movie has a certain Lynchian routine - but his routine is far away from being boring and especially the final thirty minutes should convince you! So, if you want to see a movie that makes work your mind and feelings, a movie you must concentrate on and that may request multiple viewings to understand, you will really appreciate this one. If you're looking for an easy movie for a DVD night with some friends - go for something else, because your party people might get frightened!

     

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  • Lost Highway (1997)

     

    Attention: This thing is not a simple movie, it is an art - surreal art! And surreal art may disturb, irritate or make people commit suicide! This film may be difficult to watch for normal popcorn cinema movie watchers, but for people who are ready to really think and discuss about a movie even after they've quit the cinema or turned off their television and who are ready to watch this film again and again, it will be a pure pleasure to watch this movie. I know many people who find this movie too long, too complicated, too boring and if you're waiting for some action, a lot of suspense and an explosive beginning, you should not even watch it. This is not just a movie, it's an art! And this movie works like a painting that you watch again and again in a museum and where you would like to analyse what the painter wants to express with its creation. It takes its time, but it's worth the wait and surely precious.

    The movie begins in a slow paced way and works a lot with its dark, weird and haunting atmosphere. Weird music, the filming of dark floors without an end or empty rooms, the lack of dialogs in the beginning may irritate the viewer but every detail has a certain role and a certain reason to be shown in this movie. Everything seems so slow and when the film really starts, you're all of a sudden in it and it all comes too quick, too strange and you might not be able to concentrate on the essential things.

    Anyway, what is the essential thing about this movie? What does David Lynch want to show us or make us learn? Or is the sense of it all that there is absolutely nothing to learn? The movie plays with our feelings, our thoughts, our expectations and always presents something unexpected. And everyone may interpret the unexpected in a different way or maybe not at all.

    Now wait, this may be the key to this movie: Expect the unexpected! And watch this movie several times! Who is who and why and when does a person appear and disappear? Which person is the opposite of another person in this movie? Who is friend or foe with whom and why? Or why does it change throughout the movie? There are a lot of things that you could analyse and compare and even after having watched this movie at least five times, I still find new elements, new keys to a possible hidden treasure in this movie and I am now able to build up my own theory of the movie. But I won't tell you and I would give you the advice to not look for possible answers on wikipedia or movie websites because this movie is personal for everyone and before you may look for other opinions, you shall at least have watched the movie a couple of times. You must watch it in tranquility. When you watch this movie and the phone is ringing - you're out of it even if you don't think so! If you watch the movie and your girlfriend is bored and wants you to do other things with you - you're out of it! If you watch this on television and there is a commercial break - you're out of it! Just sit down and watch, take a break from everything for two hours and a half.

    And let it all come to you. The dark and strange atmosphere. The strange music, containing dark classical arrangements, heavy modern jazz music, pop music and even industrial metal - the music always fits to the certain situation. The three mysterious video cassetts and their strange and terrible content. The mysterious break and change of the main character in the movie. The allusions and antithesis between the first and the second part of the movie. The thin path between reality and illusion, the question of dreaming or being awake. The femme fatale and the mystery man. The murderer who doesn't want to be a murderer. The connection between the beginning and the end of the movie. There is more than a lot to discover! This movie is somehow a psycho or mystery thriller with some action and pornographic elements. There are even three movies in one: a dark and atmospheric thriller, a strange romantic road movie story and a little short movie which connects the other two elements throughout the film. This movie is certainly different from everything you have ever seen before.

    It is sure that this movie is not the one which may have received ten Oscars, the best critics or the most attention. This movie is over the top, beyond a normal movie, beyond any critics, beyond any prices like Oscars. This is an uneasy watch and feels real and even surreal.

    Are you open-minded, concentrated, introspective, philosophic and intellectual enough to give this movie a try? Try it, prove it to yourself! And be sure to live an experience that you may like or dislike but which is different from any other one. Personally, this one is at least in the top 5 of my all time favourite movies! If you like it, don't try to look somewhere else for something similar. Discover the works of David Lynch and watch "Mulholland Drive". Or maybe a simple movie isn't enough? Try all the episodes of the "Twin Peaks" series! You try to be arrogant and you would say that you like the movie but you think that is not surreal enough and even too simple? Than, go for "Eraserhead"!

     

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  • 5150, Rue des Ormes (2009)

     

    This is one of the best horror or psycho thrillers that I have seen in a while and also one of the best Canadian/Quebecker movies in the last years. The movie is based on the novel by Patrick Senécal, his novels "Evil words" (in french: "Sur le seuil") and "7 days" (in french: "Les 7 jours du talion") have also been adapted for the cinema.

    The story seems to be quite classic and simple: A young student has an accident with his bicycle in the new town where he wants to study as he is crossing a black cat. He wants to get help and rings at 5150 on Elm Street - the biggest mistake of his life! When he comes in, he hears somebody screaming in a room upstairs and he discovers that this guy is bleeding and suffering. But before the student can quit the scenery, he is discovered and imprisoned at the same place while the other poor guy doesn't survive. The young student is caught for months and his escape plans don't seem to work. He is filming his life in the small room and becomes somehow a member of the strange family: Jacques Beaulieu, the brutal, but very intelligent and charismatic father and taxi driver who is fighting the "evil one's": He tortures and kills old guys abusing children or young drug dealers. He is also a chess master and creates his "own" chess game in the basement: with dead bodies: his victims representing the black army and the good people (he is taking the bodies of dead social workers etc. from the cemetery) representing the white army. The young student has to prove that he belongs to the good or bad one's and finally Jacques Beaulieu offers a deal to the young guy: If he will beat him in a chess game and win with the black army, Jacques Beaulieu will accept and recognize that he was wrong and that the evil forces are stronger and liberate the student and so the games begin...

    Maude Beaulieu, the shy and silent mother who is afraid of her husband but who doesn't have the courage or abilities to stop him. He is suffering every day and her husband has even beaten her when she was pregnant. The young student tries to become somehow her friend and to use her to escape, but Maude takes the right decision way too late.

    Michelle Beaulieu, the eldest daughter is a sadistic, emotional and brutal girl and sometimes even more radical as her father, as she is making the young student suffer against the father's will. But when she has to prove that she is able to take the heritage of her father and to continue the battle against the evil persons, she isn't tough enough and becomes more and more disturbed.

    Anne Beaulieu, the youngest daughter, is somehow retarded and doesn't speak a single word. She has been beaten by her father in her mother's womb and apart of her mother, no one shows or gives her any love and she doesn't have any friends. She hates her father who is making her mother and herself suffering and even tries to kill him while the father wants to get her out of the house and in an isolated and therapeutic kindergarten.

    All those characters have their one personality and are brilliantly played. The movie is very close to reality and the brutal or horrifying scenes are rare, but when they come, they are really heavy and disgusting because they are so real. The movie has a dark atmosphere and every actor gives his best and his soul to this movie. A part of the family members, the main actor also begins to change and becomes more and more a strange freak who doesn't want to escape anymore - but who has found the sense of his life in wanting to beat the father and murderer in the final chess game as the armies of dead will finally be completed in a terrible way.

    The end of the movie is really disgusting and disturbing, so expect the worst: Patrick Senécal wants to show the evil, dark sides of the people, the things that lie underneath the surface and he does it in a brutal consequence and nobody gets out of his created nightmare in a good way! That's what makes this movie intense and disturbing - and different from so many other movie of the genre. This one here is really innovating and hardcore and maybe not as easy to watch for everyone because of its strong relation to reality.

    As you can read, this movie really surprised me and I think it's a genre highlight. The atmospheric horror grows with every minute of the movie and the grande finale is worth the wait! I just gave nine points because the basic story idea is quite simple and because the novel seems to be even more intense. Even if I told you now a lot about characters and story - the movie will still surprise and touch you! This movie should be more popular outside of Quebec too. So spread the words and have some fun with this movie: Welcome to Senécal's world of nightmares!

    Don't read any longer: watch it!

     

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