MOVIE DUN­GEON Kim New­man’s

FROM ITALY TO IN­DONE­SIA, A HOTCHPOTCH OF HOR­RORS

Empire (UK) - - REVIEW - IL­LUS­TRA­TION JOHN ROYLE

LU­CIANO ER­COLI isn’t one of the bet­ter-known Ital­ian genre film­mak­ers, but the new reis­sues of his 1970s lady-in-peril thrillers Death Walks In High Heels and Death Walks At Mid­night are a lot of fun. In High Heels, Su­san Scott (aka Nieves Navarro) is a French strip­per hid­ing from a ra­zor-slasher in an English sea­side town. In Walks At Mid­night, she’s a Mi­lanese model who wit­nesses (or imag­ines) a killing while hal­lu­ci­nat­ing. The films are full of sin­is­ter sus­pects, use­less cops and boyfriends, shock mur­ders, quaint ec­cen­tric­ity, bursts of ac­tion, fab­u­lous ’70s cou­ture and dé­cor and ab­surdly in­tri­cate plots.

Back in the here and now, Derek Mun­gor and Chris O’brien’s You Are Not Alone is an ex­am­ple of first-per­son cin­ema — back in vogue now with Hard­core Henry — that un­reels from the POV of the fi­nal girl in a slasher movie. The long, not-much-hap­pen­ing open­ing se­quences of a girl (Krista Dzialoszyn­ski) vis­it­ing home for the Fourth Of July set up a hec­tic chased-around-by-a-loon fi­nale. It’s an es­say in why most films don’t tell their sto­ries like this as much as it is a sus­pense­ful John Car­pen­ter homage. Adam Ro­bi­tel’s The Tak­ing (aka

The Tak­ing Of Deb­o­rah Lo­gan) is a more con­ven­tional found-footage drama. A stu­dent crew films Deb­o­rah (Jill Lar­son), a spir­ited old lady seem­ingly cop­ing with de­men­tia — it be­comes clear she ac­tu­ally has more su­per­nat­u­ral prob­lems. It’s a care­fully de­vel­oped premise, with a stand­out per­for­mance from Lar­son and a solid mys­tery be­hind the pos­ses­sion.

De­clan Dale, direc­tor of Ex­posed, is the pseu­do­nym adopted by pissed-off au­teur Gee Ma­lik Lin­ton be­cause the stu­dio re­cut his film so it would play more like a Keanu Reeves cop thriller than an in­side-the-mind-of-a-dam­aged­woman movie. It has dis­ori­en­tat­ing el­e­ments,\ as al­bino an­gels ap­pear to a Do­mini­can girl (Ana de Ar­mas) in New York while Reeves in­ves­ti­gates the mur­der of his crooked part­ner. The film crashes when­ever it threat­ens to soar, but frag­ments of what Lin­ton had in mind are vis­i­ble, and de Ar­mas is very good.

Rit­ual, from In­done­sian wri­ter­di­rec­tor Joko An­war, is an­other puz­zle, telling the same story from dif­fer­ent view­points as a man (Rio De­wanto) wakes up in a shal­low grave in the woods and flees per­se­cut­ing killers. The penny drops half­way through, but the film then brings on new char­ac­ters and swaps sus­pense for hor­ror. Fi­nally, Brian James O’con­nell’s

Blood­suck­ing Bosses (aka Blood­suck­ing Bas­tards) pits sales schmoe Fran Kranz against his new man­ager (Pe­dro Pas­cal), who is so smarmily ob­nox­ious, the fact he’s a vam­pire is the least up­set­ting thing about him. Puts your su­pe­ri­ors in per­spec­tive.

“IT’S A BRIL­LIANT IN­TER­PRE­TA­TION OF CHEESE, WOULDN’T YOU SAY?” DEATH WALKS AT MID­NIGHT

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