7500 (2014) & October Overlook Madness Announcement

I’ll review every movie that was in my Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2014. This is the second review I’ve done.

Takashi Shimizu is one of the most impressive Japanese filmmakers of this new century. He has managed to create a new mythology out of simple elements, creatures, dark enclosed spaces, the concept of a curse, a weight in the shoulders of the descendants, a concept of family that is almost like a burden; all of this in the Ju-On series of films, where a small boy and a tortured woman created nightmares for an entire generation of movie watchers that were keen enough to come close to these kind of films, and find themselves in a world that was never as deep nor as complex in any other Japanese or Asian horror film of the time (you know the time, when it was the craze, and everyone was awaiting the next Asian horror, and then the whole thing kinda stopped, even if they really haven’t). That means to me that every new horror film that Shimizu directs is a must-see for me, mainly because of how he manages to make these movies almost like artifacts of time, he surely is one of the most clear filmmakers that works within an approachable and at the same time entertaining, as well as audience friendly, image-time, as Bazin described it.

Now, this movie that we have here, isn’t the first American endeavor of this Japanese filmmaker, as he was the one in charge of directing the remake of one of his own films (in the whole craze for Asian horror, you know) and its sequel, but this movie has a story on its own. It has managed to become unreleased for over 3 years. It’s been making rounds on the internet as being shot, edited and ready for release since (to my knowledge) 2011, and it has made my list for the most anticipated movies of the year for the past two. It had been shelved for release, and even now the way that it has managed to appear, in commercial releases in obscure and far away countries, it’s almost as if they didn’t want people to see the movie at all. There’s no planned wide release in any major market in the whole world, and the less we talk about a DVD/Bluray release, the better, they just want to make this film to disappear, and for some reason, I think I understand what are they under right now, and at the same time I don’t: there are just so many worse horror movies that are getting some kind of release, and this movie deserves some kind of attention, even if because of how big of a failure ends up being.

‘7500’ (2014) is a movie about a plane that is suddenly attacked by invisible beings. Once that happens, the whole thing turns to shit, the film enters into turbulence mode and just can’t shake it off, pun intended. The passengers have realized that one of their own has suddenly died by this strange phenomena that apparently wants everyone else dead. Thus, the rest of the film turns into a mystery of sorts that tries to search for the answer to what is going on in what, supposedly feels like a haunted plane. While not exactly new, in an era of terrorism and other scary stuff that happens on planes, a take on ‘ghosts on a plane’ could become something interesting, but it never truly manages to be. I find it neat that Shimizu does manage to put some of his Japanese heritage into the plot, with the inclusion of a creepy shinigami doll, some kind of artifact that carries ghosts or souls or kills people or whatever, it’s never truly mentioned if it is really the culprit behind it all or not, but when one notices the reason behind the whole strange and trippy experience that our heroes are living, one can’t help but groan at the possibility of an exploration of the theme just presented, but suddenly, it ends. It just ends, and that saves it from a worse fate.

The acting here is just non-existant, for some reason it is as if Shimizu hasn’t learned to direct english-speaking actors yet, but I can understand what he goes through every moment. He has been left alone in a plane set, a cheap looking one too, with a script that he maybe doesn’t really like, and he has to do something of value, something that people might wanna watch, and he can’t achieve it. The way that it tries to become about two levels of consciousness, about how people must see to believe, how blind they are in their non-beliefs at times, it gets tiresome in the end, and even if the film is quite short, it does go for quite a bit on the trips up and down the ladders of the plane to visit some kind of other realm that the dead body of the guy who died at the start created in the second floor. And let’s not even start on the stupid characters that populate this movie, filled not only with goofy voices and over-acting, as well as ridiculous faces, at times they just don’t work, or even worse: they are stock and so out of touch with modern reality that they become something laughable.

Nevertheless, one must say of Shimizu, that he is the best in terms of how to place a surprising scare or two. He is still about the whole “silent reveal” that doesn’t use the jump scare for the most effective elements in his palette of techniques for his film-making, he is still a decent craftsman, one that was given this dud to make and thus has failed in maintaining or making something wonderful again out of these meager and humble elements, but nevertheless, even though at times he seems lost, we can still count on his presence in the scares, in the ambient he creates and in a je-ne-sais-quoi that all his films share.

5/10

I’ve also taken this opportunity to tell you that this year, once again I’m doing my October Overlook Madness, which means that every day of October I shall be posting a new review of a horror film that I saw that same day for the first time. This year might be different, and because of work load you may get some video reviews recorded ‘on the fly’, specially the days I’m out of town, in Valdivia, for the film festival. So, hope to see you in October!

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