OCULUS (2013) » Supernatural pandemonium and inanimate objects: a combo I rarely take seriously. In this film, however, I found myself engaged and entertained, which is not too bad. This is a horror story about murders executed by... a mirror. I know, it sounds ridiculous. The mental history of one of the main characters and the childhood flashbacks that tell the viewer the story behind the demonic mirror kept me interested. I wasn't satisfied with the ending but it could've been worse. There was a scene involving an apple and a lightbulb that really disturbed me - nightmare material is always in the details.
THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN (2014) » What was supposed to be a medical documentary about Deborah Logan's Alzheimer's disease, turns out to be a disturbing thriller where dementia blends with demonic activity. Secrets and revelations ensue and we witness frightening footage at every level. I liked the concept of this unsettling film, and solid performances made it worth watching, not to mention the suspense factor and some subtle scares... All in all a creepy poignant experience. What terrified me the most was what I know it's a real menace to the human health and sanity: Alzheimer itself.
THE BABADOOK (2014) » I watched this film last night and frankly, I was expecting something else, maybe a different kind of horror. Not that I was disappointed; on the contrary, it was a refreshing surprise approaching the realms of psychological horror seen through an ambiguous yet keen eye. Some scenes reminded me a bit of these three: We Need to Talk About Kevin, Repulsion and The Shining. This film plays with the audience and with anyone's mind. Count on outstanding acting, freaky distress, Aussie accent and beautiful cinematography with nightmarish atmosphere. Babadook itself is Tim Burton-esque spooky, sinister and all things eerie. This horror flick scared the shit out of Sundance and it's certainly a good pick if you compare it to the recent wave of splatter movies and want something, as stated before, different.
MAPS TO THE STARS (2014) » I reaaaaaally liked this one, which surprised me since I wasn't too impressed with Cosmopolis. It's official: Cronenberg hasn't lost his mojo! In fact, this film is good enough to be considered a cult classic. There was a distinctive Bret Easton Ellis-esque vibe about the storyline: it's vicious, it's cruel, it's a fucked up satire, it's weird, it's Hollywood. Both Julianne Moore and Mia Wasikowska steal the show, the latter acting like the twisted mind of all. Seriously, Wasikowska always gives an accomplished performance whenever she plays a psycho. Everyone is bitching about how Cronenberg isn't the same genious anymore and how the CGI effects look ridiculously botched... Screw you, haters. I loved it, in all its glory of violence and tragedy.
WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD (2014) » My expectations were high when I started watching this film, because I adore Araki's work, I'm a huge fan of Eva Green and I already knew the soundtrack would be perfection. I wasn't wrong, this one lived up to my expectations and beyond. Set in the late 1980s/early 1990s, this is a story about a girl and her mother's sudden and intriguing disappearance, exploring the structural complexity behind such mystery and depicting how dysfunctional this family portrait was and why. It's also a coming of age narrative, with a few dream sequences to match the dream pop/shoegaze soundtrack. I won't spoil it but let me just add that the final plot twist caught me and my curiosity off guard! Well done.
YVES SAINT LAURENT (2014) » If you're into iconic fashion references, French stylish flicks and biopics as I am, you better watch this asap. Impressive how this film offers a glimpse at YSL's career, love life, early years, erratic lifestyle, scandal and controversial creations. The industry contrasting with inspiration itself, combining glamour with decadence, offers the perfect backdrop in this visually sumptuous, dramatic intoxication made of haute couture and timeless style. Kudos to Pierre Niney, for the incredible impersonation - the mannerisms, the voice... it was like watching Saint Laurent himself. Bravo!