Sunday, May 25, 2014

SX_Tape






 **

I won’t be quite as critical towards SX_Tape as its most ardent detractors, as I think the abandoned hospital has a wealth of atmosphere, history, wreckage, and decay to exploit for all its worth. However, besides the “young couple trapped in a hospital and besieged by a ghoulish former abused patient” premise, it seemed to drag on and feel longer to me than it really is. I will say that the location is exceptional, a real find for filmmaker Bernard Rose (Candyman), with plenty of “age candy” to get on camera. Found footage is used here to document what should have been just a tour of a possible gallery showing of Jill (Caitlyn Folley) by her cameraman boyfriend, Adam (Ian Duncan). Within the walls of the hospital is the spirit of a “cutter” in 1982 who endured molestation from her doctor. Jill is of interest to this spirit who can serve as host. Now you might be pissed off at me right now for revealing this, but truthfully SX_Tape sledgehammers this home to the point that it leaves behind a migraine. While Caitlyn kind of has this grunge artist chic about her, she is a refreshingly realistic looking natural gal. She’s one of those thrill-seeking types, with an allure about her that could be quite desirable. Sex is an obvious vice she enjoys. She’s one of them gals that enjoys spontaneity, is more than her share of promiscuous and mischievous, embraces what life offers in terms of living it to the fullest and liking the unpredictability of her lifestyle. There’s a level of danger in this, though. Having sex in a car amongst others vehicles in a parking garage, having herself filmed in a change room, and intruding/trespassing in the building left to its methodical demise offers potential trouble for her and the boyfriend. Adam isn't exonerated from this lifestyle. He uses his camera to spy on a couple perhaps breaking up at a cafe, and sticking the camera in the face of a "friend" of Caitlyn's who requests him not to (in not so many kind words...) could invite hostile action in his direction. And that’s exactly what happens.

If I had a problem particularly with the film is its title and marketing that would seem to indicate something far kinkier and risqué. Let’s face it: there’s that impulse that draws a certain audience to the film if you offer the idea that it is naughty. That’s not to say Caitlyn is shy on screen and unwilling to convey a level of carefree sexuality. She does. She sure strikes a pose, I will give her that. She is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I have to say I found her provocative nature rather appetizing. Anyway, she is lively and vivacious, but Caitlyn’s performance is more than a bit rough around the ages. Her hysterics by film’s end and the “back and forth” possession (or whatever you wish to call it) where she seems to battle a takeover really grinded on my nerves. The introduction of two other characters (one of which is Jill’s pal; she calls them after her car is towed) ruins the film for me, personally. The “tagger” (a graffiti artist who vandals buildings with his animation that do not belong to him) with a crude tongue and rude disposition, and his girlfriend, wish to see inside the building just after Jill and Adam were able to escape it. Jill, while locked in the bindings of one of the institution beds, is playfully offering herself to Adam when unawares the spirit emerges in form for the first time and corrupts her. When the tagger and girlfriend secretly have a tryst unknown to Adam in another room against his wishes (he wanted them to separate and insisted Jill leave the hospital with him to no avail), it ends in tragedy. From the point where Jill first encounters the spirit, her countenance changes and she is never quite the same, as Adam is left with this girl who resembles the free spirit he fell hard for struggling to maintain her bearings.

As far as the “haunted house” tricks go, Rose and company offer noises, loud bangs, wind, echoes, and falling debris…the place comes eerily alive. Besides the natural sounds, there soon comes humming and tunes sounding off from someplace in the hospital to add an extra potency of ominous. Then the CGI of the spirit herself and her interest in Jill explains where the sounds originate. I thought the distance shots of the ghoul fared better than her presence up close. Wanting to show her makes sense considering how many criticized Blair Witch Project for failing to do so, but I think too much of her wasn’t a good thing. Like the added cast members, Jill’s later hysteria (loud breakdowns, gibberish, disagreements with Adam, shouting, and periods of resistance towards Adam’s continuing pleas to leave the place), and unnecessary “oral castration”, a lot of reveal of the ghoul just kind of disrupted the good will I had for SX_Tape. This is one of the most recent horror disappointments for me, chiefly because it was directed by Bernard Rose. Still Caitlyn was someone I found strangely striking, with a certain charm, with it unfortunately dissipating as time went on. I think this has a promise never quite capitalized on. I do think the technical aspects of this were its best asset. Some good use of hand-held camera (yep, it does get the jitters, as you might expect), and, again, the setting speaks for itself. The horror genre can never have too many of these old hospitals…








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I had a fun dialogue with a young lady I work with about the rather hilarious scenes particularly in romantic comedies and action genre wher...

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Ms45 w

Churcvh

Churcvh
The Church 1989

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Ww
The Whip and the Body 1963

Lsho

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Every actor has to make terrible films from time to time, but the trick is never to be terrible in them.

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You are one of us now. The Queen of the Night will bear you up on her black wings

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Alonzo, the Armless.

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Ckvh

Blood of Dracula's Castle (1969)

Glen: We'd like to speak to the Townsends, please.

The Butler: They are not available till after sunset.

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Bw5

Jill

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Mad Love 1935

Doctor Gogol: Did you ever hear of Galatea?

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Doctor Gogol: I don't want a statue of Galatea. You see, she was a statue herself. Pygmalion formed her. Out of marble, not wax. And then she came to life in his arms.

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