Coming Soon-Ish: Disney Villains, Babadooks, and Amy Pond Against a Mirror

Oculus

When I found that Starbuck and Amy Pond were going to be in a horror movie together, it was like all my little dreams had finally come true. And then I saw the trailer.

To be fair, this is just a teaser, and it doesn’t give you much of the story. But it also doesn’t give you much of Katee Sackhoff, which seems like a bad idea when you know she’s going to be a big draw for the science fiction crowd. Also, that blood is just . . . um. Does it really look like that in the movie? I was glancing at the comments section on io9, where they also posted this trailer, and somebody asked if the evil mirror was leaking hair dye. It seems like a fair question.

Maybe a better trailer will come out, and I’ll be more excited, but this teaser is kind of leaving me cold.

The Babadook

Now this, on the other hand, looks genuinely kind of creepy. Also, it’s directed by a woman, which is exciting, considering how few female horror directors there are in the business. I hope this isn’t all going to turn out psychological — I can’t tell you how boring I find the ‘I’ve been crazy this whole time’ twist. But I don’t think it will, and I’m interested in this, if for no other reason than ‘babadook’ is an awesome name for a childhood monster.

Maleficent

Okay, this is a pretty spectacular teaser trailer. I will give it that. I am actually a little more interested in this movie. But . . . I still have some reservations, mostly because I just can’t seem to figure out what the tone of this film is going to be. It looks like we’re getting Maleficent’s side of the story, which is cool and all, but . . . it’s not like she’s going to win, right? I mean, this is a Disney film. I’m not exactly expecting them to kill Sleeping Beauty. So, are we going to change the ending, and have her and Sleeping Beauty ultimately working together? Cause that’s kind of interesting, but also sounds pretty awkward. (“Sorry, I cursed you and all. Besties?”) Or will Maleficent remain a villain, and die at the end, and everyone will be like, ‘Wow. That’s a surprisingly depressing Disney film. Maleficent was way cooler than Sleeping Beauty.’

At least one thing’s for sure: Angelina Jolie should be a bazillion times better as Maleficent than Charlize Theron was as the Wicked Queen. I mean, it’s hard to imagine how she could be much worse.

A Long Way Down

Hey, I read this book, like, a decade ago. Ultimately, I didn’t like it, but I can’t entirely remember why now. I think I might have been frustrated with all the characters. I figured I could be interested in seeing it as a movie anyway, but I can’t say I’m too jazzed about this particular trailer. The basic idea — four suicidal people meet on the same roof and form a pact not to kill themselves for a little while — interests me, and there are some good actors in this cast. Unfortunately, the tone of this trailer ultimately swings too heavily towards ‘inspirational’ for my liking and ends up feeling a bit cheesy. It’s a rental at best.

And finally . . . Penny Dreadful

Yay, a teaser for a show on a channel I don’t have access to! IMDB’s summary: “Some of literature’s most famously terrifying characters, including Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from the novel Dracula. become embroiled in Victorian London.” (Wow, the typos and overall grammar in that summary . . . and I thought I needed a proofreader.)

So . . . hopefully a more successful League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, then? Could be interesting.

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8 Responses to Coming Soon-Ish: Disney Villains, Babadooks, and Amy Pond Against a Mirror

  1. Teacups says:

    I will probably see Oculus unless I start hearing it’s awful, and maybe even then. I really liked Karen Gillan on Doctor Who, both in the regular way and the shallow way – even though sometimes, Amy Pond’s storylines sucked. Fuck you, mystical pregnancy!

    Maybe the mirror blood was just to form the title, and most of the movie blood will look more authentic?

    I seriously did not realise that The Babadook is an Australian movie until an actor I recognised showed up. My ear for accents is poor. I actually knew the lead, I just couldn’t figure out where from, despite her being the main character of the modern and memorably mediocre Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, which I’ve had the misfortune/masochism to see most of. She looks different as a blonde, and I think they added age make-up, or removed young make-up. I don’t think she’s that great as Miss Fisher, but the writing does her few favours, and she’s all right, so I’d be down with giving her a shot in something else.

    • I think the mystical pregnancy bugged other people more than me. But honestly, I don’t entirely remember how that storyline went, so it’s totally possible I’ve forgotten the more offensive aspects of it. (I don’t have a problem with supernatural pregnancy story lines as a rule, but it does seem like they’re often mishandled.) I did very much like Karen Gillan on Doctor Who, though, and I’m excited to see her in more things. But I desperately hope that you’re correct about the mirror blood because otherwise . . . TERRIBLE.

    • I actually just finished watching the first season of Miss Fisher. I like it more than you do, although the bad guys are nearly always predictable and I wasn’t crazy about how the season closed out. I found Foyle’s master plan to kind of a letdown. Miss Fisher’s ability to do everything under the sun occasionally makes me roll my eyes too, but her Mary Sue-ness bothers me less than it probably ought, possibly because it’s just such a silly fun show, but also because I feel like, when it comes to detectives, it’s usually the man who knows everything and can overcome any obstacle and blah blah. So, I like that it’s a girl for once, even if it’s all a bit cheesy.

      I like, too, that Miss Fisher gets all the men, though I’d be happier if all the men she flirted/slept with didn’t seem like total skeevy creepers. I do actually like Jack quite a bit, though; he’s a big part of why I like the show as much as I do. I totally ship these two characters. I also rather like Essie Davis as Miss Fisher. In general, I like the main cast quite a bit. The butler’s funny, and I like Bert, and Dot definitely grew on me. (It’s funny that I know this actress from two things, and her religion is the defining characteristic in both roles.)

      I also really like Doctor Mac for the few episodes she’s in. It’s funny to see the actress outside Farscape, although I recognized her immediately. Her voice is very distinctive. I’ll admit, in the first episode, I was definitely getting a shippy vibe between her and Miss Fisher, and I would have been all for that. But, hey, that’s what fanfiction is for, right?

  2. fatpie42 says:

    “At least one thing’s for sure: Angelina Jolie should be a bazillion times better as Maleficent than Charlize Theron was as the Wicked Queen. I mean, it’s hard to imagine how she could be much worse.”

    Oh come on. In a film where everyone, including Chris Hemsworth, was absolutely terrible, Charlize Theron was by far the best thing in that movie. Her performance is about the only thing that I wouldn’t want to criticise about that film. The director is a vital part of any film and when the entire rest of the film is in disarray it takes a top actor to come off well in spite of that. Considering what the rest of the film was like, Charlize Theron’s performance was a blooming miracle.

    It might be interesting if they went with the original Sleeping Beauty ending. (That’s so not going to happen….) Do you know how the original story ends?

    Definitely going to need another trailer before I start getting excited for “Oculus”. But “Penny Dreadful” looks kinda cool already. Did I see Mads appear for a moment there?

    • No, I’m afraid I completely disagree with you on that. Snow White and the Huntsman had very little going for it, including — sadly — Chris Hemsworth — but I think Charlize Theron’s performance was absolutely one of the worst things about the movie. I found her delivery excruciatingly overwrought, and not in a fun, cheesy way. Kristen Stewart might have been bland as hell as Snow White, but Charlize Theron was just downright bad. And I know she can act, so some of that can be blamed on the director — but I’m not sure that all of it can, not in this case.

      I’m sure I’ve read Sleeping Beauty at some point, but I honestly can’t remember how it ends. You’ll have to refresh my memory. (Or I’ll Google it in a while.)

      Hmm. I don’t see Mads on the IMDb cast list . . . but if he IS somewhere in Penny Dreadful, I would be most happy.

  3. Teacups says:

    I think the premise is a cool idea. Basically a supernatural mirror made a family re-enact The Shining when the protagonists, Kaylie and Tim, were children. Both parents ended up dead, and the kids swore to kill the mirror when they were adults. In the present day, Kaylie’s found/stolen the mirror and plans to destroy it – but only after she studies and records its supernatural abilities to prove to everyone that what happened wasn’t her parents’ fault. So she’s got this whole elaborate set-up to measure and record it’s effects, and a fail safe that’s supposed to destroy the mirror if something goes wrong. Meanwhile, Tim now believes the official story that his parents just went crazy, and he’s trying to rationalize everything that happened and convince Kaylie that there’s nothing weird about the mirror.

    I haven’t seen a whole lot of horror movies – especially ones that aren’t sequels – wherein the protagonists have any knowledge of the threat, let alone ones where they’re all geared up to study and destroy it. And you, know, obviously the mirror is going to fight back to protect itself, but it’s also an inanimate object, so I think the movie set the stage for an interesting battle of wits.

    Going into it, I didn’t know the backstory would take up such a large chunk of the movie – by the end it seemed to be getting a lot more screentime than the present day stuff. I ended up surprisingly glad though, because like in IT (both the book and, to a much greater extent, the movie) I found myself becoming more invested in the story of Little Kaylie and Tim than that of their adult counterparts. They could’ve made an entire movie just out of the flashbacks, and I think it would’ve been better, if less original.

    Now, I did really think the Shining stuff should’ve been entirely from the kids’ perspective, especially since some of the flashbacks were meant to be Kaylie and Tim remembering shit – if you’re going to do that, keep it consistent. Don’t have some of them be Kaylie and Tim’s memories and others not even have Kaylie or Tim in the scene.

    Also, I just thought it would’ve been scarier, these kids watching their parents acting more and more weird and creepy, not knowing what’s going on in the rooms they’re not allowed to enter. Plus, it would’ve meant we’d get an external view of the mirror’s influence on a person – since the kids were largely unaffected – and an internal one, via the present day. Although I didn’t actually think the movie did that great a job of showing the mirror drive them crazy anyway.

    However, I thought the acting in the 2003 scenes was stronger, especially from Katee Sackoff and the girl playing Little Kaylie. I really liked Little Kaylie, taking charge and trying to protect her younger brother.

    Also, at least the flashback story had proper plot progression, and I could understand what was going through the kids’ heads. I had no idea what the adult siblings were thinking half the time. As the movie went on, they (Tim especially) spent increasing amounts of time just walking around the house having flashbacks, not studying the mirror, or trying to escape – which are, you know, fairly pressing issues. I don’t know if it was meant to be the mirror forcing them to wander around in a daze remembering their traumatic childhood?

    Partially because of all the time Kaylie and Tim spent having flashbacks instead of, you know, studying the mirror or trying to save their own lives. And partially because Kaylie’s plan seemed to have some gaping holes in it, and I just couldn’t understand why she’d done things a certain way, or what specifically she was trying to achieve.

    1) Like, I didn’t get why Kaylie had set up base in the same room as the mirror, given it makes people hallucinate and go insane, and its powers are limited by distance. The plan was to spend pretty much the whole weekend in that room, just waiting around. Why the fuck would they do that? She should’ve been keeping herself and Tim outside the mirror’s sphere of influence as much as possible, to limit its effects on them. She couldn’t have been watching it over the cameras?

    2) What kind of proof was she hoping to get? Most of the mirror’s abilities were either not very impressive or the kind of thing that couldn’t be proven via video footage. The exception being that it could “eat” animals, but she covered up the cage of the dog she planned to feed it, so no one watching the video would’ve actually seen it vanish. Anyway, she didn’t try to get a replacement animal after Tim let the dog go, and she would’ve had to if that was going to be her primary evidence. Was she hoping to get the “ghosts,” that came out of the mirror on camera?

    3) I think it became pretty obvious over the course of the movie that the mirror was intelligent. Was Kaylie aware of this going in? The way she spoke to it a couple of times it would indicate so, but dude… She explained her whole set-up to the camera right in front of the mirror, including the protections she’d put in place and how she planned to destroy the thing. If she knew it was intelligent and likely to fight back, why would she do this?

    Now, I’m aware that Kaylie wasn’t necessarily the most rational person going into this, between her obsession with the mirror and her low-level exposure before she got it to the house. But either the mirror can make people stupid as well as crazy (like The Cabin In The Woods!) or the movie needed to explain Kaylie’s plan and goals much, much better – even if they weren’t rational.

    I did like that she worked at the auction house she nicked the mirror from, and her fiance was her boss there – it was a good way of showing her obsession with the mirror, that she’d apparently built her entire life around finding and acquiring it again. I was kind of surprised that they didn’t feel the need to point this out, but happy they kept it subtler.

    But I thought easily the best present day scene was when Kaylie and Tim run outside, planning to wait there for the fail-safe to kick in and the mirror to get smashed. But through the window, they see themselves standing blankly in front of the mirror, protecting it with their bodies. And they can’t be sure whether they’re outside hallucinating other versions of themselves that are inside, or inside hallucinating that they’re outside. That was some clever, trippy ass shit, and the kind of thing I was hoping to see more of.

    Gosh, I’m sorry, this ended up way longer than I thought it was going to be.

    P.S. I have a terrible ear for accents, so take this with a grain of salt, but Karen Gillan seemed to be having trouble doing an American one? Which is weird, because I’ve never noticed that with her before. IDK, something about her voice here just sounded off, although maybe it was just me.

    • Teacups says:

      Fuck, that was my thoughts on Oculus. I probably should’ve mentioned that. Did you ever end up seeing it? What did you think?

      I’d also love to hear your thoughts on The Babadook if you’ve seen that one.

      • It’s okay, I figured it out. But I’m skipping the comment for now because I’m hideously behind on ALL the big recent horror movies including Oculus, The Babadook, It Follows, and The Witch. I have failed this city.

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