Sunday, September 28, 2008

On Rec and remakes

As I mentioned earlier, I'm very fond of the Spanish horror movie Rec. Yes, I do admit it might seem a bit odd, considering how I feel about running zombies. Still, Rec manages to have galopping ghouls that manages to turn out to be a very effective scare. Partly, this is because of the first-person camera and numerous surprise zombie attacks, but Rec also manages to produce a really unnerving atmosphere. I've heard it described as "completely drained of hope and mercy," and that's a bullseye as far as descriptions go. The zombies are a constant, lethal threat, but what makes the threat so overwhelming is the containment, how the characters are kept prisoner by a faceless and unsympathetic authority.

So, in short, I love Rec, and when I heard an American remake was in the works, I can't exactly say I was overjoyed. As so many times before, I asked myself why this remake was neccesary. Yes, it might expose a larger audience to the story of the original, which isn't a bad thing. It seems that foreign language films, no matter how good, will not reach the largest masses of English-speaking audiences. I don't like it, but that's how it is. However, it's my experience that the story gets somewhat dumbed down in the process. The most common way this happens is by overexplaining, taking out the mystery and replacing it with rather banal exposition. This is exactly what will flat out murder the Rec spirit. In Rec, you are left smack in the middle of the end, no denouement, no definite answer to all the questions raised. Don't get me wrong, most of the things you could find out just fine, but the movie didn't exactly rub the answers in your face. This would be a downright unwise move considering how much emphasis the movie puts on the uncertainty and confusion.

While on the topic of remakes, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is scheduled for one, and my initial reaction was "damn, another one bites the dust," but I've been thinking. It could actually be that this remake would provide something fresh and new to the RHPS universe? Exploring new interpritation of the various oddball characters, or maybe even challenge modern morals, especial sexual morale, and society in general, could a Rocky Horror Remake show really be a refreshing jump to the left? Honestly, I'm sceptical, especially since MnotreallymusicTV is going to be involved. There's multiple things that can go wrong, poor casting or directing can screw up the Remake Show beyond all recognition, but the worst possible thing anyone can do to a RHPS remake, except possibly to hire Uwe Boll for directing, is to cower before the rating systems. In a story that is driven by, and contains quite a bit of, sex, trying to get a low rating is pretty much the movie equivalent of saying "Hungry, Dr. Lecter?"

Then again, it could be good, right?

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