Sometimes you have to watch a movie more than once to either get it or appreciate it. The three films featured tonight fit that category. Two I saw in the theater when they came out, one of those two I anticipated greatly and was disappointed. I have watched these three multiple times and I now like them enough to include them in this countdown.
85. Pitch Black
This is the movie that introduced Vin Diesel as an action star to be reckoned with. This is a film I had to watch more than once before it really hooked me. I saw it in the theater when it came out. Diesel is excellent as Riddick, Cole Hauser turns in his best performance as a bounty hunter, and Radha Mitchell makes her mark. Keith David also stars.
A spaceship crashes on a remote planet inhabited by light-sensitive baddies created by creature designer Patrick Tatopoulos (Godzilla 1998). The planet is plunged into darkness because of a lengthy total eclipse and the survivors of the crash have to band together as the indigenous flying monsters are unleashed.
This film was to launch the Riddick franchise of science fiction adventure films. This is the best of the three. I like this one because of the unique creatures and the human conflict among the people who find themselves relying on a career criminal and murderer for their very survival.
84. Jeepers Creepers
Justin Long and Gina Philips star in another horror film that dares to be different. They play brother and sister who run afoul of a hungry demon on the back roads. Written and directed by Victor Salva, this film launched a bit of a franchise that explores “The Creeper’s” mythology. It follows a similar pattern of hibernation as Stephen King’s Pennywise from IT.
There are plenty of tense moments as Long and Philips try to both solve the mystery of The Creeper and try to stay out of his clutches. His? It is a a “he,” no? Eileen Brennan’s cameo as a crazy cat lady is almost wasted in this film.
The second movie in the series is watchable, but doesn’t have the, dare I say, charm of the first. I have yet to see the third film in the franchise. Jeepers Creepers is an acquired taste, much like the taste for certain body parts The Creeper acquires along the way.
This is one that gets better the more you watch it.
83. The Witch, or The VVitch: A New England Folktale
I really wanted to love this movie when I saw it in the theater. Hell, I struggled to like it as first. I had to watch it more than once. I watched again recently and I finally got it and understood it all the way through. That’s why it keeps movie up the list.
This was on my radar early on. A24 studios is really trying to carve out a niche and this was almost a case of the trailer being better than the movie. Set in the 1600s, the dialogue is thick and hard to navigate, as is the plot at times. It is beautifully shot if you enjoy deep dark woods, ominous gray skies and relentless drizzle.
The pace is what killed me. It is a slow burn, and I mean a slooooooooow burn. Anya Taylor-Joy, Morgan and Split, plays what ends up becoming the main character. She does a wonderful job portraying a fall from grace and innocence, purity and piety into desire, temptation, sin, and evil. However, there is a little too much telling and not enough showing during key moments.
I do love the setting, the atmosphere, the aesthetic. It is a dark and gritty film and I love all the things that it is trying to be. Ralph Ineson’s gravelly voice and dogged determination to maintain his attempt at period-accurate dialogue is painful to understand at times. But there are witches and there is plenty of witchery afoot. If you want something different, this might be the film for you.