Pascal Laugier (2008)
Lucie, a ten-year-old girl who disappeared a few months earlier, is found walking along the street, confused, and in a catatonic state. Her body bears the marks of a terrible assault, but there is no trace of sexual will. The reasons for her kidnapping remain mysterious. Fifteen years later Lucie rings the door of a seemingly normal family armed with a rifle…
This is the synopsis that can be read on Prime Video of Pascal Laugier ‘s second feature film. Martyrs, it must be said, is not a film for everyone and it puts a strain on even the most accustomed horror fans and the strongest stomachs. However, it is one of the most interesting films of this genre of the 2000s. Dark and very hard torture movie about human suffering, visually very strong and explicit and cruel. A film is divided into three distinct sections, well separated from each other from a narrative and stylistic point of view. A film not to be missed, which gives no answers, which leaves many questions to haunt the viewer and deeply disturbs.
The Woman in Black
James Watkins (2012)
The Woman in Black is the film adaptation of Susan Hill’s ghost story published in 1982, which boasts a theatrical adaptation, a television rework, and even a radio series. The James Watkins-directed film follows London-based lawyer Arthur Kipps, played by Daniel Radcliffe, who is sent to the village of Crythin Gifford to review the late Mrs. Drablow’s papers. Arthur has not had a successful career, as he is still mourning his wife, who died giving birth to their son Joseph four years earlier. Crythin Gifford is a seedy village and its inhabitants are far from welcoming.
Arthur realizes that no one is in the village and is very happy that he will be working in Eel Marsh’s manor. Taken will discover that the house is haunted by the presence of a woman dressed in black, whose son has drowned in the swamp. Each time the woman appears, a child from the village dies. The strength of The Woman in Black is certainly the setting: the swamp that surrounds the house, perennial fog, and wind, create a lot of restlessness in the viewer. The photograph is rarefied and at times seems faded, creating further restlessness and a sense of emptiness.
James Wan (2013)
Carolyn and Roger move with their daughters to a house in rural Rhode Island. Immediately after the move, strange phenomena begin to happen that terrify the whole family. Carolyn and Roger soon realize that this big house is inhabited by demonic presences. They then decide to turn to a couple of demonologists: Ed and Lorraine Warren. Thus begins an unprecedented struggle against Evil.
The Conjuring – Evocation, a 2013 film directed by James Wan, plays with classic elements of the horror genre and truly evocative vintage settings. Fear is conveyed through sinister sounds, intradiegetic lighting, and some cleverly placed jumpscare. Wan directs a well-blended and convincing cast, guiding him into a territory (that of horror) that he knows very well. The fact that the film is based on real events only accentuates feelings of anguish and fear in the viewer; a horror film to see, involving and entertaining.
Robert Eggers (2015)
The preacher William moves with his wife and children to the gates of wood, to provide for his family with the work of the land. A forced decision, imposed by the community to which he belonged due to his too-extreme interpretation of the word of God. One day, the eldest daughter Thomasin is taking care of her little brother Samuel when something mysterious happens. The little one disappears and ends up in the hands of the witches who live in the woods. So, the drama gives rise to family clashes, between religion, superstition, and an ever-growing spiral of horrors.
Robert Eggers’ The VVitch is hands down one of the best horror films of recent years. SinceThe horror is conveyed by atmospheres that are at times unsustainable, in a highly symbolic and complex film. Every choice of direction and photography is perfect, with particular attention to the use of light sources. Also worth noting is the performance of Anya Taylor-Joy, at her debut in a feature film for the cinema.
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