| Flicks

FLICKS: The Witch & Deadpool

Posted on 25 February 2016 by LeslieM

By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

While Deadpool dominated last weekend’s box office, both independent movies Risen and The Witch: A New England Folktake (printed on posters as “The VVitch”) were moderately successful, given their modest production budgets. Both films could not be more different forms of entertainment. According to Rotten Tomatoes, [the Biblical tale] Risen was well-received by the public, but was not certified “fresh” by the mainstream critics. In contrast, The Witch was not warmly received by the public, but was embraced by mainstream critics.

The Witch is an art house horror movie that was obviously influenced by The Blair Witch Project and Val Lewton’s The Seventh Victim and I Married a Zombie. The Witch is what Rob Zombie tried to do with his home movie, The Lords of Salem. With shades of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, The Witch is pure rural horror with great attention to detail.

It opens with a religious family of seven being exiled from a New England plantation. While Tomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy, a South Florida native) plays peek-a-boo with her infant sibling, the baby disappears into the black forest. Things get far worse for the exiled family.

For horror fans suckled on the slice and dice horror of Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers, this film will feel slow.

Director Robert Eggers puts the viewer into another world. The language is 17th Century English with the generous use of the pronoun “Thou.” Visually, this film echoes the nightmare paintings of Francisco Goya and the contemporary (to the timeframe) work of Johannes Vermeer.

This is not a happy film, but this motion picture is pure horror, much like the cult film Se7en. It will be talked about in film school for years to come.

Truly Deadpool is in a universe far different from The Witch, which is a welcome relief.

It opens with the Chicago song “You’re my Inspiration” as we watch a slow motion car wreck. During this montage, a roster of fake credits roll, creating the first belly laughs for the film, which last right through the post-credit teaser inspired by Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

So who is Deadpool, besides being another mutant superhero who wears a shabby Spider-Man costume found in a Salvation Army store? He is Wade (Ryan Reynolds), a con artist mercenary who finds the love of his life, Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) but discovers he has terminal cancer. He learns of an experimental drug that may cure his disease, but, of course, the drug is administered by a certified mad scientist who turns Wade into a mercenary mutant.

Under Director Tim Miller’s firm direction, Deadpool takes all the clichés of a successful comic book movie and makes them feel fresh. There are ties to the eight X-Men movies with a few Easter eggs tossed in from the Disney Marvel comic universe. The fourth wall is broken with Reynolds being the perfect conduit.

Both The Witch: A New England Folktale and Deadpool know how to appeal to their respective audiences.

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