Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Broken (2008)

British filmmaker Sean Ellis' 2008 horror film, "The Broken," is a seriously underrated, twisted little puzzle-box of a movie that refuses to let you go and will inspire discussion after the credits have rolled.

   Sure, it rips concepts from other horror films (parallels to "The Shining" run throughout) and doesn't contain as many scares as it should, but "The Broken" is so much better than other films of it's kind and deserves more attention than it gets.

   Radiologist Gina McVey  ("Game Of Thrones"'s Queen Bi**h and resident brother-f**ker, Lena Headey) drives home from work one day to see her double drive past her. Horrified and intrigued (and not clever enough to leave freaky s**t like this alone,)  Gina follows the woman, only to lose her.

   Gina comes home to find that something's changed. Her French boyfriend Stephan (Melvil Poupaud) is a stranger to her, lights flicker, mirrors break, something lurks in the attic, and Gina's doctors and family increasingly begin to believe that she's going insane. Don't worry! This isn't a another insanity story.

   In some ways this is  a typical horror-thriller- stairs creak, the wind shrieks, and seemingly no one can be trusted in this dark environment descended from a J-Horror film. But in other ways, it's anything but a typical horror film. Definitely a movie that makes you rely on your imagination and your mind rather than shocks, pouring guts and intestines, or sexploitation.
   Lena Headey is really good in this, and the guy who plays her father, Richard Jenkins, is always good so it's no surprise when he turns up a nice performance here. "The Broken" also contains one of the scariest nightmare sequences I've seen.

   The ending is abstract and leaves a lot of loose ends just waiting to be interpreted, but it's better to do brain work than to be hit over the head with the twist. This movie does what horror movies should do- tap into your primal anxiety rather than throw bile and guts into your face until you get sensory overload.

    Like the projectile diarrhea from "The Human Centipede II," the modern horror film doesn't try to scare us as such, it tries to make us lose our cookies by being bloody and transgressive. And don't get me started on those weak PG-13 horror film remakes "Disturbia," "The Invisible," "The Last f**king Exorcism" (well, that wasn't a remake, but it was still pretty banal. If you're a fan of tricky horror, give this one a try.

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