Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Scary Movie Month 2014, Day 22


Is "overcaffeinated" a term that can apply to movies? Because that's how this one felt. I enjoyed it for the most part, but every frame buzzes with crazy energy that is frankly exhausting by the end. Stylistically it's sort of the love child of Scott Pilgrim vs the World and the Crank movies, which is an odd energy to apply to a slasher/sci-fi/comedy pastiche. At the very least, I certainly haven't seen anything else quite like it, even though it wears its influences proudly on its sleeve.

Devin Faraci at Badass Digest described it as "a movie that jumps from idea to idea with the speed of a teen clicking browser tabs" and I can't think of a better way to distill the style of this movie into a single sentence. As exhausting as it was (and it was!) the more I think about the movie the more I kinda love it.

Shanley Caswell is a revelation in the lead. I only know her from The Conjuring, but she juggles what on paper should be conflicting tones and still remains warm, human, funny, and surprisingly relatable. It would be so easy to go over the top cartoony with her part, but she never does. All the performances are pitched just enough south of over the top that it keeps the movie from devolving into camp. Even Dane Cook is good, and how often do you get to say that? Maybe he was meant to be a character actor, Mr. Brooks is a great movie too.

I've never seen Torque, director Joseph Kahn's debut feature, but I'll definitely be seeking it out after Scary Movie Month. I'm still sort of shocked how consistently funny and engaging this was. It could have been a headache-inducing case of overwhelming style (I'm looking at you, Speed Racer) but it never gets to a point where it feels like a chore. Kahn is sprinting ahead and trusting the audience to keep up, and that kind of audacity deserves recognition regardless of how you feel about the (very very divisive) final product. I'm already excited to watch it again.

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