Featured

Safefilm

This is the post excerpt.

Advertisements

Welcome to Safefilm.org, a location where movies are viewed and vetted specifically for those who are concerned about facing anxiety-inducing moments in film. Movies nowadays have greater technology to create incredible effects with a realistic edge. However, due to this, it is now easier than ever to slip in unexpectedly frightening or graphic moments in movies that still possess the PG-13 rating. As the overseer for this blog, I view movies that have either come out recently, or within the last ten years to try and spot common triggers for anxiety that may not have been spotted by the rating system. Since it’s truly impossible to catch every little potential detail, I encourage viewers to contact me through my email to make requests as to what this site should cover. If you would like to post a review here, please email me with it, and I may edit and publish it. I hope you enjoy this site, and it in some way helps you.

The Shining

I’ve finally taken the time to catch up with the rest of the world and seen one of Jack Nicholson’s most famous movies, The Shining. Due to the fact that the movie’s been out almost forty years now, I kind of knew what I was going into when I started watching it, but, for those who are still curious, here’s a recap.

Jack Torrance and his family, Wendy his wife and son Danny, move into the Overlook Hotel for their winter season so Jack can become the caretaker. However, the longer they stay in the empty hotel, all alone and snowed in, it becomes clear that something is deeply wrong with the hotel, finally affecting Jack, and causing him to turn on his family.

To start, I do want to say that the movie is incredibly good, as it is Stanley Kubrick. The entire two-hour running time, I was genuinely uncomfortable and anxious, sometimes even jumping a little at scares that would have been predictable in any other movie. It’s very well-paced, and has several details that throw the viewer off, or keep the setting as unbalanced as possible. That being said, as I’m extremely familiar with the book, there were certain things that didn’t translate as well to film. I’m not saying that Kubrick should have gone in the same direction as King when it came to the plot, as we all know how absolutely boring the 90s miniseries was, but certain things didn’t seem to do much more than just create a creepy atmosphere. For example, Tony, Danny’s seemingly imaginary friend that warns him of the future, vanishes almost completely after Danny is attacked by the woman in room 237, which makes it feel as if he could have been removed from the movie entirely with very little change. Also, while I honestly believe that Jack Nicholson was having the time of his life while playing Jack, and it is one of his most well-known roles, the character of Jack isn’t that interesting in my opinion. From his first appearance, he comes off as a genuinely creepy person, rather than a victim of the hotel’s ghosts. If I weren’t familiar with the book, in fact, I wouldn’t have even known that Jack was a recovering alcoholic, something that was instrumental when it came to his corruption by the ghosts. Once again, I’d like to say that Nicholson was doing the best he could in the role, and clearly brought his A-game, it just wasn’t a role I could get particularly invested in. However, I do truly feel as though Kubrick’s style shines through in this movie. This was actually one of the first Kubrick movies I ever saw, and his ability to create uncomfortable atmosphere, as well as his directing choices, are truly admirable. I feel that other horror movies I’ve seen have tried to create a similar experience, but none have come close to this. From the ever-changing hallways and design of the hotel, to the nail-on chalkboard style music, The Shining truly manages to bring the fear from the original book to light in a whole new format. I hear a lot that Stephen King wasn’t a fan of this movie, and, from the point of view that Jack’s struggles with alcohol were based on his own experiences, I can totally understand why, but I think the movie did a great service to an already famous classic, in a way I don’t think could ever truly be repeated.

Halloween (1978)

Review:

Halloween, the movie series that was never meant to be about Michael Myers, has become a staple of the titular holiday, though I don’t think they’re working on the franchise anymore. The movie actually holds a special place in my heart, as it was one of the first horror movies I could watch without running screaming from the room, which is so much more of an accomplishment than it seems.

The movie begins in 1963, with a teenage girl being stalked through her house by an unknown threat on Halloween night. The killer-in-the-making puts on a mask, sneaks into her, room, and then brutally stabs her with a knife. We get a nice shot of her bare chest, before the movie remembers that it’s a horror movie, and the killer is eventually revealed as her six year old brother, a boy named Michael Myers. Fifteen years pass, and the now adult Myers escapes from the mental hospital he’s been locked in, dons his coveralls, and returns to his home town to murder again. Eventually, however, after murdering a girl without pants on, and a couple who decided to have sex in the bed of their best friend’s parents, he’s eventually thwarted by the combined effort of a young Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence.

I feel that, for it’s day, Halloween is actually a very good movie. It started a lot of horror tropes that have become staples of films such as Friday the 13th, such as people having sex resulting in death, the silent serial killer, and the obvious sequel hook at the end that’ll result in a franchise desperately trying to justify the actions of their main villain. That being said, I do feel that there are a few out of place things done in this movie that exist seemingly to annoy me personally. For one thing, the actions of the characters that die seem downright strange. I’m not sure if sneaking into a neighbor’s house to have sex was a thing in the seventies, but it just feels like a strange thing to do nowadays. They don’t know what kind of nasty stuff those people have done in that bed, and they’re just going to have sex in it? I don’t know if this was normal, so, if it was just something the youths did in the seventies, excuse my confusion. Also, the fake out deaths that Michael goes through get a little ridiculous the longer it goes. I can surviving a hanger through the eye-hole, since there’s the chance she actually missed the eye, but living through a knife to the stomach, a knitting needle through the neck, and six or seven bullet holes is a little less likely in my opinion, especially considering the fact that the sequels confirming him as a supernatural being hadn’t happened yet. I don’t care how emotionless you are, at some point, one of those is going to make you die. I can’t help picturing him limping away after the sequel hook, quietly gurgling an oath of vengeance before collapsing a few feet away.

However, as much as those things do annoy me, I still have to say that the movie’s still pretty strong. The acting is pretty good, and Jamie Lee Curtis is surprisingly proactive when it comes to not getting herself killed. As I recall, she was responsible for at least three of those four fakeout deaths I mentioned earlier. Not to mention, Myers is genuinely creepy with how he just appears and disappears in scenes without warning. I do recommend it quite a bit, especially if you want to see where a lot of older tropes of horror came from.

 

Monster House

This honestly isn’t the movie I thought I’d be doing as part of the October movies, but it’s one I grew up with. I remember when I first saw it on Cartoon Network, I was actually kind of surprised that it was allowed to air, considering the time it came out. I wasn’t used to seeing more than typically safe programs on that channel at the time. Monster House is….interesting. To start off, yeah, it’s creepy-looking. It was made by the same people who did the Polar Express movie, which was kind of known for it’s creepy cgi. This movie does a little better in that department, but it’s still a little uncanny to look at. The story, however, is still actually really good for a movie for it’s animation. The story follows a boy named DJ, who, after he believes he’s killed his crotchety old neighbor, finds the man’s house seems to have come alive and is out for revenge. Without spoiling too much of the plot, I can say that it is a fairly entertaining movie to watch at Halloween, and the plot may genuinely surprise you. There are a few issues I have with the movie, namely the presence of an annoying fat sidekick, a concept that was kind of outdated in the early 2000s, and really feels dated now. It wouldn’t be such an issue, except the character contributes very little to the overall plot, until the very end, and it honestly would have been extremely easy to just replace him with a different character. As far as potential triggers for the movie, I think the overall concept of the plot may cause a lot of concern for viewers. The house itself comes alive, eating those who trespass on it’s lawn or territory. If you feel anxious about scary imagery, which is very prevalent throughout the film, you might have a bit of trouble with this. The shots of the inside of the house are extremely creepy, and can be unsettling for some viewers. The house’s backstory, which involves the gruesome death of a woman drowning in cement, may also cause some problems as well. As I stated before, the CG is very creepy, and may take some getting used to, and certainly doesn’t help the unsettling images. However, like I said before, the story, as well as most of the characters are genuinely engaging, and if you’re a fan of Steve Buschemi, he does a fairly good job as the elderly neighbor. Overall, it’s an interesting movie, to say the least.

October Update

So, for October, I’ve decided that I’ll be covering various Halloween specials, including horror movies. For this month, I’ll be covering any movie that either takes place on Halloween, or is written explicitly for Halloween. I will also be removing the usual time cutoff I use when it comes to movies. I’ll also be focusing more on a review standpoint, as well as listing potential triggers, as I’m trying to extend the length of my posts. If any of you have any recommendations for movies you’d like me to write about, please leave them in the comments, and I’ll take it under consideration. The first article will be posted on Friday.

Regarding the state of the Site

Hello all, as some of you may have realized, I’ve stopped posting on Mondays, and I’ve stopped updating the Movie of the Week on the sidebar. School has started up again, and I’ve been swamped with work, making regular updates difficult. Eventually I will get back on schedule, hopefully when the semester calms down a bit, but for right now, I can only write articles on Fridays. I will continue to update the Movie of the Week on Mondays if I can, and I have a special event planned for October, which I will elaborate more about on Monday. I appreciate your patience, and continued viewing of this site. Thank you!

Spider-Man: 2

I really wanted to start with the first Sam Raimi spider-man movie, but I honestly feel that this second one would give me more to talk about due to the fact that it has slightly more adult themes than the more kid-friendly first one. To start with, I would like to acknowledge that, while there are a few themes that may spark anxiety for certain viewers, it is definitely an early-2000s Superhero movie. This means that it’s going to fall on the line between awkwardly kid-friendly, and awkwardly angsty. Regarding themes that may cause anxiety in this movie, I should probably start with the obvious. Early in the film, a woman is killed by hundreds of shards of glass flying into her body at once. The movie keeps it’s PG-13 rating by not showing the glass hitting her, and only showing her body slump over from the back, but it can still be rather jarring once you’ve put together what happens. Throughout the movie, there are several moments where people’s lives are put in danger, including someone being tossed off a building, cars being thrown at people, people being thrown off a train, and said train nearly being thrown off a track. While the CG is very visible, many of the fight scenes are very fast-paced, which can be hard to keep track of if you have difficulty with large scenes. The end of the movie also has a character choosing to commit suicide onscreen. The scene can be very sad, and it may catch a viewer off-guard. Also, there are several moments of a character falling into alcoholism, which eventually leads them to almost murder their friend, before beginning to hallucinate their dead relative. It can be a little concerning for viewers who aren’t expecting it. Overall, Spider-man 2 is a little more mature than the first movie, and introduces some new concepts. I wouldn’t recommend watching it without seeing the first one, but I do recommend it, if only for the wonderful performance by Alfred Molina.

The Host

The Host, based on the Stephanie Meyer book of the same name, is a good deal less annoying than her other works, but it still possesses a few scenes worthy of note that could raise a few red flags for certain viewers. To begin with, the concept of the aliens in the movie itself can be very scary. The way they take over humanity is possessing their minds and bodies, essentially replacing them until the original mind inside them dies. This can be very anxiety-inducing for a large number of people. Not to mention, there are quite a few choices in the film that can be a little jarring at times. There is a scene early on where, through flashback, we hear a character commit suicide so he doesn’t get taken over by the aliens. In fact, the theme of suicide is used a few more times in the beginning, namely by having the main character attempt suicide as well to evade capture, and two humans killing themselves via car wreck so they don’t get taken. Not to mention, at the end, the alien main character wants to commit suicide as well so she doesn’t have to ruin any more lives. I don’t quite understand why so many movies see it as badass to kill yourself, but it’s become a staple, and viewers need to be aware that it’s going to happen. There are also a few moments that show blood, which, while not unexpected exactly, are still a little disturbing if you aren’t expecting it. There’s a scene in the opening where, after the main character tries to kill herself, we see a large extent of her injuries. Later on, we get to see another scene where a young boy cuts his leg open by mistake, and another a little later that shows a girl purposefully slice open her arm and forehead with a knife. Not to mention, around the middle of the movie, we get a lovely post-surgery scene with a bunch of sliced-up alien creatures. I’m not entirely sure whether or not I can truly recommend this movie, as I wasn’t the biggest fan of it, especially considering the cop-out ending. But, if you’re a Stephanie Meyer fan, and have more patience for some cliches, why not go for it?