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!
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, 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?
Hellboy, directed by the visual genius Guillermo Del Toro, is adapted from the Dark Horse comic book series of the same name. Due to the fact that it’s from the early 2000s, the cgi isn’t as fantastic as it could be, and we’ll see how the reboot of the series goes, but it still has a lot of Del Toro’s personal style when it comes to monster designs. To begin with, the introductory scene where the Allied forces try to stop the portal from opening, there are a few genuinely uncomfortable moments. For example, one of the characters is pulled into the portal, which is too small for his body at the time. Unfortunately, this means that his body is agonizingly compressed to fit into this tiny space. Throughout the movie, the various creatures, in spite of the early and imperfect cgi, do look genuinely frightening, and the idea of them harming a crowd at one point could be quite frightening. There’s also a bit of fridge horror at some points, such as the backstory of the main love interest involving her potentially burning a playground filled with children alive by mistake. Over all, many of the characters could be very troubling for younger or anxious viewers as well. For example, one of the followers of the main villain is a sawdust-filled, nazi samurai of sorts, who is near impossible to defeat. Most of the fear of the character comes with what we don’t see, as it’s implied most of his body has been completely altered by unknown and unseen experiments. The climax involves an eldritch being of a sort being summoned to earth, potentially destroying millions of lives in the process. Not to mention, the religious imagery, and the appearance of the main character may cause some severe discomfort for some. On the other hand, this is one of the best-looking superhero movies I’ve ever watched. Del Toro, as usual, has his own unique style that it’s very easy to admire. If you’re already a fan of the original comic series, or are interested in seeing a pretty cool-looking movie, I highly recommend it.
Holes, remembered by many as a classic adaptation of the classic book, has is well-known for it’s compelling plot, and likable characters. As far as anxious moments, Disney takes a few more risks with this movie in order to keep it more faithful to the book. Included in this movie is the yellow spotted lizards, which could creep out younger viewers, especially due to the buildup to what they’re capable of. There’s also an extremely distressing scene that discusses late 1800s racism, which results in the murder of a character onscreen. A character also commits suicide onscreen by poisoning themselves with one of the lizards mentioned earlier. The theme of children suffering through the movie can be a little difficult to take as well, even with the overall happy ending. Overall, the film has very few scares throughout, and can be very safe for anxious viewers.
Well, as strange as the original movie from the early 2000s was, this one somehow managed to be even stranger. The thing about modern superhero movies, which can sometimes be an issue, is that Fox seems very concerned with making their movies as dark as physically possible, both literally and figuratively. As far as potential triggers in this movie, I’d just like to start by saying, it never looks normal for Mr. Fantastic to have stretching powers, and it looks just as disconcerting in this movie as it always does. The cgi isn’t quite good enough to make it look normal, pushing it squarely into the uncanny valley. The stretching may make certain viewers very uncomfortable, as it reeks of body horror, and wouldn’t look out of place in a monster movie. Aside from that, due to how overly dull the movie is for the most part, there’s very little in the way of excitement up until the climax, where the villain of the movie, Dr. Doom, finally appears. He does kill several people using telekinesis onscreen, which can be a little jarring for some viewers, especially when you’ve been lulled into a false sense of boredom by everything else going on in the film. As far as I can tell, fortunately, the movie has very little in the way of anxiety-inducing moments, save for the extremely uncomfortable cgi stretching, and Dr. Doom’s introduction. However, I can’t exactly bring myself to recommend the movie either, as, in my opinion, it’s not really all that good. Which, honestly, is kind of a shame, since I remember really liking Fantastic 4 when I was a kid. I suppose it’s fine to watch if you want to give it a try, but it really lacks substance, and isn’t even worth seeing just to get freaked out by the rubber doll animation.
Coraline, the stop motion movie adaptation of the classic Neil Gaiman book, is one of the single most horrifying PG movies I’ve ever seen. The film, following a young girl slowly becoming trapped in a magical world determined to destroy her. This film is filled with scary imagery which, depending on the type of child, may scare younger viewers. The movie doesn’t have any blood or gore, in it, but the themes of abduction and abuse prevalent throughout most of the movie may raise some uncomfortable feelings or memories for certain viewers. Not only that, but it also has quite a bit of body horror, including a character midway through a transformation into a pumpkin, a child character with their mouth stitched open into a forced smile, and two characters turned into putty and being mushed together. There is also a scene involving the ghosts of murdered children, which ramps up the intensity by including themes of child death to the story. Coraline is meant for children, but it is by far one of the most intense children films I’ve seen since Secret of Nimh. And at least that one didn’t actually kill any kids. However, while there are several scenes with uncomfortable situations and disturbing situations, the animation and story are both fantastic, with a compelling style. If you’re able to handle the darkness, I strongly recommend the film, especially if you want to see more from Nightmare before Christmas’ director, Henry Selick.