Richard speaks to “CTV News at Six” anchor Andria Case about the best movies and television to watch this weekend including “Spiral,” the next chapter of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams Netflix thriller “The Woman in the Window,” the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms.
Richard joins CP24 to have a look at new movies coming to VOD, streaming services and theatres including “Spiral,” the Chris Rock reboot of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams thriller “The Woman in the Window,” the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms and Patti Harrison and the trippy folk horror of “In the Earth.”
Richard sits in on the CFRA Ottawa morning show with host Bill Carroll to talk the new movies coming to theatres, VOD and streaming services including “Spiral,” the Chris Rock reboot of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams thriller “The Woman in the Window,” the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms and Patti Harrison and the trippy folk horror of “In the Earth.”
Richard joins NewsTalk 1010’s Jim Richards coast-to-coast-to-coast late night “Showgram” to play the game “Did Richard Crouse like these movies?” This week we talk about “Spiral,” the Chris Rock reboot of the “Saw” franchise, the Amy Adams thriller “The Woman in the Window” and the non rom com “Together Together” with Ed Helms and Patti Harrison.
“And Justice for All,” the last four words of the American Pledge of Allegiance, sum up the dynamic of “Spiral: From the Book of ‘Saw,’” the ninth instalment of the “Saw” franchise, now playing in theatres.
On one hand you have a murderer dispensing their own brand of justice; inventively slaughtering people who have broken a twisted moral code known only to the killer. For instance, a detective who has lied on the stand many times, is given the choice, provide justice by tearing out his own lying tongue, or be killed. “Live or die. Make your choice.”
Then, there are the police who must use more traditional means to enforce their brand of justice.
It might not be exactly what Congress had in mind, but in the “Saw” universe there is more than one definition of the word justice.
Chris Rock is Zeke Banks, an idealistic-but-disillusioned big city detective trying to get out from under the shadow of his father Marcus (Samuel L. Jackson), a decorated, hero cop and retired police chief. When Zeke and his partner, an eager rookie named William Shenk (Max Minghella), catch an unusual, grisly case, the game is afoot.
A new serial killer, playing from the same gamebook as the notorious villain Jigsaw, who put his victims through deadly scenarios he referred to as “games” or “tests,” is terrorizing the city’s dirty cops, looking to avenge wrongs perpetrated by the South Metro Police and “reform” the department. “A Jigsaw copycat,” says Marcus. “That could be difficult.”
As the bodies pile up Zeke suspects the killer isn’t just playing around, that he has another motive. Something personal.
After eight instalments of the “Saw” franchise, countless deadly traps and one iconic baddie, “Spiral” finds a newish way in to tell an old story. Billy the Puppet and Jigsaw are gone, as is much of the gore that splattered the screen in earlier incarnations of the series. They’ve been replaced with a timely but underdeveloped subtext regarding police corruption and the addition of humor, an element often sorely lacking from previous instalments.
Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, who helmed the second, third and fourth “Saw” movies, “Spiral” is as character based as it is consequence based. Bousman, and “Jigsaw” screenwriters Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger, have dialed back the grim stuff. There are still enough traps and gore to keep “Saw” purists happy—there’s a finger ripping machine and some nasty hot wax—but an increased emphasis on character raises the stakes so the gory stuff has more impact. It’s still a horror film, but Bousman structures it like a thriller, even if his reliance on flashbacks and exposition mutes some of the thrills.
There’s also loads of uninspired hard-boiled dialogue and lots of yelling but also just enough of the nasty stuff and deadly game playing to keep fans satisfied.
The spiral logo that gives the movie its name is supposed to be emblematic of change and progress, but the movie doesn’t quite live up to the symbol’s meaning. It shakes some of the dust off the old franchise without reinventing it or doing justice to it.
In the movie Hitchcock, the master of suspense, played by Anthony Hopkins, says, “Audiences want to be shocked — they want something different.” He’s referring to the lurid horrors of his ground breaking 1960 film Psycho but he could have been talking about any number of frights available on screens this month.
Trends come and go but one thing is for sure, audiences will always line up to get scared at the movies. Whether it is the time loop terrors of Happy Death Day or the return of Jigsaw, the evil mastermind from the Saw series, there is no shortage of things that go bump in the night at the movies this Halloween.
But why do we pay to be scared? Isn’t that counterintuitive?
Scientists tell us that we like the rush of adrenalin that comes from watching Leatherface chase victims, chainsaw roaring.
That jolt of fear makes the heart race and releases a hormone called dopamine that’s also associated with pleasure. Science journalist Jeff Wise called the experience of extreme movie fear “the biological equivalent of opening the throttle.”
A Saturday matinee screening of Paranormal Activity was the first and only time I ever heard anyone actually scream in a theatre.
I don’t mean a quiet whimper followed by an embarrassed laugh or a frightened little squeal. No, I mean a full-on, open throated howl of terror. But the woman didn’t run from the theatre. She stayed and enjoyed the rest of the film, so she must have liked the cathartic release of tension the scream gave her.
Legendary filmmaker and showman William Castle took full advantage of the audience’s love of shocks.
The advertising campaign for Macabre, his 1958 schlockfest about a doctor’s daughter who’s been buried alive, boasted that every ticket purchaser would receive a $1,000 insurance policy against “death by fright” issued by Lloyds of London.
Those brave enough to make it through to the end credits were rewarded with a badge that read, “I’m no chicken. I saw Macabre.” The gimmicks worked, drawing thrill-seeking crowds who spent an astronomical $5 million (roughly $42,505,633.80 in today’s dollars) at the box office to see a movie that cost Castle a paltry $90,000 to produce.
Alfred Hitchcock knew how to scare the wits out of people. The shower scene in Psycho, for example, is a benchmark in cinematic fear. If he had any doubts about the effectiveness of that sequence they must have been put to bed when he received an angry letter from a father whose daughter stopped bathing after seeing the bathtub murder scene in Les Diaboliques and then, more distressingly, refused to shower after seeing Psycho.
Hitch’s response to the concerned dad? “Send her to the dry cleaners.”
The director was always quick with a line, but when it got down to the business of terrifying audiences he summed up the appeal of the scary movie in one brief sentence: “People like to be scared when they feel safe.”
But what scares the people who scare us?
Guillermo del Toro, director of Pan’s Labyrinth and the upcoming The Shape of Water, says, “I love monsters the way people worship holy images,” but it isn’t Frankenstein or Dracula that gives him the willies. “Politicians,” he said recently, “they’re the scariest thing there is right now.”