Monday, March 25, 2013

Movie Appraisal: The Corridor (2010)

Well, you're not shooting blanks ANYMORE!
This movie is different. I wish I could use another descriptor here, but I simply do not have any others to use. It is a very different movie, not at all like anything else I've ever seen. While it has a fairly original premise, it's bogged down by its fairly lofty (I think...) goals. The Corridor consists of too many tonal changes, too many hectic movements without explanation. It simultaneously reminded me of the novel Dreamcatcher by Stephen King and the nonsensical movie Dreamland. It's an odd combination to be sure, and without much true plot to speak of this movie could easily be relegated to the movies to pass right on by.

I can't recommend this movie. I'll say that right now. I need to get that out of the way. I like obscure movies with original plots, but this one was just a little too much even for me. I enjoyed bits and pieces of the movie, but it was like the movie never knew what it wanted to be. Was it a clear and philosophical statement on the ramifications of mental derangement on one's friends? Was it about insanity in general? Visions specifically? Was it about friendship? I don't think so, but the case could be made, I suppose. Was it about horror? Terror? Gross out gore? I still don't know. It's all of those things and none of those things.

I didn't like the movie all that much. It moved too quickly and never really gave me more than a surface feeling of any sort of story or knowledge of what was going on. It wasn't even frustrating because I never really came to care. The characters were wholly paper-thin, with only Tyler coming out as a real human person. The rest just came off as non-characters, caricatures of what real people are. The case could be made that the entire movie was in Tyler's head. Honestly, that's the only way I can interpret it. The signs are all there, with most of the movie being spent trying to figure out what happened to him, why he broke down, and if he killed his mother or not. The premise of the film revolves around his friends becoming as crazy as he once was, each and every one of them in turn. They see what he once saw, but refuse his help. They become worse and worse, eventually succumbing to the insanity. Well, all but one, but Tyler saves him by sacrificing himself.

I have to believe that the whole thing is a speech on the degradation of mental health. Each insanity is different, but they all involve some sort of mantra, something that Tyler once had. Ev is the violent psychopath who eventually takes his own life. Chris is the one left over, the only one there was ever any hope for. He represents a friend, one who cares, one who is taken care of as he has taken care of others. Bobcat and Jim are two sides of the same coin. They are yin and yang to each other. Jim is a coward whose own intelligence feeds the insanity, while Bobcat is taken over by it, consumed by it, and allows the others to abuse him. He becomes the victim just as Jim does.

I'm reading too deeply into this, but I still think some parts are interesting. The idea of the corridor itself is fascinating. It's a conduit to a deeper understanding, the understanding of others, even the insanity inside of others. The movie is almost saying that we are not fit to hold the forbidden knowledge, rather we must understand ourselves before we can ever take a chance in understanding others. I want this movie to have some kind of meaning though, and it's hard to truly and wholly look at this movie as intelligent when so much of the movie is slow plodding through the plot, gore, or terrible special effects. While there are a few good lines, each and every one spoken by Ev, who really is the star of the movie here, very little else stands out. The visuals are nothing really special, just a snowy cabin in the woods. The sounds and music are standard, barely noticeable, background noise. The acting is mediocre, with only James Gilbert as Everett and Stephen Chambers as Tyler really standing out. They both seem to care about the movie and subsequently both give some great performances. Everett is helped by having some great lines, as I said before, while Tyler is helped by his insanity and expressions. The rest are standard horror movie actors, nothing special, just kind of there saying lines.

It had some slightly (and I mean only slightly here) disturbing things, like when Jim's scalp is taken off, but the gore is the really only noticeable creepy mention. It's not much of a horror film besides that. The movie doesn't even look like a horror film should. It's too bright, not enough contrasts. Maybe that's just me.

Anyway, I guess it does have some psychological horror elements to it, but they are so few and far between that it would be difficult to call it a psychological horror movie. It's probably closer to a sci-fi, but branding it that doesn't feel right ether. Because I don't recommend it, I find myself not caring so much about it's labeling. Call ti what you will.

This is basically a very mediocre film with some interesting, but not quite good, ideas to it. I don't think it could have been made better with the same script. The characters were bland, the writing plodding, and I simply did not care in the end. Also, the ending is hilariously bad. I laughed, and it's not meant to be funny.

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