31 Years in 31 Days: Horror Flicks from 1997
1997 is right about the time where things started to take a turn and the horror genre really blew up. Based on the previous years release of Scream, horror films were the big thing. So, we got a lot of the same sort of movie starring various Hollywood people. We got a sequel to Scream that wasn’t nearly as good as the first. We got the first I know What You did Last Summer which was not very good at all. We got some terrible sequels like Leprechaun 4, An American Werewolf in Paris and Alien: Resurrection. We also got Anaconda which is amazing as a visual exercise in “just because you could doesn’t mean you should.” Same goes for the American Godzilla which is as bad a re-imagining of Godzilla as could be. And, because my wife would be super mad if I didn’t mention it, we got Event Horizon. Now, to be honest, I really wanted to love this movie. Really, REALLY wanted to love this movie. It stars people I like a ton, Sam Neil/Laurence Fishburne. It has a super cool concept, a spaceship has gone through and returned from a black hole and is being investigated. It has really cool special effects, and it was shot really well. But something about this movie just didn’t click for me. I’ve never been able to explain it, but it just missed for me. Lots of people love it though, and I would recommend you make your mind up for yourself.
97 also saw the release of three movies that should have been better than they ended up being. Mimic was an interesting concept from Guillermo del Toro that just missed the mark. A scientist develops a bug to kill cockroaches that instead wants to kill humans is a great idea for a movie, but everything about the movie is just left of great. It showed del Toro’s chops though, and got him more work so there’s that. Wishmaster also released and tried to ride on Robert Englund’s Elm Street coattails but, like Mimic, just missed. A demonic Djinn trying to trick his master into using wishes to get his demonic people to earth is pretty cool. The execution was lacking, though. Everything is a bit off and makes it that much worse. Should have been great, just wasn’t. The last of this trio is The Relic. South American god eating people in a Chicago museum? What could possibly go wrong? A little bit of everything, unfortunately. Everything was here for a super dope flick but, stop me if you’ve heard this before, everything just missed. Everything is just a little too TV movie for what this flick was going for. All three are worth a watch, just temper your expectations.
The best horror movie of 97 though was The Devil’s Advocate starring Keanu, Charlize Theron, and Al Pacino. The basic premise of the film is that Keanu is an insanely good lawyer in Florida who is invited to work at a firm in NYC by Pacino. Once he accepts the job his wife starts to have crazy, supernatural visions that are religious in nature. Keanu soon realizes that Al is not the lawyer he claims to be but the actual honest to god devil. This movie has some truly disturbing imagery, especially during Theron’s visions, and is acted beautifully. The direction is fantastic. The script is spectacular. The twists and turns are so well done and the movie absolutely earns the seriousness with which it should be taken. Religious movies are hard to do well. This one does it very, very well. You should absolutely watch this movie. It is that damn good.