‘Friend Request’ and ‘mother!’ – The horror continues

By on September 27, 2017

‘Friend Request’

Has the horror bubble burst? Right before Halloween? Probably not, but the newest cyber-horror, “Friend Request,” opened poorly against the blockbuster with the clown.

It’s okay, even a $2.4 million opening weekend will not deter production companies from pumping out scary flicks to suck dry teen wallets. But, I’m a glutton, so I went and saw the Entertainment Studios release based on Facebook.

When Laura (Alycia Debnam-Carey) graciously accepts the friend request from dark, social outcast Marina (Liesl Ahlers) she opens a gateway to a world of witchery and haunts. When Laura learns there is something sinister afoot, it is already too late. Her Facebook page is hacked from the otherworld and her friends, one by one, begin to meet gruesome deaths.

Simple, easy, and reminiscent of an old USA Network after hours movie, “Friend Request” fills the needs of those who want to jump out of their seats and try and predict which shadow contains the next visage of horror. It’s simply a fun movie. Don’t take it to be anything more.

‘mother!’

It’s been a while since I’ve had to consider film as art. “mother!” needs the association, because without the supposition of art, this film by writer and director Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan,” “Requiem for a Dream”) could easily be thrown in the round file of disgusting perversion.

The film, still holding onto a top 10 seat at the box office, had viewers up in arms immediately for its excessive violence, confusing storyline, and abhorrent lack of normality.

“That was the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” said Irma of Philly, outside the theater where I caught the film on opening day. “Trash. Just trash.”

She’s not alone. Rex Reed’s column in the New York Observer carried the headline: ‘Mother!’ Is the Worst Movie of the Year, Maybe Century. I reference Reed because he summed up my exact sentiments by calling the film “an exercise in torture and hysteria so over the top that I didn’t know whether to scream or laugh out loud.” I agree and couldn’t have phrased it better.

What “mother!” does is turn a blinding light on the struggle of an artist (in this case the poet, Him, played by Javier Bardem) to be accepted — even beyond acceptance to the apex of worship — while fully projecting the anguish of those who love the artists as they struggle to live in a world where they have become second best. Mother (Jennifer Lawrence) cannot accept her husband’s fame as it boils over into her personal life, personified by strangers amassing in her home, starting with Man (Ed Harris) and Woman (Michelle Pfeiffer).

There are not enough inches in the entire Ephrata Review or Lititz Record Express, let alone this column, to contain the amount discussion, criticism, or adulation this film creates. While some critics have blasted the acting in “mother!,” I have to disagree. I thought Pfeiffer and Bardem played some of their best roles ever in this film. And that is saying a lot for the stars of “Tequila Sunrise” (okay, maybe not — insert smiley face here) and “No Country for Old Men.” Want something to talk about over the Thanksgiving table other than politics? Go see “mother!” and start a merry chat over human sacrifice.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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