les affamés. i meant to write about this one three months ago, and i will spare you the tedium between then and now; this is probably the best zombie movie i've seen in a decade? (that's saying something; it's possible that i watch zombie movies more regularly than i vacuum my apartment.) while i can't offer scene-by-scene praise, as my personal horizon has experienced a titan's lifetime of freaky dawns and gloamings in that interim, i can tell you that this québécois take on the genre gets at the existentialism your humble narrator has been experiencing since the before times in an unexpectedly poetic way. (again, there's volume to consider here.) not especially gory, quietly contemplative, and, shot by shot, easily one of the most beautiful additions to the canon i've seen in a long time (or ever?). we're so intent on what the undead have to say to us about biting that we neglect their ikebana (i am serious about this?), and that is a shame.

the blackcoat's daughter. well of course kiernan shipka eventually snagged the title role in chilling adventures of sabrina after this movie; she's stone-cold perfect for will-she-or-won't-she relationship-with-the-devil roles (i have not seen and will not see her in mad men). that said, wow, i am terrible at picking possession movies; despite KS's best efforts and director oz perkins's stabby pedigree (he's anthony perkins's son), this was both too long and weirdly abrupt. i was raised more or less areligiously (southern california protestants, or the ones i knew, at least, cared more about shell necklaces and second base than they did about accidental salutations to satan), but oh boy did the few catholic-school ghost stories my dad shared over the years scare the shit out of me. i thought this movie would keep me awake, but it just left me with faint distastes for pea soup (again?) and turnpikes. which sucks, as pea soup rules and turnpikes are useful.

girl on the third floor. i really, really want to foist this one on my college roommate, as she has renovated multiple ancient homes in chicago (à la the movie's principal), but she is the mother of two young children, and her waking hours have all kinds of demands that don't involve puzzling out why a vengeful collective of long-dead prostitutes decided to exact their revenge on questionable men via ooze and marbles (MARBLES). girl on the third floor is notable because its lead seems, at least initially, like he's going to be a bruce campbell, evil dead-style antihero; it's also the most fluid-soaked horror movie i've seen in some time, on the order of michel faber's the crimson petal and the white (also a long and decidedly viscous story about prostitution). several writers who reviewed this bad boy for major critical franchises thought it was kind of good, which reminds me of how i've snagged several print credits for articles about house plant maintenance and also managed to kill a potted rosemary bush in 48 hours.

the platform. somewhere between the cook, the thief, his wife & her lover (a movie i watched on video with a date who'd seen it before), delicatessen and, like, cube (or saw?), the platform is a spanish skyscraper hellscape that was apparently one of the most popular netflix titles in the world back in march. this makes sense, sort of: atop a vertical sort-of-prison, chefs prepare a lavish smorgasbord that descends slowly through hundreds of levels of concrete cells. the inhabitants of each cell can eat for the few moments the platform pauses, then it descends to the next level, where the inhabitants beneath them eat their leftovers, if there are leftovers, and so on. it's an unsubtle and exceedingly moist allegory, but it also...kind of works, for at least an hour? i am extra-glad i've never eaten a snail. a dachshund meets a messy end, because capitalism.

train to busan. as far as i'm concerned, bong joon-ho is the master of space re: class in recent years: snowpiercer's lateral logic was inspired, and parasite's morality and verticality was almost perfect. yeon sang-ho's train to busan isn't as explicit or as cartesian as either of those movies, but its geometry is almost as compelling, and the stunt work, choreography, and blocking is absolutely incomparable. i have no preference between george-romero-esque shambling zombies and danny-boyle-ish skittering ones — is that a taste one can have? — but i can say that this is the most balletic zombie movie i have ever seen, and that it has emotional heft. it's absolutely at the action end of the horror spectrum, but it nips at your heels. (no dog fatalities.)

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