Director Alexander Aja gets tension. I thought his Hills Have Eyes remake was great and even High Tension, despite its ridiculous twist ending, had some decent scares (just watching the latter’s trailer still gives me chills).
Aja’s newest film, Piranha 3D, is out in theaters today, and promises to take 3D back to its gimmicky heyday. But the film’s release schedule has not been a smooth one and the 3D was an upconversion job. Does the movie deliver on some old school horror thrills? Hit the jump for some of my thoughts and let us know what you think in the comments section. As usual, assume spoilers follow after the break and in the comments.
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WYRD Studios is releasing a documentary titled The Splat Pack, directed by Mark Henry and Frank H. Woodward. The movie takes “a look back at the first decade of 21st Century horror films and the filmmakers that re-energized the genre.” The documentary features new interviews with Alexandre Aja (High Tension), Darren Lynn Bousman (the Saw series), Adam Green (Hatchet), Alan Jones, Harry Knowles, Greg McLean (Wolf Creek), Neil Marshall (The Descent), Greg Nicotero, Eli Roth (Hostel), Staci Layne Wilson and more. The doc seems to be mostly a talking head retrospective, mixed with clips from the horror films discussed. WYRD has released the first movie trailer for the upcoming release, which is embedded after the jump.
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While there’s still not an official online release of the Piranha 3D trailer, the latest version to pop up across the web at least takes us past the shaky-cam bootleg that was doing the rounds last week. You can see the new, stable version embedded after the break.
The original Piranha was hardly the most subtle comedy ever mounted for the big screen but it certainly raised plenty of laughs. This new iteration seems pretty much in step with the same objective, if not exactly the same tone. Alexandre Aja has not gone for flat-out gore comedy before, and I’m curious to see how well he handles it.
One reason we may not have seen the trailer officially online yet is that it still calls the film Piranha 3D, despite a rumoured possibility that the film may only be released in 2D; a contrary reason might be that Dimension are planning to keep the marketing in 3D for the time being.
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Update: Shock Till You Drop have now edited their post to give a locked-in release date of August 27th – or at least that’s what TWC are contacting everybody to claim now. Any reference to the film not being in 3D has been removed but on the other hand, there’s no confirmation either. It will share August 27th with Ice Cube comedy Lottery Ticket and, as far as I can see, nothing else.
Maybe it was just me, or perhaps the cinema I saw it at, but is there something distinctly wrong with the 3D in the trailer for Alexandre Aja‘s upcoming Piranha picture? It seemed that people’s faces were swimming around a little (if you pardon the expression) and 3D space seemed a little… wavy? It was very disappointing to me, because I’m a proud fan of the original, of 3D and of director Alexandre Aja.
There’s a possibility that problems with the 3D might be behind The Weinstein’s decision to kick the film’s release date back until “sometime in August at the earliest”. They’ve told The LA Times that their motivation is simply to avoid competition with Kick-Ass in mid-April and stated that there’s no financial motivation to the move, despite the whupping that the failure of Nine has delivered to their cashflow situation. Meanwhile, Shock Till You Drop have the rumour that when the film does come along, it won’t even be in 3D. If they’re right, it sounds to me like something has gone very wrong with either the 3D process employed so far or with the Weinstein checkbook.
I don’t suppose they’re waiting for sunnier days to launch a series of Piranha 3D or 2D reshoots are they? In every sense, this one is a wait and see.
Alexandre Aja is slowly, cautiously orbiting a big screen version of The Gospel According to Jimmy. Please don’t be confusing this with any offcuts or offal from the Belushi family – instead, it originated as a satirical novel by Didier van Cauwelaert. Here is Aja’s own explanation of the book’s plot:
“You have to imagine, a few years from now, the Republicans want to get back in the White House, and the only thing that they find is like an old cloning project … to clone Jesus from a blood cell on the Shroud of Turin. And one subject had survived, and he’s fixing pools in L.A., named Jimmy. And they’re going to find him and ask him to come back and help them to get back to power.”
Aja says that he considers Seth Rogen the perfect casting for his cloned Christ.
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Alexandre Aja‘s Haute Tension, aka Switchblade Romance, made one heck of a big, red, sticky splash when it started hacking into the horror festival circuit in 2003. As a result, Aja was heralded as the saviour of splatter cinema, the first Frenchman in a long line to have that mantle thrust upon him in just the last five years. The others, I think, all benefitted from a French film industry more willing to embrace gory fare as a direct result of Aja’s success, not to mention a kind of hype fallout. By now it seems to my cynical side that horror buffs worldwide are just looking for an excuse to laud every single horror film to come out of France and keep the chain unbroken, even when the film is as downright hopeless as Xavier Gens’ Frontière(s).
Aja’s American follow ups, The Hills Have Eyes and Mirrors, have proven to be at once underdeveloped and under appreciated, so I’m left wondering if, perhaps, the reputation of Switchblade Romance was encouraged as much by the film’s supposedly exotic nature as it was by it’s edge-of-seat efficacy.
For his next trick, Aja is going ahead with his a remake of Joe Dante’s Piranha, this time in 3D. Some concept art surfaced at the American Film Market last Autumn – excerpted at the top of this post – but Aja has now revealed there’s more to this design work than meets the eye…
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When the first trailer for Alexandre Aja‘s Mirrors premiered, with the exception of Slashfilm and a few horror sites, the Net issued a collective “meh, pass.” The trailer even purportedly received loud guffaws at a press screening, and we received four death threats just for suggesting that the film itself might actually be creepy. Scarier than email/gchat death threats from nerds, even. A friend and source close to the production tells me that the film will definitely deliver and give Alex Aja (Haute Tension) the industry cachet to keep kids up at night for many years. He compares what he’s seen of the film to Jacob’s Ladder meets Poltergeist III (and P3 was fucking scary, admit it), and says that even this trailer doesn’t do the film justice.
IGN received the red band and suddenly the Net consensus has pulled a uniform “maybe I was wrong.” The red band offers a nice round-up of the recurring psychotic optical “jaggies” and too-real throat slits that Aja is great at. We also see co-star Amy Smart, or a reflection thereof, removing her mandible. No big deal. The scenes with tykes are cliche, sure, but the tone is inherently spooky and a welcome return to the horror genre for Kiefer Sutherland. Summer ’08 is offering a great mix of films, and I think we’ll include Mirrors as a fun contribution when all is said and done.
Mirrors opens August 15th.
Discuss: Run of the mill or do you think Mirrors and Aja will deliver actual scares?
Shock got their mitts on the first one-sheet for director Alexandre Aja‘s latest horror film Mirrors. Though the poster’s design and imagery are standard for the genre, at least it doesn’t lack creepiness. We posted the teaser trailer and linked a superior video clip last week, and reader response was justifably mixed. And we should point out that, according to Aja, his film is not a remake of the Korean supernatural flick, Into the Mirror, though it’s still being frequently reported as such on the Nets.
Kiefer Sutherland stars as a mall security guard who sees dead people (not in the Haley Joel Osment-way) and, need I tell you, freaky, knife-wielding reflections. Expect to hear a more solid Net consensus about the film after next month’s Comic Con. Twentieth Century Fox allowed Aja final cut, complete with his preference for the ending, so I remain optimistic that this will be an above-par and fun effort. As it stands, the marketing could work harder to make the film, set for August 15th, stand out from endless Grudge retreads.
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