It’s been rather a long time between drinks over in this small corner of the horror blog world. My love of the genre has not in the least abated, but the first few months of this year were spent organising a solo painting exhibition which showed in April at Sydney’s Sheffer Gallery (images here). While the exhibition was, unsurprisingly, horror-themed, I struggled (and ultimately failed) to steer away from outright horror cliché… When not frantically preparing for this event, I reviewed Wolf Creek 2 for RealTime magazine’s Art, Empathy and Action feature in an article which considers empathy in relation to the viewers, makers and characters of slasher films. Though I’m a Greg McClean fan, this much anticipated sequel came as something of a disappointment after the masterly and brutal spareness of the first film. The full article can be found here.
More recently, I interviewed Australian director Jennifer Kent on her debut feature The Babadook. A dark fable about a mother and son tormented by a sinister picture book monster, The Babadook uses horror to probe the special madness that can accompany motherhood and bereavement. It’s a striking film, very considered aesthetically with its nods to Expressionist and Gothic cinema, and with forceful lead performances. As the beleaguered protagonist Amelia, Essie Davis negates the need for hammy special effects through a powerful versatility (both vocal and physical) which allows her to transform from meek to ferocious in an utterly convincing way. The monster reveals are not quite as frightening as they could be, but perhaps that’s because the rawness of the performances overshadows them. It’s so satisfying to see an actor of Davis’ calibre fronting a horror film. (Read the interview with Jennifer Kent here.) With the larger tasks of the first half of this year out of the way, I’m really looking forward to jumping back into more personal reviews on this blog, with a focus on Australian and off-beat horror – amongst all the other stuff that takes my fancy.