Friday, 14 September 2007

Film Review - Evil Blood II: The Hurtening

The latest directoral masterpiece from Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) comes just in time for Hallowe'en. Evil Blood II: The Hurtening is the sequel to the popular 2002 horror film in which Eliza Dushku and Sean William Scott were chased around an abandoned quarry by a ghostly quantity surveyor. This film, set three years after the events in the prequel, sees the quarry once again possessed by the spirits of the damned, but this time they mean business!

And what business they do! Lee's fine direction brings a wonderfully thrilling sense of aesthetic pleasure to the many death scenes. The garroting and facial slicing of one character is particularly gruesome, but with Lee's keen eye for colour the blood, puke and eye fluid have a gloriously vivid beauty. The settings, too, are stunning; in the wrong hands a cabin full of pig carcasses and human corpses stuffed with offal could look grotesque and unpleasant. But in The Hurtening this building is rendered with such feeling, such sensitivity, that it is almost chapel-like in its gothic beauty.

Lee's talents don't end there. He has managed to wrangle the most moving performances from his cast. Dame Judy Dench, for example, is simply remarkable in the role of Brenda. I really did believe that she was a high-school dropout caught between the whims of her parents and the desire for rebellion. Also, the role of Sherrif Bick was perfect for John Hurt, who can convey so much disbelief in the stories of children with a simple gravelly expression. Dame Thora Hird also shines as the evil ghosts' leader.

The story itself is rich with allegory and laden with hidden meaning. Ostensibly a tribute to the works of Luis Brunel and Ray Harryhausen, there are too many different interpretations in each stab wound and red-hot poker through the stomach to mention here. There's also a subtle nod in the direction of the US government in the form of a brief side plot in which a load of soldiers attack a foreign country and get their arses kicked by a load of terrorists.

To summarize then, Evil Blood II: The Hurtening is another glorious entry into the annals of cinema, all made possible by the genius of Ang Lee. I await his next picture - a live-action adaptation of the Thundercats cartoon - with bated breath.

Evil Blood II: The Hurtening opens on October 19th in several cinemas in London and fuck all else. Ang Lee will be appearing at an in-store tit signing in HMV, Great Yarmouth on the 21st.

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