Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Taking of Deborah Logan: Your Inspiration is Showing

I'm not 100% certain, but I think that there's been a lot of talk about The Taking of Deborah Logan. Probably good talk but then again I find it difficult to keep up with these things while trying to remain vigilant about watching Teen Mom 2 so who knows. What I do know is what I think about it and what I think is well.....I don't know--- let's talk it out.

The Taking of Deborah Logan is essentially a student film about an Alzheimer's patient named Deborah Logan. When we first meet Deborah and her daughter Sarah, things haven't gone completely south yet.

Soon, her condition worsens and eventually we come to the conclusion that this is probably more than just Alzheimer's. It's probably the devil.

OK, Deborah Logan gets major points for not just being an exorcism movie. Instead of relying on the expected exorcism tropes it does take the movie to several new and unexplored places....well places that haven't all been combined into one film at least. What I mean by that is that The Taking of Deborah Logan seems to make a list of all the films that have scared us over the past few decades or so and then used the high points of said films to its advantage. Let's do a quick recap of 'inspirations'

The Exorcist III 
--The concept of mentally ill elderly people being possessed was never more fantastic than it was in the Exorcist III. Old ladies crawling on the ceiling is something we as horror viewers will never forget--but also the concept of the elderly and more importantly the elderly suffering from Dementia or Alzheimer's being sound passageways for demons and their shenanigans is brilliant. So although I applaud Deborah Logan for recognizing that--I don't find the film's overall concept too groundbreaking. Also not enough old ladies walking on ceilings.

Paranormal Activity
When I first began watching, I was pleased to see that the video taping was A. explained and B. not accented by loud amplified sounds and lame night vision cameras. However, then the cameraman begins installing motion capture cameras in the house which immediately made my excitement fizzle. These cameras are installed way before there's any inkling that something nefarious is afoot, so their early presence makes you question their necessity. Also, it immediately brings us back to the Paranormal Activity hey-day of night vision scenes and replaying moments that we already saw so that we can hear the characters in the film discuss how crazy it is that it happened. Hey, at least Micah Sloat was not in this.

The Blair Witch Project
Old town legends, creepy old cabins/mines in the woods, disappearing wouldn't immediately think of Deborah Logan having all these tropes (especially because it's supposed to be a documentary about Alzheimer's. But lo and behold, there they are. And then it's not too long before we see  our main characters running in the woods while holding their camera and being scared or people's backs being used at ultimate moments of terror.

The Descent
When I saw Sarah start crawling through the claustrophobic mine opening, I had a feeling we'd be seeing some Descent nods.. And here we do---quick startling glimpses not of cave dwellers but of Deborah Logan looking very scary is enough for me to remember how great The Descent is.

Sure, there are probably more I'm missing, but these stuck out to me the most. It's not that I feel like Deborah Logan stole these scare tactics but more of a feeling that I wish it would have made some scare tactics on its own. The film tries to bring some of its own special brand of scares but by the time we get to that point--it has all suddenly become too ridiculous to swallow. Pun intended....mwahaha.

Look---it has its strong points but unfortunately all those strong points owe their strengths to better, more well done movies. Also, I wish it hadn't relied on the jump scares noises...! I was so excited that we'd be missing those, since it's you know....a documentary and everything but nope, there they were. I felt actually a lot like I did when I saw Paranormal Activity---that the real 'scares' are the noises and that those noises really only work if blasted into your ears at the movie theater. Yes, there are some gross moments of skin trauma, some fun spewing of earthworms, and some naked switchboard action but overall I think the film suffers from just wanting to do and BE too many things.

Oh and serious serious bonus points for casting Anne Ramsay aka Helen Haley ('Has anyone seen my new red hat? Oh, piss on your hat) from A League of Their Own. She is fantastic.

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