Tuesday, August 08, 2006

ON ARTHOUSE GORE

With the mainstream directorial debuts of Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, 2006) and Greg McLean (Wolf Creek, 2005), the horror genre has received a much needed infusion of vitality. These filmmakers are at the forefront of a new cinematic field: arthouse gore. The quintessence of arthouse gore is realism, and this separates it from the majority of contemporary horror films.
To say that these filmmakers have just updated horror is an understatement. It would be more honest to say that they have upgraded horror. They're making horror movies for a new generation, a new world, a new millenium. Outdated standards are no longer adhered to. This expanding field of nouveau horror isn't afraid to tell the audience that the good guys don't win and that everything is not going to be okay. Gritty nihilism is the new ethic, and it represents our brave new world better than any structured allegory.
It is the chaos in these films that ultimately redeems them; it is precisely that lack of coherent allegorical structure that perhaps alludes to a deeper truth about the world than we might have first imagined to be found in such a place. In each film, the plot is minimalistic, spare. Encounters with evil are happenstance occurences, and death is senselessly final. Violence is uncensored. Cruelty is unrestrained. Morality is nonexistent. These films represent more honestly what humanity is doing to itself than any other films being made today. It is no wonder that so many choose to look away.

from The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

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