“The Wolf Hour” is set in an era ripe for cinematic depiction; the summer of 1977. We spend part of this summer with reclusive agoraphobic June (Naomi Watts) as she is cramped in the smoldering heat of her stuffy, dusty, apartment in a dilapidated South Bronx walkup. An apartment with a window which--as June peers through with a cigarette in nudged between her pointer and index finger--seems to be a television with a crime show playing on repeat. The apartment itself is coated with dust; we see piles of books graying with grime, and what would appear to be discarded items pilling up in every corner. June herself has greasy coffee-colored hair; she is fleeced with a perpetual sheen of sweat. It’s miserable--the oppressive bleakness in her apartment mirrors the brutal crime outside. This is a rousing, dark look at a depressed, tortured woman’s self-imposed isolation. A near-colorless depiction of a mental struggle which is carried defiantly, from beginning to end, by a stunning performance from Watts.
A social worker happens upon a trailer home. In it she finds a dead woman who has presumably overdosed; her body is surrounded by various pill bottles and a half-consumed NyQuil. The social worker explores the home and finds a young girl in a wooden chest. This is a chilling start to a tale which portrays grief and guilt in such an engaging and fresh way. Although flawed in structure, it succeeds in delivering the hysterical mother trope in ways which are fresh, exciting, and haunting. "The Deep Red" demonstrates, vividly, that some clichés deserve to be demolished and rebuilt; that in a more adventurous movie environment undercutting these tropes wouldn’t feel as fresh as it does here.
Being a die-hard horror fan, I’m always on the lookout for new, original stories that are ready to unleash new horrors on viewers. That’s what drew me to Franck Khalfoun’s newest film, “Prey” – an abandoned island creature feature that’s strong enough to look past its flaws.
The film follows Toby (Logan Miller), a high school senior who is sent to a rehabilitation program after his father (Anthony Jensen) is murdered by carjackers. In this program, Toby is forced to stay on an uninhabited island as his final test in order to “find himself” and work through his issues.