Tag Archives: Paranormal

VIFF 2014 Review: The Incident (El Incidente)

The Incident (El Incidente) is a Mexican film about the mysterious and the supernatural.

The Incident (El Incidente) is a Mexican film about the mysterious and the supernatural.

The Incident was actually the very last movie shown during the VIFF. I actually saw four more in the VIFF repeats: some I will post my review in later days. The Incident turned out to be a good choice because I felt I was missing a film that was either envelope-pushing or edgy. This Mexican film turned out to be just that.

The film begins with two seemingly unrelated scenes. One is of a couple in a hotel just married and another is of an elderly woman lying on an escalator. Then cut to the first scene. Two brothers living in an apartment ion the ninth floor are confronted by a detective who thinks they’ve done them wrong. He has a gun and he’s after them down a staircase. Then a mysterious explosion happens. One of the brothers is shot in the leg. They go for help but once they hit the main floor, they find themselves back on the ninth floor. They’re both confused as is the hitman. They try and find a door to get out but they’re stuck. Adding to the bizarreness, whatever food or drinks that were taken from the vending machine in the stairwell comes back instantly. Then the brother dies. That leaves the other brother and the hitman stuck in the stairwell with no way out.

Second scene is a seemingly unrelated incident. A family head out on a road trip. It’s the mother, stepfather, teenage son and the six year-old asthmatic daughter. They pass a convenience store on the way to the camping ground. Then an explosion like the one involving the three men happened. The daughter has an asthma attack. They look for an inhaler but Daniel the son admits he forgot it at home. The stepfather accidentally broke the other one on the road. They go back to the convenience store only to find it empty. They try to head back home but the pass the campground sign they saw just miles ago. Meanwhile the daughter’s attack is worsening. Nevertheless the family keep coming across the same empty convenience store and pass the same campground sign. They too are stuck in the infinite standstill with no way out. The daughter does die.

The film returns to the stairwell. This time it’s filled with litter and is full of writing on the walls about various things including how long it’s been since the incident. It’s 35 years past. We see one elderly man and one middle aged man. This has been their ‘house’ during that time with nothing but food from the machines to eat and using water bottles for showering and using empties for sewage. Thirty-five years have passed for the family as well. Daniel is now a middle-aged man while his parents are elderly and unkept. The desert has been their home since and the ground is where the little girl was buried.

It’s all a mystery to get it solved even though they both know the cause of the problem. It’s because they won’t let go of the bad memories. The brother because of the shooting and Daniel for believing he caused his sister’s death. However it’s when one of the men in the apartment talks of a memory he had a long time ago of what happened when he was with his father when he accidentally died. After finally making sense, they’re able to get it solved and a door can finally be opened. After that, the people in both scenes can now live their lives in a forward motion. The daughter is still alive and Daniel can live his life even though it’s imperfect and full of problems. The two brothers and the detective also live their lives even though one will get a life sentence for a murder they commit later. However it’s at the very end when we see a newlywed couple in an elevator controlled by an elevator man named Karl that we learn it’s not all completely over.

This is one of those paranormal things I’ve never seen before. It consists of an everyday scenario then a sudden explosion happens. Then a near-fatal incident happens. After that, it’s nothing but a repetitive infinite that eventually leads to the vulnerable person’s death and everyone within that circle stuck in the same time and place forever. Four different scenarios of the infinite. All but one unrelated to the other and exactly thirty-five years apart. This may have been done before or it may be something original from director Isaac Ezban but it will haunt you. Especially seeing time elapse 35 years and how those involved in the two main situations all age staying stuck in the same place. It’s the creepiness of the bizarre that keeps you in suspense.

You hope those involved with the two scenarios will find a way out and they do. They’re also able to live their lives out, even though they’d live out a life that would have both Daniel and the detective lose in the end. But at least they lived lives where they moved forward. However even though we see the two live out their lives, we’re reminded from a moment seen during the opening scene that there was one thing unanswered: how it all started or who is behind it. We learn it right there at the end when the married couple get their own nightmare of the infinite. The ending can even leave one wondering if the couple will be able to work their own way out of the tragedy and the infinite that came with it.

As for whether it would be a crowd-grabber, that’s a question. I know crowds are willing to go to something as gruesome as Saw but you wonder if they’d go to something like this. It is something the thriller crowd would get their attention stolen with. It’s also a very smart and creative thriller that gives nothing away. I can see this being made into an American version in the future and can attract crowds of sci-fi. However seeing a six-year old girl die from asthma may be too much for them to handle. Seeing the long-haired old people might also freak them out.  Also this story may be a bit too bizarre for them to understand.

Kudos to Isaac Ezban for creating a creative story that’s both mysterious and smart, even if there were scenes that might creep many out. It’s hard to pick out the one single performance that was the best because there were so many good performances. Humberto Busto, Erick Camacho, Gabriel Santoyo, Hernan Mendoza, it’s hard to pick out the one who’s the best. It’s the ensemble of actors that delivered here. No one stand-out. All very good and all very believable.

The Incident (El Incidente) is an original thriller that may not be something that most moviegoers would want to see, including young fans of thrillers, but it’s very smart, very mysterious and worth watching.

2012 Movie Year In Review: A Record-Setter

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As some of you have noticed over the year with my blog, I’ve been paying big attention to what has been happening at the box office in 2012. I’m sure those who’d want to see an increase in the annual box office total this year also would have paid such big attention. Anyways 2012 has ended and the movie year has ended on a positive note.

The reason for 2012’s big attention has to do with years past as I have pointed out in previous box office posts. 2009 not only set a box office record of almost $10.6 billion but became the first ever $10 billion year. The following years were not so impressive. 2010 just missed breaking the record by a measly $30 million but the bigger news was of the ticket sales being the lowest since 1996. 2011 was even more humbling by being over $400 million shy of 2009’s record and even less ticket sales than 2010.

For 2012, I was looking forward to see if it was going to break the record with both eagerness and nervousness. Eagerness because I wanted to see the new record set. Isn’t that the goal of every year to be the box office record-setter? Nervousness because if there was another dip in the box office or in ticket sales, who knows what that could mean for the future of movies? Especially in this multimedia universe?

January and February shows signs that the box office was improving. March and April showed the success to continue assuredly, if not spectacularly. May and June added to the promise of 2012 being the record breaking year. July to September showed the chance of finally breaking the record continuing well. With three months to go, 2012 was $240 million more than last year at that same time and $363 million more than the first nine months of 2009’s record-setting year.

October continued the steady success with continuation of Hotel Transylvania and the big opening of Taken 2. Success of the opening of Paranormal Activity 4 and the slow but steady building buzz of Argo also added to October’s success. October actually finished with $559.2 million: $13 million less than October 2011 and almost $60 million less than 2009. Not that much of a downer. November began with the big openings of Wreck-It Ralph and Flight. Further excitement came via the latest James Bond flick Skyfall opening at $88.3 million: the biggest opening weekend ever for a James Bond movie. However it was the opening of the final Twilight movie Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 and the steady climb of Lincoln that led November to a total gross of $1.423 billion to make it the highest-grossing November ever.

December however lacked the buzz. Excitement continued with the success of Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 but excitement was weak in the first weekend of December as the weekend of Breaking Dawn was only $17 million with Skyfall, Rise Of The Guardians, Lincoln and the Life Of Pi close behind. Further lack of excitement for an opener continued the following week as Skyfall found itself back at the top with a paltry $10.7 million. Excitement came back in the third weekend of December 2012 with the long awaited The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opening with $84 million. The Hobbit remained at the top of the box office until the end of 2012 despite challenges from opening from Jack Reacher, This Is 40, Django Unchained and Les Miserables. In the end, December 2012 ended rather weakly with a total gross of $988.5 million: the first December since 1999 to gross less than $1 billion.

Now that the year has ended, how does it all stack up for 2012? It actually stacks up quite well. 2012 had strong showings with excellent opening weekend including four opening weekends to rank in the all-time Top 10 and The Avengers setting the record with the first ever $200 million opening weekend. 2012 also produced two movies in the Top 10 list of all-time highest grossing movies with The Avengers at #3 with $623 million and The Dark Knight Rises at #7 with $448 million. The whole year brought a total record gross of $10.835 billion. Ticket sales were also the biggest in three year with a total of 1.364 billion sold.

Now that the record has been accomplished for 2012, this means a new challenge for 2013 to attempt to set a new record or sell more tickets. Will they do it? It all depends what the year has in store.

WORKS CITED:

“Monthly Box Office Chart” BoxOfficeMojo.com. 2013. Box Office Mojo. Owned by IMDB.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/monthly/

“Yearly Box Office Chart” BoxOfficeMojo.com. 2013. Box Office Mojo. Owned by IMDB.com. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/