Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Let's Compare, Shall We?

There's something in the darkness, something that can reach out and grab you without even a pause for breath. Something is out there...can you survive?

Take One: Phantoms (1998)
Yes, that's right, a movie starring Ben Affleck, but even more so Joanna Going, Rose McGowan and Peter O'Toole. The two women arrive in town to find people dead and other people missing. What's going on? It's the Ancient Enemy, and it lives in the darkness, and can do all manner of weirdness. The only way to survive is to work out what's going on.

Take Two: Vanishing on 7th Street (2010)
This time featuring Hayden "I start off as the most unobservant man in the world, but quickly become the biggest douche in the world" Christensen, with Thandie "I'd like to have a career sometime" Newton and John "Slid the Slothththth" Leguizamo. There is a blackout, and everyone disappears, leaving behind their empty clothes. Only a few people remain, and the sun is making shorter appearances in the day (so we are told and not shown), and in the darkness something or someones are moving. The only way to survive is to stay in the light. [Not in a Pitch Black way.]

A mere twelve years apart, these films could hardly be different. Both does have something strange happening, and the darkness becomes a threat (and both cite the Roanoke incident). In both movies, the main characters are pretty ineffectual... However, there is a completely different mindset. In Phantoms, it's all about "what can we do to defeat this?" In Vanishing, there is no hint whatsoever of fighting back, instead it's all about the main characters getting together and whining about being trapped, until they get picked off one by one (with obvious exceptions).

Phantoms is Action. Could even call it Victorious. Vanishing is Survival. Indeed, it's really part of a category that could be called Defeatist.

I know which I think is the better movie...


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