I don’t normally watch six movies in six days, so immersing myself in cinema gave me a bit more appreciation for what I like in a film and what I don’t. To be honest, I had pretty low expectations going into the Canadian films, and I saw an example of one that works (The Academy) and one that doesn’t (The Corrupted). So what were the major differences between these two films?
“The Corrupted” has a lot less action than “The Academy,” but the short lived gun rampage in “The Corrupted” is marred by downright embarrassing gunshot sound effects. Nothing takes me out of a movie experience faster than poor audio; it’s the difference between “independent film” and “home movie.”
The characters in “The Corrupted” only have a few scenes where they are splattered with blood or injured, and even then it’s inconsistent from scene to scene. One character is sprayed with monster barf, is writhing in pain while his arms have an chemical-burn special-effect on them, and in the next scene his arms are fine. And the blood splatters on his shirt are way off. I can understand the difficulty of reproducing a blood splatter from a take where the splatter on his shirt is randomly applied by practical effects. Simple solution? Drench him in the crap. If he’s covered in one scene, he’s covered in the next. The characters in “The Academy” get beaten worse and worse as the film progresses, and they still managed to have dried blood patterns and bruises on their faces that are both escalating and consistent.
“The Corrupted” starts out like you typical horror movie and stays that way. There exists “using subtlety to create tension” and then there’s “boring.” You could cut half an hour out of the beginning of “The Corrupted” and not lose anything. “The Academy” has a clunky opening; it’s five minutes of exposition served on a plate, but it’s interrupted by a guy crashing through a wall and beating the snot out of another guy while bagpipe music plays. Why break through the wall? Walls are meant to be broken, obviously. Why bagpipe music? Why the hell not?
The Ending - Spoiler Alert! Highlight to reveal
Taking a brief trip to bizzaro world, I actually liked the ending to “The Corrupted” a lot more than “The Academy.” The ending of “The Corrupted” is both unsettling and ambiguous, which is fitting for a horror movie. The danger presented by the monsters is still out there, and we’re not sure if the heroes have really escaped. Meanwhile, the ending to “The Academy” should have been bittersweet, but instead feels like the directed fell in love with the characters and wanted them to have the happiest, sugariest, candy-coated, jelly-filled ending ever at the expense of all logic. I should have have got choked up at the ending. Instead I got type 2 diabetes.
And there we have it. So if you are an aspiring filmmaker looking to create a film catered exactly to my tastes, make it ridiculously violent, kill all the main characters in the end, and invest in good audio equipment. And put robots in there somewhere.