Sunday, August 12, 2012

Familiar Review

Dodd (Centre) with his daughter (Left) and wife (Right)
Do you ever watch a film classified under "horror" and wonder, "Is this really supposed to be scary?"

Familiar (2012) is the sequel to the even more hilarious Worm (2010). These films, both written and directed by Richard Powell for Fatal Pictures, follow the life of John Dodd (his name is Geoffrey Dodd in Worm), a man whose sinister inner thoughts contrast his pleasant, caring demeanor.

Worm took place at the school where Dodd was a teacher. In Familiar, we see Dodd at home with his family. From the outside, he seems nice and harmless enough. Dull and odd, but harmless. This is an improvement from Worm, which baffled me because his behaviour made it inconceivable to me that no one could see how disturbed he was.

While I found the Dodd character more believable in Familiar (although still hilarious and far from scary), I found the film deeply unsatisfying because it was revealed that there was no deep psychological reason for his contempt for everyone. It was just a monster deep inside of him. Literally. It is never even made clear how the monster got there or why it affected his mood. Or maybe his mood created the monster? Familiar didn't seem to explore any of this.

This lack of character development was especially confusing and disappointing for me because in both films, Dodd had seemed like such an insecure person who secretly put down others to make himself feel better about his own failures. There seemed to be a real psychological problem. But it was just a monster?

Character development aside, I really dislike the use of a literal monster as a metaphor for anger, evil, etc. Not just because its cliche and, in my opinion, in this case, a cop-out, but because of the existentialist in me. I reject the perception that these feelings are out of one's control, that it happens separate from one's self. In my mind, Dodd wasn't controlled by a monster; he was a monster for reasons that will forever be unclear to me.

1 comment :

  1. It's a sequel but the lead character's name is different? Hmmm...

    It always cracks me up in movies when one character is bat crap crazy and no one else notices until it's too late.

    It happens in real life, too, I suppose. I just don't usually see it because, I assume, I'm the crazy one.