Tag Archives: Kristen Stewart

My Thoughts on: Crimes of the Future (2022)

Note: this review was originally published on Patreon

From the moment I heard about Crimes of the Future, I knew this was a movie I needed to see. Consider the following if you will: this is a film by David Cronenberg (he who gave us The Fly), it stars Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux and Kristen Stewart, AND it’s in the body horror genre. Put all of that together and I couldn’t possibly stay away from this movie.

And what a movie. David Cronenberg has crafted an amazing story that ultimately led me to question everything I thought I knew about what it means to be human. Although, it does take some time for that picture to become clear. Cronenberg tells the story through several threads that don’t weave together into a single picture until midway through the film. And even then, the ending of the story is still left deliberately ambiguous (though I can take a guess as to what it means, I won’t due to wanting to avoid spoilers).

Let me start at the beginning: Crimes of the Future takes place in what is implied to be the near future, in a time when most humans have ceased to feel any level of pain due to what is implied to be an ongoing evolution in humanity. As a result of no one really feeling pain anymore, increasingly elaborate plastic surgeries have become a fashion trend, and it becomes clear throughout the film that people are going to increasingly greater extremes in order to feel something, anything at all. In the middle of this bizarre and yet frighteningly understandable world is “performance artist” Saul Tenser (Mortensen), whose act consists of having the bizarre organs his body randomly generates cut out by his assistant for an audience.

Woven in with this story is the tragic and seemingly unrelated fate of another character (I’m being deliberately vague because, again, spoilers). But as the story goes on, it becomes clear that it’s all connected, and the implications about where the human species is going is mind-bending. Were I not so much in love with the film as it is, I would almost beg Cronenberg for a follow up on the concept because I want to see more of where he’s going with this.

What really interests me apart from the story itself is the setting. When I read a description of this film and it said it was in the “near future”, I envisioned a world that was slightly sleek and shiny. But instead, Crimes of the Future takes place in a world that literally appears to be falling apart. Analog technology is everywhere, there’s no smart phones that I could see, and everything is dirty and decaying. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost say this story is set in a post-apocalyptic world. The only hint that this is in fact the future is the advanced technology used to perform most of Saul’s “performances.” 

Mortensen is amazing as Saul Tenser and I love the chemistry he has with Léa Seydoux, who plays his fellow performance artist. Watching those two interact is one of my favorite parts of the film. The one thing that did disappoint me though was Kristen Stewart, in that I wanted to see more of her in the film. The way the trailer was set up, I thought we were going to see a lot more of her, though I did enjoy the performance she gave.

Despite minor issues, I thoroughly loved Crimes of the Future. It’s a film that will definitely make you think about what it means to be human and where we as a species are going in the future. Is that future good or bad? I feel like Cronenberg definitely leaves the answer to that question up to us viewers. This was the kind of the film where it’s okay to have a less-than-definite ending. 

That’s all I’ve got for Crimes of the Future (I could say more but I don’t want to spoil the entire plot).

Have a great day!

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My Thoughts on: Underwater (2020)

*minor spoilers for the film can be found below

I was aware I was taking a risk when I chose Underwater to be my first theater visit of 2020. As I’ve mentioned many times before, horror films are not something I choose to see very often. But after the success of going to see Midsommar last summer, I was feeling brave, and the trailer for Underwater got me so curious…that I decided I had to see it.

Underwater is a science-fiction horror film, apparently set in the near future, when humans have built a seven-mile deep drill that stretches all the way to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Nora (Kristen Stewart), a mechanical engineer, along with other survivors, is forced to fight for her life when something mysterious begins to destroy the drill.

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First things first, I can definitely state that Underwater is a scary film. The jump scares are the kind that kept my hands plastered in front of my face for a decent chunk of the movie. Another thing is that the film wastes very little time in getting started with the action (though given it only has a 95 minute run time that’s understandable). But by far the most important thing I took away from Underwater is that it appears to be heavily inspired, if not derived from, Ridley Scott’s Alien.

The numerous similarities are uncanny. The diving suits are quite similar to the Alien spacesuits. The location (bottom of the Mariana Trench) is so remote and hostile it might as well be outer space. There’s a pan shot of a seemingly empty station that reminded me of the opening shot of the inside of the Nostromo. There’s even a brief examination of a mysterious creature that reminded me of Ash examining the facehugger (though thankfully there is no chestburster scene in this film). If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the pitch for this film ran along the lines of “It’s Alien, but at the bottom of the ocean.” That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as Alien is such an iconic story it’s understandable that people would want to imitate it even 41 years later. However, at the same time, Alien is so good, each similarity I saw in Underwater reminded me that Alien did it first.

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Still, if you like scary movies where the protagonists are chased by barely-glimpsed sea monsters, then you will probably like Underwater, though your mileage will definitely vary when you reach the film’s climax. That’s where the film got weird for me. In the last 10-15 minutes, something is introduced that…I’m still not sure how to describe. This thing looked like it came out of a completely different film. If I’m really honest, my first thought on glimpsing “it” (I won’t fully describe it because you really need to see it for yourself) was “is this secretly a film about Cthulhu?” I can’t say it ruined the film, because it held my attention every time “it” appeared, but it is definitely an out of left field moment given everything that happened up until that point. What I’m trying to say is, up until this point in Underwater, the story felt reasonably believable: the drill has undoubtedly opened up a place where a previously unknown form of sea life dwelt and they are royally pissed off at having their space invaded. Then this thing appears and, like I said, it got weird.

For the most part, I liked the film’s cast. Kristen Stewart especially stood out to me, I really liked her work as Nora. The thing with Vincent Cassel being in the film is, all I could see was The Night Fox from Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen. That’s not a ding on Cassel, but it’s what I kept thinking of any time his character appeared. And on a random note: I love that the rabbit survived.

Ultimately, though I was terrified for most of it, I don’t regret going to see Underwater. It’s frightening, a lot of it is scarily plausible, and that last bit at the end makes me super curious to see if there are any follow-ups in the future. If they made another film in the same universe, I would be okay with it (mostly because I want to know what the frack that thing was).

Let me know what you think about Underwater in the comments below and have a great day!

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Film Reviews

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