In honor of Fly After 5 becoming a bi-monthly publication, we’re here to bring you twice the Lancaster County fun. That means twice the music, twice the food and twice the arts and culture. Be on the lookout for our first two issues Sept. 1 and Sept. 15.
What’s up for today’s double dose? A couple of must-see movies to get you started on your weekend Netflix binge.
First up on the list is “Final Girl,” a 2015 pseudo-thriller starring Abigail Breslin as a young woman named Veronica. Her parents are killed. William (Wes Bentley) takes her in and subjects her to “the program,” something that’s never fully explained but assumed to be pretty damn sinister, since through a series of training montages we watch Abigail’s metamorphosis into a ruthless killer. William somehow, for some reason, locates a gang of misogynistic rich boy serial killers in a setting that can only be described as pseudo-1950s small town America. These guys like to pick up innocent dates and then hunt them down in the woods outside of town. Of course, William sics Veronica on them. The bulk of the film is wit has Veronica, armed with laced booze and a scary amount of combat knowledge, go up against the four boys. Slowly, the hunters become hunted… and ish gets weird. So weird. Killer theme park mascot hallucination weird. Look, this baby’s got plot holes you could toss a tree through. How does William find these creeps? What is “the program” he keeps referring to? Where the hell does he get his funding? How many serial killers can possibly be dotting the landscape in this reverse Rockwellian horror show for some shadowy quasi-organization to consider training and utilizing a one-woman killing machine? Why does Veronica go into the woods in a ludicrously impractical dress? Was the director trying to make these dudes deadly charming? Because they come off as apex creepers more than apex predators. But Breslin’s performance, set against the backdrop of the group of ghoulish guys that she’s meant to kill, makes the film more than worth it. In addition, the cinematography is simply stunning – there are shots that feel downright chilling. Learn to love the movie for its idiosyncrasies, its standout performances, and the completely irrelevant but well-framed shot of one of the boys singing a ditty to his ax in a cold, empty room in his McMansion.
For a change of pace, check out “The Host.” This 2006 film comes to us from director Bong Joon-Ho. He also brought to life the masterpieces “Memories of Murder” (2003) and “Snowpiercer” (2013). This South Korean release was brought to the US in 2007. Sure, it’s enjoyed periodic publicity and critical acclaim here, but it’s never received quite the recognition it deserves. Song Kang-ho stars as Park Gang-du, alongside Bae Doona as his sister Nam-joo, a renowned archer; and Park Hae-il, who plays their brother Nam-il, a washed-up political activist. Their somewhat troubled family life is shattered one day when a monster rises from the depths of the Han River to wreak havoc. While the monster delivers plenty of chills, the core of the film is the main trio’s efforts to keep Gang-du’s daughter Hun-seo (Go Ah-sung) safe. This isn’t an easy task, as the government has descended upon the surrounding area, and the monster appears to be host to a horrific virus that the entire Park family has contracted. Some folks aren’t fond of subtitles, but by the 20 minute mark, you’ll forget you’re reading.