Overall, though, the director and co-writer’s merciless style is muffled by The Grudge’s over-reliance on clichéd jump scares; more damningly, only some of these are effective, even in terms of cheap thrills. This becomes especially true in the film’s second half, when the ghosts become at once more human and less creepy.
Horror remakes don’t have to be inferior rehashes, as films like Jim Mickle’s "We Are What We Are" (2013) and Luca Guadagnino’s "Suspiria" (2018) have demonstrated. But this Rabid nibbles where it should clamp down hard.
The film is a snappy, glib tour of recent history in the Adam McKay mold, hydroplaning through the stormy real-life events that led to Ailes’ departure from Fox News with windshield wipers on high and blinders strapped to each side of its head.
Little Women is the best kind of Hollywood film: thoughtful yet escapist, sophisticated yet accessible, expertly crafted and deeply felt. The performances are all top notch—Ronan and Pugh, especially, breathe new life into their characters. Gerwig’s direction is also first rate.
The overall look of the film has the shiny, empty appearance of a newly rehabbed condo, and the quips about women’s love of cheese and gigantic closets have a similarly hollow sassy-greeting-card feel. But the outfits in those closets, it must be said, are fabulous.
The movie is a mixed bag, well shot and well acted enough to mostly keep the viewer’s attention, but meandering enough to frustrate at the same time. It’s bookended by flat, brightly lit, purely functional scenes that don’t quite erase the memory of the surrealist horrors that unfold at its peak, but do come close.
Whatever pleasure there is to be found in watching a film like The Golden Glove is in the intellectualizing, and the film does prompt a series of provocative questions about the implicit contract between artist and audience.
Breaux is able to wring great pathos out of the character of Adam with very few words, which only makes Henry and Polidori’s arguments about ethics, which increase in frequency as the film goes on, seem all the more tedious.
The film isn’t an abject failure by any means; it has some funny jokes, a couple of really good performances, impressive creature and set design, and pleasing cinematography. But when it comes down to it, It Chapter Two just isn’t all that scary.