The mixture of the fantastic and the sublime that’s constitutes the Ghibli house tone is very much what Casarosa & co. aiming for, though the many, many bits of business onscreen suggests a homecooked meal of Disney/Pixar leftovers.
The movie was directed by Michael Chaves (The Curse of La Llorona) who, in the case of The Devil Made Me Do It, reveals a finer hand with the melodrama of possession — the utter internal chaos of it, the feverish disorientation — than with jump scares. The jumps: not so jumpy. More or less predictable.
Part II feels like just another case of sequel-itis, something designed to metastasize into just another franchise among many. Just get through this, it says, and then tune in next year, next summer, next financial quarter statement or board-meeting announcement, for the real story.
I imagine that, for some, the movie’s structure will play unevenly, seem a little weird in its jumping and drifting. But the contours of this story, and the tinges of genuine melancholy thrown into our path along the way, are very much to the point. They make it all work, and make it worth it.
Robert Machoian’s debut feature, The Killing of Two Lovers, has a tough psychological knot braided right through its center, one that it doesn’t quite satisfyingly untangle — not that it exactly means to.
This is the final game: Do you recommend this to your friends out of brand loyalty, knowing that they’re Saw completists and hey, you endured this, so why shouldn’t they? Or should you take mercy on them and let them know that Spiral should be avoided at all costs, regardless of its slasher-flick pedigree.
Army of the Dead is neither the best of Snyder nor the worst. In whipping a bit of both extremes into a dependably watchable piece of pop froth that hits the appropriate marks, the movie strives for the expected relevance, offers the right amount of nonsurprise surprises, and distinguishes itself from the given rules of the genre just so that it, more or less, breaks even.