Saturday, December 31, 2011

Tale of Two Sisters, The Bad Seed

A Tale of Two Sisters

This movie follows two sisters (naturally), their distant father, and their overbearing, abusive, and possibly psychotic stepmother.
This is a pretty hard movie to give a plot synopsis of.  The sisters move out into the family's house in the country.  The sisters are convinced that their stepmother hates them and is planning something nefarious.  The stepmother has reason to believe that the sisters (one of them, in particular) hates her and wish ill upon her.  Before too long, there are strange happenings in the house: visions of a girl begin appearing in the house.  Bloody bags being drug through the house are there one minute and gone the next.
So, basically, it's a haunted house movie.  That's a fairly lazy comparison, as there are a lot of things going on in this movie, but it's the only comparison I can make without giving too much away.

This was a slow moving/developing movie.  It took a while to set up, and I was a little bored at the beginning.  But, after it got going, it roped me in.  It really drew me into the world they had created, which is what is needed to really enjoy this movie.  I can't say that I loved it, but I liked it.  If you have a little bit of time on your hands and want to lose yourself in a movie, this isn't a bad choice.

Rating: 4/5

The Bad Seed

In my experience, classic horror movies can go one of two ways: they can still hold up and be enjoyable (Psycho, Bride of Frankenstein, etc.), or they can feel extremely dated and cheesy (The Creature From the Black Lagoon, Dracula).  Thankfully, this one leans a little bit more towards the former.  While I wouldn't put it in the category of Psycho or Bride of Frankenstein, it was still a very good movie.  Of course, my only hope was that it would be better than The Good Son, so it definitely exceeded my expectations.

The plot is easy enough: a woman (Christine) has a daughter (Rhoda).  The woman slowly comes to the realization that her daughter is an evil creature, capable of murder, and incapable of feeling.  She doesn't want to believe it.  It is, after all, her daughter.  How could her own daughter be capable of such unfeeling evil?  How does she act on this information?

The set-up is easy enough.  After all, the movie is called The Bad Seed.  Even if I didn't know what it was about before I started watching, the title would have tipped me off.  Rhoda is convinced of killing one of her classmates over a penmanship award.  Christine struggles with the information as she learns more about it: we immediately know that she is guilty.  The gardener at their apartment (Leroy) knows, too.  He claims that he knows that she is "mean" because he is also "mean".  Leroy does not meet a friendly end at the hands of young Rhoda.

All in all, it was a good movie.  Enjoyable throughout.  And it had a very dark ending.  I thought it was dark watching it recently: I can't imagine what the reaction to it was in 1956.

Rating: 4.5/5

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