Showing posts from January, 2022

Surveillance (2008)

From its deeply unsettling opening scene in which the two sleeping occupants of a lonely motel are brutally murdered by masked intruders, to its stark, haunting denouement, Surveillance is a taut and twisted piece of nightmare cinema. Directed by Jennifer Lynch and co-written by Lynch and Kent Harper, it tells of two FBI agents (Julia Ormond and Bill Pullman) who arrive at a remote police station to interview the three survivors of a horrific roadside massacre, whose contradictory statements offer fragmented recollections of the same harrowing incident. As tensions mount during the interviews, and the events of what happened are slowly pieced together, it soon becomes clear that not everyone is telling the truth, and not everyone is who they appear to be… Surveillance was Jennifer Lynch’s second feature film (following on from her directorial feature debut, Boxing Helena , 15 years prior) and it is a masterwork of understated dread and unbearable tension. From the sense of unease whi

Return to Oz (1985)

As far removed as imaginable from the candy-coated, technicoloured, ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ Judy Garland-starring classic The Wizard of Oz (1939), Return to Oz , Walter Murch’s belated, somewhat 'unofficial' follow-up, is a beautifully dark, brooding and deeply melancholic work. Indeed, many critics at the time claimed it was too dark and frightening for its young audiences. While it features more of Dorothy’s fantastical adventures in Oz, a host of colourful characters and a plethora of astoundingly realised effects, at the heart of Return to Oz is the story of a courageous and resilient child who has endured hardship and tragedy, and of the weary, ineffectual or cruel adults responsible for her care. It is of course a sort of sequel, but is perhaps more accurately described as an adaptation of several other L. Frank Baum Oz novels that followed on from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), as Murch and Gill Dennis’s screenplay carefully amalgamates plotlines from The Mar