APRIL 28, 2007
I had a chance to see The Marsh in October of last year as part of LA's Screamfest, but I opted not (actually I may have been working). It was actually one of maybe 5 movies (out of about 20) that I missed during the entire fest. Now I regret it, as this would have been one of the best films I saw there (the others, for the record, would be Hatchet, Behind the Mask, Gravedancers, Automaton Transfusion and Frostbite, a Swedish vampire film that I believe has been released on DVD in the US).
In many ways this film reminds me of the recent Sarah Michelle Gellar film The Return, a film which only two people in the world liked (One was me. The other wasn't you). A young woman is plagued by nightmares and visions, which leads her to a small town, and she attempts to understand why she's seeing these things. And she's really hot.
It's nothing groundbreaking (the direction is pretty generic, for starters), but the acting is quite good, the film moves along at the right pace for this type of film, and the big reveal is actually pretty disturbing (and even better: doesn't cheat the audience). More importantly, it's written well, in that we don't have too many occasions where characters are explaining everything to the audience. Like I've said before, film IS a visual medium, despite the efforts of some (24, as entertaining a show as it is, has quite possibly the least amount of respect for the audience's intelligence I have ever seen on a show or film, with characters re-reciting every plot point every 5 minutes), so it's nice to see a film that trusts the audience to pay the fuck attention and understand what is happening through the magic of imagery, without the screenwriter putting loads of exposition into someone's mouth.
Also, no one turns out to be dead the whole time, so there's something.
Another reason why I wish I saw this in theaters (and really, not that its a cinematic classic, but it really does not deserve to go direct to video. If goddamn Wind Chill (which, thankfully, this film had nothing in common with other than ghosts) can get 40+ screens, Marsh should get at least 5x that) is that the DVD has a fairly weak video transfer, at least color-wise. The blacks all look like bluish-gray. Check out the pic:
It's pretty sad when an extra feature has better color. This isn't the best example (you are losing the background when it's darker), it's more of a problem in scenes without a background anyway, like when they are in the car or whatever, but it was the only one I could take from the making of, which for the record, was terrible. Film clips were re-used, it jumped from topic to topic without any rhyme or reason (with a segment on both actor and the character they were playing, even though they were saying a lot of the same things). However, the audio on the film is superb, one of the more involving 5.1 tracks I have heard for this type of film (i.e. slow, not much action, etc.).
I am sure I am in the minority (indeed, most of the comments by the film scholars on the IMDb message boards are negative), just as I was for The Return, but I was impressed, and I hope at least a few people check this one out.
What say you?