MAY 28, 2008
While I love gore and insane prosthetic effects as much as the next guy, it’s nice to see a horror film that eschews all of that stuff in favor for more subtle horrors; a sort of ‘alternate’ horror film, much like Martin or something of that nature. Sex And The City: The Movie fits that mold; despite the R rating, there is actually only suggested violence in the film, along with a few morbid visuals.
Based on the TV show, the film is about three female best friends, each of them a different type of monster. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is a vampire, Samantha (Kim Cattrall) is a succubus, and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is a werewolf. There is also a fourth friend, a human named Charlotte (Kristin Davis) whose only role in the film is show off her perfect human life to her friends, all of whom aspire to find her happiness while retaining their own monstrous needs.
Carrie the vampire is the film’s main character. She is engaged to a fellow vampire, a man only referred to as Big even though his name is John something or other. Unlike most cinematic vampires, they are not harmed by sunlight (the film even makes a little joke about this – they turn down an apartment because it doesn’t get any sun), but they are immortal. We know this because they have been dating for 100 years and have broken up and gotten back together some 15 times (this is explained to us a few times via dialogue – I assume it was detailed in full on the show). Big stands her up at the altar, and she begins a downward spiral – she’s been with him forever, and was prepared to give up her immortality in marriage. Now she is faced with being immortal forever, and alone.
Next up is Samantha, the succubus. She doesn’t live in New York with the others, instead she lives in LA where her kind is more common. The film’s opening sort of “previously, on Sex and the City” thing shows her pre-devouring of several men, and then finding a man she truly loves and thus does not want to eat. Now they’ve been together for five years, and she is discovering that she misses her succubus ways, thanks to a new neighbor who is actually a male succubus, taking a new woman every night.
And then there is Miranda, the werewolf. Her problem is more simple – she’s not allowing herself to indulge in the pleasures that come with being a lycanthrope. As the film begins her husband, a nerd who obviously gets off on nailing a she-wolf, is sexually frustrated, and cheats on her. So she throws him out, and now has to make a new life for herself and hopefully rediscover her carnal instincts.
Finally the human one, Charlotte... well, she doesn’t really have a storyline, because she is not one of the undead. Like I said, she’s just there to sort of remind her friends that happiness is possible, though they never quite make clear if being human is essential. Later in the film she finally has something to do (she gets pregnant), but until then she’s merely just sort of hanging out with them. Ironically, she is the focus of the film’s sole gross out gag, a scene in which she contracts dysentery and shits her pants. It’s an odd moment, but mainly because it’s actually pretty funny, where the rest of the film is incredibly overdramatic and sour.
The little moments in which their monstrous sides are actually on display are among my favorites in the film. At one point, Miranda begins growing her werewolf hair all over her legs, and the succubus chastises her for it. She usually shaves it all in order to hide her lycanthropy from her coworkers (she’s a lawyer – another sly injoke to her true nature), but since her separation from her husband she is letting herself go. The three monster girls, particularly the vampire, also have an unnatural addiction to red wine (for contrast, the human only drinks water). I would have liked more of these type of scenes, but since the film is about the human side of monsters (and not the monstrous side of humans) it makes sense that they are kept to a minimum.
Still, it does have some scare moments. The succubus, who is the oldest of the group, strips nude and covers key parts of her anatomy with sushi (a nice reverse on the succubus way – she is inviting her lover to essentially eat HER), a ghastly sight. She also threatens on more than one occasion to devour two separate men’s manhood, which will give the male viewers a chill (the females in the crowd cheered at these lines).
In the end, it’s a decent attempt at doing something different. In the end, all of the monsters have accepted their true nature and found happiness, which is nice. I would have liked maybe one transformation or two, but the effects are pretty much limited to Dick Smith style old age makeup. It won’t be for everyone, but it’s certainly the most unique horror film of the year.
What say you?