The good stuff
Wheatley is a blessing for UK cinema.
Wheatley's latest feels like a return to his roots in some ways. In the Earth is a small, off-kilter horror film that isn't so much creepy, gory or scary, but still comes off pretty dark and unsettling. It's not his most accessible film though and people looking for a simple horror film would do better to skip this one.
After a long lockdown, Martin joins a research team for an assignment in the woods. Together with a ranger he starts his two-day trip towards the research camp. Before they arrive at their destination they are mugged by an unknown assailant, who steals their shoes and kills their communication.
The cast is solid, even though their characters are rather simplistic. In the Earth relies more on visceral elements to get the horror across. A superb soundtrack, some trippy visuals and excellent use of the setting make this a very worthwhile film. Maybe if Wheatley could've aced the more abstract scene this would've been a personal favorite, but it's still a very worthwhile film.
Wheatley doing a more light-hearted action film that offers plenty of smirks. A weapon's deal gone wrong, plenty of shady characters willing to cross each other and a whole bunch of killing going on. Free Fire isn't a film with a lot of depth, but it's pretty well-made and there's so much fun to be had that it's hardly an issue. Good fun alright.
Ben Wheatley remakes Hitchcock's classic (or re-adapts Daphne du Maurier's book). I'm not a fan of Hitchcock and disliked his version of the story, but was willing to give Rebecca another chance as Wheatley is at least an interesting director. The result is a decent and necessary update of de Maurier's creation.
Maxim de Winter is a wealthy Brit who falls in love with a young secretary on a vacation in Monte Carlo. He's still mourning the death of his late wife Rebecca, but for the first time in months he finds a welcome distraction. Soon after they marry, and he takes her with him to his estate in England. Not all the staff is happy to see a new face and Rebecca's memories still loom in every corner of the old house.
The cinematography is quite beautiful and the sound design is subtle but notable. The performances are all-round solid too. The build-up is slow, deliberate but effective. Much like Hitchcock's version though, the final 30 minutes feels rushed and puts too big of a focus on the narrative, which isn't all that interesting. It's a shame, but at least Wheatley offers a more than welcome improvement over Hitchcock's film.