films seen
8
average score
3.25*
nationality
USA - 53 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Solid pieces

Graveyard Rats

2022 / 38m - USA
Horror
3.5*/5.0*
Graveyard Rats poster

A fun and juicy horror flick by Natali. The film isn't all that scary or gruesome, but there's plenty of familiar, atmospheric horror fodder around to stuff the short runtime to the point of bursting. It may not make a whole lot of sense, but there's enough glee and joy baked in that I didn't really care.

Read all

A gravedigger is having a hard time when the increasingly hostile rats get to the corpses faster than he can. When a fat cat dies he deems himself rich, but when he digs up the corpse he sees it being taken away by a pack of rats. He follows them down their tunnels, but graver dangers await down there.

The cinematography is moody, the effects are top notch and there's quite a bit of variation in the horror. I also appreciated the touch of dark comedy present. There's a bit too much packed in the short runtime, I'm not sure why Natali felt he had to keep it so short, but I had a really good time with this one.

In the Tall Grass

2019 / 90m - Canada
Horror, Mystery
3.5*/5.0*
In the Tall Grass poster

Stephen King is hot, so everybody is looking for material to turn into a film. In the Tall Grass is based on King and Hill's short novella and it shows. Stretching the simple concept to a 100-minute film is somewhat of a struggle, but Natali's talent prevails as he delivers a fun, mysterious and creepy horror flick. It's nice to see Natali still has his trademark touch.

Haunter

2013 / 97m - Canada
Fantasy, Mystery
3.5*/5.0*
Haunter poster

Vincenzo Natali is the guy behind the first Cube film, a somewhat troubled but fun movie that got by on a strong and enigmatic concept. I lost track of him ever since (though I did see his entry in Paris, Je t'Aime), but when I came across Haunter I was more than eager to give him a second chance. While still not a film that lives up to its true potential, Haunter is a pretty atmospheric trip down Natali's eerie visions and more than confirms Natali's talent.

Read all

Haunter is a pretty tough sell though. While it has many characteristics of a horror film (and thanks to its marketing it will undoubtedly draw large horror crowds), it's actually a dark, moody mystery that isn't really out to scare. Instead Natali unravels a tight and morbid secret that involves hauntings and serial killers embedded in a Groundhog Day-like loop. Little by little he drops hints and unveils smaller mysteries that all lead up to the big revelation.

Natali's Haunter is a visually pleasing film. While clearly not a big budget affair, he makes the most of his money with moody lighting, smart play of shadows and strong use of color. The soundtrack too is aptly used to further enhance the atmosphere. It sets the perfect mood for the story to unravel. Sadly the lead actress takes away from that. Abigail Breslin never really seems to get the hang of her character and comes off as a weak lead. McHattie shines as the film's villain, but he simply lacks screen time to make up for the lead's poor performance.

It's a shame because Natali does a great job setting everything up. The atmosphere is there, the plot is tight enough and opens itself up at the right times. Look past the lead actress and you have a neat little mystery.

Cube

1997 / 90m - Canada
Horror, Mystery
3.5*/5.0*
Cube poster

The inoffensive

Cypher

2002 / 95m - USA
Sci-fi, Mystery, Thriller
3.0*/5.0*
Cypher poster

Worthy but flawed

Splice

2009 / 104m - Canada
Sci-fi, Horror
2.5*/5.0*
Splice poster