2010 has been a bit dry in terms of horror films...never mind finding good ones. So, it was definitely a year where one would look into different genres for something horrific. Shutter Island and Monsters are examples of stretching the term horror into Sci/Fi and Mystery in which to find a suitable scare within a superb example of fine film making. Boundaries seriously had to be stretched in which to get a good horror fix...this year sucked hard for the genre.
Speaking of genre-stretching...one such film that I've always defined as a study in the horrors of addiction within the pursuit of hope is Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream. The last half hour alone of that film is a cumsplotion of horror that will haunt your dreams for some time. As a matter of fact, after watching the film I was convinced that Keith David was the fucking devil for a while. However, the film is not considered a horror film.
Well....2010 is wrapping up and one film stands head and shoulders above all the horror films I have watched this past year. It scared me in different ways and, at the same time, held me captivated with its impeccable story-telling and beauty. Black Swan is an example of perfect film making and horror aficionados need to take notice of such a perfect display of fine nightmarish terror. Exquisite horror is the only term I can think of to describe Darren Aronofsky's latest masterpiece and my new favorite film of his.
The film stars Natalie Portman in a career defining role as the innocently fragile ballet dancer, Nina. Personally, I have always known Portman as the broken young girl from The Professional many years ago. I've always thought that she would make a name for herself as a talented young actress and she would go on to achieve stardom. Well...here is her shining moment. If she doesn't win the Academy Award for this role then I don't know what is wrong with this cruel unjust world. She embodies the sweet nature of Nina and her obsessive immersion into a malevolent metamorphosis to become "perfect". Vincent Cassel plays the razor sharp director of the dance studio who is looking for a replacement for the aging dance star, eerily played by an aging Winona Ryder, in which to star in his upcoming presentation of Swan Lake. Nina is up for the role of the Queen Swan but, there's only one problem...while she has the beauty and talent to play the white swan to perfection, she has trouble conjuring the dark elements in order to play the black swan. A new dancer by the name of Lily, played seductively by Mila Kunis, is the black swan personified. So, of course, jealousy and paranoia engulf Nina's quest for perfection in playing the Queen Swan. I won't mention the Natalie Portman masturbation scene...because this blog is way too good for that.
Black Swan is not over-the-top horror. While it does possess a few over-the-top moments throughout the film (old guy jerkin' his meat in the train), it is ultimately a refreshing study in the horrors within one's obsession with more subtle scares and blink-and-you'll-miss scenes of creepiness. It really is a beautiful film that deserves all the praise it is currently receiving. The horror elements of the film evoke a young Cronenberg in terms of shock value and scenes that dare you not to flinch.
Sometimes you have to kill your light in order for the darkness to thrive....and the same goes the other way around. Nina learns this throughout the film and you are there with her witnessing her harrowing journey until the very end. Black Swan is, in Nina's words........perfect.
10 out of 10.
Thank you for reading,