With the release of the thriller The Glass House, starring Leelee Sobieski, Diane Lane and Stellan Skarsgard, Hollywood once again tries to scare audiences. We asked our He Said, She Said experts if they think The Glass House follows through-or falls flat, as well as discussing why there hasn’t been a good scary movie in awhile.
Hollywood.com: The Glass House bills itself as a psychological thriller. Does it deliver the goods?
Noah Davis: No, it doesn’t. The setup was lengthy and drawn out, and never quite developed the main character as being both rebellious and hyper-intelligent. Nor did it establish or maintain enough suspense during the second half of the film. It missed being “thrilling” by a mile.
Kit Bowen: Today, I agree with you. A psychological thriller is supposed to get into your head–hence the word “psychological.” But this doesn’t even come close. The motives of the bad guy are too easily explained. Nope, not a good movie.
Kit Bowen: Not in any way. She does have something–anyone who saw her in Eyes Wide Shut as the prostituted daughter of the Russian costume shop owner knows she’s got the acting chops. Leelee just needs to find much better material. Remember the soppy Here on Earth? Good lord…
Noah Davis: Gosh, I have to agree with Kit? Leelee‘s potential is being completely wasted, especially considering The Glass House and the upcoming Joy Ride are the latest stains on her resume. Leelee‘s got talent, and she’s got the advantage of not being one of the hordes of perfect little blondes (Reese Witherspoon, Kirsten Dunst, etc.) who have invaded our screens. Now all she needs are some good roles that will challenge her.
Hollywood.com: It seems that Hollywood has failed to make a good scary movie/thriller in a while. Why do you think that is?
Noah Davis: There are so many reasons. They include has-been directors who are simply trading in on their names (John Carpenter, Ghosts of Mars), first-time film directors who don’t grasp the intuitive nature of the milieu (Steve Carpenter, Soul Survivors, Daniel Sackheim, The Glass House), and the fact that Hollywood seems to be wary of new horror ideas. Actually, there has been one good thriller made recently: Brad Anderson’s under-appreciated Session 9.
Kit Bowen: I also believe audiences are simply jaded. They’ve seen it all, so the recent horror films aren’t offering anything new. Noah–and the fact I keep agreeing with him is scaring me–is right to point out Session 9 as a unique thriller of late. The film has nothing to do with gruesome deaths or big bad scary people. It’s about how cleanup workers at an abandoned mental institution start to get bugged by what they know went on there. It invades their thoughts until they begin to image the horrors. Now, that’s psychological. In order to scare modern audiences, Hollywood will need to think out of the box.
Hollywood.com: What are some of the more memorable thrillers you thought worked?
Kit Bowen: In terms of psychological thrillers, Silence of the Lambs is a pretty great one. It’s Anthony Hopkins‘ face we’ll always remember, coming out of the darkness to peer at Jodie Foster. I also loved Alien for the simplicity of it. The monster is only shown in snippets, but knowing it could be there at any moment kept you on the edge.
Noah Davis: Ah, how did I know that Kit would miss the best thriller of all time? Alfred Hitchcock‘s powerful and complex psychological thriller, Psycho is the greatest of all modern horror suspense films. Themes of abnormal psychology, adultery, voyeurism, human victimization, Oedipal murder, and transvestitism were revealed unlike ever before. The role of Norman Bates has and will go down in history. Not to say that Silence of the Lambs or Alien are bad choices, but nothing quite measures up to Psycho.