Monday, May 13, 2019

Send More Corn Rigs

Sometimes, it's hard to judge the movie you see when the one you wrote in your head is so much more interesting. 

Especially if yours involves musical numbers.

Quick Plot: Vaughn and Marcus are childhood pals looking for one last weekend of wild fun before Vaughn becomes a father. The pair heads out to a remote village to do some hunting, drinking, and in Marcus's case, coke and townie hookup-ing.

Hung over and still reeking of whisky, the men delve into the woods fully armed with not quite legal ammo. Vaughn lines up a clean shot at an adorably unaware deer, only to pull the trigger and discover his bullet landing straight into the head of a wandering little boy. When the boy's father follows close behind, Marcus doesn't hesitate in shooting him to cover their tracks.

The weekend, you can say, is kind of ruined.

Level-headed (maybe?) Marcus insists he and Vaughn bury the bodies and tell no one, assuming the victims to be tourists who won't be missed for some time. Just as they're gearing up to leave town, they discover their tires slashed by some of the angrier villagers who demand payback for Marcus's reckless night of seducing a local lass.

Oh, and by the way: the two dead bodies belong to the leader of the angry, car-destroying pack.

Written and directed by Matt Palmer, Calibre is a small, tense thriller. With all its lead-up to an annual full-village bonfire, I was really hoping it would pull a Kill List and turn into something far weirder with Wicker Man implications. Unfortunately for me, it's just not that kind of movie. 

That's not in any way to say Calibre isn't good. Sometimes, as an overeager audience, we simply get excited about seeing the film we've written in our heads. Director Palmer does such a solid job of building a threatening atmosphere with location and character that it's weirdly disappointing when things are settled in a dark, but not, I don't know, truly primal way.

High Points
I'm a sucker for a cold British countryside, and Palmer uses every layer and muddy boot to strong effect

Low Points
Perhaps it's intentional, but there hit a point early on in the film where I thought to myself, "here we go with yet another tale of bland white professional city men being jerks in the country and paying for it at the hands of oppressed rural villagers." Granted, that in itself is (I believe) part of the very point of Calibre, but it still means dealing with yet another pair of bland white professional city men being jerks

Lessons Learned
Really, I think this can all be summed up with one pretty handy suggestion: maybe don't go hunting with powerful firearms when you're still rather drunk?

Calibre is streaming on Netflix, and it makes for a pleasantly tense little watch when you're in that kind of mood. Yes, it would have been better had the townspeople revealed themselves to be human sacrificers with pleasant singing voices. But isn't that always the case?

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