Weekend Movies: Finally, A Frightening Friday the 13th

This summer was one for the books. Tentpoles flopped while horror thrived. Fittingly, this Friday the 13th offers another horror sequel, as well as a mobster comedy infused with action. Which will you choose?

Not only is the horror genre on the rise, but so specifically is director James Wan. His $20 million, R-rated horror flick ‘The Conjuring’ opened in July and has since earned $259.8 million worldwide. Naturally, it’s no surprise that his 2011 micro-budget hit ‘Insidious‘ (which was made for $1.5 million and earned $97 million worldwide) generated this sequel. ‘Insidious: Chapter 2‘ kicks off right where the first left off. Patrick Wilson and son have returned from the creepy, dark and foggy world (that reminds me of the 1986 horror movie ‘House’), but not everything is perfect in the real world and this family’s scary story isn’t over yet. As if originally conceived as a multi-part franchise, ‘Chapter 2’ weaves throughout scenes and elements of the previous film. With a PG-13 rating, a solid fan base, a satisfying screenplay and the long-running streak of successful horror films, I can see ‘Insidious: Chapter 2’ doing very well this weekend.

On the flipside, I don’t see ‘The Family‘ performing so well domestically. Let’s be honest, Luc Besson-produced films don’t excel stateside (‘Taken‘ being the huge exception), let alone Luc Besson-directed films. He started to rise in the mid-’90s with ‘The Fifth Element‘ and ‘Leon: The Professional‘, but that’s where he peaked. ‘The Family’ has received plenty of advertising, but the cast and concept just don’t seem that relevant anymore. Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and two no-name teenagers play an American Mafia family sent to France in Witness Protection. Of course, their rough habits don’t blend well in France, and the Mafia they betrayed arrives quickly on their trail. The action looks stylized and strong, and it may not be a bad film, but with a cast that hardly has any box office draw anymore, I don’t see the movie succeeding.

The only indie release of the weekend that calls my attention is the haunting Sundance drama ‘Blue Caprice‘. Based on the true story of the 2002 Beltway Sniper, the film stars Isaiah Washington as the disturbed father figure who trained and served as accomplice to an abandoned teenager turned public sniper. The trailer is chilling, making ‘Blue Caprice’ look like a hard film to watch, but I still want to see it at least once.

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