Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Is We Need To Talk About Kevin just another horror film?

I just saw this new poster for We Need to Talk About Kevin over at /Film. And I'm shocked.
The piece in /film made the point that the poster recalls the poster for Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby.
I guess that's true but I find the parallel troubling. I see the little devil horns and tail on the fetus in the mother's belly and I see the New York Times review quote  "Beautiful and demonic. You may be left speechless "

What they want us to believe they are trying to say is that Kevin is the progeny of the devil, some sort of demon seed. But that would be too easy. We Need to Talk About Kevin is not  just another horror flick. If he is a demon seed, then who sowed him?

The actual quote is from a longer piece and goes more like this
“We Need to Talk About Kevin,” with help from Seamus McGarvey’s fever-flushed cinematography and Jonny Greenwood’s heartsick, throbbing score, saturates the senses like illness or bad weather. It is beautiful and demonic, like Kevin himself, and the bad feelings it induces are likely to be accompanied by helpless and stricken admiration. You may well need to talk about it afterward, but then again, you may be left speechless.
What the book was saying, and I suspect what the film is as well, is much darker and more disturbing than what any simple horror flick may have to say! 


If I was going to draw parallels I might refer back to The Bad Seed, a film so disturbing they had the entire cast of the film make a bow at the end, just so everyone would know that this evil little girl didn't really exist, the horrible things didn't really happen. Because we were terrified of that little girl and that horrific possibility.                                                                                       
 In fact, I think that's the point New York Times Review makes. The movie, the Times says, is"a variant on the bad-seed narrative that feeds on a primal (and seldom acknowledged) fear of children. What if they turn out wrong? What if we can’t love them? What if they refuse to love us? These worries are rarely dealt with in the child-rearing manuals, but they hover over modern nurseries like the ghosts of ancient fairy-tale curses."

And what is worse, what is more "demonic"? A child's refusal to love us? Or our inability to love them? That's just one of the questions the book asks; hopefully the film does too.

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