My friends say funny and interesting things all the time. So why can’t anybody in a mumblecore movie ever be witty or put together a sentence that’s worth listening to?
We’re not supposed to call it mumblecore. All the mumblecore people and their critic fans will tell you that there is no such thing and it’s a reductive label. They’re just making, like, movies. But this aesthetic - this fucking aesthetic - is too widespread and recognizable to NOT be a thing. Like pornography you know it when you see it: 20somethings, often playing characters named after themselves, delivering stilted and wooden improv dialogue in movies that are handheld, set in Brooklyn or Silverlake and that are about largely nothing. Ennui is often a really major theme. Everybody’s white.
Mumblegore is the new wave of horror, using these tedious mumblecore stylings to make tedious horror movies that are laughably called ‘slow burns.’ A slow burn would be somthing that is, you know, BURNING - ie, has demonstrable forward momentum of some sort. Ti West is the godfather of this type of horror movie, so it was fitting that he recently intro’ed a screening of mumblegore borefilm Entrance here in LA.
Entrance is essentially a decent fifteen minute short film welded on to 70 other useless minutes of shit. Those ifteen minutes - as is usually the case in these ‘no burn’ movies, the final minutes - are technically proficient and interesting, which makes the whole movie so much more irritating. Directors Patrick Horvath and Dallas Richard Hallam flat out pissed me off by proving they knew how to frame a shot and what pacing actually is... after 70 minutes of crummy shots and boring scenes without dialogue or purpose.
A girl named Suziey (what a special unique snowflake spelling) lives in LA where she is an automaton of some kind, a human-appearing being without personality or definable traits beyond her daily routine - which we see repeated an inordinate number of times. She has a roommate and a dog and a job and a nice apartment. It takes the film about 45 minutes to feel like this information has been comfortably established, so it keeps repeating it again and again and again.
Then her dog disappears. And suddenly she decides to move and her roommate throws her a going away party. This, by the way, is THIRD ACT material I’m disclosing, but I don’t know how else to give you a sense of what the film’s ultimate goal is since the movie doesn’t get around to being about anything until 65 minutes into the runtime.
The party is the final part of the film, and it would work totally on its own. Not a single character at the party has been previously established in any real or recognizable way anyway, so there’s literally no need to bother with the first 60 or 70 minutes of the film. A better film would have established these characters in some way - any real way - so that when the party gets slashery the kills (all of which happen offscreen) would have some sort of impact at all.
If you’re interested in seeing the dead bodies of Silverlake hipsters (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), you’ll enjoy the final minutes of Entrance. If you’re a person who holds stubbornly to the idea that characters in movies should be in some way definable or interesting or that narrative should have... well, narrative, then Entrance will just frustrate you. The bad actors delivering clumsy dialogue (when there’s even dialogue. I believe 20 minutes of the film is spent watching the lead actress Suziey Block do her hair and feed her dog) weigh the whole thing down too much. Jump into Entrance at the end and imagine how better filmmakers would have expanded that sequence into a satisfying movie.