On The Couch #35: Shutter Island

In honor of Halloween, all of October’s On The Couch movies are going be creepy, kooky and all-together spooky. This is going to be hard work for me, as I’ve never really been a fan of horror movies; I’ll take a good comedy over a good horror movie any time, mainly because comedies don’t give me nightmares. But a theme’s a theme, so away we go…

Shutter Island isn’t a horror movie, but it has a lot of the traits of a modern horror movie (creepy children, unsteady camera work) while avoiding the most common pitfall among modern horror movies (bad screenwriting). Shutter Island is written very well, and like The Usual Suspects, benefits from multiple viewings (or in my case, the two featurettes included on the Blu-Ray that serve the same purpose as watching the movie again, but for a quarter of the time required).

If we didn’t finish watching Shutter Island at 1 AM, I would have been very tempted to immediately start it up again from the beginning, and really, what’s a better compliment than that?

Back to creepy children for a minute. Is there any horror movie cliché that still manages to frighten more than a ghost-like child who says something ominous is a high pitched voice? I don’t care how much this horror film trope has been overused, creepy children still freak me out. I saw a very pale kid with blue lips asleep on his mother’s lap on the subway a few weeks ago and I was convinced he was either going to a.) dart straight up and say something ominous right before plunging our subway car into the depths of hell or b.) try to eat the other passengers, zombie-style. Either way, I was scared. Mothers of New York City: leave the horror effects to Hollywood! Feed your kids some fruits and vegetables so that they’ll stop looking like they’re demonically possessed or like flesh-hungry zombies.

Creepy old people with stringy hair are almost as freaky as creepy kids.

Leonardo DiCaprio shows in Shutter Island why he is now my favorite actor. Because of the movies I’ve seen him in this year: Shutter Island, Blood Diamond and Inception, I’m willing to give Leonardo DiCaprio a free pass for his next few movies. I won’t need any marketing other than his name, the title and the release date and I’m there.

Shutter Island has a really slow build. Julie, Bryan and I got together to watch it on Friday and not all of us made it through the whole movie awake. The problem with falling asleep during the slower parts of Shutter Island though is that once Shutter Island pays off, it pays off big and quickly, with a lot happening in a very small amount of time, which makes explaining what happened to your sleepy companion a bit difficult. Thank goodness for the featurette in the special features, which can double as cliff notes for anyone who takes a side trip to Slumber Island.

Slumber Island: Not a creepy kid in sight.