Sex & horror sell: A Girl + a Guy, and A Classic Horror Story

Published July 21, 2021, 8:53 PM

by Philip Cu Unjieng

Today, we have reviews of Erik Matti’s youth-oriented sex drama, and an Italian film that references their giallo era and more contemporary horror films.

A Girl + a Guy (GFilms) – Erik Matti has always been one of our more interesting film directors, knowing how to reinvent himself time and time again. In what he’s been interviewed as calling an attempt to understand the social milieu of his Gen-Z children, he’s come up with a new film that can be viewed on GFilms, that he calls a romantic sex drama. He feels that the rom-com tag doesn’t aptly describe his film and he’s right. While there is comedy, our strongest takeaway watching the film would be its brisk, energetic, at times humorous, approach to presenting sex scenes. And I put the ‘s’ in scenes to highlight the proliferation of these sequences. Especially in the first half of the film, they’re the fast and furious aspect that we can’t help but notice. The film stars two relative newcomers/unknowns – Alexa Miro and Rob Gomez.

The fact that they’re ‘baguhan’ actors help create a documentary feel, as Matti employs multiple film techniques, animation, dream sequences, and what have you to keep us visually involved and committed. The downside to this though is that when the two protagonists are asked to do dialogue and ‘play’ their characters, their lack of acting chops become apparent. And there is a rather sudden change in pace and tonality when the two finally meet, halfway through the film. Still, if you consider how Sex/Life, and last year’s 365 Days, lorded over the streaming services, then it’s obvious that sex still sells, even more so in a pandemic context, and I can see this film being a very smart move to get subscribers on to this Globe platform. I wouldn’t personally consider this as one of Matti’s best, but it will find an audience.

A Classic Horror Story (Netflix Italy) – This was one of the hyped-up film projects that Netflix’s publicists were crowing about earlier in the year. Coming from Italy, and obviously influenced by that country’s giallo era of the 1970’s, and by more current films such as Cabin In the Woods, and Midsommar, there was talk about the smartness of the script, and the masterful tension-building. It opens as a young pregnant girl is talking to her mother on the phone about getting an abortion. She’s then picked up by a van, as she’s car-pooling to get to her home town. The driver is a budding film director, and chronicling the trip, while on board are a young tourist couple, and an older doctor. Classic horror film opening, right?

That’s the set-up, and of course, there’s a road accident and the carpool crowd wake up with the vehicle in a deserted field with no road in sight, and a sinister-looking, uninhabited house the only sign of civilization. Pretty soon, all these strange occurrences crop up, and we’re in familiar territory, with hints of a cult operating in the area, triggered by a local legend. It’s the meta-aspect of the script that caught the attention of most reviewers, how it references classic horror films, and has characters saying things like, ‘By now, in any horror film, you’d get….’ It’s satire and parody with respect, it’s astute and smart, but you can’t help but also feel it’s all been done before – Cabin being the prime example. There’s strong, enthusiastic acting on the part of the main cast, Director Roberto de Feo knows his genre, and the title alone gives you the film’s intent – but it’s not ground-breaking.