Tag Archives: horror

The Depths of Isolation: A Review of “Entrance”

“Entrance” is not for everyone. It is a low-budget horror movie that is literal definition of ‘slow burn’. Very little appears to happen in the movie for most of its running time. I know some people who will be bored to tears by it. Happily, I’m not one of them.

The film follows ‘Suziey’, a young twenty-something living in LA as she goes about her normal life. When she mysteriously loses her beloved dog, a creeping anxiety begins to set in and she decides shes had enough of L.A. But on the night of her going-away party, Suziey finds out that leaving might not be so easy.

The film ultimately speaks about lonliness and isolation and the extremes some people will go to have a ‘connection’ with someone. As a Christian, I believe we live in a fallen, fractured world. As a consequence of our own selfish choices, and the choices those before us have made, we live isolated from everything.

The story of ‘The Fall’ in Genesis represents many things. When ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’ chose their own wisdom, rather than Gods’, a number of things happened. The ‘sin’ they committed fractured the relationships of everyone involved. The relationship between Adam and Eve broke down because they blamed each other for the mess they were now in. Both of them chose to hide from God and so the relationship between mankind and God was broken and the relationship between Adam and the ground was also fractured.

Alienation is at the heart of ‘The Fall’ narrative. When we choose sin, when we choose selfishness, we become isolated from ourselves, each other, God and creation. Most of the atrocities committed in this world can be attributed to this idea. In the Genesis story we see ourselves mirrored in the figures of Adam and Eve.

As human beings we long for connection. We need to be connected with other people. On a trip to Copenhagen, Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke of a “Ubuntu“. It is a South African word meaning, “You are only a human through other humans …through your relations to other humans.”

Our humanity is defined solely by our relationships with others. When we are isolated, we become less than human. The gospel, as I see it, is about the reclaiming of our humanity. Through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we can enter into a new humanity. Through Jesus, the fractured relationships can be restored.

“Entrance” is about what happens when we people try to find that connection themselves. It is about the distorted ways people try to meet those needs. The film is a reminder of the consequences of our sin. It a reminder of the world that we have created through our actions. The film paints a bleak picture of humanity; a bleak picture of the modern city.

But there is another story. There is another city. A city where God dwells with his people. A city where everything has been renewed and restored.

Let us live as citizens of that city and tell others about it.

 

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God and Jigsaw: A Comparative Study

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1IwmygKN6c

I just finished watching Saw 7. The final chapter in the successful ‘torture porn‘ or ‘gorno’ franchise.

I’m not here to give a review of that film. There’s better people for that. What I do want to do is make a comparison between the serial killer Jigsaw and the Christian God.

Let me say a few things before I delve into it:

1) I believe that is is good to explore and discussion films with young people. I know young people watch the Saw films. Rather than simply saying, “Don’t watch it”, I want to find ways of exploring the themes  and characters of the films and comparing and contrasting them with the themes and characters that we find in the Bible.

2)I’m not saying that God and Jigsaw are the same or that God can even be summed up by a character in a film or story. What I am intending to do is to

make comparisons that help young people explore faith in culture 9and vice versa)

3)These are initial thoughts and have not been critiqued in depth by myself as yet

With those things said, let’s plunge ourselves into the murky and morally bankrupt world of the Saw franchise.

For those unfamiliar with the Saw films and the character of Jigsaw, here is a summarised excerpt from wikipedia:

Tobin Bell, who portrays Jigsaw, has been the ...

Image via Wikipedia

“Jigsaw, introduced in the series as John Kramer,[1] was a civil engineer dying from an inoperable frontal lobe tumor that had developed from colon cancer. After a failed suicide attempt, Kramer experienced a new respect for his own life and set out to force others through deadly trials to help them appreciate their own lives by testing their will to live through self-sacrifice. The tests were typically symbolic of what Jigsaw perceived as a flaw in each person’s moral character or life. The Jigsaw name was given by the media for his practice of cutting puzzle pieces out of the flesh of those who failed their ordeals and perished, symbolic of their missing survival instincts.”

Two comparisons between Jigsaw and the Christian understanding of God

1) Jigsaw offers salvation to his subjects

2)Jigsaw takes risks.

Let’s look at these in a little more detail.

1)Jigsaw offers salvation to his subjects. That is the crux of his plan. He wants people to be like him. To have a new found respect for life. But to do this they must lose something of their self. They must die to their old ways. You can see where I’m going with this.

Now, let me make clear that I’m not saying God is like this. God, as I understand it, does not put us through horrific trials in order for us to find life. He may use these things that happen to us to weave potential good out of them but that is not the same thing.

Jigsaw wants these people to see the errors of their ways and repent. Only by truly repenting, can they do the things that he asking of them and liberate themselves.

At this time, Christians celebrate Easter. The death and resurrection of God. Rather than us going through torture to find salvation, God goes through the torture. God dies that we might have life. Deeply, deeply humbling.

The cross, like Jigsaw’s torture chamber, is a symbol of hope. It symbolizes the possibility of new life.

2) Jigsaw takes risks.  Jigsaws victims might not find salvaation. His efforts may be, in the end, like chasing after the wind. They might not have the strength or the courage to die to themselves. As a result, the Saw films are overflowing with corpses.

It is my belief that God takes risks. He is the ultimate risk taker. On the cross, God gives his life as a ransom for many. His hope is that all will be reconciled to Him through his actions. Whether you hold to universalism, or annihilation or a traditional understanding of Hell, we can all testify to the fact that God took a risk.

And not just on the cross. From the very beginning of time, God has taken risks. the Bible is full of stories of God’s interaction with mankind. It’s full of stories of the risks he takes.

In the end, it is obvious that Jigsaw and the Christian God are not the same. But there are themes in the movie that resonate. That can be explored with young people.

I’m not saying you should get your youth group together and watch a Saw film (although that would be interesting).

But what I am saying is this. Don’t ignore the fact that young people watch these types of film. But on the other hand don’t just say you shouldn’t and leave it at that.

Instead, do what God did and still does. Take a risk. Interact with him. Discuss it with them.

You might be surprised by the results.

ManHunt 2 and a question of censorship

I got my new macbook pro today. Yeah! Whilst I waited for it to move all my settings from my mac pro and install leopard, I had a gander at the entertainment news and spotted the story below.The BBC reported today that the BBFC have won the right to fight the UK release of the videogame Manhunt 2.

You may already know that the BBFC banned the game outright in June. Rockstar, the makers of the game, won an appeal earlier this month stating that the contents were ‘within the bounds established by other 18+ rated entertainment’.

Rockstar had hoped to have the film out by Christmas but now will have to wait until after the court proceedings on or before January 31st 2008 (that’s if it gets released)Is it right to censor? The prosecution states that even though the game would be rated 18 it would still get into the hands of minors.Surely that’s an issue that should be taken with the parents and retailers.

My mum let me watch my first horror film when I was 5. Freddy Kruegar (Nightmare on Elm Street) was my childhood hero when I was six. I do not agree that it probably wasn’t the best thing for me as I became in some way, addicted to these types of violent horror movies. But did I become a serial killer?

The issue is too big for my little blog but I wanted to write my thoughts down. I believe censorship, in any situation, is wrong. That has consequences sure but where then would you draw the line? The Chinese government sensor news. We would all agree that is wrong but why should a group of people tell us what is right and what is wrong?

Isn’t that why God gave us freewill?