2010s movies

Bunny the Killer Thing

Foreign horrors often benefit from cultural unfamiliarity. Bunny the Killer Thing (2015) is one such film. Not that it’s unwatchable by any means, but it carries with it a kind of societal advantage of not being set on these shores, upping the interest level that might not otherwise have been there.

A raunchy Finnish horror/comedy (with English and Finnish breezily interspersed), Bunny the Killer Things brings the fun + gore, while suffering from laughs lost in translation. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t an interesting viewing exercise, if only to get a better understanding of Finnish culture — one that’s more holistic than you might glean from watching an NHL game.

Tuomas, a pant-pissing hipster whose face is bisected by a very punchable mustache, has a rich uncle who’s offered him use of his fancy cabin in the woods. Yes, this is a cabin in the woods movie, replete with the trappings of Finnish culture (it’s got saunas, and clear spirits are the go-to beverage choice).

En route to their wintry getaway, Tuomas and friends come across a car that’s broken down, driven by three, somewhat seedy Brits…however it’s not one of THOSE kinds of movies.

Back in town, a mad scientist has injected an unwilling patient with a serum, and he’s busted loose from his confines possessing….not er, superhuman strength but large furry rabbit physicality (while retaining some parts of his human anatomy intact, for some, shall we say “interesting” POV shots).

This hare/humanoid thing escapes into the dark woods, then goes after the Finns, as well as their newfound British compatriots, and they have to band together to tackle the sicko bunny.

This sounds like a pretty straight-up creature feature, but this is bawdy stuff. And even if this is Nordic, the tone is really all over the map.

The leads are dynamite though, particularly Jari Manninen as Mise, an N-bomb dropping bigot who soon becomes fast drinking friends with Nigerian-Brit Tim (Orwi Manny Ameh).  Their relationship is sweetly unexpected. The female leads are great too, including Veera W. Vilo as the conniving Nina, and her unrequited love interest Sara (Enni Ojutkangas).

Park your brain in neutral and go with it.

*** (out of 5)

[For those who are interested, on Episode 38 of the Really Awful Movies Podcast, we chat about the killer bunny feature, Night of the Lepus]

24 Hours to Die

24 Hours to Die sounds like a Rainier Wolfcastle shoot-em-up. Weird, as the original title for this 2016 Irish horror is less parody bait and more accurate to boot — Captive.

Whatever you call it, it’s a Saw retread but not nearly as sharp. Saw, for all its flaws — the annoying green-blue hues,  the wallowing in degradation — presented interesting ethical dilemmas (How far would you go in the interest of self- and familial preservation?) and examined, in gross-out fashion, human examples of the psychology of learned helplessness.

Jigsaw masterminded a deadly game for his victims to play out, in a kind of Trolley Problem* thought experiment come to life (minus the saving others rather than just yourself bit that made that one so interesting for ethicists to study).

Saw is a polarizing film to be sure, but there’s no denying its influence in jump-starting its own sub-genre.

In 24 Hours to Die, the twist is that, rather than a detail-oriented, practically omniscient killer offing everyone, there’s a virus.

As IMDb describes it: “12 strangers are held against their will as each of them must go along with the rules if they are to get the cure for a killer virus which infects them all.”

It’s a concrete bunker, and each of the victims’ wake up times are staggered, so that they occasionally turn on one another for lack of any other reasonable explanation as to how they got there. The captives are put through a series of tasks in order to procure a cure, with the added benefit of a countdown clock to make sure things zip along with some semblance of suspense.

We’ve reviewed a few “how the hell did I end up here?” movies on this site, the superior Open Grave and Awaken spring to mind, and it’s rich territory to mine, a nice way to disorient a viewer as the plot unspools.

In 24 Hours to Die / Captive, there’s no investment in any of the protagonists, as they’re backstory-less, save for a brief explanation of their occupations, as they try and determine a reason they’ve all been subjected to this scenario. This is followed by a lot of yelling at one another, and a bunch of “why are you doing this to me?” and “I just wanna see my family!” cliches.


*1/2 (out of 5)

*In the Trolley Problem, there’s a runaway train and you’re beside a lever. If you: 
a) Do nothing, the trolley kills five people on the main track (passively) allowing carnage to occur. 
b) Pull the lever, you divert the trolley onto the side track, (actively) killing one person.