“The thing about stories, they never really end do they? We’re still telling the same stories we’ve always told, just with different names, faces.” A great meta quote that ends a probably overly meta scene (the WB mention is too much) but kicks off the film’s fascinating re-examination of narrative truth and fiction, identity and choice, binaries and in-betweens in an old but new world. As the plot picks up it stumbles though; the story mechanics are convoluted and the stakes feel strangely low.
The plot isn’t terribly compelling but the upside-down dynamics of the titular family more than make up for it. They’re kooky, crafty, and hilariously morbid (young Wednesday of course is a highlight: “Are they made from real Girl Scouts?”)–and a far cry from the harried suburban Mom & Dad of 90s VHS tapes are parents Gomez and Morticia who ooze romantic passion (“How long has it been since we’ve waltzed?” “Oh Gomez.. hours”). Endlessly quotable and wholly memorable (see the bloody school play).
Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute who became a serial killer. (IMDb)
Theron’s outstanding nuanced lead turn propels this gritty film to greatness, as she captures all of Aileen’s insecurity, brokenness, desperation, and rage with every word and motion–subtle or severe. The quick-paced story is just as raw and unrelenting (with a great soundtrack), tarnishing its own beautiful outcast romance with scenes of heartbreaking poverty and agonizingly tragic desperation and murder, boldly refusing to spoon-feed us comfortable themes, easy morals, or a happy ending.
A paranormal expert and his daughter bunk in an abandoned house populated by 3 mischievous ghosts and one friendly one. (IMDb)
The usual family film fare here (bumbling bad guys, slapstick humour, a bare-basics plot) is spiked with a couple of surprising expletives and a remarkably upfront approach to the subject of death. The refreshing dark comedic tone unfortunately isn’t given much story to work over, with an empty-feeling script that seems to fly by. Nevertheless, the ghosts are entertaining and look great (the two late additions aside) and make this film a decently satisfying watch.