“The Universe does not notice or care. All of us are nothing.”
So starts the new short film, The Obliteration of the Chickens, by writer/director Izzy Lee. If you’ve seen her work, that aforementioned quote could be considered a recurrent theme. Or, perhaps a mission statement. However, this new film doesn’t want to freeze a rictus of horror on your face. This time, Izzy Lee wants you to share a sardonic belly laugh while the world burns into a cinder.
Since 2013, Lee has been creating a steady body of genre films that burst with social commentary and are steadfastly uncompromising in their execution. Her horror movies and thrillers comment on the abuse of power in religion and politics, sexual harassment, internet shaming, pedophilia, and cold, hard revenge.
Izzy Lee’s short films distinguish themselves with an admirably tight story structure. The narrative drive of her movies is straightforward and precise, just as it should be in the 10 to 20-minute short film format. Like the first Ramones album, Izzy Lee’s films are all killer, no filler.
Horror is an emotion first and a setting later. It’s the only genre that is directly named after an emotion, and that gives horror a universal appeal. It also makes each person’s experience and interpretation personal.
When it comes to horror movies, give me a good remake over a good sequel any day.
Horror films are self-contained magic acts, and sequels strip away all the mystery that drew you to the original movie in the first place by inevitably adding backstory and blowing a small magic act out of proportion. A remake, by its nature, has the potential to take a brilliant idea and resurrect it for new audiences to discover.
Notice that I stressed good remakes. When remakes are done for nothing but brand recognition, they are a fresh hell in themselves. But the rare ones that remake a decades-old film that got lost in the shuffle of time, and strives to update the central theme to show the brilliance of the original story, those are wonders to behold that become classics.