Horror movies make death easy. Lots of people find them hard to watch, of course, but they ultimately make the loss of life a consumable commodity – with the swipe of a machete, the slash of a knife, the plunge of a handful of razors, humans expire. A series of these makes for a fast-moving popcorn picture.from A.O Scott's review of The Hobbit
Even the most gratuitous cases are relatively breezy. The pièce de résistance of the bled-dry torture porn genre, the Saw franchise, featured a series of hideously inventive, Rube Goldberg-esque deaths that, per the guiding hand of serial killer Jigsaw, generally took just a minute to carry out (with, say, another minute or so of setup). A great way to take the edge off extremeness is to make it mercifully brief. Mass murders are common in entertainment but not so much in the typical American life – those of us privileged to a peaceful existence can write off an eyeful of carnage with, "It's only a movie."
Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or-winning Amour is not a conventional horror movie, but it is among the most brutal pieces of cinema I have ever experienced. No heads roll, no blood flies, there isn't even a sense of suspense in this French-language film – just an elderly woman who decays before our eyes, while hers slowly drain of life via a performance from Emmanuelle Riva that is among the very best this or any year has offered.
Let's try our own with the trailer for Pacific Rim.In “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J. R. R. Tolkien’s first Middle-earth fantasy novel, Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) sets out with the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and a posse of dwarfs to battle a fearsome dragon. [Spoiler alert] they do not kill the dragon, although [spoiler alert] they eventually will, within the next 18 months or so, because [spoiler alert] this “Hobbit,” which is [migraine alert] 170 minutes, is the first installment in [film critic suicide-watch alert] a trilogy.