Beyond the Hills

Beyond the Hills ★★★

I had two problems here. 1. Repetition without enlightenment. The middle chunk was just delaying the inevitable. Maybe all of these permutations actually happened but there's such thing as artistic licence and I could have used one or two or three fewer scenes of the one girl trying to persuade the other girl to come with her while the other girl refuses. This scene happens like five times in a row. I get it, move on. 2. The too obvious nature of the criticisms of religion. Early and often we see just how inadequate this particular branch of Christianity is when dealing with modern problems. Heck, I understood the thesis about 10 minutes into the movie. Then it was just another 2 hours and 20 minutes to go until I continued to understand just how horrible Orthodox Catholicism is. Had I gone into this film knowing I'd have the same problems I had with Spring Breakers I'd have probably given it a pass. Not that the rest of the film isn't well made. There are a few breathtaking scenes full of tension and horror. The rest is so rote, though, with a bunch of stock characters saying stock things. I understand that monasteries aren't exactly hotbeds of wildness, but I've seen Black Narcissus. There are nuns that are more than just completely pious spewers of religious dogma. Here only the two main girls are of any real interest. I enjoyed how the nun friend never really spoke above a meek whisper while the ordinary friend did a lot of upset staring. This movie might have been served by sticking a little closer to the horror movie tropes it invokes in its best scenes. Most importantly, an editor would sand down any bumpy edges into a faster package. This movie is too long for what it's doing and saying.

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