Death Proof (2007)
Director(s): Quentin Tarantino
Writer(s): Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Kurt Russell, Zoë Bell, Rosario Dawson
Alright, so let’s get this part out of the way; is Quentin Tarantino’s love letter to exploitation flicks, Death Proof even a horror flick?
Well, I hear ya but here’s my take; you have a guy methodically choosing ladies to kill in his car by driving like a maniac. I get that one could say this is more of a action thriller but it’s the fact that the main antagonist stalks their prey like a predator and kills their victims in an entertainingly grotesque fashion while constantly increasing the tension throughout the entire flick seals the deal for me that this is a bonafide HORROR gem!
Now we’re all on board, let’s appreciate that Quentin Tarantino was able to sneak in a legit macabre entry while still keeping his style in tact like all great directors. I mean, going through his list of epic movies would be useless (especially for this enlightened crowd) but let’s just all agree that there is a certain…hmm, I’m sure there’s a much better way to put this but for me, I’ll say that Tarantino just oozes COOL. His dialog? Cool. His soundtracks? Cool. His stylistic shots and colors? Cool. I mean, every person that is into the art of cinema acknowledges his contribution to the universe of film, love him or hate him, he has made an undeniable impact. That’s why whenever the man dabbles into the horror realm, whether it be writer, actor or in the case of Death Proof, writer/director, I’m always ready with arms wide open (eew, Creed).
What makes this movie pure magic is that Tarantino iconic style that feels like it’s paying homage to something old but definitely giving it the adrenaline of something new. Kurt Russell is just a gem playing an underrated slasher (for real, it’s a horror flick folks, get over it), Stuntman Mike, a former Hollywood stuntman who gets his jollies by killing ladies via driving his car like a lunatic while he’s safely strapped in, but the victims are thrown all over the place until they are nothing but a bloody splatter! The kills in this flick are already so damn impressive with how unique and surprisingly gory they are since Tarantino would have already gotten away with making this a great horror movie with the characters and style alone, but no, the man decided if he’s making a slasher movie, then he’s going to make a GOD DAMN slasher movie and you end up with broken bones, scraped off faces, explosions all while also enjoying some great music, some SMOKIN’ women, a lap dance (yeah, they definitely went for that exploitation style) and a message that celebrates BAD-ASS WOMEN.
That’s right, although horror is often known for celebrating the resilience and spirit of tough women, with the endless amount of “Final Girls” that have beaten the odds (and the killer) but this flick takes that concept with Tarantino’s style and what you end up having a pack of badass women that transition form being prey to predator. The transition is done beautifully with the kind of dialog and style that makes you want to cheer on screen as the ladies start torturing Stuntman Mike utilizing his style of brutality. The amount of adrenaline throughout the last chunk of this flick makes you giddy with the mix of blatant violence and great story telling. You appreciate how good of a director Tarantino is because even when you have an idea where the story is going, he makes a swerve that you appreciate but then still happens to surprise you with its execution. There are times in this flick where I gasped but I also remember moments where I was laughing hysterically because of the performance (Russell really milked some of these scenes and I mean that in the BEST ways possible).
I read that the next Tarantino flick will be the last and although I know it’s not going to be a horror flick, in a way, the kind for brutality that Tarantino has in his action scenes always have a nice sprinkle of the macabre. It’s not enough for him for the hero to kill the bad people but he always does it in a way where you start asking yourself if it’s too much for the scene but damn, it’s so damn cool, who gives a flying f*ck? The man is demented in the best kind of ways and he sprinkles that madness throughout all his movies so fingers crossed that his last film will also have some sort of scene where even for a moment, you know Tarantino loves his horror flicks and to that, I shall always salute him as a film maker.
Life is FAR more interesting when we take interest in things that scare us.