Skip to main content

Oxford Murders

Spoilers, typos, and bad grammar ahead. You've been warned.

When I added The Oxford Murders to my list, I couldn’t remember if I’d seen it already or not. Then I realized that the cover does look somewhat like The Skulls (which I DO KNOW I’ve seen). Writing that here probably makes me sound like an ass because the version of the cover I grabbed for this post VERY CLEARLY does not look like The Skulls cover - so you'll just have to trust me on this one. Okay - on to a review.

The basics go like this:

An American student (played by Elija Wood - we'll come back to this in a moment) moves to England to study under a famous mathematician (played by the AMAZING John Hurt). This plan goes slightly awry when he realizes the home he's staying in is hiding a dysfunctional family situation that soon turns into a murder. It seems the murder is just the first in a string of serial killings. He and the mathematician become entangled in an attempt to solve the murder. Despite how hard the filmmakers tried to build a web of coincidences that would cast enough doubt to make things seem conspiratorial, any shrewd mystery fan will have this one solved before the movie really even gets going.

Doing a little poking around, it seems that The Skulls and The Oxford Murders have something else in common: they are equally disliked on the internet (where all things are known and true, of course.) Can't say that I really disagree here with the internet but, I will say that I didn't absolutely hate The Oxford Murders - I actually found it sort of charming and a little endearing. Solidly in the plus column, the cast is immensely talented.

Elija Wood is strangely likable while being painfully awkward and sort of… out of place in every world he falls into. He has this (natural?) way of speaking in an almost Shakespearean rhythm. I think he's actually a better actor than we may give him credit for. That's not to say he should be up for an Oscar or anything, but his performance certainly isn't the biggest flaw in the movie.

The biggest problem I ran up against is that I think the director’s history of making black comedies kind of “taints” this movie; there are these strange moments that seem like they may on the verge of turning into a joke but then come up just short of it.

I suspect that my fellow movie-blogger friend at I Watched It On Purpose would loving call this one a “British stereotype mystery;" if you were to imagine the absolute, by the book, definitively perfect British, who-done-it story loaded with every trope and character - Oxford Murders is what you would have imagined. Some reviews call it boring - I think the word they were looking for is actually “pedestrian.”

One of the truly weird tropes (or maybe it's just a cultural thing) that gets me about these British who-done-its is that cops just BELIEVE people when they claim to be innocent AND they seem to accept that coincidences are just that. It makes me think, "Columbo would never accept that shit." And then I wonder, "how the hell do they EVER solve ANY of their cases?"

I won't actually end by trying to sway you one way or the other on watching this one - but I will say it's not really a great match for the horror crowd. Folks with a hankering for an uncomplicated murder mystery, on the other hand, may enjoy it.

Watch it if: you're out of episodes of Miss Fisher to watch. (Also - why is that series over? I want to watch it all day, every day, for the rest of my life.)

You can watch The Oxford Murders trailer here:


You can pick up a copy of The Oxford Murders here:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Witch (2015)

You know the drill - there's ALWAYS spoilers. Don't want the movie ruined for you, come back after you've seen it.

Also - I'm still without an editor - typos and bad grammar await you!

I keep hoping that the cultural obsession with zombies will end; literally every other damn movie that comes 'round seems to feature some sort of shambling, undead being bent on devouring the weak flesh of regular humans. Once upon a time, zombies have have been used as a metaphor for the blind consumerism created by our capitalist society, or the perceived depletion of resources by immigrants, or even the ravages of time and disease on our frail bodies. Now it seems that the deeper social commentary has been lost as audiences mindlessly consume "zombie fiction" in an attempt to keep up with trends. (How very meta - a film buddy of mine commented on this assessment!) All of this is just a sideways rant, leading up to my actual point: it seems that zombie may actually be lo…

Rebuttal: 17 Disturbing Horror Movies You Will Never Watch Again

When I'm not watching movies, I'm reading about movies. I stumble across all kinds of articles, blog posts, book excerpts, etc. in my quest to absorb as much movie knowledge as possible.

Now, I'm snotty and loud-mouthed and opinionated but I'd never begrudge another human their opinion. Seriously. You're absolutely welcome to have any opinion about any thing you want. However, I must warn you, if I think your opinion is stupid, I'm absolutely going to say so.

I've recently stumbled on an article completely brimming with so many idiotic opinions that I'm actually compelled to craft a response.

Here's the gist of the original article: there are some horror movies out there that are so disturbing, you'll only ever want to watch them once. I've have taken her original list and refuted her claims without pulling her entire article over. You can read the original article here.

Let's start at the beginning, with her opening statement:
"Hor…

The Babadook

Spoilers and typos! Enjoy.

We often look back nostalgically on childhood, envious of the joy we felt and the boundless imaginations we possessed. How conveniently we forget the other side of that coin: as children, we experience a depth of terror our adult selves continually try to recreate for cathartic entertainment.

When we try to bring those childhood fears to life on the screen, we often end up with movies about "things that go bump in the night," which is a somewhat superficial approach. While it does provide an opportunity for a supernatural experience, it ignores the root of our fear: the unknown. As children, we lack life experience. We lack nuance. We lack understanding. Not knowing creates in us fear. Yes, we fear what lurks in the darkness but we also fear the adult world because we do not understand how it works. The Babadook works to exploit both those fears.

The short story: a widowed mother of a young boy experiences a mental breakdown and tries to murder he…