Werewolves have always gotten the shit end of the stick in the realm of monsters. They’re not as sexy or glamorous as vampires. They don’t have that haunting creepy element that ghosts have. And though I would argue that lycanism has a certain element of possession to it, they aren’t as threateningly sinister as demons are.
(I mean here he looks pretty threatening and sinister but you get what I mean)
Yeah, werewolves are usually seen as the mindless underdogs (pardon the pun) that don’t usually get the shine they deserve, but every once in a while, there comes a book or movie that does our canine creatures some justice. I think I’ve found a good contender for 2018 in Good Manners (As Boas Maneiras).
Though I only found out about the Brazilian horror film yesterday on Blackhorrormovies.com, I’ve already learned some interesting details about its plot and production.
- It’s Genre Blending.
On the IMBD page for Good Manners, the film is billed as a Fantasy, Horror, and Musical. That’s right folks. Musical.
This gave me a little pause at first. How can it be a horror movie if people are bursting out in song? The reasons for songs in musicals are to express the immense joy of a moment or to break the tension in an uncomfortable moment, and horror/thrillers are supposed to be all about rising, tension-filled, uncomfortable moments with no break until the end.
Here’s why this might work.
Though the concept may seem ridiculous, the execution of this episode is anything but. Between the heart-wrenching lyrics, the emotional reveals of the songs, and the pretty good voices of the actors, the episode was a great success. I think part of the reason why was because this episode was using the musical genre to do the opposite of what the shows season four-episode Hush did. Instead of silencing our characters who couldn’t communicate their feelings through words, they forced them to reveal their true emotions in song.
I don’t know if this is how Good Manners will incorporate the musical element into the movie but it’s definitely worth giving it a shot.
Two: Genre-blending works. I won’t go into too much detail here but just think about this. The first person who thought to put chocolate and peanut butter together probably thought, “Hey, these two things might not match but let me give it a try anyway,” and now you have Reese’s Peanut butter cups. Thankful, aren’t you?
- It has a Female Director.
Yes, Juliana Rojas is sharing her director’s chair with a dude, but the fact that this movie that seems to have themes of friendship and motherhood has a woman in the director’s role is a huge win. They also wrote the movie together so that’s another good sign because sometimes the vision of the writer can get lost with the director. I usually have more faith in a film if I see that the same person that wrote it also directed it. There’s less room for error.
- There’s a Black Woman In It.
I won’t pretend to know much about Brazil’s race problems, but I know they exist. I know that the country has had a big problem with representing its Afro-Brazilian population even though they make up the majority of its population.
Horror as a genre has also been horrendous in its representation of people of color. There was even a Hollywood Exec who said that “Black Women don’t watch horror movies.”
Well then, I’m a fucking mythical creature and so are some of my closest friends because we all love the genre and are avid consumers of it, even though we are so rarely represented in it.
All of this is why I was pleasantly shocked to see Isabél Zuaa playing one of the lead roles as Clara.
- It Has the Potential to Be a Really Good Werewolf Movie.
As I said in the beginning, werewolf movies are always getting shafted. Either they’re mindless beasts, the lacky of some bigger villain, or they share the spotlight with vampires who are the pretty, shiny monsters that everyone wants to be (Not me. I’d choose werewolf every day of the month and twice on the full moon). Very rarely do these movies examine the depth and humanity of what it is like to carry a monster within you.
There are only a handful of movies that I think are grade A werewolf films that delve into the power of carrying that burden along with the tragedy of it.
I have high hopes for Good Manners. I think it could possibly explore many rich and interesting themes along with being a good horror movie.
Bonus: The last few seconds of the trailer are what sold me. I literally yelled out, “Fuck Yes!”
Check out the trailer and let me know what you think!
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