No, this isn't a joke. I'm serious. These two movies combined doesn't result in a punchline. If Gaslight (1944) and Twilight (2008) were to have a baby, you'd get a movie called Innocence which came out last summer. The DVD was released today, March 3rd, 2015.
To be honest, this movie was much more Twilight than Gaslight, but it still has elements of both.
Here's the premise...
Bella, sorry, Beckett Warner has to move to a new school after conflicts at home mess with her head. Once there, Beckett lives solely with her dad, Charlie, I mean Miles. And she meets a good looking guy named Edward, whoops, she meets Tobey... and then weird things happen and shit hits the fan...
Specifically, the school is called Hamilton Prep High School. She went surfing with her mom. Her mom had an aneurysm and died while surfing. Her dad shuffled her off to Hamilton Prep, a hoity-toity school for young girls that doesn't take in a lot of students. Tobey Crawford's mom is involved in the school's "book club" (if you didn't get the innuendo there, it's not actually a book club). What comes next is so weird I still don't understand how anyone just accepted it all.
For those of you wondering where the parallel to Gaslight is... let me stop there. Have any of you actually seen Gaslight? Uh-huh. No? Alright. Here we go...
Gaslight is a great movie that I highly recommend. If you get the chance, watch it. If you study psychology, you'll probably watch or learn about it at some point in your life. If you don't, you should still watch it immediately.
Moving on. It's about a woman named Paula, who at a young age lost her famous opera-singing aunt in a horrendous murder. She moved to Italy to study opera to follow in her aunt's footsteps. While there, she falls in love with and marries a man named Gregory Anton. They move back to London, into the same house her aunt died in (freaky, right?). Well, it gets weirder...
Pictures go missing. The gaslight dims at night. She hears strange noises when she's home alone. She slowly goes insane and her husband slowly becomes a turd. Okay, that last part did seem a little rude, but if you see the movie, you'll get it.
Now for the parallel between Gaslight and Innocence. Beckett starts hearing and seeing things. Now, the things she sees are a little less grounded than what Paula experiences and venture far more into the supernatural and unrealistic. Nonetheless, the two think they're going insane.
Where Paula follows her loving husband's instructions, Beckett sees the school psychiatrist and starts taking drugs to hopefully help with her bad dreams and everything.
Essentially, both Paula and Beckett are being convinced that they're insane when they're not.
Paula's husband was the one who killed her aunt and was looking in the attic for a famous piece of jewelry all this time. Therefore Paula heard the noises. As for the gaslight, it would dim because he'd turn one on in the attic which would draw power (the gas) from the rest of the house.
And Beckett in Innocence is convinced she's insane by the school's cult of evil lady witch/vampire people because they want to kill her and drink her pure (virgin) blood. I know. It's seriously messed up.
The parallels go even further than just surface level...
Beckett is just as useless as Bella. Alright, that's kind of harsh, but I'm sorry - it's true. She really isn't a likable character. She never stands up for herself. She doesn't fight back. And despite the fact that the school nurse clearly is only getting it on with her dad because she wants to get close to her, she says nothing to him about it.
Now this may be the angry female with a black-belt in me coming out right now, but come on! Grow a pair, Beckett. Do something with your life!
Okay, that was definitely harsh.
I'm sorry. She is depressed. Her mom did just die, after all. Some girl, named Sunday, she met that day ends up committing suicide, too. Sunday almost squished her when she jumped from the roof of Hamilton Prep nonetheless. And she only has a grand total of two friends, Tobey and this girl named Jen Dunham.
But that doesn't excuse her lack of action. Also like Paula, who just accepts her husband's diagnosis of her insanity without questioning it even in the slightest. He's no doctor. He's an opera instructor (yeah, he was her opera instructor).
Death surrounds these three movies (obviously). Paula's aunt dies. Bella... you know Bella's story, and Beckett has her mom's death, and then Sunday's suicide, and then two other girls who died a long time ago in an "accident" to deal with.
The "hero" doesn't do terribly much until the end, either. I really don't want to talk about Twilight, so if you haven't seen it, please ask someone else.
Paula's hero is the town's cop. He suspects something about the house that he can't figure out until the very end. And that's when he saves her. But even then, he didn't really do much. The bad guy just screwed up.
Tobey doesn't know anything's wrong. When Beckett goes to tell him what's going on, he doesn't believe her and thinks she's joking. It isn't until he sees some pretty incriminating evidence that he realizes she was right all along. Even then, he does nothing but show up. Oh, and he made it so the "book club" couldn't use her anymore.
Innocence, like any child, surpasses its parents in its own half brilliance
If you want me to talk about Twilight, you're going to have to pay me. It's not going to happen. But Gaslight falls short because Paula doesn't stand up for herself until she realizes she's not insane. She doesn't try and prove her sanity, she just accepts her husband's explanation.
Beckett, though, is different than Bella and Paula.
I'll give her a pass for being bland and everything because her mom died and she's probably depressed. I'll also accredit that to a low budget and a poor script, of course.
What makes her great is that she's willing to change. She gets her belly button pierced as a sign of a rebellion even.
Once it gets too far, once she puts all the pieces together, once she knows what's going on, she does something about it.
She ran away from home. She knew she couldn't live with her dad anymore. She knew he was corrupted by the school's nurse, Pamela. She knew that the "book club" couldn't be trusted anymore. She knew that she had to turn to Tobey. She knew she was running out of people and friends to trust.
And then when everything went bad, when her life was coming to a close, she fought. She didn't fight well, but she fought. That's far more than Bella or Paula.
That picture is an awful representation of what actually went down. But Beckett singlehandedly solved her own problems. Tobey didn't really do anything. He was incapacitated.
Unlike Bella or Paula, she didn't need anyone to save her. Sure, she could've done a lot more to help herself, but it's still far more than Paula and Bella. Alright, Beckett, respect.
Do I think you should watch this?
Honestly, this wasn't my favorite movie. I don't know if you guys will really watch it, but if you didn't absolutely, entirely hate Twilight or if you loved Gaslight, this might be the movie for you.
The movie came out on DVD March 3rd, 2015.