The Encyclopedia of Film Criticism: Simon Abrams

Simon Abrams
....I knew there was a personality making those movies, and was instantly attracted to it.

Contributed to: Comics Journal, L Magazine, Slant Magazine, The AV Club, Esquire,, Press Play, Village Voice, The New York Press, Extended Cut.

Noted champion of: Paolo Sorrentino, Southland Tales, John Boorman, Spike Lee, Paul Verhoeven, David Cronenberg, Johnnie To, Roman Polanski.

Influences: Elvis Mitchell, Harlan Ellison, J. Hoberman.

Queens-born Simon Abrams (January 24th, 1987-) started writing for The Comics Journal before he'd graduated High School. His break-through came when he ran a cover story on Robert Kirkman before The Walking Dead TV show based on his graphic novels had aired. He wrote his first film reviews for Washington Square News and The New York Press before moving onto Slant, L Magazine and many others. Abrams currently writes for, Esquire and The Village Voice. He confidently stands up for loud and charismatic voices behind the camera like Paul Verhoeven and Spike Lee. On that score he very recently published an in-depth look at the making of RoboCop for Esquire Magazine and an interview with father and son genre directors John & Peter Hyams for The Village Voice. He doesn't suffer mediocrity gladly and is quick to cut pretenders to horror/cult infamy down to size in singularly playful fashion. That same ruthless and efficient prose is equally as engrossing when standing up for his idea of a modern masterpiece.

On You're Next:
Watching "You're Next" is like eating a tin-foil-wrapped tray of leftovers. It's a hamburger, so you shouldn't expect steak. But the contents of your tray are: a half-eaten, microwave-nuked cheeseburger; leaves of wilting, translucent lettuce; slices of yellowing, sickly tomato; and floppy, soggy french fries. Consuming this product is not entirely unpleasant since it's almost impossible to screw up such a short order...It looks like what you ordered, but it's only satisfying if you settle for much less.

On Drug War:
That ambiguity is what fuels "Drug War": there is no deal with unbreakable rules because every deal is brokered and decided on a whim. To's films are usually about macho, playful contests of wills. "Drug War" is no exception. Cops and the crooks constantly try to one up each other, as in an unsettling scene where Zhang, while undercover, has to prove his false identity by snorting cocaine. Each encounter hinges on characters' tics, like the habitual, mirthless laugh Zhang adopts in order to mimic a crook's mannerisms. In To's movies, everything's a game, and the game in "Drug War" is high-stakes poker where everyone bluffs as much as they can afford to.

source: twitter interview

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