Welcome to Scary Movie Club of America! Here are the collected mini-reviews of all horror movies that I've watched. I've rated them out of 100, built up of 10 categories at 10 points each. Here are the criteria I used to rate each movie:
Acting - The higher the number, the better the acting.
Anxiety - Did I feel tense while watching this movie? I hope so.
Atmosphere - Big one here. Setting + Mood + Soundtrack, all rolled into one.
% Movie Watched - I’m big enough to admit that I won’t watch a whole movie if it stinks.
Appropriate Grossness - Does the movie deserve the gore and violence? Or were those elements forced?
Production - How does the movie look? Is the CGI horrible? Are the sets goofy? Hope not.
Recommended - Should you watch this movie?
Unpredictable - I generally don’t love movies for which I guess the ending within the first half.
Scares - Here are your classic jumps, frights, and boogedie-boogedies. I like these, generally.
Story - Am I watching a story that’s been told a hundred times? I hope not.
This list is mostly reference for myself so I can remember the movies I've watched and haven't watched. It gets hard to remember, ya know? Particularly with the stinkers, or the ones so bad I only watched for 30 minutes. Enjoy the list - it's alphabetical, and my score out of 100 is above each title.
:: 28 Days Later :: 2003 :: Danny Boyle ::
Wow. As far as I’m concerned, 28 Days Later is the gold standard for zombie movies, and maybe all horror movies. Beautifully shot, wicked soundtrack, fantastic acting, unpredictable storyline - even for a zombie movie! - this one’s got it all. The zombies are truly terrifying, and the anti-soundtrack supplied by Godspeed! You Black Emperor is sublime. The scenes can be really fucking upsetting, or funny, or sweet, or pulse-pounding. I can’t talk enough about this movie. If you haven’t seen it, see it. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again. If you’re in the movie, let me know when the third one is coming out; I’m waiting.
:: 28 Weeks Later :: 2007 :: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo ::
28 Weeks Later was a decent deviation from the idea and aesthetic of 28 Days Later (my favorite movie, potentially ever), and that’s OK. I kind of wish that wasn’t the case, but it is, and I can come to terms with it because it’s still an incredibly effective, thrilling, and legitimate zombie film. But here’s the thing. 28 Days Later succeeded so heavily in my eyes because the atmosphere was beautiful and terrifying, arty and eerie. 28 Weeks Later is much more of a straight zombie movie, full of action and terror. However, it has a few major positives: it’s not cheesy, it’s absolutely fucking scary (I mean the first scene, amiright?), big budget, nothing stupid like zombie babies or zombie strippers. It’s probably the best zombie action movie I’ve seen. Total recommendation.
:: The Abandoned :: 2015 :: Eytan Rockaway ::
I tend to like IFC After Dark films. They’re pretty well done, and usually very interesting. They’re a little low budget, so you’re not going to get all of the bells and whistles, but that affords them the freedom to try things that might not be commercially big-budget numbers. Anyway. Young woman gets a security job in a huge, old abandoned apartment building, an incredibly beautiful one that was never finished. Only one coworker, and he’s a total dick - though, he is the best actor of the bunch. It’s her job to patrol the building and all that, and it’s opulent and creepy and she’s haunted by her own memories, and a cast of other pretty freaky characters. The guys dickishness is tiresome and unwarranted, and makes for the most boring parts of an otherwise effective and eerie beginning to the movie. It’s good, it’s creepy, there are the usual bad decisions, and then there are…deformed children? And more and more and more deformed children, doing naughty things. Wow. What a great way to ruin a decent setup. Then the movie just goes from bad to worse. It becomes to stupid that I almost wished I could have ended it at exactly 45:20, which would have made it a tidy little scary movie about monsters in the dark. Last complaint: the movie is set in an extraordinary beautiful, old apartment building, which is creepy in all of the right, The Shining-esque ways, but they chose to focus nearly the entire movie on a desolate, empty, concrete dormitory below the apartment building. What a serious waste of a wonderful setting. Recommend if you’re desperate and have watched everything else on Netflix.
P.S. I’m SO SICK of seeing mental institutions portrayed in horror movies. Can’t we move beyond that trope? It’s so fucking insensitive.
:: Altar :: 2014 :: Nick Willing ::
I wanted to like this movie. It basically starts with a Wuthering Heights joke, which is OK by my book. And it has Olivia Williams. She’s good! Rushmore, The Sixth Sense, The Last Days on Mars, I loved her in those movies. And Matthew Modine’s no joke. But, as usual, horror is the genre actors go to die - literally and metaphorically! This movie is boring, slightly nonsensical, and just…I don’t know, limp. The psychosis that descends on the family is predictable and tepid, the scenes drawn out, and the acting is just OK. It clunks along, and then it ends. What a world we live in.
:: Apartment 143 :: 2011 :: Carles Torrens ::
The worse thing I can say about this movie is that it’s entirely unoriginal. There's a horrendous monologue by the father about an hour into the movie. It’s uninteresting, and I wasn’t invested in the characters to begin with, and it ends up making me feel bummerish feelings toward the movie in general. Anyway. It’s not a terrible movie. It’s not a great movie. It has some jump scares, and starts out pretty quiet (which I always like), and the characters are alright. Another middle of the pack movie without much to recommend it. A decent watch when you’ve exhausted other options, but it certainly won’t blow you away.
:: As Above, So Below :: 2014 :: John Erick Dowdle ::
So, what gives? I totally liked As Above, So Below. Did not anticipate that. I expected your run-of-the-mill, everyone-who’s-ever-existed-is-in-their-late-20s, strictly-for-teens kind of romp, but it turns out this movie was smart, eerie, and interesting. It takes place in the catacombs below Paris. A number of 20-somethings who become trapped down there try to escape by going…FURTHER DOWN. It’s kind of a head-trip in the end, which is cool, but unfortunately some of the scares are super cheesy. It’s scary enough as is, without boogedies occasionally jumping out and demon monks or whatever. But who am I to judge, the creepy/silly characters are a part of the fun, and help the movie not take itself TOO seriously. Anyway, totally worth the watch, enjoy!
:: Backcountry :: 2014 :: Adam MacDonald ::
So, I have thing, in which I “judge a book by it’s cover,” or in this case, a movie. And I looked at the cover for this movie for awhile, and had read the descriptions, and kept deciding not to watch it. Then Katie and I got on a real kick of watching survival movies, so we did! And guess what? I liked it! More than I thought I would! There were a few parts of it I found really stupid. Why didn’t he take a map? And what the hell was up with that dude in the woods? Real swing and a miss in my book. Lots of silliness. But at the end of the day, it was a legitimately spooky, and kind of sad, movie. You just have to survive the cheesy first fifteen-ish minutes. I hate that buildup stuff, the everything-is-too-perfect stuff. I find it unnecessary, except in movies where it’s an integral part of the story - and to do that, it usually needs to be much longer and much more in depth. Anyway. Too much negativity. The acting is alright, and the movie is so tense as it goes on that you forget about how silly the beginning is! Not for the faint of heart.
:: The Battery :: 2014 :: Jeremy Gardner ::
This movie was fun! If you want to survive in this world as a B grade horror film, you’ve got to have fun. And I don’t mean funny, like slapstick or anything. I mean, I want to watch the movie and feel like the people in it and the people who made it had fun, and are proud of what they did. It’s a beautifully shot movie, following two friends as they drive around the woods and country through a zombie apocalypse kind of thing. The makeup’s not great, the acting’s not great, but it’s fun! I know, 69 isn’t a fantastic score necessarily, but I do really recommend you watch this movie. There’s a real sweetness to it. And the writer/director/main actor pulled this entirely together on a $6000 budget. I’d say that’s pretty darn good!
:: Beyond the Gates :: 2016 :: Jackson Stewart ::
OK, so the numbers don’t really reflect it, but I actually liked this movie quite a bit. Maybe I need to add another character. Indomitable spirit? Fuzzy vibes? Likability? I don’t know. But I like this movie, and that it feels nostalgic in a good way, and that it feels like a passion project. But it falls flat in a LOT of ways. The acting is nothing to write home about, and the casting is frankly a little odd. The theme music was INCREDIBLE, and then the music throughout the movie is entirely forgettable. I loved that it was about those VHS board games. We still have some of them in our house - my spouse and I never play them, though, because we don’t have a VCR anymore, ha! This movie spends way too much time in the buildup, and then the final action scene feels like it’s a minute long. And then the movie’s over! I found myself thinking, but what’s the resolution? I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t, but I have one huge, niggling thought about the end of the movie that bugs me. I’m going to put it way down at the bottom of the page in case you DO want to read it. Anyway, not a bad movie!
HOW DOES HE GET THE GAME BACK IF THEY SURVIVED?!
:: Cabin Fever 3: Patient Zero :: 2015 :: Kaare Andrews ::
A pretty low-grade horror movie, consisting of necrotizing fasciitis, Sean Astin (Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!), and a bunch of actors much better suited to porn, including a high-ranking medical doctor wearing a lab coat with a bikini underneath. If you take nothing else from this review, understand this: THIS IS NOT A GOOD MOVIE. I mean, to be fair, it’s a pretty novel approach to the zombie movie - they’re not zombies, they’re just infecting with an extremely aggressive kind of flesh eating bacteria that eats away at them until they die a vometously bloody death. But for some reason, no one ever really dies. It’s not funny, but it thinks it’s funny; it’s not cool, but it thinks it’s cool; this is the “bro” of horror movies. To cap it off, it’s also disgusting. Gross.
P.S. The other thing wrong with this movie is that it seems SOOOO LOOOONG. Avoid at all costs.
:: Coffee by Aesop Rock :: 2007 :: Ace Norton ::
Watch the Vimeo version, first of all, not the Youtube one. Much better quality. Anyway, so, this is a music video. Get over it, I’m trying something new. I really, really like Aesop Rock's music, and it just keeps getting better. He’s smart and funny, and totally and completely in touch with his dark side, which I always appreciate. This music video is him walking around a haunted house, while Earth’s last resistance group fights against hoards of undead and/or mythical monsters. It’s good fun, and a little eerie, too! The song also features John Darnielle, who is just a king among men. It’s only a few minutes long, so even if you don’t like hip hop, you’ll enjoy it!
:: Condemned :: 2015 :: Eli Morgan Gesner ::
Wow, was this a hunk of junk or what. It has Sean Penn’s daughter in it, and I figured hey, it’s her first movie, that’s a big name, maybe it’ll be good. Instead, it’s some just-graduate-from-Tish, faux-cerebral zombie flick that doesn’t have a lot of zombies. I could also do without the going-down-the-pipes cut scenes between what’s happening in each apartment. More than anything, this movie left me with a lot of questions: has the writer ever been to New York City? Why is there a gay dominatrix butcher in one apartment? Why don’t I ever see beautiful heroin, young addicts in the abandoned buildings in Philly? Why does this abandoned building look like luxury apartments? Lastly, why does it take SO long for the zombies to show up? Total pass, but I’ll tell you this - Katie and I had a ton of fun watching this and talking through it, wondering about how it came to be. If that’s your kind of thing, then I would actually recommend!
:: Creep :: 2014 :: Patrick Brice ::
It’s no surprise that I love Mark Duplass. I’ve watched all of The League. I own the Volcano, I’m Still Excited! albums on vinyl. Safety Not Guaranteed is a great movie. And man, he does creepy WELL. I watched it late at night with Katie and Meg, the SMCoA diehards, and this movie truly freaked us all out. It features some incredibly eerie imagery. And the best part is? It’s funny! It’s also funny. I mean, some of the movie is also a little cheesy, but I can’t hate any scary movie for that. Anyway, long story short: guys accepts internet ad job to film with another guy for a day, other guy is super weird and slowly unraveling, things gets really weird really fast. Only two people in the whole movie. Just awesome, watch it and enjoy. Peachfuzz!
:: Crimson Peak :: 2015 :: Guillermo del Toro ::
My spouse Katie and I were really excited to see this movie. In general, I like Guillermo del Toro’s scary movies a lot: they’re often a little cheesy, and not terribly scary, but they’re always beautiful. Pan’s Labyrinth, Cronos, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, they’re all really interesting, pretty movies. And Crimson Peak did not disappoint. Quickly: Lady meets a fella, moves with him to his creepy castle, it gets really ghost-y and who-dunnit-y. The story was intricate and eerie, and the atmosphere (a dilapidated castle built on a mountain of blood red clay) was gorgeous. Totally recommended.
:: Dark was the Night :: 2014 :: Jack Heller ::
A logging company awakes a Wendigo (look it up, then prepare to be let down by their interpretation) by cutting down too many trees, and it creeps into the local small town and the sheriff has to deal with it. This movie really surprised me, it looked like a low budget snoozer that would be maybe pretty enough to interest me, but nothing special. Instead, the acting was pretty good, the story interesting, and the atmosphere was downright creepy - loved the cold light filter on the cameras that turned all scenery blueish. I’ve always been a sucker for the woods. Worth a watch if you like horror movies and don’t mind cheesiness, but you probably won’t like it if you’re a big budget type.
:: Darkness :: 2002 :: Jaume Balagueró ::
Totally lame. Just another story about a kid seeing child ghosts. For some reason, the house is filled with dirty, mechanical antiques. And at one point towards the end (I fast forwarded a bit to see), there was some nonsense with a dude tying up Anna Paquin and getting his medical equipment out. Don’t bother.
I know this is a short review, but frankly, I don’t have much else to say about this movie.
:: Die Präsenz :: 2015 :: Daniele Grieco ::
Rad. This is kind of a German Paranormal Activity. A guy, his girlfriend, and his best friend go explore a medieval castle to attempt to find evidence of the existence of the ghosts of an old count and his victims. The movie relies on night vision and effects like the camera cutting out or signal interference. It was kind of nice that it was in German - I really had to pay attention! This movie is nothing new, nothing terribly interesting; particularly for this late in the game on found footage films. Worst of all, there's very little action, and focuses on a TON of tropes: children’s drawings, freaked out // easily possessed sleepwalking woman, guys who can sleep through seemingly any noise. There was eventually some pretty cool mirror play later in the movie, I always love that sort of stuff, when the image in a mirror moves on its own. But, nothing spectacular. Probably better to just watch the first Paranormal Activity again, but decent for a few jumps if you’re out of original horror movies. They could have done without the inexplicable demon/dragon noises every time somethings strange happened, too.
:: Don’t Breathe :: 2016 :: Fede Álvarez ::
This movie was ludicrous. But scary. I got free tickets through a horror Meetup group here in Philly. I left work, and took an incredibly enjoyable 3 mile walk through downtown to the movie theater. It started the way so many do, with young adults having stupid conversations and laughing and poking fun at each other. I get it, I’m not the demographic for that part of the movie. Basically, some folks get together and decide to rob an old blind man who supposedly had a lot of money stashed away. When they break in, the film really gets scary. The fuckin’ anxiety almost killed me. But, as if to say, “Hey Joe! Don’t be too freaked out.” the movie quickly devolves into one of the stupidest pieces of garbage I’ve ever seen. I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I won’t. There’s a good, anxiety-producing movie hidden in this one, but they had to ruin it.
P.S. Just couldn’t help yourself with the goofy speech about no gods, eh? I think this movie was made for teens.
:: Evil Speak :: 1981 :: Eric Weston ::
There are some things in this world that I want to love unequivocally. And one of those things is a movie featuring Clint Howard that begins with quotes about Satan. But I just can’t love it. When all is said and done, it’s a pretty standard storyline: creepy-loser-Clint-Howard-freak sucks at everything, stumbles upon a Satanic Bible and summons the dark lord via his computer, uses said computer to send demons to attack his enemies. Low budget, weird storyline, and worst of all, totally boring for about 80% of the movie. What’s with movies that don’t seem to have a soundtrack? I love seeing the computer parts, though, and the demons. And the title typeface! “Evil” is all stylistic and gothic, “Speak” is all pixel-art-y. WOW.
:: From the Dark :: 2014 :: Conor McMahon ::
This is a movie of ups and downs, which I ultimately found boring. I’m not going to lie to you - I watched this movie specifically because I had not yet reviewed a movie that started with the letter F, and I thought that it looked bad on the site. I had been avoiding this movie for a few reasons: The title is generic, and the cover art taught me nothing about the movie except, spoiler alert, a woman in it at one point is afraid and in the dark. Maybe this is my own prejudice. I can’t help but feel the cover they put together is for a movie in which a woman is, say, trapped in an abandoned subway system while a man with meat hooks where his hands should be is skulking around in the dark, murdering the homeless population. But there’s a good movie in here. The cinematography is nice, and there are a lot of interesting shots (the vampire outside the window, the crumbling man, etc.), and I like that the vampire is an old style, ugly, nearly unintelligent beast, not a handsome debonair from Victorian England. All in all, it’s got some exciting bits, and I actually love Irish horror movies. The banter in the beginning (you know, when everything’s perfect, except for maybe the hubris of the common man) is fun and better than usual. I can’t say I’ll ever feel inclined to watch this again, but worth a watch on a dark Thursday night.
P.S. I kind of thought this movie ended at about an hour in, and wrote this review during “the final scene.” Which wasn’t the final scene. That’s not great, everyone.
BONUS: So what’s the deal with vampires and sunlight? Why don’t they die in moonlight?
Well, I don’t know. No one really does. There are a lot of theories, but the truth is that the whole vampire/sunlight paradigm was invented by the 1922 movie Nosferatu. Folkloric vampires did not, in fact, fear the sun; though they were, in general, nocturnal. So the fact that a vampire would die in sunlight is a relatively new invention, and it’s up to anyone and everyone to come up with a reason why they won’t die in moonlight!
:: The Forest :: 2016 :: Jason Zada ::
Alright, so this movie wasn’t so bad! I mean, that shouldn’t be the bar I’m setting for horror movies, but it isn’t. I was really expecting to to be horribly offensive and exploitive of another culture. I’m not that into movies that exploit places of great sadness. But I didn’t find this to be too bad. It was a little silly, and some of the makeup and hallucinatory monsters were a little…well, *rolls eyes*. But the woods are really eerie (note - NOT filmed in Japan), and the suicide forest is a place I find really fascinating. Like so many scary movies, though, so much is done in darkness. Which is spooky, but really ruins the beautiful and already creepy setting. I don’t have a lot to say about this movie, I guess. Fun to watch at night with a group and some beers and bowls of candy.
:: Gallowwalkers :: 2012 :: Andrew Goth ::
I’ve been avoiding watching this movie for YEARS. Well, you win, Gallowwalkers. I’m sick. I don’t have much to do. I’m going to give it a go. Here are some things about me: I generally like zombie movies. I generally dislike Westerns. This movie has it all. Terrible acting, poor dialogue, objectification of women, cheesy flashbacks. And Wesley Snipes? I don’t know what kind of lottery he lost, or favor he owed the director, but what the hell, man? The plot can most accurately be described as nonsensical. Somewhere between a Western and one of those weird future sci-fi flicks, where one, outdated civilization has returned to be the predominant culture. One of the worse movies I’ve tried to watch.
P.S. What the fuck did they do with the $17 million budget? Sure didn’t use it for production.
:: The Girl with All the Gifts :: 2017 :: Colm McCarthy ::
I love when a new zombie film comes out. I don’t really pay attention to what movies are coming out and such, so it’s always a surprise. This movie had me hooked in the beginning. Why so afraid of the kids? What’s going on? Real decent Day of the Dead bunker vibe. And then it just started to lose me. Bit by bit it became less interesting. And the idea of zombie babies, fuck off. Just let it go already. I found Glenn Close’ doctor to be an irritating character, and they never really explained why she knew so much about things that seemingly no one had ever seen before. And I don’t just mean the characters hadn’t seen, like, NO ONE had seen. Well, whatever. You can make a winner out of every movie. This is actually worth a watch. It has some alright jump scares and a good ambiance for most of film.
:: The Hallow :: 2015 :: Corin Hardy ::
I was really excited to see this movie. When I heard of it, I wanted to see it. I looked all around, I had to find it playing. Then, yes - YES! - it was playing at the little independent movie theatre downtown, The Roxie, as part of their late night series. That’s cool, it starts at 11:30 on a Tuesday, I’ll totally go to that WAIT IT’S A WEEKDAY AND THE LAST TRAIN HOME IS AT MIDNIGHT NO. Ugh. Hate it. Whatever. My patience was justly rewarded. Instead, it showed up on Netflix the night our good friend Meg was coming over to stay. Meg, aside from Katie and I, is the only person who has come to every Scary Movie Club meeting we’ve held. So obviously she’d be here the weekend The Hallow comes to Netflix. Anyway. Here’s the story: Hubby and Wife move to the country with their baby. Townspeople freaked out because Hubby’s job is to go into the woods and mark trees to be cut down, which will anger the sprites and fairies of the forest. A+ for folklore, B for monsters. Totally recommended, lots of fun, weird cool effects, a little gross.
:: Hallow’s End :: 2003 :: Jon Keeyes ::
This movie was a thrift store special, a buck a DVD. The first three minutes of the movie are non-stop strobe light, yikes. Boy is the acting bad, and the dialogue is so weird. The kind of dialogue that a very amateur writer thinks sounds natural, but hasn’t had read out loud. Everyone’s Southern accents really come out the further the movie goes along. It’s kind of interesting to see a Southern horror movie, though: different perspectives on what’s scary (I mean, a hell house is SO southern), different portrayal of homosexuality, different idea of parties and leadership - feels militaristic. Anyway. A group of what I think are supposed to be college kids (frat kids?) run a Halloween House with bloody results. This movie is just SO SLOW. Halfway through the movie and only one person has died, and the movie is still entirely about some dude being a dick to some other dudes. A little fun because of how bad it is, but not fun enough. Pass.
Notable line: “The devil is real. He is. I met him, I knelt down and kissed his backside.”
:: Haunting of the Innocent :: 2014 :: Matt Hish ::
I learned when I was young not to be tricked by top billing by the movie The Curse of El Charro, which “starred” Danny Trejo. I loved Danny Trejo, but he didn’t star in the movie: he voiced a ghost for literally a couple of sentences. Just like Judd Nelson isn’t “in” this movie. He has a couple of lines in the first few minutes of the movie, and then we never see him again. Anyway. This is a fun movie to watch and make fun of while watching. It really stinks. It features a 10 year old played by an obviously not 10 year old who’s still drawing perspective-less, blotchy drawings, really weird CGI, and crows - which I actually liked. It’s a ghost-ish story based in Norse mythology. There’s a not-that-bad movie hidden deep, deep inside of this one. But it’s down too deep, and we can’t dive that far down yet without running out of oxygen. Now THAT’S scary. Pass.
:: Hobgoblins :: 1988 :: Rick Sloane ::
So here’s the deal: if you’re watching this movie alone, watch the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version. If you’re watching this with friends, watch the original. This movie is so entertainingly bad that you’ll be howling together and making your own storyline jokes. So! The movie. A youngish dude and an older dude are running security at an old film studio. The young guy opens a vault door and releases some little furry hobgoblins out of captivity. The hobgoblins are reeeeeal Germlin-looking creatures, without any of the charm or advanced puppetry of Gremlins. Best scene in the movie? When the two guys have an extended rake and garden hoe fight scene. And then the van rocking and the NOISE it makes. Well, and every scene with a hobgoblin. Particularly the hobgoblin/teen dance party.
:: The Hollow :: 2015 :: Sheldon Wilson ::
Three sisters, after their parents have died, are on their way to stay with an aunt in a little island town, only to discover that there is a huge storm coming which is likely to cut off all communication with the outside world. Also, some monster called up by witches a hundred years ago is going to terrorize the inhabitants. Pretty substandard all around, and there were a few glaring issues: Where was the storm? WHERE WAS THE STORM!? Why was everyone on the island if they knew monsters were coming? Just go to the mainland and stay in a hotel for literally one day. I know there has to be suspension of disbelief with pretty much all horror movies, but this one was asking way too much of me. Do not watch.
:: JeruZalem :: 2016 :: Doron Paz & Yoav Paz ::
This movie was actually pretty cool! The fact that it’s “recorded” with Google Glass is innovative, but pretty gimmicky. It’s an interesting artifact now that GG is kind of defunct - or, dormant, at least. The movie falters where so many do - the dialogue. It’s kind of interminable. The characters are thin and unlikable. The beginning phase of the movie, where everything is perfect and everyone is just having a lot of fun, goes on for way too long. However, the story is really original! I love to see all of the religious lore tied in with zombies and demons. The setting is awesome. They never really drop the Google Glass schtick, which is great - I like consistency. Some decent scares and panicky moments during the movie, but also some really cheesy jumps and non-scares. A lot of stupid decisions on the characters part that seem super unrealistic. Anyway, I’d recommend. Don’t expect to be blown away.
:: The Last Days on Mars :: 2013 :: Ruairí Robinson ::
I want to like this movie for a number of reasons: I really LOVE space horror - when I was in high school, I wanted to see how long I could stay awake for, and during the second night of being awake I wrote about 20 pages of a space horror script, ha!. I like Liev Schreiber (although maybe I just like saying his name), and I really like/always want to like Irish horror movies. For such a small country, they sure have a good understand of what’s sad and scary. This movie also avoids a stereotype that I always hate in space movies: the dopey stooge mechanic, as though being a mechanic isn’t a highly skilled job, especially an aerospace mechanic. But let’s face it, this isn’t a great movie. The monsters are scary looking, but not necessarily scary; theres aren’t many jumps and frights; the characters are utterly confusable and ultimately forgettable; and the curveballs are so obvious it’s as if the catcher’s showing the batter instead of the pitcher. Not a bad watch if you’re racking up horror movies, but there are plenty of better options out there.
:: The Lazarus Effect :: 2015 :: David Gelb ::
I really wanted to like this move: Mark Duplass is in the running for favorite-actor-status. But there’s a little mantra I live by: “Horror movies are where good actors go to make bad movies.” Not all of them, of course (see Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later), but big actors are never my favorites in horror movies. Anyway, this movie stunk. It’s made for teens (it’s PG-13!), and so is a little simplistic in its story and scares. Not terribly believable, and then the scares are mostly based on things flying around and jump-out surprises. BLAGH! Also, these people are scientists? Whaaaat?
:: Maggie :: 2015 :: Henry Hobson ::
Ugh. What a tedious movie. Is she ok? She’s ok (but she’s not). It’s been a day, is she ok? She’s ok (but she’s not). Just over and over again. To its credit, this film doesn’t claim to be a horror movie, so I shouldn’t have expected it to be. But wow. It just drudged on, and Arnold is looking a little worse for the wear. I found the acting to be underwhelming, the story to be odd, and guess what guys? You can’t force an atmosphere by recording everything in a cold light. Dark Was the Night did it, but they committed. Everything was blue - blue, dammit! Anyway, way off topic. I found this film to be just genuinely lackluster. And kind of long. I don’t think I would recommend watching it, unless you want to be bored and not scared. Mostly bored.
:: Man VS. :: 2015 :: Adam Massey ::
Hey! Not a bad start to a movie! They could have done a few things even better. Movies are formulaic, which is why the best ones always leave us guessing - they break the mold. This could have done with some mold breaking. I could have done without the unnecessary storyline. Don’t care about his family, or his producer’s. I think this could have been a much stronger movie if they followed their instinct and started with him out in the wild. Play up the psycho fan idea. That was way more interesting. Anyway, still not that bad. I had fun watching it, paid attention the whole time. Would I watch it again? Probably not. But way better than most of what’s offered on Netflix.
P.S. Why is the movie called Man Vs., but his show in the movie called Woods Vs.?
:: Mercy :: 2014 :: Peter Cornwell ::
Not a terrible movie, but nothing to write home about. Based on a Stephen King story, so you know it can’t be THAT bad, but he has a lot of mediocre storylines, so there’s real potential for it to not be great. Special effects seemed pretty bad for 2014, distractingly so. Felt a little made-for-TV. Kids go to stay with grandma, she’s been possessed, little boy has to fight the devil in order to save the souls of everyone ever. Also, P.S., Cthulhu. What? Anyway. I bet the short story’s much scarier. All-in-all, this isn’t the worst movie to watch, particularly if you’re stuck at home and flying through movies you’ve never seen.
:: Night of the Demons :: 1988 :: Kevin Tenney ::
This movie is totally awesome. The soundtrack is amazing - Bauhaus, some song called “Computer Date” by the director’s brother. And the usual cast of friends who would NEVER be friends in real life: goth girl, anarcho-punk pig, Brooklyn tough guy, prep, dork, normie - everyone partying at once. It’s cheesy, it’s a little scary, it’s got super awkward sexual overtones, there are a lot of laughs, a few jumps, it’s just bananas. AND SQUIRTING EYEBALL POPPING. This is up there with my favorite movies. And the best part is, it’s actually kind of scary! It’s pretty cheesy, and a little gross, and a ton of fun.
:: Night of the Demons 3 :: 1997 :: Kevin S. Tenney ::
Wow. The intro to this movie is just too good. There’s a fireball in front of the screen, and five people (who I assume are ghosts), are flying through the world as though it’s Second Life all over again. Eventually, they get to the house, zap into the windows, then ride a gateway to hell. Anyway, the movie: some kids end up shooting a cop (as usual, amiright?!), then go to hide out in an abandoned funeral home mansion that’s filled with demons. This movie is kind of weirdly a shot for shot remake of the first one, but it’s MUCH worse, and there is a LOT more nudity. As much as I truly loved the first NotD, and was really excited to see that Kevin Tenney wrote/directed this one too, I have to recommend you pass on this stinker.
:: The Pack :: 2015 :: Nick Robertson ::
Hey now! I was not entirely anticipating how much I would like this movie, but it’s really tense! I’m particularly affected by this story because, while I’ve never heard of an attack on a person, I’ve seen packs of wild dogs roaming Philadelphia before, and it’s really terrifying to see so many dogs seeming so…animal. Anyway. This movie is brutal. The death scenes are violent and fucking scary, this is not a “let’s have fun and feel spooky on a rainy night!” kind of horror movie. However, with that in mind, they also do practice one of my favorite arts of the horror movie genre, Less-Is-More-Ism. The attacks don’t last long, and the movie doesn’t over-romanticize the violence. This movie has one major flaw, which bugged me a little (not a lot - I was able to more or less suspend my disbelief and go along with it): Why couldn’t the dogs seemingly ever find the people when they were sneaking around? There have been times when I’ve been looking out my second floor window, and a dog walking by notices me. We grew up with dogs - one of our old guys, Sparky, was just impossible to sneak up on, he could hear me walking on the carpeting, smell me, whatever. So you’re telling me these people are sneaking through a creaky house and whispering to each others, and the dogs just around the corner are just oblivious? Eh, but again, it’s pretty easy to forget this and really get into the movie. Win.
:: Pandemic :: 2016 :: John Suits ::
Horror movies just love to test novel approaches to filming. It’s one of the greatest perks of a genre which really delights in B-grade movies: there’s enough spirit and ingenuity to try things, even when they don’t work out entirely. While the first person shooter approach to this movie was a little shaky and cumbersome at times, it was able to differentiate itself from found footage films by constantly shifting viewpoint, person to person. It at times became a little difficult to remember who I was following at any given time, but I didn’t mind it much. It was kind of a hoot to see people speaking directly to me, an experience not unlike playing a Resident Evil game. The movie has a lot of pros: desolate cityscape, decent acting, solid zombies - they didn’t overdo it on the makeup, which helped everything not look quite so fake or ridiculous. It helped that they expanded their description of what a “zombie” was into five different categories, allowing most of them to just look like bloodied people, but also allowing some variation and more fun. Many zombies are just sick people, able to still rationally think and set traps make things as tense as possible. The director kept the CGI light, which was great. There were some fake-looking fires and stuff, but not enough to make the whole movie look cheesy. I don’t know why anyone even really tries it anymore. Anyway. It has a lot of cons, too, and ended up being a bit of a crummy movie, again not able to keep its momentum and excitement beyond the first 45 minutes or so. Actually, I’d go so far as to say the last 25 minutes are nearly unwatchable. Anyway, it’s not the worst movie, when all is said and done, particularly since there are so many absolutely terrible movies. But I can’t say I’d actually recommend you watch it.
:: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension :: 2015 :: Gregory Plotkin ::
I mean, we know what to expect from the Paranormal Activity movies by now, right? This was a decent installment in the series, with some good creepy scares and some more interesting ideas. I loved what they did with the old tapes. It’s a sequel, which I thought actually made it weaker - call me old fashioned, but I thought these movies were a lot more effective when they focused on a singular haunting instead of an ancient horror kind of thing. Worth a watch, particularly the first 30 minutes or so, but don’t expect anything to knock yr socks off.
:: Plague :: 2014 :: Nick Kozakis & Kosta Ouzas ::
Picture this: Australian outback. 2014. A zombie plague has broken out. Civilization is in ruins. A group of survivors are camped out in an old storage building. Sounds exciting, right? Now imagine that you never see any zombies - not really. The whole movie is about talking. And not even necessarily interesting conversation. Someone gets shot in the first ten minutes of the movie. After that? No action. Of almost any kind. Sounds great, right? Right. Eh. I get what they were going for, but some awkward acting, stunted dialogue, and lack of real action keeps this from being interesting. It has some spikes of action, but generally, not worth it. I’d pass on this one.
:: Poltergeist :: 2015 :: Gil Kenan ::
So, there are some things about this movie that I like. I like Sam Rockwell. I mean, did you see Moon? If you didn’t see Moon, go watch it now. Instead of this hunk’a junk. Moon is good. Poltergeist is bad. I also love that the paranormal researcher is Mel from Frasier. That’s life! Anyway, just another crap remake aimed at teenagers, complete with scary dolls that come to life, weird and unnecessary CGI, and the most horrific thing of all…CHILD ACTORS. This movie has none of the subtlety, panache, or genuine scariness of the original, and should be avoided at all costs. This movie breaks the #1 tenant of all horror movies, possibly all movies, possibly everything in life: Whatever else may happen, NEVER be boring. This movie, simply put, is boring. And not scary.
:: Pontypool :: 2008 :: Bruce McDonald ::
Did NOT expect to like this movie, really didn't. Very interesting spin on the classic zombie story, won’t give any more away. I love the sparse environment, too: How do you deal with having a small budget? Have the entire movie take place in one building. Really impressed with this movie. Had a few small issues: one major pet peeve of mine is when zombies obviously disregard their instincts, ie. one is “hiding” behind a chair while everyone walks in. I mean, aren’t they mindless eating machines? When did they become tacticians? But very much worth the watch if you like zombie movies.
:: Ravenous :: 1999 :: Antonia Bird ::
OK, so I had totally romanticized this movie. I saw it years and years ago when I was a lot younger, and I remember it as being beautiful and eerie and terrifying, but it’s really…goofy. Well, the first 20ish minutes are unbearably goofy, but if you suffer through those, you’ll be rewarded by a really intense, weird story about wendigos and cannibalism. The acting is awesome (I looove Robert Carlyle), and the movie remains a little too goofy to truly be scary or disgusting. And Damon Albarn did the soundtrack! I mean, are you kidding me? Good, better, best. Extra points too for a female director! Highly recommended, as long as you can…stomach it.
:: Re-Animator :: 1985 :: Stuart Gordon ::
So here’s the deal: I wouldn’t watch this movie again, but I will recommend you watch it because it’s kind of fun. It’s gross, but fun. The acting is good, the makeup and effects are phenomenal, but that’s where the greatness ends. Actually, the story’s pretty good, based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, about a student working on a reanimation serum that wills top the inevitable horridity of death. But, I felt like it dragged on and on, and I hated the weird, semi-sexual assault scene. Tired of seeing that played out in horror movies. This movie is not funny enough to be funny, not scary enough to be scary. Way overhyped, if you ask me.
:: Re-Kill :: 2015 :: Valeri Milev ::
I’ve seen almost every modern zombie movie - twice! - and so any new addition, particularly one that’s on Netflix, can be considered a real win. It’s pretty silly, the movie plays out from the perspective of a girl watching TV about the post-zombie-outbreak world, including commercials about medications to stop reanimation and commercials promoting sex in order to repopulate America. Mainly, she’s watching a show that follows the R-Division, who work to quell to second uprising of zombies. Like all joke/satire movies, once you get it, quickly becomes tiresome. It’s a fun movie, and not terrible gory. However, this movie performs a rare feat among zombie movies: it’s actually kind of boring. I’d recommend it if you’ve already seen the better ones!
:: Stake Land :: 2010 :: Jim Mickle ::
This movie thinks it’s a lot better than it is. There’s a lot it could have done to help itself. It was really close to being a good movie, but instead felt like kind of a limp, condensed summary of The Walking Dead. Vampires (monsters, mind you, not swaggering socialites), survivors, religious fanatics, cannibals, love stories. And in the middle of it all…overwrought narration? I also just…I don’t know, I love monster movies. When stories get too involved in interpersonal relationships, and how “humanity is the real monster!” I begin to lose some interest. I wanna see people fight monsters. Look, maybe I’m being way too harsh. There are a lot of really shitty horror movies out there, and this isn’t one of them. It has a great atmosphere, follows a good path, and tells a decent story. I guess when something seems as polished as this does, I can’t help but feel more critical of it. The vampires look good! Recommend. Do beware, though, the movie can’t help itself but show some gross and gory scenes.
:: Stake Land 2: Stakelander :: 2016 :: Dan Berk & Robert Olsen ::
There are a lot of homages to the first movie in this film, which I really liked. It was lovingly made to reflect the first. The actors are largely the same - even the shopkeeper, eating the gum! The guy protecting the town from the train, he’s wearing the same jacket! - and this film does a lot to expand on the first. It changes some of the rules - they’re coming out earlier and earlier, gettin’ desperate! - but I found that ultimately, it’s more of the same. More the-disgustingness-of-humanity-and-what-folks-are-willing-to-do-to-each-other, even less vampires-are-attacking-everyone. At least this movie is letting itself have more fun. The first really wanted to be taken more seriously. It was a lot stupider than the first for that reason, but what can you do. It was kind of a fun watch. Good production at least, which can make almost any movie watchable!
P.S. What’s with the feral woman? She’s like 30. Why is she acting like that? She’s obviously old enough to have been born way before the apocalypse.
P.P.S. As is sometimes the case, Larry Fessenden’s hair is the unsung hero of this film.
:: Tales from the Crypt: Ritual :: 2002 :: Avi Nesher ::
Based on the 1943 film, I Walked with a Zombie, which is pretty cool. This movie was done by the Tales from the Crypt folks, so you know it’s going to be a pretty good movie. It’s going to have some real scares, it’s going to have decent actors, going to have some fun jokes and thrills. And it did not disappoint. This movie also has Tim Curry, which is always a win. However, there is a lot of slow-mo. Like, what? Anyway, lady loses her doctor’s license, goes to Jamaica, gets a voodoo curse put on her, then goes through the whole deal of trying to survive. Lots of weird cultural appropriation. Fun watch for a rainy day when you’re looking at your computer and want to pay like 62% attention to a movie.
:: Tank 432 :: 2015 :: Nick Gillespie ::
You know that stereotype of the stageplay, in which the stage is all in darkness, and someone steps forward into a spotlight, and says something like, “I am a soldier. It is my duty to kill. I will kill all who I am told to. Even…myself.” And then they step back, and another person steps forward and says, “I am the engineer. It is my duty to repair mechanical equipment. But I cannot repair…emotional equipment.” Now imagine that instead of being on stage, the actors are inside of a tank, and that oh yea, also, some people are cosplaying cthulhu creatures outside, and they can occasionally see them through the tank windows. That’s what this movie is. And I get it, you’re like, “But Joe, that sounds awesome!” And I agree. It sounds awesome. But it’s not. It’s really not. Pass.
P.S. Glad they used that biohazard symbol on the cover art. You know, that symbol has kind of come to represent zombies, so bugger off.
:: They Look Like People :: 2015 :: Perry Blackshear ::
OK, so I really hated the first maybe 6 minutes of this movie, and almost turned it off because of that. It was super pretentious, and arty, and suuuuper understated, which can be good, and can also (as was the case here) be bad and boring and annoying. BUT. They really saved themselves. This has ended up being super interesting and creepy. This dude Wyatt’s kind of losing his marbles a bit and begins to believe he’s involved in some sort of extraterrestrial and/or supernatural attack, and all of this unfolds while he’s sleeping on the floor of a friend’s house. Hilarity ensues! Oh, wait, no, not hilarity - what’s that other thing? - oh yea, creepy aggressive paranoid survivalist preparation. THAT’S what ensues. Things really come to a point when Wyatt decides that his buddy’s girlfriend is one of “them.” Anyway, watch the movie, I think you’ll like it.
:: Thirteen Ghosts :: 2001 :: Steve Beck ::
I like Matthew Lilliard. I liked him a lot in SLC Punk, I fondly remember him as the real-life Scooby Doo, and he seems like a nice guy. I don’t think he’s a WONDERFUL actor, though, and his ridiculousness is really revved up in this movie. So anyway, long story short, Tony Shahloub (Monk!) inherits a mansion made of glass, filled with the ghosts of vengeful serial killers, from his uncle. They get loose, they wreak havoc, his family has to find a way to save themselves. Meh. At least the house is really beautiful, and made almost entirely of glass. But! The movie is just pretty cheesy. Doesn’t hold up terribly well to age. It’s a fun watch, though, if you’re not taking it seriously and (recommended) are doing something else while it’s on.
:: Train to Busan :: 2016 :: Sang-ho Yeon ::
Korean zombie movie! Whoooaaa! This one’s a real pulse-pounder! I loved this movie. It was exciting, it was tense, it killed it in the way the best zombie movies can. The zombies were creating weird ploys like inexplicably hiding inside of things, and the knowledge of what to do by the protagonists seemed well thought out and sensible. The train was an excellent excuse for the setting to be simply executed and not overcomplicate things with CGI and multiple locations. I event felt sad during the sad parts, which is not that common for me with horror movies. Wow, what a winner. And it does a worst-of-humanity story in an EXCELLENT way. If you’ve ready any of my other reviews, you know what a pet peeve that is of mine. My only complaint? It felt a little long. Total recommend.
:: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil :: 2010 :: Eli Craig ::
I passed by this movie dozens of times because I thought it looked stupid. I thought the premise looked stupid, I thought the artwork looked stupid. I thought it would obviously be one of those movies that just plays on mean stereotypes and toilet humor to get by, and then it’d end, and I’d all feel kind of bad that I ever watched it. But it wasn’t! It was funny - like, really funny - and the acting was good. The gags and deaths were all really inventive, the storyline was pretty cool. However, like most joke/parody movies, a little goes a long way. The first hour-ish was great, and the last however-else-long-until-it-ended just draaaaaagged. Anyway, worth a watch, not nearly as stupid as the whole idea sounds. These guys are funny.
:: Under the Skin :: 2014 :: Jonathan Glazer ::
This movie came highly recommended by two friends, and it really lived up to the hype. I’d like to preface the movie by saying it’s super weird, not a horror movie (not really), and will take some time getting into it. If you’re anything like me, you’ll declare it pretentious and too weird after about twenty minutes, but you won’t turn it off. You won’t look at your computer, or phone, or talk to a friend. You’ll sit there and watch Scarlett Johansson get weird with some creepers. I don’t know how to properly write a synopsis, because I’m not entirely sure what the movie was about. I have theories, but to propose them would kind of ruin the plot. So I don’t know. Watch it. Trust me.
:: Under the Shadow :: 2016 :: Babak Anvari ::
So, this was meant to be a total weekday fluff piece. It was a Monday night, Katie was fooling around on her computer, and I thought it’d be OK to watch a horror movie with subtitles - I’m trying not to use my computer so much anymore, and it’s had drastic effects. One of which is that I can again sit through movies and shows without multitasking - AT ALL. But only 3ish minutes into the movie, K put her computer away and we were in it. Wow is this a wonderful movie. It’s quiet in all the right ways, bleak in all the right ways. The atmosphere is really rich, and the story is so fresh and interesting because it’s a ghost story from another culture. Basic rundown: woman can’t complete college degree because she took part in the Cultural Revolution in Iran in the 80s, her husband is called off to serve his duty, and the magical winds bring a djinn into her apartment building. Scariness ensues. But it’s that kind of quiet mostly understated scariness that I love so much. There were some jumps, but mostly, the anxiety I felt was from anticipation. And that’s the way it should be.
:: Vampires: Out for Blood :: 2004 :: Richard Brandes ::
Cop who’s obsessed with his ex gets put on an undercover job where he meets vampires at a rave. They have maybe 20 people in a dark club, listlessly dancing to industrial bangers in one scene, 80’s power ballads in the next. The actors are the true absence of goth and vampire: weird looking Hollywood extras who resemble the living dead only in their soulless, lifeless eyes. Not bad enough to be fun, not good enough to be enjoyable. Nothing to see here, people, move along.
:: The Visit :: 2016 :: M. Night Shyamalan ::
This wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be, and at the moment, we’re all going to have to take this as a compliment. It had some legitimately creepy moments, as Shyamalan’s movies always do. It’s kind of a shame how weird the trajectory of his movies has been. I really loved The Village. Sixth Sense was great! Unbreakable? Strange, but well told and strong. Signs? Signs me up! And then it all goes downhill, slowly, but surely. Until we get here. A goofy movie that relies on kids telling jokes and the tired plot of someone inexplicably recording everything. Who in this world is recording everything? Don’t know anyone, haven’t even seen anyone around who always on a camera on them and their friends. Anyway, totally worth a watch if you’re doing something else while it’s on, but I don’t know, be careful if you’re going to try and watch it full-on.
:: We Are Still Here :: 2015 :: Ted Geoghegan ::
So, alright, I kind of liked this movie. I liked the atmosphere of this movie, the artistic direction. It’s beautiful and vintage and feels almost…fun. Like watching a good spirited movie from the 90s about the 60s. It also has a bit of a Stephen King feel to it. But this movie suffers from showing-too-much-ism. A lot of the ghost and haunting stuff is really creepy! It is! But the ghosts are everywhere, and we see SO much of them and their CGI-ness. I love the look of the house though. K and I made a bit of a study of this movie, and the furniture. Wow did I love the furniture in it. Anyway, fun watch. Not a tremendous movie, but it’s a fun watch. Nothing new, but it does a lot of things right.
:: What We Do in the Shadows :: 2014 :: Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement ::
I was so pleasantly surprised by this movie! First of all, long time Flight of the Conchords fan. And Jemaine has pretty gracefully made the jump into actual movie acting, so I already had pretty high expectations. The movie is very funny if you like faux-documentary styles, and let me tell you: Katie and I STILL watch The Office a lot (both British and American), so that’s us all over. The movie also manages to be a little scary, though! That’s the best part! When the guys are being chased through the house, the werewolf scenes, the dance at the end. They’re pretty good! Anyway, wholly recommended. It’s funny, it’s neat, it’s easy to watch. A real win/win.
:: When Animals Dream :: 2014 :: Jonas Alexander Arnby ::
Wow, I liked this movie. It was in Danish, which was a bummer, but after about 10 minutes I wasn’t distracted by the process of reading subtitles. This movie was not very scary, more sad than anything else. The atmosphere is slow and quiet and beautiful; for some reason, Netflix called this a “Teen Scream,” which it absolutely is NOT. It’s about a young girl with an unfortunate family situation that the whole town knows about, and now she’s dealing with it, too. This is a very absorbing movie, maybe a little too slow at times, but well worth the watch.
:: Willow Creek :: 2013 :: Bobcat Goldthwait ::
So, I totally liked this movie - kind of a lot. I REALLY didn’t expect to. We watched this on a bit of a revamped mini-Scary Movie Club meet up, with a new friends and coworker Ann. I’d almost forgotten about the entirely different experience of watching a movie in a group vs. alone. I should begin to delineate that in my reviews. Anyway. Guy who’s obsessed with Bigfoot goes out to the Willow Creek, California, to try and find the site of the site of that Bigfoot video - you know the one, where he lopes by and turns to look at the camera - with his girlfriend, who’s reluctant about all of the goofiness of their trip. This movie does a lot of things really well: for instance, they interview people who have supposedly seen Bigfoot, and they’re all real interviewees - they’re people who HAVE seen Bigfoot. They’re not just actors. Great touch, seems super realistic. The movie seems kind of goofy and not that scary, and there’s way too much time spent pre-camping in the woods, but once they’re finally camping, it’s all worth it. The movie really culminates in a pretty terrifying 20ish minute, single shot scene of the couple in the tent. Total recommendation!
BONUS REVIEW FROM ANN!
Fresh take on the Blair Witch idea, with Sasquatch starring as the sought-after local legend. Better, IMO, than Blair Witch, in part because I experienced less jump-exhaustion. Using the Carlough Scale (without numbers; I find quantification really hard):
Acting - Respectable, fairly believable. Nice touch using actual people as documentary interviewees to lend a sense of reality and something for actors to play against. Main characters seemed believable and evoked what they were intended to evoke from me as a viewer.
Anxiety - I felt fairly anxious, and that creeped up and intensified probably along the exact trajectory anticipated by the writers. See Unpredictable, below.
Atmosphere - The film made good use of nice, bright sunny days and dark spooky nighttime. Kind of a good thing that at some point bright sunny day stops seeming like the safe harbor you want it to be.
Movie Watched - Yep, all the way through. Wished it were a little longer, actually.
Appropriate Grossness - Very little grossness, none of it visual.
Production - The movie is low budget but not only does it not suffer for that, it lends it authenticity. This is kind of what you'd expect from a couple people making their own documentary. Scenes were all real places, from what I could tell, so there was no shoddy backdrop to detect. And there was no fancy technical stuff in the film, so poorly done CGI, for example, was a non-factor.
Recommended - If you like high production look and feel with lots of big jump scares and well-known actors this is not the film for you. Otherwise, if you are a liker of scary movies that are a bit more subtle this could be up your alley.
Unpredictable - So, this movie isn't chock-full of unpredictable stuff. You've seen this trajectory before, you know when it's going to get scary even if you don't know exactly how that part will play out in terms of numbers or amplitude of scares. I think the predictability works in its favor, doing some of the tension-building for you. There are one or two things that you might not see coming but those things aren't part of the scare - they're peripheral to it. One of them actually adds a clever bit of distraction at a good time.
Scares - This film doesn't produce jump after jump, exhausting the viewer so that finally the movie becomes more annoying than scary. There are mostly small, well-spaced jumps, with a fairly tight cable of tension running between them. The scares are pretty solid though, unless you're sitting in a roomful of scare-mockers (that kind of co-viewer could wreck this film for you, so avoid that environment if possible).
Story - Yes. Ok? Yes, this story has been told repeatedly. It has its own minor uniquenesses but they don't serve to set it clearly apart from other films. I'm not sure the story has been told with this particular combo of factors, but it's not novel. It's enjoyable for what it is, and for what it's worth, I'm positive I'll be watching it again, and sharing it with other people. It's shaped like a classic and I like that.
:: The VVitch :: 2015 :: Robert Eggers ::
I was excited for this one, and when it did, K and I popped into our little auto and headed to the movies, a luxury we don’t normally afford ourselves. This movie did not disappoint. It’s very quiet, and very slow. Very thoughtful. It’s largely a discussion of the importance of religion in colonial American life, and some of those very early folktales - which, in this movie, are also very real. The movie is beautifully shot and incredibly eerie, making me at once jealous of the earnest quietude of a mostly uninhabited landscape, and fearful of the dark woods. Highly recommended, particularly if you’re staying in a cabin in the woods for a week.
:: Witchboard :: 1986 :: Kevin Tenney ::
By some hand of fate, K and I decided to watch Witchboard the day after we watched Night of the Demons. And what do ya know, it was directed by Kevin Tenney, same as NotD. And the music was done by his brother, same as NotD. This rules. This movie comes and goes in waves: it started awesome, then gets boring…until the medium shows up. SHE RULES. She has red and purple hair, has a squeaky voice and great, punny lines, and has a jacket that looks like something hippie Elvis would wear. This is not by any means a great movie, but it’s fun to watch. So why not! P.S. Do yourself a favor and look up Halloween Horrorfest Fest 2009 Witchboard on Youtube for the biggest treat of your life.