Knock Knock

31 Days of Horror, Day 31

I didn’t have high hopes for this movie. The reviews were bad, and the only thing casual audiences seemed to like about Knock Knock was the nudity. Still, I was prepared to give this movie a chance. Then, my wife said, “Oh, Eli Roth directed this.”

Damn. While Roth kept his trademark tongue-in-cheek humor intact and abandoned the excessive gore, I was too put off by the terrible acting to enjoy the fact that Roth finally learned what subtlety is. So I’m not going to waste any more time reviewing this movie. Continue reading

Long Weekend

31 Days of Horror, Day 19

When you wrong Mother Nature, don’t be surprised if she claps back. That’s the central conceit of Colin Eggleston’s 1978 Aussie horror classic. In Long Weekend, a married couple whose relationship is on the outs attempts to salvage what’s left of their marriage with a trip to a remote beach. Or, rather, that’s the husband’s idea of therapy. His wife would rather chill at a posh hotel. Clearly, their differing ideas of what makes for a good time is just one example of why they aren’t working.

The other: she cheated on him, got pregnant during the affair and aborted the baby at her husband’s request. Ouch. Continue reading

The Babysitter

The Babysitter

31 Days of Horror, Day 18

Right off the bat, this movie had two strikes against it. First, it’s directed by McG. Second, it’s a straight-to-Netflix horror comedy. While The Babysitter started out promising, unraveling the mystery of what the titular character does when the kid she’s watching falls asleep wasn’t worth 85 minutes of our time.

What is she up to?
Much like this McG-helmed film,
it doesn’t matter.

Julia

31 Days of Horror, Day 17

In Julia, a horror film from 2015, a woman (named, wait for it, Julia) sets out to get revenge on the men who raped her. If that sounds even remotely familiar, it’s because this sort of thing has been done before – much, much better. A partial list:

  • I Spit on Your Grave
  • Last House on the Left
  • Thriller: A Cruel Picture (which provided some inspiration for Kill Bill)
  • Irreversible
  • American Mary

Not surprisingly, I’ve seen all of these movies, so I went into Julia optimistic that director Matthew A. Brown would bring something fresh to the table. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t. Aside from the catalyst for the titular character’s revenge quest being some sort of weirdo rape survivors’ cult (a concept that doesn’t hold up to even the slightest bit of scrutiny), there’s nothing new here. Continue reading

Howl

Howl

31 Days of Horror, Day 16

I’m going to break precedent here and actually give context for a haiku. Howl is a 2015 British indie horror film about a train terrorized by werewolves. We found it tedious, yet a fairly accurate representation of the horrors that await anyone who chooses to use mass transit. I’ve seen NYC subway videos on YouTube, fam.

Like any train ride:
dull, with the slightest chance that
you may be bitten.

The Eyes of My Mother

31 Days of Horror, Day 15

Girl learns how to butcher animals from her mother, who used to be a surgeon. Girl loses mother in a particularly horrific way. Girl reacts in an equally horrific way – repeatedly, for about 77 minutes.

Yeah, I get that this is the directorially debut of Nicolas Pesce, and it was shot on a shoestring budget. That explains why a) the film is in black and white and b) so much of the violence, and major plot points, are left to the viewer’s imagination.

But, I mean, at what point does strategically cutting away from a gruesome scene, or flashing forward in time, become less of an artistic decision and more of a crutch for lazy writing? Continue reading

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th

31 Days of Horror, Day 13

Friday the 13th on Friday, the 13th – in October? Yeah, we kind of had to. Honestly, I was only half paying attention to the movie, since my last viewing was still fresh in my mind. But there’s still a lot to like here. Sean S. Cunningham took all of Middle America’s fears — hitchhiking in a stranger’s car, backwoods bumpkins and, yes, even premarital sex — and fed them.

At Camp Crystal Lake, doing any of those things is a recipe for certain death — and not at the hands of a hockey mask-wearing maniac. The real genius that separates Friday the 13th from Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween is that the antagonist here isn’t the boogeyman. It’s a middle-aged woman whose kind eyes are a proverbial mask for a split personality with a mean overhand knife swing. Continue reading

Jason X

31 Days of Horror, Day 12

Premarital sex!
Even in the depths of space,
it makes Jason mad.

Lights Out

31 Days of Horror, Day 11

I would like to propose 10 alternate titles for Lights Out, a 2016 horror film about some weird shadow thing that torments a family when – wait for it – the lights go out.

  1. Depression is a Shadow Monster: The Movie
  2. Ninety Minutes of a Shadow Monster Scratching Wood Flooring
  3. A Really Heavy-Handed Metaphor for the Fact That Your Depression Affects Loved Ones
  4. But the Metaphor Doesn’t Work Because Some Random Woman Saw the Monster
  5. Also Shadow Monster Kills a Cop
  6. And the More I Think About it, Suicide Also Has a Ripple Effect
  7. So Ultimately That Should Not Have Killed the Monster
  8. But I’m Just Some Guy – I Didn’t Write the Script for Lights Out
  9. I Only Had to Watch and Analyze It
  10. The Babbadook: Kidz Bop Edition