Hello, everyone! I finally got to see Hereditary, a movie I’ve been eagerly awaiting since critics dubbed it the scariest movie of the year. Listen to me, children. Never go into a horror movie with expectations. Those will be your downfall. I went into the screening of Hereditary expecting to have my jaded bones jump out of their skin and to experience two hours of impeccable craftsmanship. While not exactly satisfied, my expectations were subverted, even perverted, into a movie that seemed to constantly contradict itself. It was wholly original, but also derivative, masterfully frightening in parts, yet tame in others. It was an intense family drama with an amateur grasp on characterization and how real people interact. As director Ari Aster’s debut film, Hereditary exhibited subtlety, sophistication, and boldness, but also revealed a lack of restraint. Hereditary showcases a lot of skill on Aster’s part, but it’s also kind of a mess. In our new era of horror where slow-burn, character-driven pieces like The Babadook and The Witch reign supreme, a film like Hereditary checks all the boxes, but can’t think outside of them.
Horror movies have a habit of reflecting society’s darkest fears. Invasion of the Body Snatchers had its heroes fighting a futile battle against communists in the guise of soulless aliens, while films like The Strangers and Funny Games explore the average American’s helplessness against a new generation of adolescents whose apathy can cross the line into sociopathic violence. When considering which horror movies best exemplify America’s greatest fear from the 2010s to the present, I could point to films such as Unfriended, The Den, Friend Request, Dark Summer, and #Horror, which all paint the dangers of social media as this generation’s biggest epidemic. And while these films point to a grave societal problem, I think I’ve found a film that encapsulates modern America’s deepest fear: the American healthcare system. The film responsible is Would You Rather, a mediocre horror movie that seems oblivious to its true source of scares. Sometimes the best societal commentary is accidental.
Hello, everyone! Praise be, I’m getting back into the swing of things with semi-weekly blog posts. That means I have my shit together, guys. What a day to be me. Anyway, today I’m reviewing the new Netflix original horror movie Before I Wake, directed by Mike Flanagan (Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil) and starring Jacob Tremblay (child star and precocious devil) and Kate Bosworth (moonlights as a mannequin). The film started off semi-promisingly, then slowly unravelled into a sappy, gooey mess with a stack of unanswered questions. From the director of Hush, my favorite home invasion movie, and Ouija, which had a gruesome, unsettling ending, I expected a lot more than Before I Wake‘s tepid scares and cheesy resolution.
Hello, everyone! A new movie review, just in time for a new year! Today I watched Julia Ducournau’s horror Raw, a 100 minute gut-punch of blood, guts, and sisterhood. One of those things is not like the others, but Raw never lets its twisted premise come unravelled. Did I enjoy Raw? Yes. Did I also find it disgusting? Yes, yes, and yes. But who says those qualities are mutually exclusive? Sometimes the best films are the ones that are so hard to watch, you can’t turn away.
Hello, everyone! Sorry for the month long delay between posts. If you couldn’t guess, it’s because my spring semester has been as chaotic as Donald Trump’s presidency and I’ve only just found my footing. Last Friday I saw Rings, the third installment in the American adaptation of the Japanese Ringu. A completely mediocre movie through and through, Rings adds nothing to the franchise but derivative storytelling, lousy acting, and a serving of warmed-over creepiness. By updating the premise for the digital age, the film draws attention to its own fading relevance.
Hello, everyone! Let me start this post by saying I have a bone to pick with critics. Why can’t everyone like what I like? But seriously, sometimes I watch a movie, mostly in the horror genre, and I’m bewildered by the critical reviews. They watch It Follows and say it’s one of the best horror movies of the decade, I say it’s a pretty yawnfest. They watch The Visit and praise the film for its “satisfying blend of thrills and laughs” (Rotten Tomatoes) and I collapse to the ground, decrying a world that deems a lukewarm found footage movie with a stupid twist to be acceptable, or even worse, scary. What confuses me the most, however, is the reaction from critics to a movie like Don’t Breathe. How can a group who can find the sudden appearance of a tall man terrifying somehow stomach a movie as disturbing and morally ambiguous as this one? Spoilers Ahead (you’ve been warned!)
Hello, everyone! Today I finally get around to writing a review about I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, a movie that is more or less a painting stretched out into 87 tedious minutes. With a title that unique and descriptive, I was expecting something a bit more interesting than the minimalist set of tableaux that director Oz Perkins believes makes a movie. Yes, Oz Perkins, as in the son of Anthony Perkins, the iconic actor who played Norman Bates in Psycho. The only thing that IATPTTLITH (even the acronym is too long!) has in common with the genius of Psycho is that they are both technically horror movies. I guess in this day and age with an orange buffoon as president-elect, anything can be anything.
Hello, everyone! It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted on this blog, but do not despair, for I’ve returned. Today I watched a uniquely chilly film called We Are What We Are, directed by Jim Mickle, who also directed Cold in July and Stakeland. We Are What We Are is a family psychological drama with horror elements that has the aesthetics of a refined backwoods western and the suspense of a thrilling mystery. A movie influenced by too many genres can turn out muddled, but Mickle’s clear, cold direction keeps the film focused and compelling from start to finish.
Hello, everyone! My last review of Creep was fairly negative, so I promised to write a positive review to balance that out. The first horror movie I watched last week was a chilly little horror called Last Shift, directed by Anthony DiBlasi, who has directed a bunch of other horror movies and was the executive producer for Midnight Meat Train, which I haven’t seen but heard was a great film. The film is small and contained in atmosphere, but nonetheless quite ambitious. It’s the type of movie that scared me in such a way that I would track my cursor across the progression bar at the bottom of the screen to see the next image before it played, just so I could prepare myself.
Hello, everyone! I watched two horror movies this week, one that was surprisingly awesome, and one that was not-surprisingly un-awesome. Since I watched the un-awesome one tonight, I’ll review that one first. Here’s the lesson I learned from watching Creep: if you think Mark Duplass would make a bad horror movie, trust your gut. Don’t listen to Reddit. Even they have bad taste.