I'm back with part 2 of my horror movie marathon reviews. Again, I'm looking at movies currently streaming on Netflix, and the movie descriptions (in italics) are provided by imdb.com. So here's what I thought of some of the movies available right now.
1. Session 9
"Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an
abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming
This is a bit more of a psychological thriller than a
ghost story. One of the best things about this movie, is that it was
filmed on site at the abandoned Danvers Mental Hospital in Massachusetts- a place that is rumored to be haunted in reality. So you can expect the setting to be suitably eerie. In
fact, actor David Caruso claimed to have seen something strange while
filming. Very spooky. As far as the movie itself- Whew! It was sooo
creepy. It begins slow, but as the sense of foreboding builds, the movie
becomes intense, and the final scenes are fairly shocking.
2. Bag of Bones
was a Stephen King novel that I really enjoyed, and they turned it into
a fairly good adaptation that, if I recall correctly, was released on
television initially. In any event, it's complete here, and it has some
pretty good scary moments, some decent characters, and a decades-old
murder mystery that needs to be solved. I did think that Pierce
Brosnan was an odd choice for the main role, though. Maybe it's just me,
but he's not how I pictured the character in the book. He's a bit stiff
for me- he never seems very emotionally connected to the other
characters. Or maybe I just still can't help seeing him as James Bond?
3. The Caller
I liked this. It was another slow-burner, but it had a
few really good creep-out moments. It's more spine-tingling than
terrifying. You might recognize Rachelle LeFevre from the recent TV
series, Under the Dome. She is a great actress in that series, and I
enjoyed her performance here as well.
4. Rosemary's Baby
This is another classic of horror.
Personally, I find most of this movie quite unsettling...up until the
end. It seems comical to me. I always kind of giggle at the Adams
Family-esque black cradle for the baby, and the ridiculous cultists. But
it's one of those movies that you need to see if you haven't. It was filmed in the 1960s, and the underlying themes center around women's issues- think The Yellow Wallpaper. (By the way, if you've never read that, I strongly suggest you do.In fact, read it here,
free.) Rosemary is in a similar position, except that the woman in the
short story is being convinced something is wrong with her, whereas
Rosemary is being told that nothing is wrong.
5. The Corridor
This was a
mind-bender, that had some seriously creepy moments. However, it was
incredibly gory for a portion of the movie, and I could barely stand to
watch. There is a huge amount of tension in this film, as slowly the
campers begin going mad, and then become strangely violent or
self-destructive. The ending left me still confused, but I don't think
they meant for you to truly understand what the corridor really was. Suffice to say, it's dangerous.
6. The Serpent and the Rainbow
a zombie movie that's actually about "real" zombies. There are people
who believe that they can transform others into the walking dead.
There's a nice article about it here.
In fact, the movie is based on the real account and research of Wade
Davis. Based on...mind you. Wes Craven of course, takes the ideas from
the book and crafts a horror tale around them. As far as how scary this is- I would say I found it more disturbing
because of the basic premise- that anyone can be taken over and forced
to become a mindless slave. Some of the scenes are trance-like and
bizarre, while others are definitely startling. I think the main draw
for this movie is that it is so unique in the genre. It feels more like a
psychological action movie with elements of horror, than just pure horror movie.
7. Knife Edge
This was overall bland with small moments of eerie
happenings sprinkled throughout. It's a murder mystery with a ghostly
element. There are lots of movies like that, and this one isn't
impressive in any way. It doesn't stand out. Even so, it's not horrible,
and if you're looking for a horror flick and you can't find anything
else that interests you, then give this a try.
8. The Dunwich Horror
Oh boy. I am a huge Lovecraft fan, and this is an interpretation of one of his stories. I wouldn't say it's a terribly accurate interpretation, but...it is
one. Honestly, this is pretty hokey. But that's what I like about it.
Dean Stockwell is such an intense, weird man. I'll give him this- he
does feel like a man who's not really human in this movie.
Basically, Wilbur is the son of one of the elder gods, and he's trying
to seduce Sandra Dee's character and turn her over to his tentacle-daddy
so she can get pregnant with his brother. I am surprised the MST3K crew
never did this one. When I watch it, I do my own version. That's why I
think this is great- get some friends together, get some popcorn and
come up with your own snarky comments as you go along
9. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
is hilarious. It takes the typical slasher film and turns it on its
ear. For once, the backwoods hillbillies are the nice guys who are just
trying to mind their own business, but the college kids make some
assumptions about them based on some really funny coincidences. So,
the college kids determine to fight back...but they keep getting
themselves killed. I have never laughed so hard at someone being
wood-chipped to death. And then cops get involved, and it all goes
downhill from there. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are fantastic in this. A
10. The Devil Inside
is an example of the found footage films that I get tired of. First of
all, we've seen SO many exorcism movies in recent years, and SO many
found footage, or documentary style movies, and this one just doesn't
stand out in either category. The only thing unique about the exorcism
aspect was the ideas of multi-being possession and transference. So,
basically there were multiple demons in a lady, and the demons could
transfer to other people close by- even priests attempting exorcism.
That was pretty cool. On the other hand, the rest of the exorcism scenes
are just standard fare for the genre- contorting limbs, screaming,
speaking in tongues...you get the picture. And I am so tired of shaky,
jumpy camera work. So, it's not horrible...I just didn't enjoy it as
much as I had hoped.
11. Apartment 143
was ok. It's a found footage style film, and it's not the worst one
I've seen. There are quite a few startle-scare moments, and it builds up
to a much more aggressive haunting than the Paranormal Activity movies.
There were some pretty big flaws, though. The professor-type
investigator seems so flat throughout everything that's happening. You
would think given the level of insane activity that happens in this
house, that he'd be willing to entertain an idea that this is more than
just a girl with schizophrenia manifesting some psychokinesis. His
determination to stick to science is almost ridiculous, given the
happenings in the movie, so he seemed unbelievable as a character. They
also never really answer what was going on, and they hint at things to
be discovered, so the let-down of not getting to discover them is sort of unforgivable.
12. The Fourth Kind
I was legitimately scared by this movie. I mean, they
begin the darn thing with a statement about how they will be using
actual footage interspersed with acting. That made me stop and say,
"Whoa, really? I'm intrigued now. This might be a real event." As I was
watching, it was quite frightening, but about halfway through, I started
doubting. I don't want to spoil it for you, so...watch it first, google
the darn thing after. I think not being sure if it is real or not is
part of the fun of this one.
13. A Haunting in Salem
Oh wow. This is a stinker. This is about as well done as Sharknado,
but seemingly not on purpose. A sampling of ridiculous things: A kid
is drowned in a bathtub, and for some reason the water is green and
smoking when this happens. Why? Was he drowned in a vat of acid? No?
Hmm. A girl who has been sick for days pulls a tooth out of her own
mouth, and her mother rushes in to put hydrogen peroxide on it. But
we're not going to the hospital or anything...this sort of thing just
happens, right? Oh and at the same time Mom is applying hydrogen
peroxide to daughter's tooth, there's a citizen of the town boiling her
own face off in the kitchen. No one seems to notice, not even the cop
who is then seen standing on the porch. Later, the sheriff is thrown out
a second story window- a fall which killed the first sheriff, but he
gets up after a few minutes and doesn't seem to even have broken bones.
And then there's the casting. The sheriff is played by a guy who looks
like he's in his mid 40s, but he's married to a much more attractive
woman who looks mid thirties at best. One of them should have been
swapped out. They don't look right together. Apparently, this is a
common complaint of movie critics, (Well...sounds like most people were
harsher than I am) because the poor guy issued a statement about his involvement
in this movie and apologized to movie watchers. Oh my gosh. I say watch
this if you want a silly horror movie. Giggle at it. The value in this
is the ridiculousness.
Probably almost everyone has seen this.
That's because it really was a good horror flick. I saw it first in a
drive-in theater near my home town, and I loved it. It has become a
modern classic for me. Everyone knew, when I was a kid, that there were
"rules" of slasher films. We talked about them at sleepovers and with
our other nerd friends. But this movie cemented what we all joked about,
and maybe it was the bit of humor in it that caused it to be so scary. I
remember discussing with friends- if you were in a horror movie, would
you live or die? This movie took that question seriously.
15. Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)
This is a great
movie. This was the original Swedish version before it was remade into
"Let Me In" by an American crew. I find the remake unnecessary. The only
thing it improved was maybe removing the need to read the subtitles.
Other than that, I prefer this version. Things I love about this: the
children who played the two main characters...they were so wonderful in
this; the setting- the stark, cold Swedish winter feels like a metaphor
for the loneliness of Oskar and Eli; and the balance of Eli's character-
you feel a mixture of sympathy for her and fear of her. The movie
left me unsure of what I wanted the outcome to be, and it's a
very intelligent film in that regard. It isn't meant to just shock you
or startle you, but to make you feel and think.
again, happy horror watching, folks! Hopefully, I'll be able to share
some more soon. If you missed my first set of reviews, check them out
Originally posted at my other blog, Logical Waffles.