Tag: Horror

2014, Movies

As Above, So Below (2014, John Erick Dowdle)

This is yet another found-footage horror film, number 300 and something at this point. (I have no idea whether that’s high or low.) When this was made, it was 15 years since Blair Witch. At some point, shouldn’t low-budget horror filmmakers realize this gimmick is a little tired?

2011, Movies

BloodRayne: The Third Reich (2011, Uwe Boll)

This is a pretty awful film that seems intent on reviving the Naziploitation films of the 70s that everyone fondly remembers. (Oh, you don’t fondly remember them? You think they’re offensive? That’s weird.) I can’t say whether or not this is a fond tribute to those films, as I’ve only ever seen one of them, …

1960, Movies

Black Sunday aka The Mask of Satan (1960, Mario Bava)

I’m sad to say I saw the American version of this, which was cut of its most extreme horror, apparently. Even so, it’s still got some pretty gruesome effects for 1960 (to my knowledge) and that’s the attraction here. The story itself is pretty rote – doctors stumble upon a creepy, cursed castle – and …

2016, Movies

The Limehouse Golem (2016, Juan Carlos Medina)

This is an atmospheric and entertaining period mystery/horror film that struggles with both telling and tone but which is mostly entertaining. My biggest issues were with the time-hoping – there are flashbacks throughout the film and flashbacks within flashbacks, a particular pet peeve of mine – as well as with the tone of the very …

2010, Movies

Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010, James Nguyen)

I have seen a lot of bad movies in my life (though fewer recently) so I have pretty high (low?) standards for my “Worst Movies of All Time” list. For me, a film has to be have zero redeeming qualities about it for me to consider it one of the worst films ever made. Most …

2016, Movies

Zoombies (2016, Glenn Miller)

I don’t go on Twitter much, but every so often I see a movie that I feel like the only true way to express its awfulness is through live tweeting. This is one of those movies. This film takes a routine zombie plot – infected monkeys infect others (always the damn monkeys! can’t whales get …

2009

Case 39 (2009, Christian Alvart)

Renee Zellwegger, Ian McShane, Bradley Cooper and Callum Keith Cennie star in this film. Why have you never heard of it? Well, the reason is because this film is awwwful and my guess is that it was dropped at some point when nobody would pay attention to it. It is awful in so many ways: …

2006, Movies

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006, Scott Glosserman)

MILD SPOILERS This film begins as the horror movie equivalent to the classic 1992 Belgian black comedy Man Bites Dog. It’s literally the same concept: a documentary team follows a serial killer around. However, the additional conceit here is that the audience sees what the horror movie would look like, were one being made. Does …

2013, Movies

The Purge (2013, James DeMonaco)

The opening text this movie displays, explaining what ‘the purge’ is, is basically the pitch meeting for this movie. The filmmaker likely walked into an office, said those exact words, mentioned some actors for the key roles, and got this green-lit. This film is a perfect symbol of what is wrong with “high concept” films …

2014, Movies

The Babadook (2014, Jennifer Kent)

Hype is a dangerous thing, as I have noted more than a few times in the past. Hearing too much about a movie ahead of time can unwillingly alter your expectations, even without your knowledge. And so I find myself watching yet another movie I’ve heard too much about, with out-sized expectations. Maybe if I …

2009, Movies

Antichrist (2009, Lars von Trier)

I struggle with Von Trier’s movies – and megalomania – for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the ridiculous Dogme 95 statement that he has gone back on so thoroughly in his later films. (It’s not that I object to Dogme 95 in itself but it’s the brashness of youth I …

2015, Movies

TIFF 2015: Demon (2015, Marcin Wrona) (12/15)

This is the most unique horror comedy I’ve seen in some time. Whereas most horror comedies are ready to notify their intention to get you to laugh early on (and usually to laugh instead of scream or to laugh and only occasionally scream) this movie’s humour is rooted in the absurd dramedy of a cast …

1987, Movies

Angel Heart (1987, Alan Parker)

This is an over-stylized but interesting attempt at reviving American Film Noir in a decade in which it could be presumed dead and it’s combined with an interesting genre-mashing twist. There are some obvious problems: For one, the accents are nonexistent. DeNiro doesn’t try a Cajun accent, neither does Bonet (and what’s with the flat …

2012, Movies

American Mary (2012, Jen Soska, Sylvia Soska)

Two telltale signs of the budget of this film: Casting: A British actor who cannot do an American accent is cast as an American detective; Gore: For a movie about body modification there is (thankfully) not a lot of gore. This movie seems to exist for one reason and one reason alone: to cater to …

2009, Movies

Amer (2009, Helene Cattet, Bruno Frozani)

This is a French tribute to / revision of the Italian Giallo genre (used in the English sense of the word) that encompasses everything that is great (crazy colours and visuals, insane cutting, music that will not let you ignore it) and everything that is bad about it (all of the above plus narrative incoherence) …

2006, Movies

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006, Jonathan Levine)

I watched the first 30-35 minutes of this maybe a year ago (in pieces) while someone else was watching it. I figured I should watch it all the way through, even given my reservations. My reservations were a few: I didn’t go to a school like this. I guess there were one or two girls …

2013, Movies

Afflicted (2013, Derek Lee, Clif Prowse)

This is a well meaning, reasonably entertaining found footage horror film that suffers from some major flaws. I like the concept and I wanted to like it a lot more than I did, but unfortunately I just can’t get by the problems. It gets off to a good start: I just recently watched Departures for …

2009, Movies

Pandorum (2009, Chrstian Alvart)

Pandorum has a neat concept to start, but unfortunately it is undercut by overly explanatory title cards – better the movie open with Bower coming out of his chamber, I think. But, that being said, otherwise the movie seems quite strong at first. The reveal is way too early, but otherwise it’s good. There are …

1995, Books, Fiction

The Essential Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1995) edited by Leonard Wolf

This is an immense edition of what is otherwise a pretty short novella. It is nice that a story like this would get this kind of treatment, but it’s kind of over the top. For example, the novella itself is rather over-annotated. How is that possible, you ask? Well, even one of the footnotes has …

2011, Movies

You’re Next (2011, Adam Wingard)

I can’t say I like it when a horror film reveals most of its secrets within its opening minutes. Whatever the twist to come, it’s frustrating when the thing that’s supposed to be scary is revealed, partially, in the opening, and completely within the first act. The twist on the genre – and its a …

2011, Movies

Quarantine 2: Terminal (2011, John Pogue)

I thought I had seen the original but I was just getting it confused with some other “Stuck in a building, being chased by rabid humans” movies and, well, I’ve seen [Rec], so I basically have seen the original. This is all kinds of stupid. Aside from following the usual cliches of this now-overdone genre, …

2012, Movies

The Woman in Black (2012, James Watkins)

This begins as an atmospheric, period horror film which is pretty effective except for the soundtrack, which is full of Scary Horror Movie Noises, and which somewhat weakens the appeal, given that the film would have been very creepy without them. The real problem begins when Radcliffe’s character figures out what the issue is, and …

2007, Movies

Aliens vs. Predator – Requiem (2007, Colin Strause, Greg Strause)

This is actually significantly better than the original AVP in that a lot of effort is put into character development and sense of place. But that being said, too much time is put into that stuff. At the end of this day, this is a movie about one set of monsters vs. another, and that’s …

2013, Movies

Contracted (2013, Eric England)

Not only is this film idiotic, but it is boring. I think it’s supposed to be a horror movie but nothing about it is scary (and there are only a few gross moments). The movie has too many flaws to mention, but here are a few: The relationships aren’t believable at any level (I’m not …

Movies

The Greatest Horror Movies of All Time…that I’ve seen

In honour of Halloween, but really inspired by a facebook discussion earlier today, I figured I would write a brief little list of the greatest horror films ever made. (With the obvious qualifier that, while I have seen a lot of movies – 3500 is probably a conservative estimate – I have by no means …