Category Archives: Horror

They’re coming to get you, Barbera.

The Invisible Man (2020) Movie Review

Universal’s 2017 re-interpretation of The Mummy, directed by Alex Kurtzman and starring Tom Cruise, went for a frivolous, action-oriented romp. It appeared to be searching for something akin to yet distinct from the Stephen Sommers-directed The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns—distinguished enough in its choreography to suit Cruise’s devil-may-care persona yet narratively grounded enough to kick off a multi-IP franchise worthy of crossovers and event films.

This latter conceit was dead on arrival. While The Mummy did Continue reading The Invisible Man (2020) Movie Review

Gretel & Hansel (2020) Movie Review

Osgood Perkins’ Gretel & Hansel, produced by Orion Pictures and Bron Studios, reverses the names in the title of the classic Grimm’s fairy tale. This is an intentional choice. Not only is Gretel arguably the protagonist of every major iteration of this story, but this version makes a concerted effort to address the gender differences between its title characters.

It is an interesting direction to take a familiar fairy tale, one that could bear rich thematic fruit. Unfortunately, Rob Hayes’ script makes statements toward this theme without much elaboration and with only a cursory connection to the fairy tale text. The film begins with Continue reading Gretel & Hansel (2020) Movie Review

The Grudge (2020) Movie Review

Following the huge success of Gore Verbinski’s The Ring in 2002, The J-horror franchise Ju-on was remade in the United States as The Grudge in 2004. It was also a success. In the first weekend of 2020, another remake of Ju-onĀ appeared in theaters to little fanfare. To Sony, it seemed like a good idea. The time gap is big enough. The January market is (while a notorious dumping ground) not a moneyless area for horror.

And the premise of Ju-on, like any good myth, is worth retelling. The concept of a house whose primary tenant is a spiritual curse is (while by no means wholly original) intriguing. The story moves from Continue reading The Grudge (2020) Movie Review

The Gallows Act II (2019) Movie Review

I have to admit: I can’t remember a whole lot about The Gallows, the micro-budget horror film from 2015 that found a massive ROI despite strong negative reaction from audiences and critics. What I do remember is being unimpressed. But the film was financially impressive enough, shoring up almost $43 million on a reportedly $100,000 budget. Certainly enough to warrant the greenlight for a sequel.

From what I can tell, there is no plan for a national rollout of this sequel. The Gallows Act II, directed by the same duo as the first film (Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing), is playing in Continue reading The Gallows Act II (2019) Movie Review

Review: Die Kinder Der Toten – Fantastic Fest 2019

Die Kinder der Toten is a zombie movie, technically. But fewer scripts with the word “zombie” in it stray this far from what we consider standard operating procedure for a “zombie film.”

In Styria (not to be confused with Syria), a car wreck sets off a chain of events that disrupts the entire town (eventually). Call it experimental or avant garde or surrealism; it certainly is not Continue reading Review: Die Kinder Der Toten – Fantastic Fest 2019

Review: VHYes – Fantastic Fest 2019

Jack Henry Robbins’ VHYes begins straightforward enough. On Christmas morning, 1987, young Ralph (Mason McNulty)—he can’t be older than 13—is gifted a VHS camcorder by his parents (Christian Drerup and Jake Head). With this gift, the film buzzes to life, as Ralph finishes scrambling to find a tape on which to record—his father asks if the tape is blank, and the footage promptly cuts to the answer: Ralph is recording over his parents’ wedding footage.

Ralph learns that he can use his new toy to directly record programs off of the television set, prompting him and his friend Josh (Rahm Braslaw) to spend holiday season late nights banking these various programs. As we are housed explicitly within the world of this tape, this television footage becomes an increasingly Continue reading Review: VHYes – Fantastic Fest 2019

Review: After Midnight – Fantastic Fest 2019

Abby (Brea Grant) and Hank (Jeremy Gardner, who also writes and co-directs) make a rather cute couple. They nestle against each other and joke about “Peanut Noir” (to be clear, it is a wine made on a peanut farm, not a wine made with peanuts as an ingredient). They razz each other as they slowly get drunk. But their relationship is on the rocks. We know this because Abby spontaneously leaves their rural abode for Miami, leaving Hank with only a note as an explanation.

Also, every subsequent night following her exit, an unseen monster barrels itself against Hank’s door, mentally terrorizing him. So there’s that.

After Midnight (formerly Something Else) is a domestic drama with a tinge of horror. But the horror element functions more as Continue reading Review: After Midnight – Fantastic Fest 2019