Category Archives: Horror

They’re coming to get you, Barbera.

Mandy (2018) Movie Review

Should I start with “Cheddar Goblin”? Or does that warrant its own article?

Mandy is the second film from writer-director Panos Cosmatos, his follow up to the 2010 film Beyond the Black Rainbow. It is a hazy dream of a film—a dream or a nightmare, depending on your perspective. At times, it spins inside an LSD vision alongside its drug-addled characters. Other times, it is a ’70s-inspired exploitation splatter flick. On both accounts, Cosmatos imbues the rural forest landscape with a fantasy quality. Even as fantastical elements are granted real-world explanations, the characters feel as if they are trapped in a psychedelic snowglobe of cosmic mayhem.

It’s pretty badass.

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The eponymous Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) lives with her partner Red (Nicolas Cage), a grizzled lumberjack with a penchant for terrible jokes, in a cottage deep within the forests near the Shadow Mountains. She sketches drawings, reads fantasy novels, and is fascinated by astronomy. Together, the couple lounges through their nights watching B-movies.

Their isolated existence, though, is shattered by a Continue reading Mandy (2018) Movie Review

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Hell Fest (2018) Movie Review

“This guy keeps following me around. It’s so creepy.” This is, more or less, the opening line of Hell Fest, delivered in voiceover over the opening credits. With this first line, the entire plot of Hell Fest is described. This guy, in a mask, keeps following around the group of people that we are asked to suffer through for 90 minutes. And it is, purportedly, creepy.

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Hell Fest is Tobe Hooper’s Funhouse by way of The Houses October Built (note: neither films alluded to are very good). Using a horror-themed amusement park as its setting, people are harassed by Continue reading Hell Fest (2018) Movie Review

The Predator (2018) Movie Review

The Predator is proof that 1980s action movies cannot be made today. Cult favorite Shane Black and his writing partner Fred Dekker have concocted a sequel-reboot stuffed to the ears with the worst of ’80s action tropes. But at least there’s an alien in it, right?

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The Predator makes abundantly clear the premise of its franchise. Characters repeatedly Continue reading The Predator (2018) Movie Review

The Nun (2018) Movie Review

The Nun is the latest entry into the The Conjuring franchise. After a standout appearance in The Conjuring 2, the eponymous demon nun (Bonnie Aarons) is given the standalone treatment. In this iteration, it is Romania in 1952. In the catacombs beneath a rural convent, two nuns approach a door sealed with a wooden beam. Carved in that lock, in Latin, are the words “God ends here.”

On the other side of the door…

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Is an evil nun. Can’t imagine it’s a spoiler to mention that.

This cold open, aside from not making a ton of sense given the demon nun Valak’s end goal, establishes the foggy, gloomy atmosphere of the film. One of the nuns, as she runs from Valak, Continue reading The Nun (2018) Movie Review

Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) Movie Review

No film in theaters today is more of its time than Unfriended: Dark Web. In the Internet Age (at this point we may as well move into a new age, given how different the internet is in 2018 compared to 1991), a constant influx of computerized content is the norm. We live, breathe, and are governed on the internet.

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But Dark Web, the sequel to Leo Gabriadze’s 2014 low-budget horror hit, is not so much concerned with the very real corruption that breeds on the internet. Instead, it focuses its attention on Continue reading Unfriended: Dark Web (2018) Movie Review

The First Purge (2018) Movie Review

I’m going to be transparent about something up front: I’m going to the mat for The First Purge. Not only do I think it is a passable movie, but I think it is the only good Purge film to date.

The Purge is a franchise whose premise showed so much promise from the beginning. An American political system in which an annual event allows all crime to be legal for one night. It has B-movie schlock written all over it.

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Why, then, was The Purge a quaint home invasion movie? Sure, it had the high concept marketing gimmick of people in creepy masks (a concept that has reached pique kitsch by the fourth installment). But otherwise it was no different, narratively, from a Funny Games or a Panic Room (both of which: superior artistic efforts than The Purge).

Exciting to hear, then, that Continue reading The First Purge (2018) Movie Review

Hereditary (2018) Movie Review

There are some horror movies that make you jump. There are some that make you squirm. There are the rare ones that raise questions about the human condition. And there are the few horror movies that do all three and manage to conjure images that stick unshaken in your head long after you’ve left the theater. Hereditary is of this latter breed.

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To be fair, Hereditary does some of these things much more effectively than others. Namely, the questions it raises about the nature of grief and the things we do or do not say about tragedy fall by the wayside when Continue reading Hereditary (2018) Movie Review