If Andy Muschietti’s 2017 It was little more than a funhouse of jerky, startling set pieces loosely strung into a narrative, then his It: Chapter Two aims to up the ante in the manner only a blockbuster sequel can. And that includes inserting a literal funhouse.
In the previous installment, the Losers Club, comprised of Bev (Sophia Lillis), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Bill (Jaeden Martell), Ritchie (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), Mike (Chosen Jacobs), and Stanley (Wyatt Oleff), were able to Continue reading It: Chapter Two (2019) Movie Review→
I imagine the pitch to Fox Searchlight for the new horror comedy Ready or Not started somewhere along the lines of that. Writers Guy Busick and Ryan Murphy may have thrown in some talk of a satire of the 1%, a bloody R-rated horror film with potential mainstream appeal, crossbows, and/or a board game-based “dominion.”
Busick and Murphy’s script begins with a wedding. But there isn’t a lot of champagne and doves at this wedding. Looming under the shadow of the Le Domas mansion, Grace (Samara Weaving) and Alex (Mark O’Brien) are Continue reading Ready or Not (2019) Movie Review→
The short story series created by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell, which begins with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, is beloved by some, infamous to others. Ostensibly a children’s book of campfire folk tales retold, the book often received criticism for Gammell’s illustrations, these shaded sketches of wispy, gangly, grotesque creatures and corpses.
As a child, these illustrations fascinated me, and they still hold up for me today as being some of the best art in children’s books. (Also high on that list would be Brett Helquist’s cover art for the Series of Unfortunate Events books. Interestingly enough, Helquist went on to do illustrations for the re-release edition of Scary Stories in 2011. People were understandably unhappy with the changes, but the art is still good in its own right).
Crawl must have been a terror to shoot. Taking place in Florida during a hurricane, nearly every scene in the film is drenched. The actors are consistently wet and trudging through waist-high water. Rain is constantly falling. The water budget on this thing must have been massive.
And for what?
Alexandre Aja has made a name for himself in the horror community, but when I look at his filmography I’m hard-pressed to understand how. I understand this may draw the ire of Continue reading Crawl (2019) Movie Review→
Ari Aster does not care if you’re comfortable. If his first two films are any indication, it appears that he prefers the opposite. With his debut, Hereditary, Aster approached grief with a macabre twist that winds up making the weight of grief seem feathery by comparison.
With Midsommar, Aster approaches grief with a macabre twist that winds up making the weight of grief seem…am I repeating myself?
Aster’s two films take staid, empty, and largely silent burdens and makes them bleed into
Lars Klevberg and Tyler Burton Smith’s Child’s Play is not so much a reboot or remake. It is more of a new film with a Chucky skin layered on. The Child’s Play brand is well-known. Killer children’s doll kills. A simple premise.
Smith’s script changes many aspects surrounding this premise. The Buddi toy, even though it looks like a doll from the late ’80s, is a toy for the modern era. It is a home-connecting device, voice activated like a Google Home or an Amazon Alexa. It connects to your television, stereo, electrical system, etc.
Chucky (Mark Hamill), the doll in question, is gifted to teenage Andy (Gabriel Bateman) by his mother (Aubrey Plaza), who works at the return counter of the Zed Mart that is stuffed to the brim with Buddi dolls. Instead of being possessed by the soul of a ruthless killer, however, this Chucky is Continue reading Child’s Play (2019) Movie Review→
This is not the elegant, professional way to start a review, but I’ve got to do it. The way that a zombie’s head explodes in Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die…boy, that’s something. Why, before now, have I never seen a zombie movie where the zombie’s dried-out corpse body spews purple dust blood? Just clouds of misting blood all over the frame. I love it.
Gaspar Noe is nothing if not an indulgent filmmaker. Visceral is a word often associated with his work. But he can go deeper, to the bone, when his work is at its most mature.
With Climax, Noe toes a line of maturity in filmmaking that can be difficult to parse. From one angle, his visual-forward approach to the film hearkens back to notions of a pure cinema. Aspects of colored flood lighting, minimal set dressing, deliberate camera work, and character movement take precedence over dialogue and plotting.
Think about Superman for a minute. He is an unnatural, unstoppable alien force. Sure, he is a force for good. But what if this near-omnipotent being chose to serve a different master: himself.
Brian and Mark Gunn’s script for Brightburn aims to envision what that “what if” comic would look like. It is speculative fiction, like how 50 Shades of Grey is its own story but everyone knows it started as Twilight fan fiction. The child who crashes to Earth in a spaceship is not Continue reading Brightburn (2019) Movie Review→
The 1989 Pet Sematary film is insane. By today’s standards, it is a dated horror aesthetic, and its scare factor is minimal. But its climax is a circus act of violent hilarity.
It makes for a good campy half of a Stephen King double feature, which is how I first came upon the film. Juxtaposing it with Kubrick’s The Shining may have caused some tonal whiplash, but that only amplified the enjoyment of seeing an undead child prey upon a rural family and their neighbor, played by the often imitated yet inimitable (sorry John Lithgow) Fred Gwynne.
Confusion washed over me when I first saw the trailer for Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer’s Pet Sematary remake. What tone could this film possibly strike that would grant it success? The original was not Continue reading Pet Sematary (2019) Movie Review→