★ out of ★★★★★ Serious question. Are horror movies required to be scary? Can they just pass off a sense of dread and doom in other less frightening but equally provocative ways? Answer: it sure makes horror more horrifying if there’s some actual horror in the horror film.
Tag Archive for ‘horror movie review’
Mike’s Review: Deadhouse Dark (2021)
★★ out of ★★★★★ The horror anthology is one of the true staples of the horror genre. Always clever, always engaging. As we’ve said before, anthology horror is the traditional extension of gathering around ye’ ole campfire and scaring the hell out of each other. They hearken back to the oldest root forms of scary storytelling. It’s always frightening to hear a scary story, until it’s not.
Mike’s Review: Broadcast Signal Intrusion (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Right around the corner from Horror Street, just next to Parallax View Way, and right near Marathon Man Drive, is a fascinating analog look at the lengths obsessives will go to in feeding their obsessions.
Mike’s Review: As Above So Below (2014)
★★★ out of ★★★★★ Found footage films can be a tricky business. You really have to sell the conceit that someone, or in this case multiple people, are going to be carrying around camera and recording every single move they make — and they might even inadvertently catch a freaky apparition in the background. A tall task made even more grand by the sheer number of found footage films that have made their way to the bottom of the bargin bin at Best Buy.
Mike’s Review: I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
★★★ out of ★★★★★ I mean, really, who are we to ever question the greatness of the great Charlie Kaufman. A visionary. A cinematic poet. A deep thinker that throws head-scratchers our way every chance he gets. A repertoire filled with unimpeachable films. One after another. BUT, he’s never really dabbled in the horror genre, nor has he dealt with a storyline so chilling, unnerving, and downright baffling. And it kind of shows.
Mike’s Review: Mother of Tears (2007)
★ out of ★★★★★ All the old adages about aging are sadly true. While there are a handful of unique exceptions to aging, largely the process is mean, maddening, and without fail. The longer you stay in the game the harder it is to compete at your once prolific rate. That 12th album, might not quite be as fresh as that first lighting in a bottle 30 years prior. That 300th game might be a tad disinclined. It’s just a fact of our meager little life on planet earth and this impact is felt by all — including Dario Argento.
Mike’s Review: Impetigore (2019)
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Ghosts, doomed villages, tortured family dynamics, the blackest of black magic, and thousand year old Javanese curses all come home to roost in the latest spookfest from Joko Anwar. Possibly (read: possibly) the best horror film director out currently, Anwar knows his way around a story, cinematic shots, and the creation of truly sympathetic characters.
Mike’s Review: The Siren (2019)
★★.5 out of ★★★★★ A somber, quiet, and contemplative affair. This faux mythology, while largely devoid of dialogue, packs away some interesting social/sexual dynamics. Fans of Troma and Full Moon be forewarned, this film is NOT for you. While it is a monster movie that’s loosely based not the eastern European “Rusalka” water harpy myth, this is not the Toxic Avenger, nor is it the Evil Bong.
Mike’s Review: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)
★★ out of ★★★★★ Sometimes less really is more. And sometimes way less is really way more. Eschewing all prior entries in Paranormal Activity franchise, and more importantly questioning the simple aesthetic of the found footage horror sub-genre. Enter Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. For those of you keeping track at home — and sadly, at this point, you really need to keep track to follow this franchise — this is number six.
Mike’s Review: Bliss (2019)
🤟🤟out of 🤟🤟🤟🤟🤟
Are you a fan of a) Metal, b) vaguely satanic possessions, c) explicit drug usage, d) nudity, e) lots of blood (read: LOTS), and f) the word FUCK? I mean, sure who isn’t in favor of all these things right? Each has lots to offer. They’re interesting. Taken in small doses they can be a very powerful antidote to a lagging cinematic undertaking. When taken in over-dose-like proportions the gore and bad words take on an underwhelming status.
Mike’s Review: The Color Out of Space (2020)
★★★ out of ★★★★★
Is the ultimate test of a director the ability to grow, mature, and evolve? Pick up new tricks, devices, and viewpoints? Create new and unique takes on the film medium? OR, is it the director’s job to figure out what formula works, stick with that, and never grow, mature, and evolve. Sort of a “greatest hits” approach to filmmaking.
Mike’s Review: Haunt (2019)
🤡🤡.5 out of 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡 Writing is a struggle. Too much exposition gives the appearance of being a churlish jerk who sucks all of the oxygen out of a room. While too little exposition has the air of being aloof, uncaring, and unwilling to let the audience in on the scares. Weirdly, Haunt vacillates between both words, but manages to tell this spooky story in the most ineffective way possible.
Mike’s Review: Wolf Creek (2005)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
The joy of youth. The post-college road trip. Finding your way in vast spaces. Unconstrained, unconfined, uncontrolled. The world is your oyster, until it isn’t.
Mike’s Review: Vast of Night (2019)
👽👽👽👽 out of 👽👽👽👽👽
UFOs are real! Well, they might be real. Or, they’re probably imagined. Rather, we’re all crazy and we’re collectively imagining them. Or, maybe, just maybe, they really are real and the space aliens are making us crazy in an attempt to make us believe/not believe that they’re real/not real. All are real possibilities and 2019’s The Vast of the Night lays all of them on the table for us to sort out.
Mike’s Review: The Lodge (2019)
❄❄❄❄❄ out of ❄❄❄❄❄
2017 gave us Get Out. 2018 gave us Heriditary. 2019’s dive in to intellectual terror is the Lodge. Just as its forefathers were dark, brooding, thought-provoking, and terrifying, so is this year’s entry in to the new age of thinky-horror. Note: thinky-horror is not yet an industry-accepted term, but you heard it here first.
Mike’s Review: Winchester (2018)
👻👻 out of 👻👻👻👻👻
A spook show with too many spooks?
Mike’s Review: Pet Sematary (2019)
★★★.5 out of ★★★★★
Wait. Hold up. It took four cats to play the cat “Church”? And it took two kids to play Gage? That’s commitment!
Liz’s Review: The House That Jack Built (2018)
★★ out of ★★★★★
Lars von Trier takes you to Hell with The House That Jack Built
Mike’s Review: Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
The art world is a tough nut to crack. The politics, the sexuality, the fortunes, the fame, the critics, the notoriety, the legacy — oh, yeah, and we almost forgot, the art. Art is often a vessel for missing elements in society, wanting, longing, and a respite from the day to day hum/drum attributes of life. Art can subjugate the mundane and keep our darker and more horrifying desires at bay. That is, when art is obeyed and respected. When it’s not…watch out.
Mike’s Review: You Might be the Killer (2018)
★★★ out of ★★★★★
If something is around long enough it’s going to be parodied. There will be barbs, jabs, satire and plenty of loving imitation. Even the tropes and trends that surround a specific genre will get reworked, turned inside out, and devotedly re-re-re-imagined.
Mike’s Review: The Witch in the Window (2018)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Many have characterized this film as “Hallmark Horror.” Which is, of course, lazy short hand for the fact that the film has an emotional component and it manages to draw the audience in to a deep and meaningful concern for the main protagonists. Mind you this is not “This is Us” or some other network pablum, but a legitimate exploration of a father/son relationship in the throws of pre-teen puberty — set against HORROR, glorious horror.
Mike’s Review: Slenderman (2018)
★.5 out of ★★★★★
There are those films that need no exposition, and there are those that need a-plenty. The 2018 pre-teen fright fest, Slenderman, is a film that requires ample elucidation. Unfortunately, it contains little to none (read: none). While Slenderman does have some partially admirable elements, it also contains a bag-o’-problems.
Mike’s Review: Leatherface (2017)
★★.5 out of ★★★★★ In 2015, when Leatherface principal filming began, something must have been amiss in the cosmos. There […]
Mike’s Review: The First Purge (2018)
★★★ 1/2 out of ★★★★★ It’s almost difficult to characterize this film as fiction. There’s too many ghastly and prescient […]
Mike’s Review: Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ This ain’t no Charlie Brown Christmas. Directed by Charles Sellier, Jr. There’s some of those […]
Mike’s Review: City of the Living Dead (1980)
★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Christopher George fights grizzly bears (Grizzly). He fights masked killers (Graduation Day). He fights a jigsaw killer […]
Mike’s Review: The God Inside My Ear (2017)
★★.5 out of ★★★★★ This film is ambitious. The God Inside My Ear lets you know that it’s ambitious from the […]
Mike’s Review: The Nun (2018)
★1/2 out of ★★★★★
Lay. Off. The. Fog. Machine.
Mike’s Review: Satan’s Slaves (2017)
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Directed by Joko Anwar Why is it that so many contemporary films are pining for the days of […]
Mike’s Review: Shock (1977)
★★1/2 out of ★★★★★
Sometimes, just sometimes, a quiet stay in a bucolic looney bin really helps one’s psyche.