★★★★ out of ★★★★★ When true film auteurs wander outside of their staid and classical lines and in to the horror genre there’s always the potential for some serious magic. Kubrick with the Shining, Freidkin with the Exorcist, Spielberg with Jaws, and even Danny Boyle with 28 Days Later. All these major film think-o-logists had a crack at horror and walked away proud at what they had accomplished, or so ashamed at the terror they had brought to the cineplex, they never came back to the genre. One of the greatest film auteurs of all time, Robert Altman, wandered in to horror with aplomb, but sadly his seminal effort has been forgotten in the sands of time.
Tag Archive for ‘horror review’
Mike’s Review: Alive (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Just when you thought the zombie genre had plumb run out of ideas along comes a pretty interesting and pretty inventive take on on a concept that’s…uh…dying.
Mike’s Review: Scare Me (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ How’d you like a little Chekhov with your Texas Chainsaw? A little Edward Albee with your Conjuring? Or even a dash of Ibsen with your Insidious? Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not.
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 Nightstream Review: The Hunted (2020)
★★ out of ★★★★★ What in the world happens when filmmakers run out of ideas? Well, it’s rather simple. A) In most cases they go back to the well, B) there’s always a sequel, or prequel, or a reboot, C) the idea is reimagined through the lens of an out of copyright idea, story, or myth, or D) they just run out of ideas. Sadly, for 2020’s The Hunted, the answer is D.
Mike’s Nightstream Review: The Queen of Black Magic (2020)
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ In the latest installment of “If you’re not watching Indonesian horror movies, you’re blowing it,” brings us 2020’s The Queen of Black Magic. It’s true. Indonesia is the new incubator for the creepiest crawlies that the horror genre has to offer. Every country has had their day in the sun. The UK plastered us with Hammer and Amicus throughout the 1960s. The US reimagined the genre with slashers and super killers throughout the 1970s and 80s. And Japan brought a whole new slate of water and hair-borne frights in the late 1990s and in to the early 2000s. Now it’s Indonesia time to shine.
Mike’s Nightstream Review: Leap of Faith William Friedkin on the Exorcist (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ There exists that great space in documentaries that take place decades after the event occurred. It’s this beautiful melange of revisionist history, lucid thoughts, purposeful sleepwalking, and repressed memories. All answers are correct and infallible when the documentary is filtered through the iconic lens of a single and thoughtful directorial darling. THE William Friedkin is the ultimate bridge between Hollywood’s glorious beginnings and the revolutionary young guns of the 1970s. It should come as no surprise the Friedkin has some rather insightful things to say about one of the greatest films of the 1970s, possibly the greatest horror film of all time, and in some camps, THE greatest film ever put down on celluloid — the Exorcist.
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: Beyond the Woods (2018)
★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Not all horror films need to be over-wrought. They needn’t be filled with hyper-complex multi-layered lore. CGI has its time and place, but that time in place is not in every time and every place. On occasion horror is able to lean simply on human emotions, quaint spaces, and languid settings. If you need a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of 21st century horror then Beyond the Woods is waiting for you…just beyond the woods.
Mike’s Review: The Pool (2019)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ So close. Not quite. Just about there. One more try. Close but no cigar. You’re right in the ballpark. Just. One. More. Inch. This is the prevailing and effectively repeated trope in the 2019 (U.S. release) Thai film, the Pool.
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: Z (2019)
★★★ out of ★★★★★ With an increasing number of horror films eschewing the well-trodden path of gore, gags, and scream queens, there’s always the risk of re-calibrating too far to the other end of the scare spectrum. Over the last 20 years there’s been a trend towards melancholy and family trauma — Shudder calls it parental terror, we’re calling it melancholy horror. Sometimes the quiet and somber affairs work and sometimes they’re just weighty, boring, and devoid of scares. The Shudder original Z certainly ran that risk, but effectively shook itself off the melancholy mantle.
Mike’s Review: The Isolation Horrors (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ More often than not the horror story teller is beset with complex stories, radical exposition, and meandering narrative. The horror fan and the horror filmmaker so desperately want to hear and tell a compelling and multi-layered story. But as we all know too well, these stories are overtaken by this well-meaning desire and evolve in to a product so complex that they forget their intended purpose — the SCARES! The prescient and timely The Isolation Horrors is superbly aware of this exposition trap and manages to create an exquisite economy of horror story telling.
Mike’s Review: Lake Mungo (2008)
★★★★★ out of ★★★★★ There exists this exquisite location somewhere right between a documentary, a dramatization, found footage, a fictionalized accounting of events, and a full on horror show. This venn diagram of a locale is a rather tough place to pinpoint and few films ever wandered there. That was of course until 2008 when Lake Mungo was released.
Mike’s Review: 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)
★★★ out of ★★★★★ Young women. Adventurous young women. Genetically perfect adventurous young women. Impossibly tight spaces. Blind killing creatures who’ve not seen the light of day for millennia. It’s the Descent for the tween generation! Plus, did we mention the forever hunky John Corbett?
Movie News: Extra Ordinary Hits the Streets on March 6
Our universal fav’ film from 2019 gets its official release on March 6! Prepare to laugh, cry, and get 👻 spooked.
Mike’s Review: Dr. Sleep (2019)
★★★.5 out of ★★★★★
Nearly 1,000 pages of creepy thoughts, actions, and psychic happenings were laid out between the Shining and its murderous offspring, Dr. Sleep. It seemed impossible that 1) the Shining would be made in to a film, 2) that Stephen King would be so dissatisfied in one of the true horror greats, 3) that it would deserve a remake, 4) the story would evolve in to a 500 page psychedelic mishmash, and 5) that mishmash would be made in to its own celluloid opus. Seem fantastical? Well it is.
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: Mausoleum (1983)
★★1/2 out of ★★★★★ 1983 just called. Your VHS tape is overdue!
Mike’s Review: Eli (2019)
★★ out of ★★★★★ Hey Netflix, we see you over there! Yeah, you. Trying your darnedest to jump on that horror bandwagon, peer in to the abyss, produce that oh-so-perfect horror film, and reap the ghoulish accolades of horror fans everywhere. Just so you know, it’s not working. While 2019’s Eli is awfully close to being a solid film you still have a lot of work to do to make in the fast-paced world of horror.
Mike’s Review: Girl on the Third Floor (2019)
★★.5 out of ★★★★★ As we’ve all come to learn in the horror game, a haunted house, no matter how haunted, does not a movie make. For that matter, a bunch of spooky trappings within a haunted house, also does not a movie make.
Mike’s Review: Sisters (1972)
🔪🔪🔪🔪out of 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪
Siamese Twins at Birth: What the Devil hath joined together let no man cut asunder.
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: House on Sorority Row (1983)
★★.5 out of ★★★★★ College isn’t for everyone. There’s peer pressure, there’s social acclimatization, there’s the freshman 15, there’s the daily grind of keeping one’s grades in check to maintain that almighty scholarship, and then there’s the relationships. The social bond that’s created can be a lasting and spiritually satisfying affinity, but the bond can go so deep that it’ll eventually turn collegiate relations sour and crazy.
Mike’s Review: The Boar (2017)
🐷🐷.5 out of 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷
The planet is running out of animals. Literally and figuratively. Hollyweird has given us sharks (Jaws 1-4), rabbits (Night of the Lepus), bears (Grizzy), fish (Piranha), and man’s best friend (Cujo). There’s even been birds, wolves, snakes, rats, and gators, and whatever the hell a sharktopus is supposed to be. One of the things that Hollyweird hasn’t gotten its money-grubbing paws on is the pig, javelina, or boar – until now.
Mike’s Review: Green Inferno (2013)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Are you looking for that something extra to jolt you out of life’s day-to-day doldrums? That little something to shock your system in to a complete state of hysteria? Something so odious and vile that your mind won’t know how to process the capital “G” grisly-gore? Your pals at the Scariest Things Podcast have found just the thing. Enter…Green Inferno.
Mike’s Review: Midsommar (2019)
🌸🌸🌸 out of 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 This is the true story, of nine strangers, picked to participate in weirdo cult hapennings, work together, and have their lives destroyed. Find out what happens, when people stop being polite, and start getting real…its a world of real cults!
Mike’s Review: Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
★★ out of ★★★★★
Now with 30 percent less jump scares!