★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Everyone gets old. It’s no more complicated than this little horrifying truism. The world of horror is filled with ghosts, homicidal nutcases, Pazzuzu, creepies, crawlies, and robot-monsters. But, nothing, repeat, nothing, is more frightening at the prospect of losing your mental and physical faculties and facing the sad and potential finite end of life.
Tag Archive for ‘horror review’
Mike’s Review: Satan’s Slave (1976)
★★ out of ★★★★★ Crack open the dusty dictionary parked over on your bookshelf and look up staid British horror film. We’ll wait. What’s it say? 1976’s Satan’s Slave? Yep, that’s what we thought.
Mike’s Review: Army of the Dead (2021)
★★ out of ★★★★★ Gone are the days of Bub from Day of the Dead. Gone are the days of the zombie nurse, the fat guy, and the Hare Krishna from Dawn of the Dead. Gone are the half-dogs and headless zombies from Return of the Living Dead. Most importantly, gone is a fun but serious dissection of societal woes and man’s modern day pitfalls. IInstead we’re now being fed a pile of ghastly super-hero zombies, that shriek like space aliens, set inside a hyper-realized video game construct. It’s a sad state of affairs to be sure. One might even say that the zombie genre has jumped the shark, or in this case the albino zombie tiger.
Mike’s Review: Things Heard and Seen (2021)
★ 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.
Mike’s Review: The Feast (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Don’t. Turn. This. Movie. Off. Seriously, it’s a slow burn in grand tradition of slow burn horror films, but the payoff off is so deliciously evil and filling. If you stop after the aspic and the salad course you’ll miss a rather grisly desert.
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.
Butcher, Baker, Nightmare Maker (1982)
★★★★.5 out of ★★★★★
To describe this film, one must invoke the voice of Bill Hader’s Saturday Night Live character, Stefon. The audience cheers as Stefon slides in from stage right. Hands rise to face. Breathe deep. And release.
Mike’s Review: Woodlands Dark Days Bewitched A History of Folk Horror (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Make no mistake, Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror is not a generalist survey course and this is not a casual hike in the woods. This is a full on PHD thrill ride in to one of the most mercurial of all horror genres, folk horror.
Mike’s Review: Sasquatch (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ “If you go in to the woods go with an open mind.” Famed Bigfoot videographer, Bob Gimlin.
Mike’s Review: Grizzly II (2021)
★★ out of ★★★★★ It’s everything you’ve ever wanted! It contains film footage likely derived from 10 different film shoots over the course of nearly 40 years. It’s got Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (Louise Fletcher). It’s got Indiana Jones pal Salah (John Rhys-Davies). It’s got the super crooked hillbilly cop from Rambo, Galt (Jack Starrett). It’s sort of got a couple scenes with a grizzly bear. But just don’t be fooled, there’s not a whole heck of a lot of Charlie Sheen, Laura Dern, and George Clooney.
Mike’s Review: Images (1972)
★★★★ 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.
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.