★ 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 ‘scary movie’
Mike’s Review: Offseason (2021) (SXSW Festival)
★★.5 out of ★★★★★ Pulling the perfect Lovecraftian film is a feat like no other. It’s been tried again and again. You might even say film makers repeated attempts to crawl inside Mr. Lovecraft’s tortured brain is rife with peril, failure, and madness. Or more to the point, it’s a cursed mission. Many have attempted to bring Lovecraft to the silver screen and most have failed. In the case, of 2021’s Offseason, it’s not so much a failure, but a dull attempt.
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: Goal of the Dead (2014)
★★★.5 out of ★★★★★ One medium with possibly more sub-genres than horror is futbol, AKA, football, AKA soccer. There’s so many villains, tales, rivalries, and subtext to the beautiful game. Much like horror its a bottomless barrel of impossible possibilities. The other medium with more sub-genres than futbol and horror? Zombies.
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: Spiral (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Horror movies really are the ultimate glimpse in to the soul of man. Society’s reflection upon itself. Our most base thoughts, visions, hopes, dreams, and fears all laid bare for the universe to see. The historic period of time is largely irrelevant to the equation, because the result is always the same — man’s continued inhumanity to man.
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.
Movie News: The Vigil Trailer
Blumhouse is back on the scene with a brand new joint that’s guaranteed to give you a mean case of the shivers. Don’t look now, but the Vigil is coming your way on July 31, 2020.
Horror Short: Desert Quarantine (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ “Timely, topical, and terrific.” Well that’s what the Scariest Things Podcast would say if Variety came calling for a pull quote. Joe Burke’s (Four Dogs) brand spanking new horror short Desert Quarantine is a perfect reflection of a perfect reflection of society’s current spate of worry, hate, fear, and confusion.
Mike’s PHFF Review: Uncle Peckerhead (2020)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ Pulling off a feature length film takes some serious gumption. Pulling off a film that balances impeccable comedic timing, a fully realized soundtrack, empathetic characters, complicated friendships, and a heaping dose of spatter gore — well, that’s a whole different story. Directed by horror short filmmaker Matthew John Lawrence, Uncle Peckerhead hits every single note and simultaneously manages to bang out a gory film that would make Herschell Gordon Lewis blush.
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: Demon Seed (1977)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★ The Demon Seed is one mighty mashup of technological/sociological concepts. Freedom of choice, meets man’s desire to concur his natural surroundings, meets the infallibility of the god complex, meets sexual politics, meets the ecology movement, meets the military industrial complex, meets a horrifying faux 2001 psychedelic freakout. Yes, it’s all here on display in a 1970s groove.
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.
Eric’s Review: Cargo (2017)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Proving that there’s more life yet in the living dead genre, Cargo offers up some of the most sympathetic protagonists the genre has seen in years. Also, check out the short film that was the basis of this movie!
Mike’s Review: Wonder Valley (2017)
★★ out of ★★★★★ Who knew that there was a sub-genre of horror known as Coachella Horror? Well there’s not, but you heard it here first. Perfect millennials mixed with impossibly mundane feuding, throw in a couple very stylish floppy hats, a little paranormal fright (but not too much), and a gathering of genetically perfect young ladies and — POW — it’s Coachella Horror!
Eric’s Review: JeruZalem (2015)
✡✡✡1/2 out of ✡✡✡✡✡
What’s the best time to go on holiday to Jerusalem to see the sights? Probably not during the End of Days, as the unfortunate young visitors stumbled into in the shaky-cam apocalyptic tale JeruZalem.
Mike’s Review: Lights Out (2016)
★★ out of ★★★★★ The tweens are taking over! Hollyweird has handed over the castle keys to a gaggle of focused-grouped 13-year olds. Scary films are now purposely trying to not be scary. All is lost.
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: 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!
Eric’s Review: Nightmare Cinema (2019)
★★★1/2 Out of ★★★★★
Nightmare Cinema is an anthology horror feature, with some of the biggest names in the genre directing a series of grisly short films, and uses an abandoned cinema as the connecting thread. As with most anthologies, it’s a bit of a mixed bag in quality and style.
Mike’s Review: Mercy Black (2019)
★★★.5 out of ★★★★★
Say it ain’t so! A real life ghost story that just might be about real life GHOSTS! Not only is this a solid little flick with a gaggle of ghostly misdirection, it’s also a film that features THE Janeane Garofalo. Sadly, while Ms. Garofalo isn’t in the film too much, her absence is made up by lots and lots of strange and ghoulish apparitions — or not.
Mike’s Review: Demons 2 (1986)
👿👿👿 out of 👿👿👿👿👿
This film doesn’t make a damn bit of sense, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad film. Au contraire.
Mike’s Review: Lizzie (2018)
★★★ out of ★★★★★
Andrew Borden : You’re an abomination, Lizzie.
Lizzie Borden : And at last, we are on equal footing, father.
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!
Horror Movie News: The Silence on Netflix
Who knew there was a sub-genre of horror now being referred to as sensory horror. At some point there’s enough […]
Mike’s Review: 31 — A Rob Zombie Film (2016)
★ out of ★★★★★
If you went to Sunset Strip and asked a hip-looking millennial what elements exemplified the grindhouse cinema era, what do you think the response would be? Confused? Indifferent? Bored? Titillated? Or do you think they’d start to rattle off a listed of oft-used Rob Zombie tropes and tripe?
Mike’s Review: Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019)
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
We’ve always loved horror, it’s just that horror hasn’t always loved us.