Halloween Horror Movie Review 2017 (also 2016 as I took a long break from writing)

It’s that time of year again friends.  Decorative gourds, pumpkin spice flavored everything (vomit), and horror movies (squee!).

Reminder of the rating system:

Ratings as follows –

pumpkindon’t bother, this shit is unwatchable

pumpkinpumpkinsome good points but ultimately failed as a film

pumpkinpumpkinpumpkinsome issues but I was willing to overlook them and it was still enjoyable

pumpkinpumpkinpumpkinpumpkina solid movie from start to finish and recommended watching

 

a dark song

A Dark Song

This was well acted, scripted, and shot from start to finish.  An angry, grieving mother enlists the help of an occultist for something impossible.  There is a sense of claustrophobia, menace, tension, and stress that is visceral while watching Sophia and Joseph’s actions and interactions.  At other times, there are real moments of beauty, humanity and pathos.  I like that you aren’t really sure if these people are just twisted and delusional or there’s something afoot for 90% of the time.  You will find yourself Googling the meanings and symbols of this film.

pumpkinpumpkinpumpkinpumpkin

 

green room

Green Room

Some of the scariest monsters are our fellow men.  A group of O.G. DIY punk rockers are on a tour that goes from bad to worse when they end up getting booked to play for a bunch of neo-Nazis in a rural town outside Portland.  They unwittingly become prime witnesses for some shit that happens in the “green room,” and things go south quickly.  This movie also makes me sad while watching Anton Yelchin’s intense performance as it was one of the last few movies he did before his tragic accident.  Patrick Stewart chewing up the scenery out of his typical character is deliciously worth it.  As the Dead Kennedy’s sang:

Nazi punks
Nazi punks
Nazi punks, fuck off!

pumpkinpumpkinpumpkinpumpkin

 

cooties

Cooties

Circle circle, dot dot.  Now you have the cootie shot.  As kids in the 80’s, we didn’t really know that “cooties” were code for lice, but we used to accuse each other (usually in a showdown of girls vs. boys) of having cooties.  This movie has some really funny bits and basically depicts every teacher’s secret fear – our students will one day rise against us en mass.  Classic cinema it isn’t, nor should you take your children to see this.  People get eaten alive and body parts ripped off.  It’s a fun, gory popcorn muncher.  Check out the hilarious performance of socially-challenged science teacher by none other than Leigh Whannell, screenwriter of Saw, Dead Silence, and Insidious .

pumpkinpumpkinpumpkin

 

final girls

Final Girls

If you are a fan of the classic 80’s slasher, this is a great, goofy, self-aware send up of all the tropes, while still delivering a few solid scares.  It’s a film within a film where the dream logic gets a little fuzzy (especially at the end).  The script and story are a bit predictable, but the actors are solid and give it their all despite the script’s flaws.

pumpkinpumpkinpumpkin

 

hush

Hush

Ohgodhe’srightfuckingbehindyou!!!  That’s basically what you are internally screaming through a good bit of this film.  A home invasion with a twist-our heroine is deaf.  This makes it even more tense because we not only see, but hear everything that we know she can’t.  Really well acted but predictable, probably because I’ve seen too many horror movies.

pumpkinpumpkinpumpkin

 

occulus

Oculus

This one really got to me.  A family torn apart by mental illness and violence.  Or is it some sinister force working on them?  The story is told in parallel flashback.  While you can take this film as a metaphor, you are 99% sure of what’s going on, and watching as it unfolds you are by turns frightened, sad, confused, and angry watching as our protagonists make choice after dreadful choice.

pumpkinpumpkinpumpkinpumpkin

deathgasm

Deathgasm

This movie looks and sounds like it would be idiotic.  Get over your prejudice.  Loser metal heads manage to find a way to invoke some really evil shit.  It’s actually pretty fun and clever, and has some good acting.  Not “scary scary” but some good jumps.  The story is a familiar one with a few good twists, and delivers on some great splatstick.  I like the treatment of the main female protagonist, Medina, as well–no pretty princess in need of rescuing.  This came out a while ago and the filmmakers have been promising a Deathgasm 2, with even more gore in the first 10 minutes than this entire movie, but I think it’s been caught in pre-production hell.  Maybe we can do a ritual to bring it to light?

pumpkinpumpkinpumpkinpumpkin

 

goosebumps

Goosebumps

Finally, one you can bring your (older) kids too.  Don’t let the title fool you, there are some truly spooky moments in this for a kid’s horror movie.  Mostly it’s a sweet funny story about a new kid in town trying to get to know the cute girl next door, played by Odeya Rush who looks a smidge like a young Mila Kunis-type to me.  If you enjoyed the books as a kid, you will get a kick out of seeing all the monsters come to life on the big screen.  Jack Black playing Mr. Shivers a.k.a. R.L. Stine makes for a nice story within a story, and Slappy the murderous ventriloquist puppet is truly creepy–so don’t call him a dummy.

pumpkinpumpkinpumpkinpumpkin

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