We Are Still Here (2015)

Score: 3.5/10 because I’m feeling generous

Length: 84

Rating: Unrated (I’d guess 18A)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, Painful Movie Mondays, ghost, haunted house, murderer

I know I haven’t given a lot of positive reviews lately and this is partly due to the fact that holiday horrors outside of Black Christmas just aren’t that good. I was super excited to see this one- it had positive reviews and was on many people’s best of the year list. To that I say, WHY GOD WHY. I dont know how on Earth the critics at Rotten Tomatoes gave this 95%. It is NOT good. Now, the feel of the movie is fantastic. It centres around an older, likable couple, and it’s very 70s. However, it’s just another movie about an evil house, and the ghosts are CGI bullcrap. If you know of Ti West movies, this reminds me of one of his- promising, but a let-down. It’s about a couple who moves into a house with a sordid past. Every thirty years, a family must be sacrificed to the house or the whole town suffers. The previous family are a bunch of ashy ghosts, assumedly burned to death, that kill people… by burning them to death. The ghost of the couple’s dead son also talks to them randomly even though he is said to not be a part of the house’s evil spirits several times. The whole thing doesn’t make a lot of sense, and in my opinion it is just stuuuuupid. Not amused.

 

photo credit: http://cdn.collider.com

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Christmas Collection: A Christmas Horror Story (2015)

Score: 4/10

Length: 99

Rating: Unrated (but I’d guess 18A)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, holiday, murderer, forest

My last holiday-themed movie of the year is another Krampus edition, but this Canadian film is comprised of four different stories, interlaced at the end. It very much feels like a Christmas version of Trick R’ Treat. The film begins with William Shatner, a lonely radio host, playing songs in the studio. The main story is about a group of teenagers investigating old crimes at a school. There are some terrific jump-scares, but it’s very teentastic (not in a fun way like Scream Queens) and the ending is just plain bad. The story about the changeling I liked best- it seemed very real, and was only ruined by the costumey look of the monster up-close. It’s about a family who loses their son in the woods and takes home the wrong version of him instead. The last two stories bring Krampus and scruffy Santa together, but are by far, the worst entries. Santa kills all of his elves-turned zombies, and the spirit of Krampus attacks a family. This wasn’t all that different a theme from that of the movie, Krampus also released this year. Although Krampus‘ version of the Christmas devil is more mystical and, I felt the snowy white monster looked more like what I would have hoped. Except maybe it was a little cheesy, and he didn’t even have claws. No one’s perfect. I was pleasantly surprised by the twist ending where the stories were intertwined- I wasn’t looking to guess it, and the idea made sense.

 

photo credit: http://hellhorror.com

Christmas Collection: Silent Night Deadly Night (1984)

Score: 3/10

Length: 79

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 80s, murderer, holiday

If you like boobs, boy is this the movie for you. Aside from all the retro boob, it’s a fairly forgettable movie about a killer Santa. When he was a little boy, a man dressed as Santa killed his parents, and he ends up in an orphanage getting picked on by Mother Superior who doesn’t understand his Santaphobia. He grows up to be an attractive, seemingly level-headed young man, but then he loses it and ends up killing everyone who is being naughty (mostly people having sex). There’s nothing overly original in the film, but the idea is executed well, and it could almost be a Christmas version of It Follows. It’s just lacking creativity and something to really make it memorable. To be honest, I only watched it two days ago, and I already forget the ending. It’s watchable, but totally skippable.

photo credit: http://www.gruemonkey.com

Christmas Collection: Krampus (2015)

Score: 4.5/10*

Length: 98

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, devil, murderer, monster, Painful Movie Mondays, holiday

It’s really a shame when movies are a mess of ideas. It’s like a bunch of ideas were put into a hat and they just decided to go with all of them. See: my review of Insidious. This is a highly anticipated movie, and though I wasn’t disappointed, that doesn’t mean it was a good movie either. It’s about a little boy who wishes for a better Christmas, and instead gets Krampus and his crew of hooligans. The problem is, it felt like a scary folktale got mixed in with the campy and fun Demonic Toys. As soon as you see the first evil cookie the movie goes downhill from there. The pluses are that the acting is fantastic, the snowy, icy atmosphere created was body-temperature affecting, the ending wasn’t super happy, and it was very entertaining, I’ll give it that. On the other hand, there were tones of plot holes (the majority of the movie didn’t make much sense), weak characters, a random cartoon in the middle, and the greatness of all the details were lost in the sheer messy madness of the movie. And Krampus. He was barely in the film, and then it turns out he’s got this open-mouthed human face that reminded me of Jim Carey’s Scrooge cartoon character in The Christmas Carol. I was hoping for more of a demon goat face. If this film went the path of true horror, using only Krampus and the (actually creepy) elves, it could have had serious potential. Or even if they went the other way where it was funny and silly, and focussed around the creatures and possessed playthings. Either way, it wasn’t a winner, and I’m very curious to see how the lesser-know A Chrstimas Horror Story does.

*My friend gave it this score before knowing my opinion. My score was previously 4 as well, but I bumped it up after comparing it to the other Christmas horrors. I appreciate that they made it fun, like Gremlins.

photo credit: http://cdn1.theodysseyonline.com

Christmas Collection: Elves (1989)

Score: 3/10

Length: 89

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 80’s, monster, murderer, holiday, Painful Movie Mondays, horror comedy

At the beginning of this so-called gem, within seconds of it starting,  a group of teenage girls say, “Get real, Kirsten”, and “Get over it, Amy”, and I knew at this point that this movie was going to be a stunner. Every line in this campy classic is quotable and mindlessly hilarious. It’s a shame in a way, because in some scenes, the elf/dwarf actually looks believable. On the other hand, I love a good campy movie, and they could have added the elf into the story a lot more. The acting is regrettable, and the plot is thin, but I think you  should have already guessed this. There’s a lot of misses (especially gun shot misses), but some of the scenes are actually quite surprisingly decent. It’s annoying that the characters say the elves are “two feet tall” oh, about a hundred times, but they never make the elf look like it’s anything short of tall, aside from the stubby little hairy muscular legs. Furthermore, it’s called Elves, though you only really seem to see one elf. The movie is quite ruined by its whole Nazi government nonsense, and by the middle of the movie you’ve lost all hope for the cheesy creature spin-off of Gremlins you were hoping for.

*Spoiler* An amazing quote that’s too good to be true: “The man in the study is your grandfather. And your father!”

photo credit: https://moviocrity.files.wordpress.com

Christmas Collection: The Children

Score: 4.5/10

Year: 2008

Length: 84

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, murderer, recent, forest, Painful Movie Mondays

See, the thing about the evil children theme is that they’re half cheesy, bad actors and half horrific little demon spawn. I tend to enjoy kids less than the average human, so maybe it was just me cringing at their fake crying and struggling faces. The movie is about a family who goes on a winter vacation in a log cabin. Christmas and New Years are briefly touched on, but I wouldn’t say this is an all-around holiday themed movie. After the family laughs and runs around for awhile, the kids get sick and attack the adults. It’s strange to watch as the underlying question is illustrated nicely- could you kill your own children if they turned on you? It’s a very interesting idea, and it’s executed in an unenthusiastic way and I feel like it could have easily been more scary. If the ending was bled into more scenes, I think the desperate creep-factor would have been upped.  On the other hand, if the movie was made to be more humorous, I also would have enjoyed a Chucky-come-to life style film.

 

photo credit: image.toutlecine.com

 

 

 

Christmas Collection: Christmas Evil

Score: 3.5/10

Year: 1980

Length: 100

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 1980s, murderer, holiday, Stephen Kingy

Also known as You Better Watch Out and Terror in Toyland this holiday ho ho horror is about a guy who saw his mother’s leg get touched a lot by Santa on Christmas. He grows up to be a toy-making murderer who doesn’t like his seasonal joy rejected. In a Santa suit he goes on a killing rampage, slaughtering his… coworkers and such. The story isn’t overwhelmingly intriguing, and to be honest, the toymaker’s acting would have better-suited a pedophile. The movie drags quite a bit in the middle and is fluffed with constant grunting and mood swings of Christmas song humming. The ending washes away any hopes of decency as ***SPOILER*** villagers chase the serial killer around the town with torches. The one thing the movie can really depend on is the pure bliss of the Santa mustache-beard situation.

photo credit: anothernightinfilm.files.wordpress.com

Top Ten Movies Of 2015 I’m Still Looking Forward To Seeing

I’ve seen a lot of new movies this year, but in October I fell a little behind, and there are still a lot of great ones left that I’d like to conquer. In the time I took to get this list together, I could have probably watched all of these movies, but that’s how I roll. In no particular order, here’s a list of the films I’m still looking forward to from this year.

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The Witch

category: supernatural indie era 

level of excitement to see it: I’m a sucker for originality, and I feel like this one is going to deliver, so I’m very much looking forward to it

stars: new actors you haven’t heard of

A Sundance selection, this independent history-horror set in the 1600’s is about sorcery, family, and tension. The trailer doesn’t give away much, but it looks like it’s full of unease and uncertainty, and that’s attention-grabbing in itself. I’m interested in unlocking the mystery, but will surely have to be in a cold, grey mood before diving into this one.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQXmlf3Sefg

 

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Krampus or A Christmas Horror Story

category: holiday fun

level of excitement to see it: I wouldn’t want to watch either after Christmas so there’s limited time to see these ridiculous yuletide monsterpieces

stars: Adam Scott, Toni Collette / William Shatner

I’m cheating a little here, but there are two Krampus movies this year, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I’ll probably watch both and have a theme night of it. In case you didn’t know, Krampus is a goat-headed Christmas demon from folklore. This character has been hidden from the movie scene until recently, for unknown reasons. Neither of this movies look exceptional, but holiday horrors are rare, and this might make for a great face-off review.

trailer: Krampus  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6cVyoMH4QE

A Christmas Horror Story  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSSSUbB-mYk

 

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Nina Forever 

category: it’s been done 

level of excitement to see it: it’s there if I need it

stars: new, Irish-named actors you haven’t heard of

This one doesn’t seem so original. In fact, it sounds a lot like Life After Beth. It looks a lot like a bunch of sex had in a bloody bed. No, no one is having their period, it’s just a dead ex-girlfriend who appears during deed-doing. I’m not dying to see this one, but it’s worth a glance.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IokJt_05co

 

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The Final Girls

category: horror comedy film within a film

level of excitement to see it: silly, girly, scary- I couldn’t ask for much more

stars: Taissa Farmiga from AHS,  Malin Akerman from mediocre comedies

Here’s our comedic relief of the year-end! It’s got a chunky story, but none of the parts are that original. It’s an Oh Henry! bar. A girl and her friends get trapped in a film from the eighties- and her mom is the star! The goal is to beat the machete maniac and be the final girls standing. Sounds like a fun movie to watch at a grown-up sleepover wearing onesies and drinking Winter Ale.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zreNh78kTjg

 

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Cooties

category: zombies in school

level of excitement to see it: this better be good as I’m not thrilled to watch another film of the flesh-eating genre

stars: Elijah Wood!!! and Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill

This movie has been out for awhile, but I’ve already had my fall flu and I don’t want to jinx it. It’s the made-up virus from your childhood come to life, but it’s from the perspective of the teachers. The staff try desperately to fight off children-zombies, and it seems super fun and hilarious, but I am reeeeallly over the zombie thing. This movie will put me at my limit, so hopefully it’s worth it. Let me work it.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzJVA0KWljk

 

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The Hallows

category: a bed time story to give you nightmares

level of excitement to see it: I can’t miss a rare opportunity like this, and it’s a great film to watch before bed

stars: Bojana Novakovic from Devil, Joseph Mawle (you’d recognize his face)

The Hallows, also known by its other boring title, The Woods, is a film about Irish folklore- fairies, banshees, and the like. I can’t imagine this being too good, but it’s not often that we get any horror fairy tales, so I’m going to watch it anyway and like it more than 100% of the shaky-cam movies that I refuse to watch. I can only hope and pray that there’s little to no CGI and the plot isn’t full of holes. Here’s to the fae!

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH3NCjfr7n4

 

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The Hive

category: memories and bad blood

level of excitement to see it: I could skip it, but I’ll give it a shot

stars: up and coming kids you’ve never heard of

You’d think this movie would be about bees, but it’s actually a psychological infected-by-a-virus thriller. (If you want bees, try Stung, which I’ll also watch eventually.) The trailer isn’t very revealing, but there seems to be a lot of choking on black blood and it’s reminiscent of the latest Evil Dead. The film is also from the producers of Saw so it can’t be that bad, but I have a feeling the romance side of things is going to get a little too mushy (not in a smashed brains way) for my liking.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txdd4UaiJJg

 

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A Tale of Tales

category: fantasy fantastic 

level of excitement to see it: I don’t have high hopes but I’m very excited to see how it compares to Crimson Peak

stars: Salma Hyek, Vincent Cassel, John C. Reily

This one is all imagination breathed through fashion and set design, and I’m actually quite surprised it’s labelled as a horror. Makes me think- is Game of Thrones a horror? This is film of three stories (as made pretty obvious by the title) that tell of the kingdom staples: intricate and colourful costumes, grotesque fable beasts, and of course, pale, young, naked girls. I doubt it’s going to bring any scares, but I wouldn’t mind adding another dreamlike storybook fiction movie to the list. Salma also goes hard on a really big bloody heart.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3hVmpGzl7A

 

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Circle

category: sci fi game

level of excitement to see it: I’m thrilled to be thrilled

stars: Julie Benz (from Dexter and Saw V)

This looks like a contender for my Top Ten Strangers in a Small Room list. I am so pleased that there’s another game show horror flick coming out. Fifty people are trapped in a room unable to move from the circle. Each person dies until one is left. This one looks different from the rest as there are way more people and surprisingly, children are involved.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAlpm2oRzy8

 

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Maya

category: fear-free ghosts with subtitles 

level of excitement to see it: it’s been awhile since I’ve seen an Indian film, so I’m looking forward to it

stars: two actors that each only go by one name so they must be special- Nayantara,  Aari

I’m sure there’s a bunch of really great Korean or Japanese or French horror films from 2015 out there that I could be picking (suggest them to me!), but I’ve decided to go with one of the (probably) five Indian horror attempts this year. This movie seems quite Westernized, so some of the magical cheese I love is missing, but it still looks like a true-to-heart Bollywood ghost story. It’s also got great spooky settings- a dark forest, an asylum, and lots of shadowy rooms and buildings. One thing I’ve never missed from an Indian movie is a fantastic story, but I’m not expecting to be scared.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x43dvfqYSE

 

photo credits: sundance.org, youtube.com, fatmovieguy.com, ew.com, clickmaza.com, filmfad.com,

telegraph.co.uk, nerdist.com, cdn4.thr.com, gamesradar.com,slashfilm.com

 

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Midnight (2014)

Score: 5/10

Length: 101

Rating: Unrated (I’ve added ratings! I think it’s worth knowing. Well, not so much in this case, but in the future I guess.)

Language: Persian (Farsi)

Categories: 2000s, recent, black and white, vampire, murderer, almost horror, foreign

This Iranian-American black and white beauty is about a vampire who stalks interesting characters at night in a quiet and dark town called Bad City. It is not thrilling or exciting, but slow and delicate; stunning and intense, but not fast-paced in any way. You really have to be in a certain artistic, melancholy mood to really enjoy a film like this one, and this is why it has taken so long for me to watch it. With that being said, today is very still and grey and I loved watching all of these gorgeous actors whisper and breathe their way through this mellow, fanged love-drama. It reminds me of Only Lovers Left Alive, but this vampire flick is smaller, more intimate, and I liked it a lot more. Sometimes the scene moves so slowly you’ll think you hit pause, but it’s worth watching if you can get a cold, cloudy, soundless day.  If I could watch this movie over again, I would have enjoyed it in a nice hot bath.

 

photo credit:  http://cdn5.thr.com