The Invitation (2015)

Score: 5.5/10 (+2 points for featuring an attractive male in a “horror” film)

Length: 100

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, almost horror, religious, psychological, some SPOILERS

Let’s just start off by addressing the main character. Nice choice. There’s nothing like a sexy, suspicious man. I recognize a few of these actors- Logan Marshall-Green (sans beard) from Devil and Michiel Huisman from Games of Thrones and Orphan Black, however, most are fairly unknown. There’s also, of course, John Caroll Lynch who’s character seems to be the most interesting of the guests, but that’s not saying much. This film is all about the build-up; it’s definitely a slow burner, but the end is fast and fiery. There’s a lot of forced flip-flopping between the possible outcomes, but I wasn’t disappointed in the ending. It seemed realistic yet fantasy at the same time. I won’t spoil the possibilities, but most of the people die and that’s always a bonus. A lot of viewers looked at the end as a twist, but I didn’t feel like it was intended as an unguessable twist, more of an outcome that was clouded by the strange nature of a man in mourning. I liked this film, it was up-close and personal, but although I connected with the man and his ex-wife, I didn’t care much about the other characters. Guests with interesting background, connections, and feelings could have really solidified the film. It’s fresh and unique, but maybe everything happened in one chunk and my tension didn’t invoke enough fear.

 

Below is the review from my cat. I’m sure she wouldn’t want me to delete it.

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photo credit: geektyrant.com

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Emelie (2015)

Score: 2/10

Length: 80

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, SPOILERS, almost horror, Painful Movie Mondays

I’m just going to come out and say it… waste of my time. Guess what would probably happen in a movie where the babysitter is strange and wants to steal one of the kids. That’s exactly what happens. Odd head-games are played with the children instead of Trouble or Mousetrap, and the nanny is a taddy naughty. In the end, the older kid steps up and saves the day… blah blah blah, nothing exciting really ever happens. There are the typical less-than-stellar actors (not difficult considering three of the main bunch are children), the usual, nonsensical decisions (somehow), and your everyday, cliche, happy ending. I just can’t get over how uninspired this is for a new film. Like, at least throw in a ghost or up the creep factor at least. This isn’t a C-list movie and it’s not dorky or snort-inducing, it’s just so painfully dull that I feel like I’m watching a movie made by the kid in class who just copies everyone else. I don’t hate it, I’ve just already forgotten about it.

 

photo credit: hollywoodreporter.com

The Boy (2016)

Score: 4.5/10*

Length: 97

Rating: PG 13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, toys, murderer, haunted house, SPOILER

This can’t be as bad as it sounds… I’m going into this with very low expectations hoping to be pleasantly surprised…

So now that I’m all moved in to my new house and no longer sleeping on the couch watching countless hours of TV, I’m back on the horror movie train. Starting it off with some lighter horrors, nothing to do with stalking or being alone in your apartment or anything. I figured a movie about a woman treating a doll like it’s a child has got to be pretty dumb. She is hired as a nanny by an old couple who think their porcelain doll is a reincarnation, perhaps, of their dead child. They pay a young, plain woman a handsome fee to care for the doll, and give her a list of rules to follow. The sitter of course breaks some of the rules and bad things happen, but the film doesn’t go in the direction you’re thinking. It’s not thrilling , there aren’t any real jump scares, and there’s not a lot of tension, so it relies heavily on the twist ending. If you are not a horror buff, the twist may surprise you, but I’ve seen a lot of movies with this theme (not the doll part) and it was easily guessable for me, but I was just so relieved (SPOILS!) that there wasn’t any supernatural ghost mumbo jumbo. (END SPOILS) I was hoping for a more of a back story explanation, and some tension build-up and more intense emotion could have really made this movie a strong one. But hey, the doll moves around the room, and the characters are, I’d say, mildly surprised and excited instead of freaking the fuck out like I would. Reminds me a lot of Black Christmas, and I’m just glad that it wasn’t as stupid as I expected.

*Friend score: 6/10 (the movie lover), 8/10 (the weak-willed watcher)

 

photo credit: http://ziffdavisinternational.com/

The Shining (1980)

Score: 8/10*

Length: 146 (as per most King movies)

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 80s, recommended, ghost, haunted house, murderer, psychologial, Stephen King-y, hotel

There are some movies that are just good, and this is an iconic gem. Even though it’s one of the most over-parodied horror movies ever, there’s a reason for it. The location, the characters, the acting, the atmosphere, the effects- all done incredibly well. There’s nothing to really fault about this film unless you are too used to the fast-paced movies of the future to enjoy this slower, building, 70’s movie adaptation. I think the real trick is taking the imagination of Stephen King, and combining it with the psychotic genius of Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick is the expert on how to make the audience uncomfortable. It really plays on all of the fears- being trapped in a snowstorm, psychosis, hunted by your own father/husband, lost in a giant maze of a house as well as the house’s maze, and to top it all off, ghosts, skeletons, blood, etc. Usually a film with so many scare tactics going on ends up in a mess, but somehow all of the high-quality ingredients make it work. A forever-classic, ruined by The Simpsons, considering I refer to it now as “The Shin-ning”. If you’ve never seen this film and are a little uncertain, try recording it off TV. The commercial breaks will help to release a little of the tension and fear.

* I mean, this movie is freaking fantastic, but it’s quite long, and an abrupt ending with frozen Nicholson makes it a little cheesy.

 

photo credit: http://gamesradar.com/

The Forest (2016)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 93

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, woods, ghost

We jump right into the story here, with not much to relate to except how haggard Natalie Dormer looks. It’s clear the story and directing is going to be lazy from the beginning. ‘Sara’ is planning a trip to Japan to find her twin sister, who seems to be lost in the infamous Suicide (Aokigahara) Forest. Seems like a fantastic idea for a movie, since the stories and photos of the real-life forest are enough material alone, however, the first red flag is that neither of the main actors are Japanese. The sister hikes through the forest with two male accompaniments, but soon the ghosts of the forest play their games, and confusion, suspicion, and doubt creep into the vulnerable mind of the searching twin. The ghosts are dull and done, and their intended scares don’t make you jump. But being lost and afraid in a foreign country in the middle of nowhere is pretty terrifying on its own. There of course are a lot more issues: the atmosphere isn’t used as much as it could have been, Dormer, as I find in most of her appearances, isn’t very likable, and in the end, the twin really seems to have a lack of emotion. It’s a lot better than I thought it was going to be, put I’m glad I didn’t pay to see it in theatres. Thankful there was some man candy to help me get through the film.

 

 

photo credit: http://www.comingsoon.net/

April Fool’s Day (1986)

Score: 6/10

Length: 89

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 80s, murderer, slasher, cabin, recommended

Exactly what you think it’d be, but not mundane or generic at all. This movie is about a group of rich, young adults who spend a weekend at their friend, Muffy’s mansion on April 1. There’s a killer on the loose, and through the twists and turns it’s laced an elaborate prank. A surprisingly good movie, nothing too cheesy, such as the acting or special effects. Lots of deaths and drama, with a small sprinkle of tension. There were the typical character types, but everyone was interesting and likable in their own way, especially the final two. It’s a simple movie and I think it works because the quality of each aspect is clear. The biggest issue with a movie like this (about April Fool’s Day), is that we know all the secrets of the film before we even begin, just based off the title. I’d love to see a modern remake with a different, more mysterious title. I wasn’t upset in any way by the ending, I felt it was light and fun and I was okay with that.

 

photo: http://crypticrock.com/