The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2016)

Score: 5/10

Length: 93

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, demon, girly, hotel

As obvious by the film’s poster, there are two stories here. One about two girls left behind during break at their boarding school, and the other about a young, escaped mental patient who is taken in by a man and his wife. There are hints throughout this movie that lead to the twist, and it’s a good one. However, there are too many problems in this film to make it work. *Spoiler section* The first issue I have is why they couldn’t make the girls look alike. They put zero effort into this besides the fact that they are both blonde. The girls look, dress, and act totally different from each other for no reason. Even if you are thinking of yourself as an alter ego, your hair might be different, your clothes might be what you’d ideally wear if you were more confident, sure, but I’d assume at least your face shape would be the same, no? The second biggest annoyance is that the “rescue dad” has no idea what the girl who killed his daughter looks like. I find that a tad hard to believe. And what’s with the beheading? There could have been a really easy reason given as to why beheading was the preferred kill method. I would have taken anything that fleshes out the story of the demon a little more. Because, let’s be real, no one really cares about the dark-haired girl that much, and considering she dies so quickly anyway, it would have made more sense to focus on the demon.

*Spoilers over* Besides these three things, the story was strong, the acting was solid, and there was lots of tension and atmosphere. It’s so disappointing that this could have easily been a great film, akin to The Witch.

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Top Ten R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour Episodes (Seasons 3 & 4)

R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour is a modern-day teen horror show that started in 2010 and plays on YTV (and I’m sure some other channels).  It was extremely hard to pick a top ten for several reasons- I had no emotional childhood attachments to any of these episodes, there are a lot of creative ideas, and none of them are really scary, but they’re all pretty much Goosebumps-style twisty-ended. They all have teenage cheese and they’re all watchable. Here are my top ten most memorable episodes from seasons 3 and 4 of The Haunting Hour!

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10. Grampires

Cute, creepy, and the season’s two-parter, this episode is about siblings who go to visit their grandparents in a retirement village. Unfortunately, soon enough, the kids learn the elderly folk are actually vampires, and rely on their grandfather to keep them safe. Normally, old people tend to be horrific in a frail and fragile way, but these grampires are more reminiscent of The Bailey School Kids book characters-comical.

 

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9. The Girl in the Painting

A young girl dreaming of a life of luxury finds a painting in the trash of a girl in a beautiful pink room. She becomes obsessed with living in the fantasy world of the posh painting. After the paining changes scenes and a voice is heard advising the way in is through the closet, the girl finds herself in the world she dreamed of. I think most little girls imagine themselves going into another land through the closet, all Chronicles of Narnia-style. The end is twisty of course, and unexpected, and laughable.

 

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8. The Cast

While playing a prank on and old lady, a group of boys get caught, and one falls, breaking his arm. He ends up with a cast, but the cast turns out to be a lot worse than just a cradle for shattered bones. I’ve never broken anything major, but the fear of the unknown comes into play here, and paranoia, and all of the possibilities of what could be lurking underneath all that plaster and bandage. In this case it’s rats, and while the guilt feeds delusions, in the end, everyone gets their just desserts. The moral of the story is: don’t lie or karma will get you.

 

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7. I’m Not Martin

A helpless boy in a hopeless horror- Martin is set for surgery, the only issue is he’s not Martin and no one believes him. As a kid, it would be pretty terrifying to be mistaken for someone else at a hospital, especially if that person is set to have their leg taken off. This episode is fairly nonsensical, but the desperation and fear of being trapped in a situation without having any control over it is pretty scary for a kid.

 

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6. Detention

This isn’t just a ditzy episode about high school stereotypes stuck in detention, it’s about three teenagers who take ownership of their mistakes and learn a valuable lesson. Obviously written by a dad, but not too cheesy. The setting of the decoration-trashed school with no one around sets a terrific atmosphere, and the possible consequences of the unassuming kids ups the scare factor. In true horror way, however, I wish it would have ended with the prom princess going her own way.

 

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5. Seance

A younger sister wants to fit in with her big sister and her friend, and while following them around mercilessly, annoys the friends. Little sis, who also stars as a little sister in The Conjuring is the victim of a prank, but ups the ante she gets her revenge. Seances are fun and spooky, and I bet every younger sibling got a few ideas of revenge after watching this episode.

 

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4. My Imaginary Friend

Another twisty story that ends kind of sad because you don’t really see it coming. It’s about a boy with an invisible friend who’s kind of a bad-ass, and is very much a negative influence. The boy’s good-natured brother doesn’t get along with his sibling’s imaginary friend and the conflict between the two goes from bad to worse. There are a lot of interesting ideas in this episode such as listening to your conscience and being able to control what you’d created with your own mind.

 

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3. Terrible Love

A Valentine’s Day episode where a girl wishes for cupid to make the popular boy like her… but she goes too far, and their love turns sour. This is another example of a mature episode that discusses jealousy and obsession in love. It’s creepy in a very real way and I appreciate how it’s guessable but still likable it can be. There’s a spotlight on awkwardness and desperation, and isn’t that every teenager’s nightmare?

 

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2. Lovecraft’s Woods

Time loops (in my opinion) are not used enough in movies, and I’ve definitely never seen it be used in a kid’s show, so this is all sorts of awesome. It’s about three friends who are trapped in the woods. One of the kids gets bitten and turns into a horrible creature who tries to warn her friends. Werewolves aren’t my usual horror cup of tea, but I fancy a spooky stroll in the forest, mind you.

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1. Le Poof de Fromage

The kid painfully trying to have a funny french accent may be hard to sit through, and the plot may be… ahem… cheesy, but it’s silly and fun and original. It’s simply ridiculous and I like that about it. This episode is about a foreign exchange student who moves in with a family to hunt down the alien cheese puffs that are trying to invade Earth. It kind of reminds me of 10 Cloverfield Lane because of the paranoia and flip-flop beliefs. Must be eaten with the puffy Cheesies, not the crunchy ones.

Also read: Seasons 1/2 Top Ten

The Girl in the Photographs (2015)

Score: 2/10

Length: 95

Rating: R

Language: English

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

This is a bad movie. I’m not even going to dance around it. I have no idea why Wes Craven produced this nonsense. It’s a horror American Apparel ad with Kal Penn as the douchey, famous photographer. He is “sexually inspired” by a killer-photographer who takes pictures of his victims. Real original. So the ass-hat goes after the murderer’s muse, because he wants to work with her first. Nonsensical. The killers were creepy, but that’s really the only thing the movie has going for it. No tension, bad music choices, bad character choices. Why were they trying so hard to make the characters funny? All of them were hard to watch. This is supposed to be a slasher film, kind of Screamlike, but it’s just a mess, and I was not at all sad when anyone died. The slashings were fine-lots of blood. But it’s like eating moldy toast with jam. Doesn’t really matter how good the jam is.

The Hallow (2015)

Score: 4/10

Length: 97

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, foreign, woods, supernatural

The first thing I thought about this movie was: the only thing that could really ruin this is a naked, hairy, troll-like interpretation of a fairy. It’s not quite that, but the fairies are not the mystical, mysterious creatures I guess I am still hoping for in a horror film. These are more reminiscent of bugs, more specifically, when the mother from Coraline begins her transformation into a praying mantis. Big, hollow eyes and all. The Irish tend to be creative and gifted in developing a mood through the scenery and natural lighting that leaves you feeling cold and clammy, and this film doesn’t quite do that. I feel quite dry, actually (LOL). It’s about a family who moves to a small town and tresspasses on fairy property, aka the forest. The hunchy, pointy-limbed Hallowfolk do not appreciate this and try to steal the couple’s baby. They also apparently take people and turn them into half-human half-fairies. The big problem with this film is that it lets out its spooky characters pretty fast and then just drags on and on. Still another half an hour to go and I’m wondering when these people are going to die already. Can they just be gone or survive already and end this? There is a surprising mix of good and 1990’s terrible effects in this film. There is also a lot of running through the forest and baby screaming. Usually baby screaming is unbearable for me, but this baby has a unique scream and actually sounds like it’s afraid for its life instead of just needing a diaper change. Anyway, I was hoping for a magic fairy horror experience, but this is just another monsters in the forest film.

Sensoria (2015)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 81

Rating: NR

Language: Swedish

Categories: 2000s, recent, foreign, almost horror, ghost, haunted house, murderer

This Swedish film is about a newly-single woman moving into a haunted apartment. It doesn’t sound like anything outside the average every day, and although the story isn’t exactly the norm, it doesn’t exceed expectations. Frequently during the movie, the tension, scare, and drama would have a short spike… and then on to the next scene. If it would have been held onto a little longer, the scenes could have really solidified the scares and helped the movie build to a climax. The first half of the movie introduced our sad protagonist, and followed her around the apartment as small but strange things happened around her flat. The second half felt like a slow wrap up of the melancholy story, exposing pasts that were interesting but didn’t invoke much emotion. It’s funny that the films tagline is: “Every apartment has a past”, considering I just moved into a newly built apartment and there for sure is no past. Her home seemed incredibly strange and creepy with an old, hospital feel. Not sure if the terrifying attic storage rooms and laundry rooms are normal in Sweden, but this Canadian felt uncomfortable with the unfamiliar feel of the apartment. I’m very glad for my well-lit storage space and in-suite laundry. What does Sensoria mean? I have no idea, and neither does this film.

 

photo credir: http://www.leedsfilm.com/

The House on Pine Street (2015)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 112

Rating: NR (everything seems to be NR lately… is this such a difficult task?!?) I’d guess PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, haunted house, psychological, murderer

This seems like your average everyday “pregnant lady moves into a haunted house and the devil is trying to steal her baby” situation. It’s got the older and only slightly interesting house, the title that has nothing to do with anything, and the typical douchey husband who doesn’t believe his wife. However, much to my surprise and pleasure, it doesn’t really turn out the way you might guess. The end isn’t shocking or profound or anything, more of a “well that makes sense, I’m cool with that situation” finale. Like, say, finding your missing underwear behind the dryer. There’s a touch of tension and a sprinkle of suspense, but there isn’t anything overly horrific about the film. Probably a good idea for those who like their horror movies with a little bit of milk. The main actress, Emily Goss felt familiar, though  upon investigation, I don’t think I’ve actually seen her in anything. She was very believable and her role was well-played, and although her hair was horrible, she was quite likable. Almost everything in this low-budget offer was decent. Still, there’s just nothing over-the-top entertaining about it. Interesting fact about this film- it was partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign.

Side note: I’m noticing reviews where they say “it made no sense” or “it’s left up to your imagination”. I can’t understand how people believe this, as the movie was very clear to me and left nothing unanswered. Not sure what’s going on there.

 

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

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

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

Unfriended (2015)

Score: 4/10

Length: 83

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, ghost

Well, I’ll be honest here, this flop was actually pretty entertaining. I mean, it’s full of teen drama and my old, three grey-haired self struggled to keep up with the apps and such, but it is new and fresh and unique, and I appreciated that. It’s very current, and it comments on social issues in the media. And social media. As I’m sure you already know, it’s a story told through the computer, with the entire movie taking place on a teenage girl’s monitor. Friends meet online and through videocams, chat conversations, online phone calls, and Facebook messages they  are tormented by the ghost of a girl they have wronged. In order to live they must confess their sins. The latter has definitely has been done before, but I don’t really know what else they could have done with the movie besides changing the ghost to a real person acting as Laura or Laura herself, not really dead. I quickly became a lot more invested in this film that I thought, mostly likely because of the low expectations I went in with. Kinda like Scream Queens. It’s a little young for me, but it’s fast-paced and there was nothing that was obviously stupid such as bad CGI monsters or horrible acting. The characters weren’t overly likable, but I didn’t dislike them either and I’m glad no emotion was brought out during this underage horror flick. It took me back to the days of multi-tasking with ICQ, MSN messenger, and then maybe my virtual pet. It’s worth a watch, but it’s not something I’d want to watch again, it’s for sure a one-time movie.

 

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

Final Girl (2015)

Score: 4/10

Length: 90

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, forest

I love a good revenge flick but although satisfying, I wasn’t sold on this one. Probably why I watched it for free. There are a lot of things to like about this film. The best part about it is that, somehow, you are fascinated by the four boys but at the same time you are eagerly waiting for them to die. I think they did a fantastic job casting the males and I really enjoyed each of their unique stories and characters. Even though I gave it a lower score, the movie was fast-paced and entertaining. I mean, I wasn’t bored. I also really appreciated the lack of rape that I thought was going to be inevitable. On the other hand, it was holeyer than Swiss cheese. You can’t not have a million questions during and after watching the movie. And the ending was satisfying but a little dull. Our lead, Abigail Breslin, is gorgeous, but unfortunately, definitely not the right person for the bad-ass ninja role and therefore, the believability just wasn’t present. And oh yeah, don’t watch the trailer. It’s like watching a summary of the entire movie. Here’s all you need to know: four high school gentlemen hunt and kill blonde girls, until an assassin in a prom dress comes along and turns the tables. The big problem with this thriller is that you are told about the girl’s background at the very beginning of the film and there is absolutely no surprise factors.

 

photo credit: http://i0.wp.com/blog.sundvold.net