Annihilation (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 116

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, sci fi, almost horror, woods, book, alien

Let me just start off with making sure it’s clear that this movie doesn’t exactly make sense. But who cares! The acting is decent, the story is creative, and the final product is really beautiful. Yes, it’s low-key ridiculous that a bunch of random scientists venture into this Bermuda triangle of sorts with no face coverage or breathing apparatus’. But once you get past the dumb details, it’s really an engaging movie. I wasn’t bored once, and I never quite knew what was going to happen next. It’s kind of hard to imagine that a sci-fi movie about nature is horror, but I suppose it’s no less horrory than a film like A Quiet Place. The group of women go on an expedition that had been preceded by Lena’s (Natalie Portman) husband. He was the only person to return from the “affected zone”, and now she is following in his footsteps, being interviewed and telling the story of her adventure (to put it lightly). The characters are formed enough for my liking, and there are just so many unique qualities to the movie, allowing me to really enjoy it. The film does seem to have the theme of cancer spread throughout it, but I’m not 100% certain that this is the movie’s main concept. Either way, I thought it was a visually striking movie that is worth a watch.

 

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Mania (1986)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 87

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories:

Also known as: Mania: The Intruder, Mania: Episodes in Terror

This is a Canadian anthology horror film that appears to be little-known. I decided to give it an overall rating, as there’s not going to be much fluctuation in the individual short’s scores. They were all pretty original and entertaining, though it felt like I was reading a murder mystery short story novel written in the late eighties. I mean, this movie is from the eighties, yes, but it didn’t really feel like a horror and there was a slight cheese to it. Someone in the comment section of the film mentioned the peculiar Canadian accents. So I listened really hard for them but I just couldn’t hear it. Maybe you can? There is a very Canadian forced apology, but that’s aboot it. Get your maple beers and your Coffee Crisps ready to enjoy with some thoughtful, yet mediocre short films! (Yes, it’s on YouTube.)

See No Evil

After a hooker leaves his house, a man sees her stabbed on the street. The murderer stalks him and frames him, wrapping him up in a sticky situation.

The Intruder

A neighbourhood is victim to a string of robberies, so a couple looks to get a watchdog. Guy is clearly afraid of dogs, but nonetheless, they get the biggest one there and it drives him nuts. In the end, the lesson is… you need dogs.

Have a Nice Day

A mysterious man kidnaps a woman’s daughter and manipulates the mother over the phone. And then suddenly, he shows up on her couch. She’s been fooled!

The Good Samaritan

After leaving a pub, a Scottish man picks a fight with some young punks on the street and is pulled away by his friend. When they get off the train, the friend saves a woman in the subway who’s being attacked. The woman and the friend run for a really long time and end up at his house. The tables turn, and the ending is pretty guessable.

A Quiet Place (2018)

Score: 6.5/10

Length: 90

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, monsters, aliens, murderer, recommended

This film was smart, original, and had some nice tension. It starts in the middle of the action, and finishes before the craziness dies down. It’s about a family living in a world where there are strange creatures that have taken over, and I’m assuming they can’t see or smell very well, as they attack mostly when provoked with sound. So, the big thing about this movie is that it’s mostly silent. And it’s by that guy from The Office. The silence creates tension and drama, but at the theatre, I was annoyed every time someone cleared their throat or coughed. Would have been cool if the theatre put on a performance version where people dressed up as monsters and grabbed you every time you made a noise. I’d pay a fair amount for that. Anyway, the movie had good actors, a good story, and was well-paced.  It’s a mix of a horror, drama, and action, and that works well, but it all felt a little neat to me. There isn’t much to criticize, but I wasn’t moved enough by it- whether that be scared, stunned, or angry- to have an overwhelming opinion. I almost might have enjoyed it more as a television series. It’s a very watchable movie, and a wide audience will enjoy it.

Top Ten Horror-Comedies

I may love French romance-comedies and horrors of all sorts, but horror-comedy is my true favorite genre. So as you can imagine, it was really hard to narrow it down to just ten fantastic films. I could have easily done twenty, but I like a challenge. This list is not of the movies I think deserve to be labelled as the best per se, but they are my personal choices based on preference. (Which is why you might see a lack of zombie movies on here. There are great movies out there, but I just want a very small teaspoon of zombie in my horror cereal.) Here are my favorite, funniest, fright-filled films accompanied by their snack pairings, because nothing goes better together than fear, laughter, and sugar.

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10. Dead Alive or Braindead (1992)

I don’t even know quite how to describe this movie, but there are definitely some very scarring scenes included in this memorable monstrocity. Zombies, rats, blood, gore, and disgusting monster babies… this is for sure one to watch on a first date.

Snacks: Well, to be honest, probably nothing, but chips sound like a safe option.

Sharknado trailer (Screengrab)

9. Snarknado (2013)

Lame CGI, C-list actors, and a ridiculous plot- this one’s got it all! Several spin offs were created based on this films crazy, creature creation. It doesn’t really make any sense, but it’s action-packed and loads of fun to see these over-dramatic actors battle sharks whipping around in a tornado.

Snacks: if you don’t live in Iceland and can’t get fermented shark, try a shark or whale-shaped candy instead from your local 711.

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8. The Gingerdead Man (2005)

One of my favorite Christmas movies, if not just for the title of the original, and more importantly, the sequels (Passion of the Crust, Saturday Night Cleaver). Gary Busey is a serial-killer-turned-cookie who creepily, and kind of cutely, stalks the girl who sent him to the electric chair. It’s barely over an hour, so it’s not much to chew through.

Snacks: gingerbread men, obviously, and perhaps a holiday beverage of sorts

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7. Scary Movie (1996)

This is an iconic nineties movie that mocks a bunch of classic, popular horror movies. It spawned loads of other comedy copycat films that were all pretty bad cheese-fests, but a few have the potential to squeeze a laugh out of you. This film in particular pokes fun at Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Blair Witch, The Exorcist, and a whole slew of others including unscary films as well. Holding it all together is a story about a teenager being stalked by a slasher-killer.

Snacks: I’d be funny and say mashed potatoes (from the scene in Scary Movie 2), but I’d also like to recommend a snack you’re actually going to eat, so how about Jiffy Pop and a batch of special brownies.

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6. Cabin in the Woods (2012)

This quirky, sarcastic, horror movie turned out to be a surprise hit. It’s the usual crew of young adults vacationing at a cabin in the woods. I’m not going to ruin anything, but if you know nothing about this film, I suggest you watch it continuing to know nothing about it beforehand. It’s imaginative and unexpected at every turn. The only downfall to the movie is the cheesy ending cushioned by an appearance by Sigourney Weaver.

Snacks: a good old-fashioned pizza with loads of various toppings

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5. Killer Klowns From Outer Space, 1988

Kooky karnivals klowns kausing kalamity. Characters straight off a poster and whimsical sci-fi make this lesser-known movie a kult klassic. It’s bad, but it’s also good. Nothing beats silly alien-clowns who cause havoc and terror with their popcorn guns and deadly cream pies.

Snacks: Kotton kandy and ice kream

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4. Dead Snow (Dod Sno), 2009

Another one I saw at film festival, and I’m ashamed to say that even though I OWN the second one, I still haven’t gotten around to seeing it. Here, nazi zombies (that are actually scary af) attack a group of young adults staying at a ski lodge. Dumb and extreme decisions are made, somehow resulting in laugh-out-loud hilarity. These zombies aren’t dummies that are falling apart, they’re determined, undead, soldiers on a mission. Yikes.

Snacks: hot chocolate

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3. What We Do in the Shadows, 2014

Probably one of my favorite movies of the decade- it was genuinely funny and creative, and unfortunately, that was pretty shocking to me. I wouldn’t think I’d be attracted to a film that can be described as a documentary about vampires living in New Zealand. But the characters are lovable and hilarious, the story could carry on for decades without letting go of your interest, and there is just nothing to hate about this heart warming, blood-sucking, horror-themed comedy.

Snack: fries (“chips”) or spaghetti (“worms”)

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2. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, 1975

An iconic cult film that I’m saddened is not on Broadway yet. A couple arrives to a castle where a transvestite and his alien assistants create a man, host a party, kill a biker, and sing a lot of sexy songs. It’s a musical that’s fun for everyone fun. There’s nothing better than a movie theatre or bar event where everyone dresses up and throws half of their props in the air. Look forward to a purse full of uncooked rice.

Snack: hot dogs (frankenfurters) and Hot Lips candies

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1. Troll 2, 1990 (alongside Best Worst Movie)

I saw Best Worst Movie at a film festival and then fell in love with the ridiculousness that is Troll 2 shortly afterwards. It has absolutely nothing to do with Troll 1 and the trolls are called Goblins… the words troll isn’t heard once. The town is named Nilbog, which is Goblin spelled backwards, and the goblins turn people into plant goop because they’re vegetarians. In a land where popcorn fills sexy trailers and hospitality is literally pissed on, anything can happen in this mean, green, horror-comedy machine.

Snack: corn on the cob, popcorn, green jello, green cupcakes, milk, anything vegetarian

 

Title image from House IV, another fantastic horror comedy.

We Go On (2016)

Score: 6.5/10 (as a drama)

Length: 90

Rating: NR (PG-13-18)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, ghost, psychological, supernatural, almost horror

Boy, 2016 is really turning out to be a great year for movies. This is a fantastic idea about a man who goes to the extreme to prove that there is life after death. He puts out an ad and meets with three very different people in the hopes of seeing a ghost or learning about how he dies. But he’s most intrigued by a mysterious caller who seems to see the unbelievable. Our awkward, on the verge of madness hero finds himself tethered to a ghost and struggling to rid himself of the lonely lost soul in love. It all feels like an awful nightmare that isn’t plagued by bad CGI, so it’s actually creepy. The actors in this are mostly from TV or unpopular films, so it’s interesting to see characters by actors with no big Hollywood past. It made them seem very real and more relatable and the acting was pretty decent. It also kind of felt like part adult Are You Afraid of the Dark episode, part novel. Much more of a drama than a horror, but there was lots to appreciate. I’d recommend watching this when you’re by yourself, not ready for a full-on scare fest. This will help you to “keep it together, dude.”