Pool Party Massacre (2017)

Score: 2/10

Length: 81 mins

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: horror comedy, murderer, slasher

Everyone loves a summer-themed horror, whether it be beaches, camps or… pools. This one doesn’t even really feature a party, it’s like a small gathering of bitchy gal pals and an uninvited boyfriend and his gross brother. Now that I think about it, did anyone even go in the pool!? The movie is mostly composed of talking-  there are so many boring, nonsensical conversations to skip through, you’d think you were watching The Room. It’s obvious that this film written by a man that has no idea how women speak, while at the same time, the acting from the gal group is an equal blend of awkward and inexperienced. The kills are pathetic (I’m not sure I’ve EVER seen murder with such a lack of enthusiasm) and the blood ranges from Slurpee to brown sludge. The only redeeming part of the film was the “killer conversation” which can be described as mildly funny. And even though no one in the cast or crew has ANY idea of how to do an outfit montage, I appreciated it being included. I’d probably say that this best thing, and my favorite thing about this one was the cover art.

Ten Horror Shorts (Under 5 Minutes)

Horror shorts are typically simple and spooky, ending with a twist or monster revelation. They’re easy to swallow but don’t tend to bring on many emotions, as it is difficult to be frightened in such a short span unless there’s tension-building or a jump scare. Because these were all pretty decent (no big flops) I’ve put them in order from least liked to most, omitting my ratings.

The Mannequin (2020)

Length: 4:41
One Sentence Summary: A guy brings home a plastic, white, faceless, not scary in the least mannequin and it follows him around the house (even though it’s legs were clearly tied to the table because it doesn’t have a stand).
One Good Thing and One Bad Thing: Distinct and clear sound effects. Home-made acting.
Watch here: YouTube

The Bachelor’s Skull (2020)

Length: 4:22
One Sentence Summary: A man meddles with the mechanics of his robot-lady and suffers a freak accident.
One Good Thing and One Bad Thing: The computer visuals- the castle-house and the metal inner-workings were beautiful. The acting was mildly painful and diminishes any droplets of horror from this short.
Watch here: YouTube

Clay (2020)

Length: 3:35
One Sentence Summary: A clay murderer is created by an artist with bad facial hair.
One Good Thing and One Bad Thing: The music creates an eerie dread. The ending is lazy and could have easily been made better with a molecule of effort.
Watch here: YouTube

The Moonlight Man (2016)

Length: 2:43
One Sentence Summary: A woman is stalked by a frightening figure on the way to her car.
One Good Thing and One Bad Thing: The walking around the car scenes and the trunk surprise. The first glimpse of the maniac is too soon (and the woman seems more upset about dropping her keys than him at first).
Watch here: YouTube

2 AM: The Smiling Man (2013)

Length: 4:08
One Sentence Summary: Another nighttime follower- man sees a singing, smiling creeper on a quiet street at night.
One Good Thing and One Bad Thing: The simple idea of a person following you on the sidewalk in the late hours is terrifying, especially when his steps are the only sound. The dancing didn’t add anything and I didn’t find the man or his clothing much more than unnerving.
Watch here: YouTube

Polaroid (2017)

Length: 3:15
One Sentence Summary: A man takes pictures of his new apartment and finds and unwanted roommate.
One Good Thing and One Bad Thing: Short and sweet tension-builder. A little simple.
Watch here: YouTube

Sleepwalker (2017)

Length: 4:16
One Sentence Summary: A man opens a door in his bedroom that leads into a forest where a nightmare awaits.
One Good Thing and One Bad Thing: Effective visuals that make you feel like you’re in a dream of your own. Amateur acting.
Watch here: YouTube

The Pretty Thing (2018)

Length: 4:29
One Sentence Summary: A girl is anxious about being unable to lock her back door and communicates with her sister in the other room to help calm her fears.
One Good Thing and One Bad Thing: Excellent tension building in a relatable scenario. I know the focus is supposed to be on the snap and crackle sounds, but it’s weird that the girl never screams.
Watch here: YouTube

Mommy (2020)

Length: 4:45
One Sentence Summary: Mostly vegetable cutting and tension building, but a nice little spook on the baby monitor camera.
One Good Thing and One Bad Thing: Mood-setting and attention to detail are done with love. A little longer and bit less produce would make this fantastic. (Seriously, what is she even making?!)
Watch here: YouTube

The Birch (2017)

Length: 4:43
One Sentence Summary:
One Good Thing and One Bad Thing: So original and well done it became an online TV series. I wish it showed how the boys were killed as it leans a little more to fantasy than horror without the extra gore.
Watch here: YouTube

Tumbbad (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 104 mins

Rating: NR

Language: Hindi

Categories: 2000s, monster, murderer, fantasy, foreign, Bollywood, recommended, underground, demon

Well, let’s see. A greedy boy from the cursed city Tumbbad, where it rains constantly and everyone is very comfortable being soaking wet, grows up to be a greedy man. A grandmother who is kept alive and in misery by a hex, knows where a treasure is. The treasure, is in a goddess’ vagina, in a tomb, where her son, a red Bad Romance demon-like thing, lives. The now-adult boy visits the demon in the tomb vagina periodically whenever he needs coin, by distracting him with dough dolls and stealing his gold. The original music is catchy, the acting is well-done and I don’t even mind the slow motion CGI. It could use a little bit of the flair and pizzazz a typical Bollywood film might have, even if it just stole some colour. It reminds me a bit of The Fall, but it’s more interested in an Indiana Jones-type story than bright costumes. The story’s end and the accompanying visuals are just short of fantastic and sealed the deal on this sleepy Indian fairy tale. 

 

… what’s it!?
…Hassan? Hatar? Hamad??

The Perfection (2018)

Score: 3.5/10

Length: 90

Rating: Mature (Netflix)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, Netflix, murderer, recent, girly

The first half of theis movie is actually pretty decent. Guessable, because it’s pretty much Black Swan with cello instead of ballet, but still enticing. There are two points in the film in which there’s a rewind of events. Each time this happens, the film gets worse. A lot worse.

We start with the typical waspy white girl (a character Allison Williams has down pat by now) and your typical sweet, bi-racial competition. Both girls meet in Shanghai, where their former musical academy is auditioning for new students. The former-students make fast friends and plan an excursion together which goes horribly wrong when one of the girls gets sick. The Netflix movie can be split into three parts, separated by the rewinding of events: The first part is full of gag-worthy body grossness, including vomit, diarrhea, maggots, and amputation, so I’d highly recommend you don’t start this movie with a meal. Unless it’s meal worms and you’re trying to go for a theme. The second chunk is all of our twist reveals and the action-section. It’s watchable, but you can feel the film start to slide downhill. Part three is just horrible, stupid, and ultimately laughable. I actually guffawed at the end, and that’s a rare occurrence for me unless Larry David is present. I assume they were trying to finish with the same thrills the film started with and just went way too far. We get it, it’s rape-revenge, you want something bad to happen to the perpetrators, but throwing it in at the very last moment does not satisfy anyone. If the movie cut after the second scene with the girl running, it might have won itself a few more points.

 

Midsommar (2019)

Score: 9/10

Length: 147 (yes, it’s like three hours long, but it doesn’t feel like it)

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, murderer, recent, recommended, supernatural

This is the director’s second full-length film after Hereditary, and let me say, I thought it was fucking fantastic. It has everything I want: flowers and hippy euphoria nonsense, strange plot line that actually somehow makes sense, uncommon gore, and a break-up story with a fantastic ending. I think most will probably like Hereditary more (though you have to look up what’s it’s actually about afterwards to appreciate it fully), but this movie was my jam. I also thought the acting was very well-done, the actors were well chosen, and the location was on-point. It’s a story about a rocky couple and their friends who venture to Sweden for a mid-summer festival. Things get very cult-y and weird as the group discovers (and participates in) more “family rituals”. Things go from bad to worse at a believable pace, and I found the choices the characters made strangely realistic for the situation they’re in. The one and only thing, in my opinion,  that’s lacking in this movie is the scare-factor. Don’t expect any tension or jump-scares in this film, it’s not really the director’s style. He’s more of a slow, repulsion kinda guy, and I can’t fault him for that, but that’s why it’s not at a perfect score.

Mandy (2018)

Score: 6.5/10

Length: 121

Rating: NR (clearly R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, supernatural

If you want a metal movie without much actual metal music, this is your film. Packed with Nicholas Cage anger revenge awesomeness/hilarity, this one is a must see, but that definitely does not guarantee you’ll like it. There’s not even really a story. Wifey Mandy is killed by a strange hippie cult and their motorbike demons for no reason I can remember. There’s no twist or anything, she’s killed in front of her hubs, he’s traumatized, and does a bunch of ridiculous stuff to seek revenge with his self-made ax-chainsaw situation. I mean, this movie can be summed up as a really bad drug trip experienced in a basement full of records and guitars. Weirdly enough, I wanted a little more from the film. Mandy wasn’t likable in the least, and I feel like if you’re going for an insane Nic Cage revenge film, you should be going HARD. I also kind of wished the rock and roll aspect was a little more integrated. Perhaps one band holds the soundtrack, or just more rock and roll aspects in the movie. I didn’t even notice many songs in the movie to be honest. Loved the art house vibe, the crazy Cage acting and the whole idea, but I just wasn’t blown away by it, and this should be a movie you remember forever.

Apostle (2018)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 130 (aka way too long)

Rating: TV-MA (Netflix release only)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, religious

I’m just going to get right to it- I was bored. I didn’t really find this to be much of a horror flick outside all of the torturing, and even with the torturing I found it quite dull. It took me awhile to get into it, and by the time I was interested, the story seemed to be unraveling. I felt I was more interested in the cinematography than what happened to any of the characters, especially our “hero”. Don’t get me wrong, the acting was solid and it’s always fun to see Michael Sheen (especially as a cult leader in the early 1900s), but as per usual, this film really didn’t need to be stretched out as long as it was.

It’s about a guy who is looking to rescue his sister from a cult. As you can imagine, it doesn’t go very well, and in learning all their secrets, he puts himself in a vulnerable position. People are tortured and killed by religious psychos, blah blah blah the end.

A lot of people are comparing this to The Witch (which I was highly disappointed with) but even though both films are slow, I was invested in the magic and the characters in The Witch, unlike this one. In the end, I don’t feel like this film was a waste of time, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it to anyone, and I wouldn’t watch it again unless I was half-way to dreamland.

Pyewacket (2017)

Score: 6/10

Length: 90

Rating: NR

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, Canadian, forest, supernatural, murderer

This is yet another one of those films I was supposed to watch about a hundred times and never ended up actually watching it. I’m very sorry as a true Canadian, but I’m thrilled to see it today with my poutine, as I’ve been cheating on horror movies a lot lately with dark, sci-fi Netflix shows.

This super slow-burner is about a teenager who, in struggling with her relationship with her mother, completes a black magic ritual to kill her. In her fleeting moment of anger, she doesn’t quite realize what the demon she’s summoned is capable of, and how it will wreak havoc on her life. Although I felt like the film spent time developing characters that it could have spend building tension, it was a good idea, sort-of like a scary bedtime story. The twist was pretty obvious, but I was really appreciative that the ending wasn’t happy or neat. It definitely could have been stretched out a minute or two as I felt it was like: “TADA! Here’s the twist! The end!” Like it was just so great the movie should end right there. The demon-thing was also pretty well done- mostly shadows with some decent make-up when close-up. I could have done with a few more demon scenes thrown in there and a little more of a build-up with what happened with the freak-out friend. This witchy teenage film probably won’t leave  a lasting impression, but the acting was good, the scenery grand and familiar, and I can’t exactly fault this film for much besides being very slow to start.

Happy Canada Day!

The Possession of Hannah Grace (2018)

Score: 4/10

Length: 86

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, demon, underground, murder

Well, here we have yet another demonic possession movie with an innocent Suzie, or Sarah Anne, or Elizabeth Mary or whatever. This one features our determined heroine taking on a new job in a morgue. Everyone is skeptical of the pills she takes/ doesn’t take, and she starts to hear and see strange new things in the morgue. No one trusts her, everyone thinks she’s crazy… typical. Even when the random guy breaks in and screams about a body not being dead, no one pays attention to our girl. The tension in the beginning of the movie where only little things are happening kind of got my hopes up, but the rest was just a crackly demon-girl following people around and killing them. It lost all scare, really, and became super predictable, finishing off with an extremely corny ending. Like we care about your “journey”. No one had any background to them anyway. Even with decent make-up and acting, and a fantastic setting, I think this is one to be buried in the DVD bin (if this was Walmart, five years ago.)

Malevolent (2018)

Score: 4/10

Length: 99

Rating: TVMA

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, ghost, supernatural

This is your typical team of amateur ghost hunters led by a medium who visit a house that has more than they bargain for. A woman lives in a house where she hears screaming and lazy girl ghosts are seen with stitched up mouths (which is the gore focus in this film). It’s not painful, nor is it memorable, as are most Netflix horrors. The acting is okay, the story is okay, I felt okay watching it, I fell asleep quickly after. Lack of suspense and tension and characters with mediocre personalities are key ingredients in this recipe for just another horror movie.