The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)

Score: 7/10

Length: 85

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, slasher, woods, recommended, murderer

I didn’t notice that the title included “Prey at Night” which is obvious, meaningless, and just plain dumb. The director for this sequel is different, but he follows the original enough so that you can’t tell if you don’t focus on it. This one has a tense but loving family (though the mom and dad have a lot of similarities to the couple in the original) who stay at a trailer park and are stalked and killed off by the three masked strangers. Since there are more people to kill (an aunt and uncle, others in the campsite), there are fewer mind games and slow tension scenes which is the only thing making this film stand apart from the first. Strong acting from Bailee Madison who I’m excited to see evolve from the over-dramatic characters she played in R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour. A few scattered jump scares and mini-twists make this second-go entertaining, but it’s lacking the intense tension that makes the original a memorable favorite.


Incarnate (2016)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 91

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, demon, murderer

A little bit of The Exorcist and a little bit of The Cell, Aaron Eckhart goes inside the mind of the possessed to expel the demon. He’s been searching for one demon in particular for years- the same who killed his wife and son, and it seems like this demon has recently entered an eleven year old boy. This is the Dr. Demon-Banisher’s last chance to kill and get revenge on a devil from his past. Although this idea is fairly fresh, and the story is well put-together, it’s very predictable and there’s not enough tension and gore to bump it up from a drama to a horror. Hence, the rating. There’s not really any plot holes and everything makes sense like a well-wrapped package. But that might be the problem here. It’s too much like the original exorcist movie to be a success on its own, but as usual, I wish there was more of a story to the demon. I had actually seen this movie before and had to re-watch it to remember the plot. A great film to put on when you’re not fully paying attention or you’re hanging with someone who scares easily.


From A House on Willow Street (2016)

Score: 3/10

Length: 90

Rating: NR (R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, woods, demon, zombie, monster, murderer, ghost

This movie is a mess. The idea isn’t too bad: the daughter of a wealthy man is taken hostage, but the kidnappers soon find out that their plans have changed when she turns out to be possessed by a demon. Somehow, this film is short yet feels long, and is overly complex, yet dull. There’s lots of gore, the makeup isn’t bad, and the characters all have a story. But ugh, it’s just all over the place and with the ridiculous CGI… over it. The acting was a little painful, but the movie starts off decent focussing on the kidnappers instead of the victim. There are a few scares that don’t make sense yet and although it’s fairly guessable, the movie feels like it’s going somewhere. As it continues towards the crash and burn that is the ending, watching it gets harder and harder to bear. The Indian priest’s character and lines were just awful and awfully acted. I found I cared less and less about everyone as the film went on and then those goddam spiky tongues. Unfortunately unforgettable. I’d say it’s a mix between Th13teen Ghosts and Don’t Breathe, but those are both good movies and this one is not.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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”)


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


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.


XX (2017)

Score: 4/10*

Length: 80

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, monster, murderer, toys, anthology, holiday

This anthology is all female directors and lead actors (but not writers), so the disappointment with the film hit harder than usual. One of the stories is even written by the musician, St. Vincent who is a gifted visionary.  The film has four stories that aren’t related to each other at all, and none of them are original, memorable, creative, or provide any indication that this movie is focused on women. The only thing I can picture myself remembering when thinking of this film later is the strange, doll-head stop motion in between the segments. Also, I get why the film is called “XX“, but considering there’s a band already with the same name, they really could have tried a little harder. This whole film feels like a real lack of effort on everyone’s part.


The Box

In one line: Cannibals at Christmas.

Good: I liked the mystery around what was in the box and this was probably the best story out of the four. It had clear direction to it.

Bad: The script was pretty cheesy, and there were parts that didn’t exactly make a lot of sense to me.


The Birthday Party

In one line: Dead dad ruins birthday party.

Good: The struggles of a mom trying to make everything okay for her child’s birthday is relatable. The costumes are also hilarious, and I appreciated the quirky vibe.

Bad: It’s really just an episode of a woman dragging around a man’s dead body and that can get pretty dull.


Don’t Fall

In one line: Monsters in the desert.

Good: The monster was fairly well done. Good makeup as opposed to CGI.

Bad: It was a pretty overdone story idea with nothing special added to it.


Her Only Living Son

In one line: Teenager turns into violent werewolf-monster of sorts.

Good: Again, the mom’s struggles were relatable.

Bad: There wasn’t really an ending, and the son making the mom crawl towards him on her knees was pretty cringe-worthy.


* I’m giving this an overall score, as none of the shorts were anything special, and none were better or worse than any other, which is pretty rare. All in all, the meh movie is getting a meh overall score.


The Belko Experiment (2016)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 90

Rating: R

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, psychological, strangers in a small room

It’s like if The Office went on lockdown. A corporate company shuts down the building and asks the employees (aka participants) to kill each other in timed intervals. Strangers in a small space, kill or be killed. There are a whole slew of characters, the good little guys and the bad CEO guys. Some are fairly well fleshed-out and others are simple and forgettable. There were some fun deaths with a tape holder, but I really would have appreciated the campiness of more people being murdered with office supplies instead of guns. I think overall, it needed to decide if it was going to be true horror or on the side of comedy. Although a thriller, at times it felt like a drama. This would be a great film for the TV show, Community to do an episode of. If you’ve seen any other movies about strangers in small spaces, you’ll know it isn’t overly original. And that’s surprising considering how many big names are involved in directing and producing.


The Bye Bye Man (2017)

Score: 3.5/10

Length: 97

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, monster, ghost, devil, murderer

A nauseating couple and the guy’s childhood best friend move into a house in need of some renovations. They find some old stuff, say the bad bye bye words, and then the ghost-demon or whatever infects their brains, turning people into delusional killers. There’s a lot of stupid garbage in the movie. Like, the obvious one, the name of movie’s antagonist, and the title of the movie. Or perhaps, the dreadful script. The so-called (for reasons unknown) Bye Bye Man, who we see way too much of, reminds me of this guy from Beastly (which I obviously haven’t watched, but I remember the awful movie poster).  However, I did like the whole Vanilla Sky, “what’s real, what’s not??” situation. There were a few mini mind-fucks that caught me off-guard but there were a few dumb ones as well. This is not a film I’d recommend, but I didn’t feel like it was a waste of time or anything and the ending was kind of cute. If only that wit had been in the rest of the film.


The Disappointments Room (2016)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 86

Rating: R

Language: English

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

Kate Beckinsale is a blonde wife and mother who moves into a new home in the country with her family. She starts seeing spooky things in the house, and her husband assumes it’s her mental illness, asking the cliche, “Did you take your pills?”, so it’s pretty original. He continually asks, “Do you believe me?” which doesn’t add to his likability. I don’t know if it was just me, but I got an off feeling about the family right away. The acting was strange and I immediately didn’t like any of them. I could barely understand the husband’s fat-tongue mumbling, and I really could have done with some subtitles. The idea of a room to hide your hideous freak-children is intriguing. Building off of other films and focusing the movie solely around the room is mildly interesting. I did like the dripping chandelier scene; it felt very dreamy. Pretty much any scene where the magazine mom wanders around the house/property- taking photos, slicing knives into a wooden block. There’s a cat that must have been drugged or it’s a thousand years old to let a child squish-hug it and then give it a soapy sink bath. There are some ghost people who are kind of creepy, but don’t really do enough to actually be scary and their makeup is underwhelming. I’m not sure how this film took up more than an hour because it didn’t really feel like anything exciting happened, while somehow, the movie felt short while falling short. This leaves me conflicted on the score, but if I was grading it, it’d definitely be in the ‘C’ category.


The Neighbor (2016)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 87

Rating: NR (But clearly R)

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, murderer, underground

As a Canadian, it pains me to put no ‘u’ in the title, but I suppose it’s an American movie and the paper mache mask on the cover makes up for it. It felt very familiar early on, like I had seen at least some of it before. Probably before passing out and then forgetting about it. This action-thriller film is about  an errand-man whose wife is kidnapped by their neighbour before they plan to split with a bag of cash. Josh Stewart does a great job of looking like Sean Penn’s druggy brother, but the acting from everyone is pretty decent.  I appreciate that the women weren’t just victims, they fought hard. It feels like The Collector series, but lacks some of the originality. Most of the gore seemed to be dead animals which definitely could’ve been skipped, but there were a splatter of blood and guts scenes throughout.  It had artistic spots, but it just wasn’t anything special or creative. Not a bad movie at all, but also not a memorable title or story. I could definitely see myself accidentally watching some of it again.