Trailer Tuesday: Woodshock

Woodshock is a drama/thriller that comes out in September, starring Kirsten Dunst and Joe Cole. I love the atmospheric quality of the trailer, and hope that the movie delivers the same dark whimsy throughout the entire film. The colors, the music, the artsy shots…all of it looks perfect. The trailer doesn’t give a good sense of the movie, but it seems to include drugs and paranoia. I love a good thriller, so I’ll definitely be checking this one out!

 

Until next time, stay scary.

–E.

Best Horror Movies to Check Out on Netflix

I love watching movies–obviously. They’re one of my favorite ways to pass the time; this means that I’ve watched most of the horror movies that are currently on Netflix. (Please add more, Netflix.) Knowing this, recently, a friend asked for some horror recommendations, so I’ve compiled a list of my favorite horror movies currently available to stream on Netflix (USA). These are in no particular order, save for Starry Eyes at #1, because it’s my favorite.

starry-eyes-dvd20coverStarry Eyes (2014)

Starry Eyes is probably my favorite indie horror movie. It tells the story of a young, hopeful actress who stumbles upon a secret Hollywood elite that promise her fame and fortune–for a price, of course. This movie is well acted, and has great cinematography. It’s definitely a body horror film, so it gets quite…intense. It’s well worth it, though. I highly recommend, and this is a film I’ll purchase if it ever leaves Netflix. I love it that much.

 

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I first saw It Follows in theatres, and it was a perfect theatre experience. However, it’s a movie that doesn’t lose its atmosphere in its transition from cinema to streaming on your computer or TV. If you haven’t seen this film, all you need to know is that a young woman is followed by an unknown supernatural force after a sexual encounter (the metaphor is strong with this one). What works the most for me in this film is the cinematography and the music. They’re both fantastic.

honeymoon_film_posterHoneymoon (2014)

Honeymoon is a quiet horror film. It’s subtle, and moves slowly. It’s beautifully shot, and well acted, and definitely deserves a place on this list. I love this movie. All I’ll say is that a newly married couple go on their honeymoon (surprise, surprise), but things start to go awry when the husband finds his wife wandering and disoriented in the woods one night.

 

 

would_you_rather_posterWould You Rather (2012)

Would You Rather is the one “trash” horror film I have on this list. This isn’t a great film, by any means. But, it is really entertaining. The acting is okay, and the twists and turns aren’t original, but I have a soft spot for horror movies that focus on a group of people locked in a room or house who have to play some sort of game to survive (see also: House of 9, Nine Dead, and obviously Saw).

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The Babadook (2014)

Australia has been on its game horror wise, and this movie is no exception. That said, this is probably the most polarizing film on this list. People either love it or hate. I’m of the love it camp–I think this movie is beautifully shot, and Essie Davis is fantastic as Amelia–a single mother still haunted by the violent death of her husband, who has to raise her son alone. She’s not a great mother, and her relationship with her son at the beginning of the film is, well, horrifying. Davis still manages to make her character sympathetic, though, which I commend her for.  You’ll like this movie if you like subtle horror that doesn’t focus on blood and gore.

220px-pontypoolposterPontypool (2008)

Pontypool is more of a psychological thriller than a horror film, except for a few horrific moments near the end of the movie. It follows a talk radio host’s discovery of a deadly outbreak in his town of Ontario while he’s on the air. This is one of the few Canadian horror films I’ve seen, and like many of the movies on this list, it’s a lot more subtle than your usual run-of-the-mill Hollywood horror films.

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Under the Shadow (2016)

Under the Shadow is an Iranian horror film about a mother and daughter who are struggling to survive in post-revolution, war-torn Theran in the 1980s, and discover a sinister presence haunting their home. I’ve not seen many Middle-Eastern horror movies, something that I’ve been trying to rectify as of late. Under the Shadow is more a movie about relationships than it is about the horror, which I loved. It’s a horror movie with a lot of heart, that’s also well acted and directed, and I loved how rooted it was in its culture. I highly recommend this if you’re trying to get into more foreign horror films, particularly those set in the Middle East. This one won’t disappoint!

3b31ae06a27cc58e_hush-poster-150dpi_v8-xxxlarge_2xHush (2016)

Mike Flanagan is easily becoming one of my favorite current horror directors in the US right now. His direction and vision is a much needed breath of fresh air in the horror genre. Hush employs a more original take on the home invasion sub-genre of horror by having a deaf woman as its protagonist. It’s tense, and well acted (though I do wish that an actual deaf woman was playing the role, because representation).

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Last Shift (2014)

Last Shift is a horror movie that took me by surprise. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. It’s extremely well done for a low-budget horror film–it managed to have more successful scares than the popular, big-budget horror films that I’ve seen lately. It details a rookie cop’s first shift in a closing police station. Naturally, supernatural hijinks ensue. This is one that you want to make sure to watch in the dark. It’ll add to the overall ambiance of the film.

thesacramentfilmfestivalposterThe Sacrament (2013)

The Sacrament is the one film on the list that is based on something that happened IRL. It follows a young man who tries to find his missing sister (accompanied by a camera crew, because found footage), and finds that where she’s been living–known as Eden Parish–is a bit…off. Again, this movie is pretty tame for most of the film, although it does maintain a tense atmosphere once they get to the cult–I mean, community. Once the denouement happens, though, it all goes to shit. Very quickly. All I’ll say is, don’t drink the kool-aid, kids.

 

If you haven’t seen any of these, enjoy your Netflix binge. If you have, let me know what you think!

Until next time, stay scary.

–E.

Trailer Tuesday: Rupture

A horror movie with Noomi Rapace? Sign me up.

From the trailer, it looks like Rupture follows abduction from a mysterious organization and her subsequent attempt (s?) to escape from their grasp. It looks like there is a shape-shifting, or possible alien theme to the movie. The organization is trying to unlock a gene that Rapace and others like her have that leads to “the rupture.” It reminds me, in all honestly, of Cú Chulainn’s Torque (á la The Táin).  I’m excited about this movie because 1) Noomi Rapace and 2) the colors look brilliant. I’m a fan of super over-saturated color schemes, and this looks like it might deliver on that front. Plus, it promises to deliver some grotesque moments of body horror.

Rupture comes out in the States on 28 April 2017.

Until next time, stay scary.

–E.

Trailer Tuesday: The Void

Okay. I’m going to try not to get my expectations up too high for this movie, but–it’s being compared to John Carpenter’s The Thing, which is my favorite horror movie of all time. Now, I’m obviously not expecting it to fill me with the joy that The Thing fills me with but it looks like it could deliver some of those same warm, fuzzy feelings. Plus, I’m always a fan of movies where a group of people are stuck in a building or a room and have to try to get out, but they’re surrounded by creepy (slightly Ku Klux Klan-y) enemies.

And, there are tentacles. Tentacles.

The Void comes out on 7 April (whoo!) and I’ll certainly be trying to see it ASAP.

Until next time, stay scary.

–E.

Movie Review: Ouija, Origin of Evil (2016)

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Released: 21 October 2016 (USA)
Director: Mike Flanagan
Screenplay: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard
Actors: Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Annalise Baaso
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Synopsis

In 1965 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their seance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by a merciless spirit, the family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.

(via IMDB)

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To say the first Ouija movie was a trash fire would probably still be too generous. Ouija had a boring plot, terrible acting, terrible effects, and felt like it was three hours long, even though it probably barely hit 90 minutes. I hated it, to say the least. When I heard they were making a second movie, I rolled my eyes, because of course that terrible movie couldn’t just stay in the past, never to be heard of again.

But, then I heard that Mike Flanagan was the director, and I became a bit more intrigued. Flanagan is a great horror director, and he’s one of the few in recent years that I felt could actually give the Ouija franchise (if you can even call it that) a better name. And, to my surprise, I ended up really liking this film.

I first watched Ouija: Origin of Evil when it came out last October, and recently decided to give it a rewatch while working. Thankfully, it still held up during the rewatch, and it’s a recent horror movie that pops into my head time and time again as I think about our contemporary horror industry.

The biggest thing I think this film benefits from is the fact that it’s a prequel. Ouija: Origin of Evil is exactly that: an origin story, which means that it doesn’t have to rely heavily on the first movie (and does, from what I remember of the first, change a few details–for the better). You can (and I suggest strongly that you do) watch this movie without even seeing Ouija. I love that this movie centers around a mother who makes her money from scamming clients with false seances. I love seance movies. The look of them, and the feel of them. It’s all great.

This film also benefits from the great acting from Lulu Wilson (who plays Doris) and Annalise Basso (who plays Lina). The two young actresses held the movie perfectly.  Wilson has some truly creepy moments, and this movie wouldn’t have been as successful without her strong performance and ability to sustain those moments. Elizabeth Reaser is also good as the mother–she’s not my favorite actress, but I thought she held her own in this movie.

If you’re a design/cinematography nut, you’ll adore the feel of Ouija: Origin of Evil. The title credits alone are perfect, but the costumes and the sets are great. It’s a “pretty” horror movie, and feels authentic to the time it represents, which can be difficult to achieve. Along the same lines, just as the performance of the creepy moments were solid, the effects were solid, as well. There are a lot of  disturbing “open mouth” scenes–think along the lines of The Ring or Ju On–which can look cheesy really quickly, but manage to look pretty horrifying in this film. Especially coming from Wilson. Another perfect thing? This movie’s scary moments happen, often times, when there’s no music. Usually, the creepy or slow burning music gives away when a scare is going to happen. But, this movie strips the scene of sound, which makes those moments actually frightening.

The one thing that’s a tad ridiculous at times is the ending–but I’m always okay with how it actually ends. To say more would venture on spoiler territories, but, let’s just say I’m a sucker for tragic horror endings.

Overall, I recommend checking this movie out. It makes for an entertaining night in, and it’s great to watch with friends. It would be a great October horror film, too. But, here’s to hoping they stop while they’re ahead, and let this be the last Ouija film.

Have you seen Ouija: Origin of Evil? What did you think?

Until next time, stay scary. And, remember: always say goodbye.

–E.

Two Indie Horror Movies to Check Out!

Currently one month out from my fields, I’ve (naturally) been spending my “free” time in the evenings with horror movies. What else would I do? I’ve recently watched two that I absolutely loved. It can be hard to find good indie horror, but when you do, they can be among the best of the best.

The first movie is Adam Wingard’s 2014 film The Guest. In this flick, Dan Stevens plays an ex-soldier who arrives at the house of a family who lost their son in action. He tells them that he knew their son, and the movie unravels from there. I held off on watching this movie for so long because it just didn’t seem like much of a horror movie to me. I was wrong. This is a great slasher film, and Stevens is bloody fantastic as David. This is a completely different role from him, but he owns it, and he owns it well. Maika Monre (of It Follows) is also in the movie, and she plays a good enough role. She’s a good horror actress, and I hope to see her grow and hopefully take on more experimental movies.

The best thing about this movie, past Stevens’ acting, is the cinematography and the music. This movie looks beautiful, and does some great things with color. There are moments when it looks like this movie could come straight out of an 80’s slasher movie–they’re a great nod to that era of horror. There’s also a wonderfully shot scene in a sort of house of mirrors. It’s fantastic. And the music. It’s wonderfully electronic and also reminiscent to the 80s. It’s quite perfect.

If you’ve been waiting on this movie like I did, I highly recommend checking it out. It was a nice surprise, and definitely a movie I’ll rewatch in the future. I’m hoping that Stevens takes on more horror-esque characters, because he’s got the knack for it.

The second movie to check out is James Ward Byrkit’s 2013 film Coherence. This movie spans the length of a night, a night when a comet happens to be passing over the Earth’s orbit. As the night progresses, strange events start to occur and soon the movie unravels into a weird but thrilling sort of sci-fi, reality bending trip of a movie. This is a pretty low-budget film, but Byrkit still manages to create a lot of tension and unease, and the acting is quite good. I hadn’t really heard of this film until I was scrolling through Shudder. This film reminded me of Another Earth in a lot of ways, but it’s a lot darker. If you’re a fan of horror movies that play with reality and time, I suggest giving this one a go. It’s got a relatively short run time–it’s only 89 minutes, and it makes for a good night in.

What are some of your favorite indie horror movies? Let me know!

Until next time, stay scary.

–E.

Trailer Tuesday: The Crucifixion

There’s a new possession film on the horizon, titled The Crucifixion. It takes place primarily in Romania, and appears to follow the main character who is researching a case of priests exorcising a nun. Except, they may not have actually gotten rid of the demon. Chaos, I assume, ensues.

I’m big fan of possession movies. Even if they’re not well done, chances are they’re entertaining enough. This one looks like it might have some genuinely creepy moments, but it also looks like it might rely just a bit too much on jump scares–which we all know I hate. The cinematography, though, looks stunning, and the acting appears to be pretty solid. At least, it does in the two minute trailer.

There’s no release date yet for this movie, at least not that I could find. It drops in the UK around June, so hopefully those of us in the States will see this pop up in theatres in the summer, as well.

Until next time, stay scary.

–E.