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REVIEW: Demon House

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The premise of Zak Bagans’ ‘Demon House’ seems a bit unnerving, which immediately conjures up interest for the diehard paranormal fan.

Unlike most of the “based on a true story” movies, this one actually has researchable substance. There is plenty of news stories and reports to Google about the origins of the home and all of the lore. This helps provide a solid backdrop to this movie.

Unfortunately, it’s not a movie and I would hardly call it a documentary. ‘Demon House’ is an extended episode of Bagans’ Ghost Adventures, more than a feature film and a bit different from a traditional documentary.

Sure, there are far more interview segments in ‘Demon House’ than in a normal, run of the mill ‘Ghost Adventures’, but it’s still, at it’s core, seemingly the same format.

The film starts off slow and drags a bit as Bagans’ catches the viewers up to speed on all the spooky things going on in the home over the years.

In all honesty I was never a fan of Bagans, nor was I someone who avidly watched his show on a regular basis. I preferred shows such as ‘Ghost Hunters’ and found Bagans’ show a bit “much” in the way of theatrics.

But, this film made me a fan.

Sure, I could so without the corny “re-enactments” and “dramatizations”, but they needed to be there. However, the effort should have been better, at least in using a different way to shoot these scenes. Other paranormal television shows such as ‘A Haunting’ manage to pull this off, this film could have done better.

Not that it particularly pushed me away or drove down my interest, but my wife, who does not normally watch this type of content, was constantly rolling her eyes at these cut scenes.

Which leads me to the overall analysis of this film.

If you’re a fan, you’d be entertained. If you’re new to the genre, Bagans, or Bagans’ show, you’re probably going to find yourself turning it off before things get good.

And Bagans’ film gets very thrilling in the final 45 minutes and ends with Bagans’ experience, that will simply freak you out and stick with you.

Bagans comes across contrite, honest and is dialed back significantly from the over-the-top personality he can exude on his television show.

And Bagan’s demeanor throughout this film helps deliver the theme, helps sell the realness, helps convey the seriousness.

The ending will grip you, but it’s a film for a specific audience, which makes grading it a bit difficult.

Diehard fans will, more than likely, like it. Newcomers or those looking for a true-to-form horror movie will probably be bored.

So, I am trying to balance my grading to reflect both sides.

Bagans did a lot to win me over as an interested viewer, and I have a great interest in chatting with him sometimes about this experience, so, the film resonated with me.

However, I found a lot of the extra-curricular stuff a bit off-putting, and for a film that’s been a few years in the making, I felt more could be put into the dramatization scenes because the non-diehard fan in me found them to be a deterrent.

Fright Nerd Score
65 frights
Summary
I found a lot of the extra-curricular stuff a bit off-putting, and for a film that's been a few years in the making, I felt more could be put into the dramatization scenes because the non-diehard fan in me found them to be a deterrent.
Fright Nerd Score65

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REVIEW: IT Chapter 2

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IT Chapter 2

The wait, the anticipation, it all came to a head this week when IT: Chapter 2 finally hit theaters.

Pennywise the Dancing Clown is back after 27 years, and he is more brutal than ever as he feasts on the citizens of Derry, kids and adult alike. The restart of the horrendous killing spree prompts the reunion of “The Losers” who must fight back their oppressed memories, and overpowering fear, to defeat Pennywise once and for all.

While the film is a continuation of Chapter 1 in a fluidly sewn in story, it has a much darker, more sadistic feel to it. Pennywise is far more aggressive, and the scenes in which children die, quite brutally, leave a lasting impression while reminding us just how evil the killer clown is.

If you had read Stephen King’s book, and/or watched the miniseries back in 1990, then the story that was told in IT Chapter 2 won’t come as a shock, in fact, it told more of the book than the miniseries did.

I found it interesting that the movie delved into Adrian Mellon, and the anti-gay culture of Derry, which was a meaty part of the book, something the miniseries stayed away from.

While it touched on that element of the story, it quickly veered away from it, which is unfortunate given how important it was in the overall tone of the book.

However, with a run time of 2 hours and 50 minutes, it’s easy to understand why we couldn’t fully hashout the entire book. Had this been a 3 part story, than it would have been more feasible.

The runtime itself is a marathon, but it doesn’t drag too often, keeping the audience from losing interest.

The movie takes some predictable turns and roads, but it does a good job at avoiding becoming mundane or losing volume. Grant it, it is not the same work of art that the first part was, which is disappointing, but it’s a different movie that probably wouldn’t fit that tone.

All in all, It Chapter 2 is a horror movie, much more so than Chapter 1. It brings you to a darker side of Pennywise. It makes you uncomfortable as you watch the children he preys on meet a brutal, terrifying end. It hashes out a wonderful story that makes sense, aside from the Native American tie in and the tripping, and given that this is a horror movie, it delivers in a way that exceed traditional expectations.

Any of the critics poking holes in the flow or format are likely confusing the genre.

It Chapter 2 is what you want and expect it to be. It has plenty of jump scares, it tells a solid story, it makes you cringe watching the deaths, and despite a lapse in consistent chemistry between the cast, it does a good job at rounding out, and ending, the story.

Fright Nerd Score
85 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
All in all, It Chapter 2 is a horror movie, much more so than Chapter 1. It brings you to a darker side of Pennywise. It makes you uncomfortable as you watch the children he preys on meet a brutal, terrifying end. It hashes out a wonderful story that makes sense, aside from the Native American tie in and the tripping, and given that this is a horror movie, it delivers in a way that exceed traditional expectations.
Fright Nerd Score85
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REVIEW: Ready Or Not

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Ready or Not

A game of hide and seek always seemed like a good premise for a horror movie, and many horror films have taken the spirit of the game while approaching the telling of their story.

‘Ready or Not’ is one such film, and it puts a gloriously gory spin on the age-old game.

Starring Samara Weaving, Adam Brody, Andie MacDowell, Mark O’Brien, and Henry Czerny, the film tells the story of: “Grace couldn’t be happier after she marries the man of her dreams at his family’s luxurious estate. There’s just one catch — she must now hide from midnight until dawn while her new in-laws hunt her down with guns, crossbows and other weapons. As Grace desperately tries to survive the night, she soon finds a way to turn the tables on her not-so-lovable relatives.”

Sprinkle in a little cult worship, a sacrifice ritual, and some satanic worship and this film’s meat is bloodier than most.

Grace is thrust into an awful family ritual that, thanks to the bad draw of a horrible card during a game, and now has to survive once she realizes the innocent game she has known as a child is something far more sinister, and deadly.

While it seems ridiculous and campy at first glance, Ready or Not has a general understanding of how to properly flow, adding in touches of comedy, suspense, and some gory kills that keep the film moving along and void of any boring lapses.

The film was fun to watch, and kept me engaged from start to finish, making this an easy recommendation to anyone looking to for a cool horror flick to check out.

Fright Nerd Score
75 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
While it seems ridiculous and campy at first glance, Ready or Not has a general understanding of how to properly flow, adding in touches of comedy, suspense, and some gory kills that keep the film moving along and void of any boring lapses.
Fright Nerd Score75
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REVIEW: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

This past weekend, and with much anticipation, Andre Ovredal’s ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ hit theaters.

According to the synopsis: “The shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large in the small town of Mill Valley for generations. It’s in a mansion that young Sarah Bellows turns her tortured life and horrible secrets into a series of scary stories. These terrifying tales soon have a way of becoming all too real for a group of unsuspecting teens who stumble upon Sarah’s spooky home.”

Despite the promising premise, I couldn’t find anything to differentiate this film from the run-of-the-mill Goosebumps installment, which left it lacking in many areas, and buried it so deep in stupidity that not even their strong displays of special effects made this a worthwhile time investment.

I couldn’t find a reason to care about any of the main characters such as Stella (Zoe Margaret Colleti) or Ramon (Michael Garza) because this film simply failed to hold my attention.

Rooted in compelling horror stories that may have done well if done completely different, this fill clunked and bored it’s way from start to finish.

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