Let’s face it, the demonic possession niche in the horror genre will always be viable, but it’s hard to make these films fun in the same way that Evil Dead or Dead Alive did, making those films cult classics.
Sprinkle in some possible cult like aspects and sacrifices, and you have yourself Dead Night.
In the movie, James (A.J. Bowen) and his wife Casey (Brea Grant) load up their two teenage kids, along with their daughter Jessica’s (Sophie Dalah) friend (Elise Luthman), and head out to a remote cabin in Oregon for a weekend trip, which turns out to be some sort of healing retreat for those with terminal illnesses (James).
The movie doesn’t do a ton of backstory, nor does it go a long way to develop any background for the characters, but this is why these movies work, because they don’t try to be anything but an excuse to see campy horror.
When the family helps an injured woman, Leslie Bison (Barbara Crampton), who happens to be running for political office, found in the woods, things take a turn for the worse as the woman is somehow tied to a cult and is only interested in impregnating a host with a demon seed.
The movie does a lot of “back and forth” between past, present, and post-murder, which makes it a bit fun to keep up with and shows the clear line between the “reality” and the “assumptions”, but toys with the viewer into deciphering the answer for themselves.
Demons, brutal kills, a group of old women that hang out in the woods killing random folks, and a challenge to viewers to decide what is really going on, is what makes Dead Night fun, campy, and entertaining.
Chances are, if you’re not a horror movie buff, you won’t be too fond of this flick.
But, if you are, this is the kind of entertainment you can appreciate.
Netflix has been on a roll with their release of original content, and the latest thriller rolled out to the masses of subscribers is Ciarán Foy’s ‘Eli’.
Starring Charlie Shotwell, Lili Taylor, Kelly Reilly and Sadie Sink, the film tells the story of; “A boy becomes trapped in a haunted house while undergoing treatment for a rare disease.”
Eli is stricken with a rare disease which makes him pretty much allergic toi everything. As his parents struggle to find a cure, they come across a method used by Dr. Isabella Horn that promises a cure, the only thing is, Eli will be subjected to unusual, and sometimes brutal, procedures during his stay at the facility, an old mansion.
As Eli’s treatment progresses, so do his visions of the evil dead that haunt the house.
Unfortunately, a proper setup that seems pretty organized falls apart swiftly, as the movie completely unravels due to poor organization and explanation of anything important.
Boasting good performances and what seems like a good base for an intriguing horror tale, Eli falls victim to itself. While the visuals of the ghosts are certainly worth checking out, you finish the film asking what the heck anything meant, rather than ready to suggest it to a friend.
The film relied too heavily on imagery, and a strong cast (which Charlie Shotwell stood out), deviating from any sensible approach to story telling even at it’s most basic form.
REVIEW: In the Tall Grass
Stephen King has been killing it (no pun intended) when it comes to the movie adaptations of his classic novels, and the latest story to be turned into a film is ‘In the Tall Grass’ which hit Netflix recently.
Vincenzo Natali is behind the camera for the adaptation of Stephen King and Joe Hill’s novella, and it came with a lot of hype.
Starring Patrick Wilson, Laysla De Oliveira, Harrison Gilbertson, Avery Whitted, and Rachel Wilson, the film tells the story of: “After hearing a boy’s cry for help, a pregnant woman and her brother wade into a vast field of grass, only to discover there may be no way out.”
The film starts off strong, with a brother (Cal) and sister (Becky, who is pregnant) hearing the panicked cries of a young boy who seems lost in a field of very tall grass. After some debate, they both decide to venture in and try to locate the lost boy (Tobin).
Tobin, and something else, turn the two siblings in circles, disorientating them and separating them. Despite their call-outs, communication, and attempts to reconnect, they cannot find one another.
Along the way, Tobin appears, near his dead dog Freddy, but Becky meets a sinister fate….or does she?
This is where the film rolls off the cliff from interesting and engaging, to confusing and messy.
As the journey continues, we find that Becky, Cal, and Tobin aren’t alone in the grass, as Tobin’s parents Ross and Natalie, along with Becky’s boyfriend Travis, also find themselves seemingly trapped.
Not to mention, there is a mystic rock in the center of the field, one with ritualistic markings and some sort of power that is activated when touched. But, don’t touch it…I guess?
While waiting for the scares and tense moments, you slowly come to the disappointing realization that you’re just watching a bunch of people, dead and alive (depending), run around in the grass in what seems like a time warp that they cannot escape? But maybe they can?
It’s hard to tell. But this film does do one thing: proves that not all of Stephen King’s work should be made into films, as this one is simply anti-climactic and rather dull.
But, hey, give it a go. Maybe you’ll find your way to some sort of meaning or understanding of what this was/is, better than I could.
REVIEW: Creepshow – Episode 2
Shudder grabbed the attention of a number of horror fans when they announced their rebooting of the beloved classic ‘Creepshow’, which is offering a brand new episode, composed of two stories, each week.
While the first episode showed promise, the second offering from Creepshow left much to be desired.
The first story ‘Bad Wolf Down’ is about a group of World War II American soldiers who are hunkered down in a prison as Nazi soldiers are closing in, forcing them into a tense, and critical decision making situation of life and death.
While in the prison, they encounter a French woman who is attempting to lock herself away and persuade them to kill her.
As one soldier in their unit betrays them, and the Nazis start to close in further, the woman passes on her curse as a werewolf to the soldiers so they can combat the Nazis and chase down the traitor for revenge.
Although it’s early in the series, this has to be the worst episode yet, as it’s hard to execute a proper werewolf tale these days without looking ridiculous. Even if it’s purposeful, it doesn’t make it any more watchable.
The second story is called ‘The Finger’, and the dark comedy tells the story of a depressed, lonely, divorcee who happens across the odd shriveled, finger of something non-human. After spilling his beer (the same one from ‘Gray Matter’) he notices the finger has strange powers.
He puts the finger in a freezer, where it shockingly grows into a demonic, alien-looking creature that he names “Bob”. Bob is intent on brutally taking his revenge, with blood, on those who have, even slightly, wronged his master in any way.
With every death Bob commits, the body part that his master cleans up, the law closes in. But, the ending has you questioning what’s real, and what’s not and caps off one of the more enjoyable entries in the series so far. While it’s not on the level of ‘Dollhouse’ it certain’y accomplishes the goal of making campy, gory, humor…work.
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