Archive for the Horror Category

The Witch: Terror Felt but Unseen, Unknown

Posted in 8, Horror, Independent, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Sci Fi/ Fantasy, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , on February 27, 2016 by mducoing

The WitchIn modern cinema, audiences often rebuke films that leave nothing to the imagination, and yet, this is often exactly what they are asking for. The Witch is a slow burn horror film that is equal parts madness and supernatural and both gives too little and just enough to unsettle observers for far longer than its run time.

Premise: A family finds horror and a terrible fate alone in a Wood. Result: A brilliant, yet understated horror film that places tension in every crevice.

The Witch follows a devout family of Puritans in early established America, recently expelled from their Plantation Community for unclear reasons that appear to stem from the very devotion they hold dear. Father William (Ralph Ineson), mother Katherine (Kate Dickie), eldest daughter Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), eldest son Caleb (Harvey Scrimshaw) and two horrid twins Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) and infant Sam. They are even more radical in their love of God than others and their reckless reproach has estranged them in a world where life is difficult enough without the terror of solitary.

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Room: Haunting

Posted in 8, Drama, Horror, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2016 by mducoing

RoomThere are films that frighten audiences. Others that lash, others that endear, others that fester and still others that cause emotional arrest. All these are true of Room, a film that handles an unspeakable tragedy in such a mundane manner as to make one wonder and ultimately succumb.

Premise: After five-year-old Jack and his mother escape from the room that has been their captivity, life afterward is more challenging than they dreamed. Result: A mesmerizing, tragic drama far from ordinary.

It is a room. In it are things, ordinary things that anyone might expect to find in any ordinary home on any ordinary street in any ordinary town. There is a small skylight to let in the dim glow of the sun. And these regular belongings appear to be owned by normal, if unkempt people, a young boy and his average mother, lounging about, sleeping, transfixed by television or mundane tasks about the kitchen.

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The Revenant: Proof That It Really Could Always Be Worse

Posted in 7, Action, Drama, Horror, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , on February 10, 2016 by mducoing

Revenant - IMDBThere is beauty in misery. For the most part, this sums of Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s latest film, The Revenant, which basically follows a colonial version of Job through every horror one can imagine. Beautiful, engaging but also exhausting and ultimately over-the-top.

Premise: A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival in pursuit of revenge. Result: A dark, emotional draining crucible of horror and madness that is both beautiful and traumatic.

Iñárritu‘s newest film forgoes much of the brilliant, often esoteric meta-tale of one man’s personal woes in favor of a far more direct route. Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his “half-breed” Native American son are trackers who appear to be the only hope of a band of American fur traders out in the Northern Wilderness who have just been trounced in one of the most jarring camp raids to hit audiences in recent memory. Observers will be shaken by the powerful and painful direction and will welcome the subsequent low-burn tension that pits Glass against John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), who has declared his opposition to Glass’s recommended plan in spite of Captain Andrew Henry’s (Domhnall Gleeson) decision to side with Glass.

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The Final Girls: Good Time!

Posted in 7, Comedy, Horror, New Releases, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2015 by mducoing

TFG - IMDBWhile not nearly as impactful and groundbreaking perhaps as Cabin in the Woods, The Final Girls is a very fun satirical take on Slasher Films. Enjoyable from moment one, it mixes comedy with horror with drama and genuine emotion to deliver a genuinely intelligent good time.

Premise: Wayward teens are transported into a cult-classic slasher film. Result: A really well-delivered, fun time throughout.

Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, The Final Girls focuses on the legacy of slasher classic Blood Camp, an obvious parody of Cunningham’s horror staple Friday the 13th. At its center is Amanda Cartright (Malin Akerman), Nancy in the film, who twenty years later is still struggling to distance herself from that role and become the breakout star she’s always dreamed to be. But as she and her daughter Max (Taissa Farmiga) drive to dinner one day after a failed audition, rocking out to Bette Davis Eyes, a fatal collision leaves Max an orphan.

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The Visit: Some Thrills, Mostly Ridiculous!

Posted in 4, Horror, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , , on October 3, 2015 by mducoing

The VisitWriter/director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, The Happening) is no stranger to controversy. He is also no stranger to making bad movies. The Visit, despite some genuinely good tension and scares, is an incoherent catastrophe, a splashy blend of tones and stories that make this overall experience wholly unpleasant for all the wrong reasons.

Premise: A visit to Nana and Pop Pop’s house goes south. Result: Scary moments can’t make up for this nonsense.

Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are off on a very strange journey to meet their grandparents for the first time in their young lives. Their mother Kathryn Hahn has been estranged from them for the better part of 15 years but a recent failed marriage and a heart-felt plea from these alienated parents increases the likelihood of this meeting, even if she remains far away.

The entire journey shall be documented by precocious Becca, a burgeoning documentarian that increases both the annoyance factor as well as plausibility of the found-footage delivery.

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The Gallows: Scary Start Turns to Sh$t!

Posted in 4, Horror, Ratings, Reviews with tags , , , , , , on September 9, 2015 by mducoing

The Gallows - IMDBWhere to begin. Directed by Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, The Gallows is one of those horror films that cruelly exploits a common nightmare amongst the populace, in this case, schools after dark and in particular back stage after dark. For this and the scares it delivers it deserves kudos – and reproach for virtually everything else.

Premise: Twenty years after a tragic accident occurs on a high-school stage, an apparent curse plagues a new production. Result: Some Scares but Mostly Stupid.

Essentially, The Gallows is yet another found footage installment in the horror annals (aka lazy and cheap production at the expense of story and plausibility). This centers on a tragic accident in 1993, where a student was accidentally killed during the HS production of a play by the same name. It was shocking – after all when you attempt to hang a person live on stage (and in fact the whole play is about that) what could go wrong??- so traumatic that 20 years later the school allows the production of the play again, for no apparent reason at all.

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Insidious – Chapter 3: Not Bad

Posted in 7, Horror, Ratings, Reviews, Thriller with tags , , , , , on September 6, 2015 by mducoing

Insidious 3 - IMDBThe third installment of the Insidious saga (see Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2) is a strong showing for modern horror. Writer/director Leigh Whannell (who has been involved in all previous installments) is able to deliver many frights even as the story and delivery sometimes fray at the edges. What results is a scary film that is enjoyable if imperfect.

Premise: A prequel to the Lambert terrors. Result: Definitely some good scares throughout and capably delivered, if imperfectly.

The tale of horrors that afflicted the Lambert family in the first two films is given an origin story in Part 3, before young Dalton and father Josh fell into the clutches of countless ghostly villains. This is the story before that story where Elise (Lin Shaye) must come to the aid of another young victim, here Quinn Brenner (Stefanie Scott) who innocently calls out to her recently deceased mother and gets a reply from something terrifying

The film covers three key story lines intertwined effectively to deliver an eerie experience throughout: the story of Quinn Brenner afflicted by a lurking horror, a medium that must confront her fear of death to protect her, and a family damaged by the loss of a loved one coming apart at the seams.

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