October Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 3

Leigh Whannell has had one of the most impressive runs in horror films so far this century. He’s responsible, with James Wan, for the Saw and Insidious franchises, and has even managed to amass over thirty acting credits. Insidious: Chapter 3, from 2015, is his first time in the director’s chair. A prequel to the first two Insidious films, the film doesn’t feature the Lambert family this time around, but Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson, and Whannell all reprise the characters they played. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 3″

October Horrorshow: Girl on the Third Floor

Haunted house flicks are often very formulaic. A family, or a couple, or just an individual, moves into a home they’ve purchased, and not long afterwards, strange things begin to occur. These ghostly tricks and shenanigans are harmless at first — basic funhouse trickery. As the movie goes on, the disturbances become stronger and have more effect, leading to denouement in the final act. It’s a formula that has worked for decades, from The Haunting to The Conjuring. But, the formula can get stale, especially when there are piles of bad movies that utilize it. Girl on the Third Floor, the 2019 film from screenwriter Trent Haaga and director Travis Stevens, starts out as if it will adhere to the formula, then veers into something that, while totally unique, displayed a substantial amount of originality. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Girl on the Third Floor”

October Horrorshow: Ghosts of War

What a disappointing mess. There are a bunch of solid ideas in Ghosts of War, the new horror flick from writer/director Eric Bress. It’s the execution that is lacking.

The film takes place during World War Two, after the Allies have invaded France. A squad of paratroopers, led by Chris (Brenton Thwaites), is assigned to guard a French chateau that had been used by the Nazis. On the short journey to the chateau, we meet the other members of the squad. They are boilerplate WW2 movie characters. There’s the tough guy, Butchie (Alan Ritchson); the smart guy, Eugene (Skylar Astin), the tough from the city, Kirk (Theo Rossi), and the soft-spoken but lethal southerner, Tappert (Kyle Gallner). Accents and attitudes are used to establish their war flick bona fides, and then viewers see them committing a few war crimes before they arrive at the chateau. War is hell, right? Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Ghosts of War”

October Horrorshow: Deadtectives

Horror films don’t have to be all doom and gloom. In fact, a contender for the goriest film ever made, Braindead, also happens to be hilarious. There is plenty of room for black comedy in the genre. Yes, laughing at the blood and guts and death in a comedy horror is morbid, but no less so than watching a serious take on horror. All horror fans are a little bit diseased in that way. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Deadtectives”

October Horrorshow: Host (2020)

What a cool, frightening, compact horror flick. Host, filmed in, and released during, this ongoing Covid pandemic is also a film that is of its time — a document of how we have been living, while it has been happening. This little film might, someday, have historical significance. That’s pretty good for what’s basically a haunted house story.

By way of England, Host comes from director Rob Savage and screenwriters Savage, Gemma Hurley, and Jed Shepherd. Inspired by a short film from Savage, Host is a quarantine Zoom call among five friends — Haley (Haley Bishop), Jemma (Jemma Moore), Emma (Emma Louise Webb), Radina (Radina Drandova), and Caroline (Caroline Ward). There’s a sixth, Teddy (Edward Linard), who leaves the call before the plot gets rolling. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Host (2020)”

October Horrorshow: Eli

Back in 2012, Ciarán Foy made a disturbing indie horror flick called Citadel. With that film, he showed that he could make horror with a polished sense of dread and an uneasy aesthetic. It wasn’t a great horror film, but it’s getting him some regular work in the genre.

His latest is Eli, which was released this month on Netflix. From a screenplay by David Chirchirillo, Ian Goldberg, and Richard Naing, Eli tells the story of the unfortunate title character, played by Charlie Shotwell. Eli is unfortunate because he’s basically allergic to everything. He lives in a sterile environment, but should he leave his bubble in anything less than a hermetically sealed hazmat suit, he goes into anaphylactic shock. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Eli”

October Horrorshow: Paranormal Investigation

Just when I thought Amazon had cornered the market on films so obscure they don’t have Wikipedia pages, Netflix steps up their game. Paranormal Investigation, the 2018 found footage ghost flick from director Franck Phelizon, is so obscure that not only is it nowhere to be found on Wikipedia (as of this writing), its IMDb page is very sparse. There’s not a single cast member with an associated headshot, and most have only this film as their sole credit. I wish I could write in some greater detail about the cast, but that’s going to be difficult. The film’s credits are as sparse as its internet presence. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Paranormal Investigation”

October Horrorshow: Haunting on Fraternity Row

What a vile, vile movie. It could have been worse. Oh, so much worse. But, this flick still managed to plumb the depths of taste, artistry, technique, and every other highfalutin term about film one can come up with. It’s the type of film that counts on awakening the hormonal 13-year-old boy in all of us. I’m not even sure 13-year-old boys would like this trash much, though.

Haunting on Fraternity Row comes to us via writer/director Brant Sersen and fellow screenwriter Jeff Cahn. Released last year, Haunting tells the story of a massive end-of-term fraternity house blowout that turns deadly when a ghost spoils the show. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Haunting on Fraternity Row”

October Horrorshow: Entity

Entity, the 2012 horror film from writer/director/producer Steve Stone, threatens to be a found footage flick early on. Thankfully, it’s not. Back when it was made, found footage horror films seemed to come out once or twice a week. But, even though Stone only flirts with the technique, he chose to use its tropes heavily.

The film opens with security footage shot in the green tint of night vision, so familiar from its overuse in found footage horror. The shot is of a spartan room in what looks like an insane asylum. There is an iron bed with thin mattress, a sink, a bucket, and a huddled figure who won’t look at the camera. Over the course of this sequence experienced horror fans will witness trick after trick that was used to better effect in earlier films. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Entity”

October Horrorshow: The Eye (2002) & The Eye (2008)

I started out this review for a single film, and not two. But, about a half hour into watching The Eye (2008), I realized I couldn’t write a review without first watching The Eye (2002, original title Gin gwai), to see what the filmmakers of the newer version stole from the original. That’s because The Eye is not so much a remake of Gin gwai as it is another version. The only changes are on the surface.

Directed by the Pang Brothers (Danny and Oxide Chun), from a screenplay by the brothers and Yuet-Jan Hui, Gin gwai tells the story of Wong Kar Mun (Angelica Lee). When Mun was a toddler, an accident left her blinded. Now, as an adult, she undergoes cornea transplant surgery to restore her sight. Only, from the moment she first opens her eyes in a Hong Kong hospital, something isn’t right. There appears to be an extra person in the room when the bandages are removed. Her sight is very blurred, so she can’t make out more than a dark figure. It presages troubles to come. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: The Eye (2002) & The Eye (2008)”