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 reading “October Horrorshow: Insidious: Chapter 3″
Villmark 2 is a little bit Session 9, and a little bit Texas Chainsaw Massacre. From Norway comes director Pål Øle’s follow-up to his 2003 film, Villmark, also released under the title Dark Woods. Having not seen the first film, I can’t say how closely this film tracks what came before, but the first film was about a reality TV show in the woods, and this film is about a cleanup crew inside an abandoned asylum. The two films appear related in name only. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Villmark 2, aka Villmark Asylum”
Yet another found footage horror flick. I suppose they’ll stop making them when we stop watching them. But, while most found footage horror flicks have little to offer beyond a gimmick, sometimes the filmmakers get it right.
Hell House LLC comes from way back in 2015. It was written and directed by Stephen Cognetti, and judging from the names listed as producers, was financed with a lot of loans from family members. This is Cognetti’s first feature, and it will be recognizable to horror fans as a first time filmmaker’s magnum opus. Horror is the genre, after all, most open to new filmmakers. No one wants to see a romcom that cost a buck and a half to film. But we viewers have a much higher tolerance for low budget flicks if they do a decent job of frightening us. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Hell House LLC”
If a viewer happens to be in the mood for something post-apocalyptic from the horror genre, a good zombie flick can be a fine way to go. But there are so many zombie flicks now that it’s hard to pick out something with enough originality to make it worth one’s while. Even good zombie flicks sometimes only offer token revisions to the subgenre’s many, many tropes. That’s why I enjoy it all the more when I come across something like What We Become. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: What We Become”
Here it is — the end of Stallone Month. Sly isn’t in the lead role in this last film, but there isn’t a better set of bookends for this month than Rocky and Creed.
Creed, from 2015, is a spinoff of the successful Rocky series. In a surprising change, Sly did not pen the screenplay for this film. After having seen all the Rocky films, it’s clear that not only is Rocky Sly’s opus, it’s also his most personal character. The lovable meathead aspects of Rocky are pure invention, but all the motivational stuff — the pronouncements about hard work and not expecting any handouts — that’s all Sly. Rocky was the vehicle Sly used to share his worldview. Continue reading “Stallone Month: Creed”
As Into the Forest began, I knew little about the film. Was the feature from writer/director Patricia Rozema, adapting the novel by Jean Hegland, a YA film? Sci-fi? Horror? Chick flick? Post-apocalyptic? Dystopian? All signs pointed to it being a little bit of all these genres, and more. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: Into the Forest”
The Witch, the 2015 film from first-time writer/director Robert Eggers, floored film aristocracy when it premiered at Sundance. And for good reason. The Witch is an incredible film — far above what viewers should normally expect from a filmmaker’s first feature. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Witch”
The woods can be a scary place for some people. The strange noises, the closeness, the environment being the antithesis of cities or suburbia — being in the woods can be weird. Maybe that’s what makes the woods a great setting for horror films. That, or the woods is just a convenient setting when budget dictates plot and cast have to be small. Either way, the forest primeval is an oft-used setting in the horror genre, in both good and bad films. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: The Hallow”
Holy crap! This flick is so obscure that as of this writing (March 2016 — I like to get a head start on the Horrorshow) it has no Wikipedia page. It also has a common title. A quick search in the tubes turned up no less than three films titled Intruders produced from 2014-2016, not including this one. Some more digging has revealed that this Intruders was originally titled Shut In, and under that title there is a Wikipedia page. So all is well with the universe. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Intruders”
High-Rise, director Ben Wheatley’s and screenwriter Amy Jump’s adaption of the novel by J.G. Ballard, sure looks good. The photography is a slick imitation of cinema from the 1960s and ’70s. Cinematographer Laurie Rose muted the palette somewhat. It’s not the type of desaturation made popular for a short time by Saving Private Ryan, but more resembles natural color decay. The blues have been turned down, making the overall color temperature quite warm. Whether this was a stylistic choice only, I cannot say, but a great deal of the mood of this film is established by the way it was shot. It flirts with clinical precision, but falls short, mostly because it’s easy on the eyes. So, like I wrote, High-Rise looks good, but I had a hard time figuring out what was happening on screen. Eventually, I had to set any frustrations aside and just go along for the ride. Continue reading “The Empty Balcony: High-Rise”