Horror Movie Round Up Week Three: October 15th-21st

blair-witchThe Blair Witch Project (1999)

Synopsis:
Found footage of three student filmmakers reveals the strange happenings of their trip into a Maryland forest for the filming of a documentary on the Blair Witch legend.

Review:
Much like last week’s Paranormal Activity, I think this would have been more impactful had I seen it when it first came out. I give it credit for being the first “found footage” film, and for telling a pretty good story. I thought the pacing choices were really interesting, and effective, with so much of the film focusing on the breakdown of the group, and the scary parts only happening at night. I still have an issue with the handheld camera style, and got a little sick while watching it but in this case I absolutely think it adds to the ambiance of the film.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

dressed-to-killDressed to Kill (1980)

Synopsis:
A call girl witnesses the murder of another woman, and then becomes entangled in a situation where she is the suspected killer, and is being terrorized and hunted by the real killer.

Review:
Brian De Palma makes strange films that I love. The Untouchables is one of my favorite movies. Dressed to Kill was pretty good. Some of it was a little too much for my tastes but overall I liked the film. I liked the mystery and how it played out. I thought there were enough red herrings to throw you off the scent of the true killer, and that the explanations at the end made sense and didn’t feel like cheats.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

prom-nightProm Night (1980)

Synopsis:
Six years after a terrible accident ends in the death a young girl, a killer stalks down the other children, now teenagers going to their high school prom, that were the cause of the accident.

Review:
I thought the setup of the film was pretty good but the whole thing felt really sloppy. During the slasher scenes at Prom, you couldn’t see anything because the lighting was so dark, and there were random disco themes thrown in here and there, like they couldn’t tell if they wanted it to also be a dance film. That would have actually been really interesting, a slasher dance film. I have better hopes for the remake, which is on my list for this season as well.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

the-fogThe Fog (1980)

Synopsis:
On the eve of its centennial, a small coastal California town is covered in a dense fog, and bizarre things begin to happen.

Review:
My second Jamie Lee Curtis film of the week was much more satisfying. I thought the creep factor was pretty high in the film, and I liked the basis for the story behind the fog. I also thought the characters were much more likeable and relatable.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

My Name is Bruce 2006My Name is Bruce (2007)

Synopsis:
Teenagers unwittingly release a Chinese demon on their small Oregon town. The obvious solution is to enlist the help of B-movie star Bruce Campbell.

Review:
Everything about this screams cheese and I loved it. I enjoyed this purely because I’m a fan of Bruce Campbell. I don’t think many people outside of his fan base will get quite as much fun out of it but I laughed a lot.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

rosemarys-babyRosemary’s Baby (1968)

Synopsis:
A young couple moves into an apartment next to an odd older couple. Weird things happen and once the young wife becomes pregnant, she begins to suspect that their neighbors are involved in nefarious activities.

Review:
In terms of horror movie length, this one runs a bit long, coming in at just over two hours, however, I did not see this as an issue. I actually liked that the filmmakers took the time to build suspense. I found Mia Farrow charming and sympathetic, and really felt for her as she struggled to understand what was happening to her.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

re-animatorRe-Animator (1985)

Synopsis:
A new grad student involves his roommate in a strange set of experiments he performs on dead bodies.

Review:
This was such an over-the-top take on a Frankenstein type story, and I thought it was great! I loved the tongue-in-cheek tone, and the overly dramatic acting style. And let’s not forget the special effects which were particularly gory. Also, the music was great though it is almost a direct ripoff of the Psycho soundtrack.

Next week will conclude my Horror Movie a day series. Look forward to reviews of Maggie (2015), The Babadook (2014), and The Mummy (1932).

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Horror Movie Round Up Week One: October 1st-7th

vacancy

Vacancy (2007)

Synopsis:
A couple gets stranded in the middle of nowhere and have to spend the evening in a cheap hotel where they are the only guests. Things take a turn for the weird pretty soon thereafter.

Review:
This was pretty good but not great. I thought the suspense was there, and the idea is really creepy but I didn’t quite buy into the two leads (Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale). I also thought the opening was too long. However, once the action starts things pick up, and the scares are pretty good.

Rating: 3 out 5 stars.

 

amityville

The Amityville Horror (2005)

Synopsis:
A remake of the 1979 film of the same name in which a family moves into a new home and begin experiencing strange occurrences.

Review:
First things first, this is obviously not as good as the original. I was only really creeped out in one scene, and while I liked Ryan Reynolds, his character’s descent into madness felt too extreme and too quick. In the original the madness comes on slowly and manifests itself in everyday irritants. Overall it was fine but unnecessary and didn’t do anything to change or improve upon the original.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

 

bubba-ho-tep

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

Synopsis:
The spirit of a cursed mummy terrorizes an old folks home. Oh, and our two heroes believe that they are actually Elvis and JFK.

Review:
I love Bruce Campbell in cheap B horror films. This is a hilarious setup and a good, fun film. It does get a little creepy but mostly you watch it for Bruce Campbell, and boy does he deliver.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

 

cujo

Cujo (1983)

Synopsis:
A rabid dog wreaks havoc on a small town neighborhood.

Review:
I have never read any Stephen King novels but I have seen several of his films and I always end up liking them. This one was just okay for me. There was a lot of build up to the final showdown with the dog, and while I know some of it was necessary, it felt a bit drawn out. That said, I did enjoy the tension of the scenes with the mom and child in the car. That was well done, and very tense.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 

creepshow

Creepshow (1982)

Synopsis:
An anthology of five short stories of horror and terror.

Review:
Another Stephen King film, and this time a bit more enjoyable for myself. As with most anthologies not everything was a hit but I at least had fun with each story. I thought they all set up their eventual punchlines nicely, and was satisfied with each end result. “They’re Creeping Up on You!” was the one that creeped me out the most, and I especially liked “Something to Tide You Over” and “The Crate.”

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

 

bone-tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk (2015)

Synopsis:
A western in which a small band of men goes on a rescue mission to save three hostages from cannibals.

Review:
Calling this a horror film is a bit of a stretch. It has some horrific elements, and it does build tension throughout but I don’t know if it is conventionally a “horror.” However, it was still pretty good. I’m a sucker for Kurt Russell, even more so when he is in a western. I’m also a big fan of Patrick Wilson, and Richard Jenkins, who was outstanding in this film. Matthew Fox was also excellent as the douchebag cowboy. Outside of some slight pacing issues, this was a very good film watching experience.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

 

wolf-man-1941

The Wolf Man (1941)

Synopsis:
A man returns home after a long absence, and is bitten by a werewolf, consequently becoming infected with the same condition.

Review:
I liked this. It’s one of the classic Universal monster films, and it rightly deserves that title. It isn’t really scary but it is a well told story. It introduces the idea, quickly brings on the action, and explores an interesting thought process about mental stability. And at only an hour and ten minutes it does all of this quite succinctly.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Next week’s preview:
Nosferatu (1922), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), Deliverance (1972), and more.