It Chapter Two

It Chapter Two is a 2019 American supernatural horror film and the sequel to the 2017 film It, both based on the 1986 novel by Stephen King. The film is directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Gary Dauberman. Set in 2016, 27 years after the first film, it stars Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean as the adult versions of the Losers’ Club. Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Wyatt Oleff reprise their roles as the younger Losers, while Bill Skarsgård also returns as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

27 years after the events of the first movie, we come back to Derry, Main and see Adrian Mellon and his boyfriend Don Hagarty are attacked by a group of homophobic youths. Adrian is then thrown from a bridge and killed by Pennywise the Dancing Clown while Don watches helplessly. Mike Hanlon overhears the incident on a police scanner and rushes to the scene. Upon realizing that “It” has resurfaced, he calls the other members of the Losers Club — Bill Denbrough, Ben Hanscom, Beverly Marsh, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, and Stanley Uris — back to Derry. Most are amnesiac about their childhoods and disturbed by the calls, but agree to return. Stanley, however, commits suicide after his call.

The Losers reunite at a local restaurant and slowly begin to recover their memories, but are terrified by disturbing visions and taunts caused by It. The group is then informed of Stanley’s suicide. Richie and Eddie decide to leave while Mike reveals to Bill that he met with a Native American tribe who showed him a vision of It arriving to Earth from the stars, and informed him of the Ritual of Chüd, a way of destroying It once and for all. Bill and Mike convince Richie and Eddie to stay and finish what was started. Henry Bowers, having survived his apparent death, has been confined to a mental hospital, but with the help of It, he escapes. For the ritual to work, each Loser must have an artifact from their past. Beverly goes to her old home and finds the love letter Ben wrote for her, though she still believes Bill wrote it. Bill goes to the storm drain where Georgie was killed and recovers Georgie’s paper boat. Ben goes to the town’s high school and finds his old yearbook page, which Beverly was the only person to sign.

Eddie goes to a pharmacy and recovers an inhaler. Richie goes to an abandoned arcade where he finds a game token. After escaping individual encounters with It, the Losers use a shower cap from their childhood clubhouse for Stanley and Mike finds the rock that started their fight against the Bowers gang years prior. Bill goes to find Dean, a young boy who he met on the road and who lives in Bill’s old house, and rushes to a carnival to save him, but he helplessly watches Dean be devoured by It right in front of him. Traumatized by his failure to save both Georgie and Dean, he returns to the Neibolt house to murder It. Bowers attacks and wounds Eddie and Mike, but is killed by Richie. The rest of the Losers depart for the Neibolt house to help Bill. The group descends into a massive cavern beneath the sewers and complete the Ritual, but It is able to withstand the Ritual, unaffected. It takes on a giant, spider-like form with Pennywise’s head, and pressures Mike into revealing to the Losers that the Natives who attempted the Ritual in the past all perished.

The Losers are then thrown into nightmarish scenarios that they all eventually escape from before arriving back in the cavern. Richie is paralyzed by It’s hypnotic “deadlights” and is about to be killed, but Eddie saves him, being impaled by It in the process. The Losers regroup and realize It can be killed if they stand up to him and make him feel smaller than he actually is. They surround and insult It over and over, making him physically shrink and weaken until they are able to tear out his heart and crush it, killing It. Eddie dies from his injuries despite Richie’s attempts to save him. The remaining Losers are forced to escape, as the Neibolt House crashes in on itself.

They then wash themselves from the blood, dirt & muck by swimming in the quarry that they used to go to as kids. Beverly, who has realized it was Ben who wrote the letter, shares a kiss with him, and the two start a romantic relationship. Richie returns to the bridge where he had once carved his initials and those of another person, now revealed to be Eddie. Mike decides to move out of Derry to start a new life. The Losers all receive posthumous letters from Stanley, explaining that he believed he would have held them back, but knew they could defeat It if they were brave without him.

I found the movie to be a bit too long at 170 minutes. I loved the acting and the cast was almost perfectly chosen. I couldn’t ask for a better performance. Pennywise was fucking bonkers and scary as ever but the movie as a whole isn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Overall I think it is a lesser movie than the first. I give it a 7.5 outta 10!

Brightburn

Brightburn is a 2019 American superhero horror film directed by David Yarovesky and produced by James Gunn and Kenneth Huang. It stars Elizabeth Banks, David Denman and Jackson A. Dunn, and follows a young alien boy raised on Earth who realizes he has superpowers, soon using them to terrorize his town. Basically the story is a relook at the story of Superman and what if he was an evil being instead of the superhero he turned out to be.

In the year 2006, Tori and Kyle Breyer, a couple living in a farm in Brightburn, Kansas, investigate a crash in the woods and find a small spaceship. In it is a human looking baby who they then take in and raise him as their own. Brandon, as they name, him is know as their son who they adopted by everyone else, is a sweet and normal child with the exception that he doesn’t fall ill or bleed. Twelve years later, the ship begins transmitting an alien message, leading Brandon to discover he has superhuman strength and invulnerability. He sleepwalks to the barn and tries to open the cellar, chanting the craft’s message, but Tori intervenes.

He starts becoming arrogant and tests his powers and also throws a tantrum on his birthday at a diner when his uncle Noah and aunt Merilee give him a hunting rifle, which Kyle refuses to let Brandon have, and Brandon causes a scene. This makes Kyle force Brandon out of the diner and leave with Tori. Tori finds photos of lingerie and swimsuit models, surgical diagrams, and graphic photos of human organs in Brandon’s room. Kyle tells him it’s ok to act on his urges but this makes Brandon to stalk Caitlyn, a girl he likes, in her bedroom and scare her. The farm chickens seem scared of him and he slaughters them for no reason. Caitlyn, refuses to touch him during a trust fall excerise at school, which causes him to fall and he breaks her hand in return.  Tori interrupts Brandon as he levitates above the open cellar, chanting the ship’s message, and he falls and cuts himself on the spaceship, the first time he has ever been injured. Tori reveals the truth about his arrival on Earth, and Brandon leaves, finally understanding the ship’s message: “Take the world.”

Brandon visits Catilyn again and offers her flowers. When she tells him that her mother has forbidden him to speak to him, a masked Brandon stalks and murders Erica. Merilee, his aunt who is also the school counseller is concerned about Brandon’s lack of remorse in hurting Caitlyn, tells him that she is required to report his progress to police. Brandon tries to intimidate Merilee at her home, but she sends him away. He comes back and scares Noah who threatens to tell his parents, prompting Brandon to lash out. Terrified, Noah tries to escape in his truck, but Brandon lifts and crashes the vehicle, killing Noah and draws a symbol on the road in Noah’s blood. Brandon returns home shirtless after school, telling his parents that other students tore his shirt, but refuses to give it to Tori. His parents learn from a grieving Merilee that Brandon had gone to her house and are alarmed when Brandon does not react to their news of Noah’s death. When Kyle grabs him, Brandon violently shoves him. Kyle finds Brandon’s blood-stained shirt and shows it to Tori, but she refuses to believe Brandon killed Noah. Taking Brandon hunting, Kyle shoots him in the back of the head but the bullet does no damage. Heartbroken, Brandon kills Kyle with his heat vision.

After the sheriff shows Tori the symbol found at the scenes of Erica’s and Noah’s deaths, Tori finds Brandon’s notebook with drawings of the murders, a masked Brandon destroying the Earth with the words “take the world”, and the symbol. Tori realized her husband was right about Brandon and attempts to reach Kyle, but Brandon answers the phone and informs her Kyle is dead. As Brandon destroys the house, Tori calls the police, but Brandon brutally murders the sheriff and his deputy. In the barn, Tori finds Erica’s mutilated body nailed to a wall and surrounded by symbols in blood. Remembering Brandon’s cut, Tori arms herself with a sharp piece of the ship to stab him, but fails when Brandon anticipates the attack. Enraged, Brandon flies Tori through the barn roof (injuring her face) and above the clouds, and drops her to her death, then crashes an airplane into the farm, killing everyone aboard, to cover up his murders.

During the end credits, news reports and a conspiracy theorist discuss assorted destruction in Brightburn, the existence of other super beings, and pleads with humanity to take action. The montage seems to set up a sequel or 2 but the movie hasn’t done well at the box office. The movie made a worldwide total of $32.1 million on a budget of around $6-12 million. The acting is decent and the cast does a good job but the overall execution isn’t that exciting. As a horror movie it relies on jump scares and a scifi superhero or super-being it is interesting. I will give it a 7 outta 10!

Gerald’s Game

Gerald’s Game is a 2017 American psychological horror thriller drama film directed and edited by Mike Flanagan and written by Jeff Howard and Flanagan. It is based on Stephen King’s 1992 novel of the same name, long thought to be unfilmable. The film stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood as a married couple staying in an isolated house during a holiday. When the husband dies of a sudden heart attack, his wife, left handcuffed to the bed without the key and with little hope of rescue, must find a way to survive, all while battling her inner demons.

Married couple Jessie & Gerald leave their home for a secluded lake house in Fairhope, Alabama and plan to rekindle their sex life. Just as they are about to reach the house they see a large stray dog on the road and Jessie feeds it some meat. She & Gerald then go to their bedroom and hanges into a new night dress, placing the tag on a shelf above the bed, and practices sexy poses. Gerald takes a second Viagra and leaves his glass of water on the same shelf. He restrains Jessie with one handcuff on each wrist locked to the bedposts; she seems a bit surprised by this, but goes along. He begins to enact a stranger rape fantasy, telling her to scream for help, knowing no one will hear. She half-heartedly plays along but soon becomes uncomfortable, telling him to stop and uncuff her but Gerald is surprised that she won’t play along. Her argues with her and accuses her of not trying to make their sex life better when he clutches his heart and dies of an attack.

Jessie cries out but there is no one nearby, however the stray dog comes in through the door that they left open. and Jessie tries to scare it away, but it bites a chunk out of Gerald’s arm and eats it. As the hours pass by and night is setting Jessie has hallucinations of Gerald and herself talking to her and each other. She starts to suffer from dehydration and fatigue. Gerald and the self-assured Jessie tell things about herself and Gerald that she never had the courage to acknowledge. They trigger her to remember the glass of water above the bed, which she is able to reach but cannot bring all the way to her mouth. The hallucinations remind her of the tag she put on the shelf, which she rolls into a straw in order to reach the water. After she drinks some of the water she falls asleep but wakes up to see  sees a tall, deformed, obscured figure who reveals a bag of various bones and trinkets. She closes her eyes saying, “You’re not real.” When she opens her eyes he is not there. When her hallucination of Gerald calls her mouse, it triggers a memory of her father, Tom, who affectionately referred to her as “Mouse.”

As a 12 year old while watching the solar eclipse suggests she sit on his lap, as she did when she was younger. Once on his lap, he masturbates. The handcuffed Jessie awakes to intense pain due to her circulation being cut off and cramping. She realizes, through the hallucinations of herself & Gerald,  that she dealt with the pressure of keeping such a secret, and her claims that it had nothing to do with her marriage, even though she married a man just like her father. She sees a bloody footprint on the floor. After the eclipse, her father tells her he was ashamed of what he did, and manipulates her into agreeing never to tell anyone. Jessie smashes the water glass and cuts her wrist in a way that enables her to peel back the skin, allowing her bloody hand to slip through the cuff. She drags the bed to the key, unlocking her other hand. She drinks water and bandages herself, but then passes out on the floor from blood loss and fatigue. When she wakes, the “man made of moonlight” is at the end of the hall, and she gives him her wedding ring for his trinket bag. She makes it to her car and drives away, but sees the man again in the back seat. The car crashes into a tree, but people from a nearby house come out.

6 months later she writes a letter to her 12 year old self how she had pretended to have amnesia over the whole ordeal of being trapped, avoiding painful questions. She used some of Gerald’s life insurance to start a foundation for victims of sexual abuse. But each night the “man made of moonlight” still appears before her as she falls asleep. Her wedding ring was never found in the house, and she learned from the news that a man who has acromegaly, causing disfiguration of his head, is a serial killer who dug up crypts, stealing bones and jewels, and occasionally eating the faces of male corpses. This explains why he did not harm Jessie in the house and also why Gerald’s face was disfigured. Jessie arrives at court as the moonlight man is being sentenced, and calls for his attention. He quotes what she said before leaving the house, indicating that he was in fact there at the time. Seeing also Gerald’s and Tom’s face where his face is, she says “You’re so much smaller than I remember”, and walks triumphantly out into the street with the sunlight gleaming down on her.

It was long thought that to be unfilmable until Netflix came up with this movie. Gerald’s Game was released on September 29, 2017, by Netflix. It received very positive reviews from critics, who lauded Gugino’s performance; Flanagan’s direction, as well as the film’s themes and their treatment, were also singled out. I give the film an 8 outta 10!

The Prodigy

The Prodigy is a 2019 American-Canadian horror film directed by Nicholas McCarthy, and starring Taylor Schilling, Peter Mooney, Colm Feore and Jackson Robert Scott. The plot centers around a child whose disturbing behavior signals that an evil, possibly supernatural being has taken control of him, forcing his parents to investigate whether sinister forces are involved.

The film is about this young boy who is more than what he seems. In rural Ohio sserial killer Edward Scarka, who abducts and later kills women, is shot dead by the police after one of his victims escapes and alerts the authorities. Before he dies he recites a chant or spell in a foreign language. Several states away in Pennsylvania married couple Sarah and John give birth to their son, Miles. Pretty soon they are made aware that their son is a prodigy showing extreme wisdom and intelligence from a young age, and begins speaking fluently before he is even a toddler.

However things aren’t all good as Miles starts behaving in disturbing fashions attacking a classmate with a wrench, talking gibberish in his sleep and scares his babysitter – and later claims no memory of it.  Sarah brings Miles to psychiatrist Elaine Strasser, and turns over a tape recording of him talking apparent gibberish in his sleep. Elaine gives the tape to a colleague, Arthur Jacobson, an expert on rebirth and reincarnation. Arthur reveals that the gibberish Miles spoke is in fact Hungarian, and that the words translate to “I’ll cut your eyes out and watch you die, whore.” Sarah is unwilling to believe Arthur’s assertion that an unsettled spirit wants control of the boy’s body. At home, the family’s dog goes missing, and John becomes infuriated when he finds that Miles has been recording the couple’s bedroom with a baby monitor. John leaves to stay with his brother, leaving Sarah alone with Miles. Sarah later finds a swarm of flies in the house and discovers the family’s dismembered dog in the basement. Miles apologizes, explaining that someone is invading his dreams every night, and that he has to “make room.”

Sarah brings Miles to Arthur who hypnotizes him and the individual explains that his parents were Hungarian immigrants. The session goes awry when Miles threatens to accuse Arthur of drugging and molesting him, which prompts Arthur to end the session. Afterward, Arthur finds “Scarka” carved into his leather couch from the boy’s fingernails. He calls Sarah and explains that he believes Miles’s body is being possessed by Edward Scarka, attempting to return to continue his killing spree. Sarah researches Scarka and finds out that the killer died just minutes before Miles was born and that his parents were Hungarian immigrants. John and Sarah decide to have Miles incarcerated, but Miles stabs John en route to the facility, causing him to crash; John goes into a coma as a result of the accident. In Miles’s room, Sarah uncovers a cache of newspaper clippings about Edward’s crimes, as well as a book by Margaret St. James, Edward’s final victim, who escaped and led authorities to him.

Sarah realizes that Edward, through Miles,needs to get to Margaret and decides to kill Margaret herself, ending Edward’s need for Miles’s body. She drugs Miles with sleeping pills and the two drive to Margaret’s rural farmhouse. However once she confronts the women she is unable to kill her. Miles though comes barging in and attacks Margaret with a butcher knife, stabbing and disemboweling her. Sarah chases Miles outside to console him, believing Edward has left his body now that his final deed is complete. However, he reveals that Edward has taken full control, and Miles’s soul has already been vanquished. Horrified, Sarah attempts to shoot him but before she can, a farmer shoots her with a rifle, killing her. Some time later, Miles is taken to live in a temporary foster home until John is discharged from the hospital. In his new bedroom, Miles stares into a mirror, which reflects back the image of Edward.

The film was released in the United States on February 8, 2019, by Orion Pictures. It has grossed over $19 million and received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the performances but criticized the story. It’s a unique storyline of reincarnation and a killer possessing a boy to kill the woman who got away. I like the acting but the movie isn’t that good overall. I give it a 6.5 outta 10!

Pet Sematary (2019)

Pet Sematary is a 2019 American supernatural horror film directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer and written by Jeff Buhler, from a screen story by Matt Greenberg. It is the second adaptation of the 1983 novel of the same name by Stephen King, after the 1989 film. The film stars Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow, and follows a family that discovers a mysterious graveyard in the woods behind their new home.

The story is pretty much followed from the original with some changes mainly towards the end. Dr. Louis Creed moves his family – wife Rachel, daughter Ellie, toddler Gage and their pet cat Church – from Boston to the small town of Ludlow, Maine. The same day they see a procession of children in animal masks headed towards the woods to bury a deceased pet dog. There is a sign that reads Pet Sematary deeper in the woods and their aged neighbour Jud warms the, not to venture to far out.

At the university hospital, Louis is left shaken after failing to save the life of Victor Pascow, a student who has been fatally injured after being struck by a vehicle. On the night following Pascow’s death, Louis experiences a vivid dream in which he meets Pascow, who leads him to the back of the cemetery and warns Louis not to “venture beyond” and that “the ground is sour”. A disturbed Louis awakens to find his feet and bed sheets caked in mud, suggesting that the evening’s previous events were more than just a nightmare. Later on Halloween, Church is killed when he is hit by a truck. Jud takes Louis to the Pet Sematary, supposedly to bury Church, however he leads Louis farther to an ancient burial ground. The next day Louis is stunned to see a dirty and smelly Church has come back. The cat is more aggressive and scratches Ellie and violently mangles a bird.

Louis confronts Jud who tells him that the burial ground behind the Pet Sematary is able to bring things back from the dead and is believed to be inhabited by a spirit known as the Wendigo. After Church attacks Gage, Louis attempts to euthanize him, however he decides against killing the cat and instead releases him at the gate of an area with restricted access, before telling Ellie that he ran away. The Creeds throw an outdoor party for Ellisees Church returning and runs out to the highway to greet him, followed by Gage. Louis rushes to save Gage and the truck driver wrecks the truck in order not to hit Ellie but the trailer separates and hits the girl, instantly killing her. The family is devastated, and Rachel and Gage leave to spend a few days with Rachel’s parents. Jud, sensing that Louis is planning on resurrecting Ellie, warns the grieving father that “sometimes dead is better”. However, despite the warnings from Jud and Pascow’s spirit, and his own reservations about the idea, Louis’s grief and guilt spur him to carry out his plan.

After drugging Jud, Louis exhumes Ellie’s body from her grave and inters her in the burial ground watched by the Wendigo who lets him bury Ellie. Ellie returns from the dead, however she immediately manifests a disturbing and ornery demeanor. At her parents’ house, Rachel is frightened by visions of her dead sister Zelda, who suffered from spinal meningitis and died after falling down a dumbwaiter shaft, leaving Rachel traumatized since she was young. Gage also sees the ghost of Pascow; meanwhile, Jud wakes up and confronts Louis. Insisting everything is fine, Louis sends Jud away; however, Jud spots Ellie watching him from her bedroom window. He is distracted by a snarling Church and Ellie slashes his ankle and after he falls she stabs him to death. Rachel returns home with Gage and cannot believe that she is seeing her daughter alive. She manages to get Gage to Louis but she is stabbed by Ellie. Louis locks Gage in the car and returns upstairs to find a dying Rachel who begs Louis not to resurrect her before succumbing to her injuries.

Ellie knocks Louis unconscious and drags Rachel’s body into the woods where she buries her beyond the Pet Sematary. As Louis prepares to kill Ellie in the forest, he is impaled through the chest with a weather vane by a resurrected Rachel, and he too is buried. Along with Church, the trio set fire to Jud’s house before approaching the car where Gage still sits inside. The resurrected Louis gestures to Gage to unlock the door.

This one is darker and ends differently from the original but it doesn’t better the original and I feel that horror film makers seem to be running out of ideas and reboots and remakes seem to be popping up a lot. I still liked it even though the lead actor’s mumbling and acting style put me off. I give it a 7 outta 10!

Truth Or Die

Truth Or Die is a British film by director Robert Heath and starring Tom Kane, Liam Boyle, Jack Gordon, Florence Hall, Jennie Jacques & Alexander Vlahos. I can’t really call it horror but it’s more like a dark thriller with elements of horror.

A year or more before the events of the main part of the film, a group of teenagers are at a party celebrating the end of their school life and doing the same things that teenagers do at this party. Drink, make loud obnoxious noises, play games that only drunk teens do in movies and make out. Lonely Felix is the odd one out, seemingly without any friends. While taking part in a game of truth or dare, with a few students, Felix is pressurized into choosing a girl at the party and he picks Gemma, a girl who he has a huge crush on. Unfortunately for him, Gemma’s boyfriend Chris does not approve and humiliates Felix in front of the others and punches him. Felix leaves to taunts of “Truth or Dare Bitch”! and we see him sitting outside on his own.

Now a year or more later, the teens – Gemma, Eleanor, Chris, Paul & Luke – are invited to Felix’s birthday party with the promise of a great time and free booze. As Felix’s family is very rich and has a huge mansion in the country side, all 5 decide to join with only Gemma feeling sorry for the lad. They meet up and drive to the mansion only to be told by a caretaker that the party is in a small cabin way into the woods. They are met there by Felix’s older army soldier of a  brother Justin, who is back from a tour of Afghanistan. He apologies for the fact that Felix isn’t there, saying that he couldn’t get a flight out of Spain but the 5 friends were welcome to have drinks and food with him. As the teens drink the party, Justin suggests that they play spin the bottle and truth or dare. Soon we realize that something is wrong.

Justin says that Felix was so devastated by the game and that that he later came to the cabin and hung himself to death. The only clue that Justin has is that someone sent Felix a postcard with the words “Truth or Dare, Bitch!” on it. This was found on Felix when Justin found him body. Justin then pulls a gun on the 5 and asks them to confess. When they refuse, he scares them and shoots of part of Paul’s finger. He also bullies Luke who has a side business as a drug dealer and makes him tie up the others. He makes the others choose between two jars of clear liquids – one water and the other an acid – and pump it into one of them. Gemma is saved when water is chosen but Chris, who says he sent the card after initially denying it, gets acid pumped into him and he dies. When Jonesy, another friend of theirs comes to the cabin, he is killed by Justin. Gemma manages to escape and runs through the back and finds the mansion.

In it she sees Felix still alive but in a vegetative state after his suicide attempt led to his brain being starved of oxygen and he is lying in a bed fed through tubes. Tvs around him shows him what is happening in the cabin and Gemma confronts him. The groundskeeper barges in and is killed in a struggle for the shotgun but Gemma is caught by Justin who breaks her neck. He brings her body to the cabin along with Felix in a wheelchair and in a struggle Eleanor is able to get free. Luke is killed but Eleanor manages to get the upper hand and smashes the acid jar over Justin’s head, scarring part of his face. When he comes to, he is tied up against a beam and Eleanor reveals what actually happened. At the party she had tempted Felix to go up to a bedroom with her with the lure of sex but made him suck a sleeping Paul’s penis. When Paul woke up he was disgusted and threatened Felix who ran away in shame.

Eleanor has recorded this on her cell and it was she who sent the card as a joke not knowing that Felix would kill himself. Fearing what his soldier and tough guy older brother would think of him, Felix attempted suicide. Eleanor convinces Felix to kill himself and Justin by pulling the pin on a grenade and blowing them up in the cabin while she, escapes in Justin’s car along with Paul and Gemma’s body.

Not bad with a couple of twists in the end. Kinda torture pornish but not really. It’s obviously very low budget but the cast did the best with what they had. And Eleanor is so hot! 6 outta 10!

You’re Next

You’re Next is a 2011 American black comedy slasher film directed by Adam Wingard, written by Simon Barrett and starring Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, A. J. Bowen and Joe Swanberg. The plot concerns a family under attack by a group of masked assailants during their wedding anniversary getaway.

The movie starts with a man and a younger woman, who after having sex, are killed in the house by a man in a Lamb Mask and who has the words “You’re Next” written in blood on the window. The next day, Aubrey and Paul Davidson, a middle-aged couple reach their vacation house in rural Missouri in order to get things ready for their wedding anniversary dinner. Their son Crispian brings his Australian girlfriend Erin to meet them for the first time and are joined by Crispian’s older brother Drake and his wife Kelly, Crispian’s younger siblings Felix and Aimee, and their partners, Zee and Tariq, respectively.

As an argument breaks out between Crispian and Drake, someone shoots crossbow bolts through the window, killing Tariq and wounding Drake. The survivors discover that cell phone reception in the area has been jammed. Aimee runs outside for help, but runs into a garrote wire which slices her throat, killing her. Crispian leaves the house to find help. One by one the people in masks start killing the others. Erin who grew up in a survivalist compound where she learned combat and survival skills. fights back and kills a man in Tiger Mask. t is revealed that Felix and Zee hired the assassins Tom (Fox Mask), Craig (Lamb Mask), and Dave (Tiger Mask) to murder the family so they could collect their inheritance. While Zee is helping Erin, Felix lures Drake to the basement and kills him.

Later Erin jumps out of the window to escape Fox Mask, injuring her leg and eventually doubling back to the house. While hiding, Erin overhears an argument between Felix, Zee, Fox Mask and Lamb Mask. Her cell phone beeps to indicate that her text to 911 has gone through, alerting the killers. She goes out of the window and kills Lamb Mask and sets up a trap at the front door but Fox Mask comes into the house through a window and Erin kills him after a fight.  Zee and Felix attempt to kill Erin themselves. Felix stabs Erin, but she kills him, then uses his knife to kill Zee. Felix’s cell phone rings and Erin answers without speaking. Believing he is speaking to Felix, Crispian apologizes for fleeing instead of not helping, revealing he was in on the murders. He returns to the home and finds Erin. After he attempts to bribe her into staying quiet, she kills him in disgust. A policeman arrives and shoots Erin in the shoulder, having seen her kill Crispian. After calling for backup, he attempts to enter the house despite Erin’s pleas, and is accidentally struck and killed by Erin’s front door trap that was intended for Fox Mask.

It becomes entertaining once the killing starts and the twists is really good. Made on a budget of $1 million, the movie made almost $27 million at the box office and became a cult favourite. 7 outta 10!

The Curse of La Llorona

The Curse of La Llorona is a 2019 American supernatural horror film directed by Michael Chaves in his directorial debut, and written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis. It is the sixth installment in the Conjuring Universe franchise. Based on the Mexican folklore of La Llorona, the film stars Linda Cardellini, Raymond Cruz and Patricia Velásquez, and follows a mother in Los Angeles 1973 who must save her children from a malevolent spirit who is trying to steal them away. The film was produced by James Wan through his Atomic Monster Productions banner.

The movie starts with the legend of La Llorona who in 1963 Mexico, while enjoying some family time with her sons is given a necklace by her younger son. The boy closes his eyes briefly, and when he opens them, his family is missing. The boy finds his mother drowning his brother in a stream. Horrified, he runs away but his mother catches him and seemingly drowns him too. 300 years later in Los Angeles, Mexican caseworker Anna Tate-Garcia investigates the disappearance of client Patricia Alvarez’s two children. Anna arrives at Patricia’s house for a welfare check. Inside, she finds the children locked behind a door, and Patricia attacks her and is taken away by the police. Patricia’s children, brothers Carlos and Tomas, tell Anna to keep them in the room so they are protected. Ignoring their warnings, she brings the boys to the police.

While in a shelter Tomas starts walking his his sleep and his brother Carlos follows him and he sees La Llorona in a mirror and she grabs the boys. They end up dead by drowning in the river and Anna is the suspect. Bringing her children Chris and Sam, she tells them to stay in the car while she investigates the murder scene. She hears Patricia, accused of her sons’ murders, screaming that it was Anna’s fault for taking her sons, and that Patricia had tried to stop the malevolent force of the woman in white, “La Llorona”. Curious, Chris comes out leaves the car to investigate himself and is seized by La Llorona, leaving burn marks on his arm. He rushes back to the car, but La Llorona appears again and frightens him into shock. The next day, Sam is also grabbed by the spirit, leaving identical burn marks on her arm. Anna interviews Patricia, who has an alibi for the time of her sons’ deaths and tells her about La Llorona.

Patricia reveals that in her anger against Anna, she prayed to La Llorrona to take Anna’s children and bring her own boys back. Anna encounters La Llorona when the spirit attempts to drown Sam in the bathtub. She saves Sam, and the ghost leaves burn marks on Anna’s arm too. Anna seeks help from father Perez who leads her to former priest Rafael Olvera, who can help get rid of the entity. Rafael arrives at Anna’s house, setting up candles and other items to protect the family. In the night, La Llorona repeatedly attacks them and attempts to drown Anna and Sam in the pool. Patricia arrives, attempting to give Anna’s children to La Llorona in exchange for her own. Sam and Chris flee while Anna pleads with Patricia in the basement; Patricia comes to her senses and releases Anna, allowing her to help her children.

Chris delays La Llorona by showing her a necklace Anna took off of her in the pool, which makes La Llorona briefly assume her human appearance. Sam then accidentally unveils a mirror which takes La Llorona out of her human appearance and proceeds to attack the children. Anna stabs her through the chest with a cross made from a Fire Tree – trees that grew by the river where La Llorona drowned her children, the only ‘witness’ to her crime – and the spirit is destroyed. Anna and her children thank Rafael for his help; as the children run back into the house, Anna sees what looks like a puddle of tears.

Scary but mostly because of the jump scares and hardly anything to shout over the rooftops. The story is something very familiar and isn’t very exciting. 7 outta 10!

Us (2019)

Us is a 2019 American horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele, starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker. The film follows a family who are confronted by murderous doppelgangers known as “the Tethered”.

In 1986, young Adelaide Thomas goes on vacation with her parents to Santa Cruz. At the beach, she wanders off while her father is playing whack-a-mole and enters a funhouse, where she encounters a doppelgänger of herself in the hall of mirrors. When her parents eventually find her, she is unable to speak. They take her to therapists to make her gain her voice again. Many years later, she is now a grown woman and Addie is married to her husband Gabe and they have two kids, teenager Zora and son Jason. They go to stay at Addies’s late parents’ lake house and after settling in they go to the Santa Cruz beach to meet their friends the Tyler family.  Jason is temporarily missing when he sees a man with blood dripping from his hands.

That night, a family of four dressed in red appears in the Wilsons’ driveway. They break into the Wilsons’ home and attack them. The Wilsons quickly realize the four intruders are doppelgängers of themselves, led by Adelaide’s double, Red. The doppelgängers can vocalize only crudely, but Red is able to speak. Red explains that the doppelgängers are called the Tethered, that they share a soul with their counterparts, and that they have come to “untether” themselves. The family is separated by their dopplegängers: Red makes Adelaide handcuff herself to a table, Zora is pursued by Umbrae and Gabe by Abraham, and Jason is sent to “play” with Pluto in the closet. Zora evades Umbrae and Gabe manages to kill Abraham, while Jason discovers that Pluto mirrors his actions and manages to lock him in the closet. Red is drawn away by Pluto’s cries, allowing Adelaide to break free. The family regroups and escapes on their boat and head to the Tyler’s home.

However the Tyler’s are killed by their own tethers who attack Addie’s family when they come to the house. They end up killing the Tylers’ doubles and turning on the news to see that millions of Tethered have been murdering their counterparts across the nation. The doppelgängers subsequently join hands together to form a massive human chain. s day breaks, the Wilsons arrive at the Santa Cruz boardwalk, where they find the road blocked by their own car, on fire. Pluto has set a trap for the Wilsons, standing over a gasoline trail with a match. Jason, remembering that Pluto imitates his actions, makes Pluto walk backward into the fire. Red reappears and abducts Jason, and Adelaide runs after them. hile Zora and Gabe recuperate in an abandoned ambulance, Adelaide returns to the funhouse and finds a secret tunnel in the hall of mirrors. It leads to an underground facility overrun by rabbits, where Adelaide finds Red. Red explains that the Tethered were clones, created by the U.S. government to control the public.

The experiment failed and the Tethered were abandoned underground for generations, mindlessly copying the actions of their surface counterparts, until Red organized them to escape and take revenge. The two fight, with Red anticipating and countering all of Adelaide’s attacks. Adelaide finally manages to overpower her, stabbing her, then choking her. She finds Jason hidden in a locker. She takes him to the ambulance and the family drive off. As the movie ends Adelaide recalls the night she met Red in the hall of mirrors. It is revealed that Red was the real Adelaide and the surviving Adelaide is the doppelgänger; that night, “Adelaide” choked “Red” unconscious, dragged her underground, handcuffed her to a bed, and took her place in the surface world. As the Wilsons drive off, Jason loks at her as if he knows something and she smiles back at him as the camera pulls back to show that the Tethered have joined hands across the country.

Creepy in places and generally on the scarier side of things, I felt myself wanting to know what happens to the tethered once they all make it out and how do the rest of the world handle them. Maybe they should make that. 7.5 outta 10!

Pyewacket

Pyewacket is a 2017 Canadian horror thriller film written and directed by Adam MacDonald. It stars Laurie Holden and Nicole Muñoz. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.

Leah Reyes is a teenager fascinated with black magic and occult practices. Following the death of Leah’s father, she becomes more and more obsessed with researching the occult. One evening she is late from coming home from a book signing and later drinking beer and smoking weed with her friends. Her grieving mother decides to move to a remote woodland house for a fresh start, forcing Leah to leave her school friends behind and join her. Leah soon feels isolated and frustrated in the new home, and after a fierce argument with her mother, she wishes death on her. Venturing deep into the forest, Leah performs an occult ritual from one of her books to summon the demon Pyewacket to kill her mother. However, Leah bonds with her mother shortly afterwards, and she soon regrets her actions.

Strange things start to happen in the house as Leah hears loud thuds from the attic but her mom can’t find anything or anyone. Also the door is open when they come down in the morning and there’s piles of dirt on the floors. At night Pyewacket appears as a dark figure in Leah’s room, unseen by her and drags her into the forest. Leah wakes up next to a tree with blood on her.  She turns to her school friends for help, and her best friend Janice agrees to stay at Leah’s house overnight to help her lift the curse. However, Pyewacket attacks Janice in the night, and the following morning Leah and her mother find her cowering in the car, too terrified to say what happened to her. Leah then seeks advice from aranormalist Rowan Dove, who advises that the only way to stop the demon is to perform the same summoning ritual in the same place, but in reverse. He also warns that Pyewacket is a devious shape-shifter and Leah must not trust anyone until the curse is lifted.

When Leah returns to the forest and begins the reverse ritual, she stops when she sees her mother lying dead nearby, but also hears her mother calling out for her. In a panic, Leah calls 911, and then her friend Aaron to pick her up. Returning to the house, Leah is confronted by Pyewacket, who first takes the form of Leah’s mother, and then of a monstrous hag. Leah hides in the attic, and when her mother returns home, Leah is convinced that she is another of Pyewacket’s illusions, so that night she douses her mother with gasoline and sets her on fire, believing that she is killing the demon. This in turn sets the house on fire, and when Aaron arrives he finds Leah unconscious outside as the house burns down. The film ends with Leah being interviewed by a police detective about her mother’s death. After playing a recording of Leah’s 911 call where she said her mother’s body was in the woods, the detective reveals that the only body the police found was a burned one in the ruins of the house. Leah is horrified as she realises Pyewacket tricked her into killing her mother.

Not at all scary but atmospheric in places. There’s some good acting from Holden & Munoz but overall the movie needs something more. For a long time we don’t see anything and it’s more like a mother-daughter drama until the latter parts of the film. 7 outta 10!

Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow is a 1999 American horror film directed by Tim Burton. It is a film adaptation loosely based on Washington Irving’s 1820 short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, and stars Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci, with Miranda Richardson, Michael Gambon, Casper Van Dien, and Jeffrey Jones in supporting roles. The plot follows police constable Ichabod Crane (Depp) sent from New York City to investigate a series of murders in the village of Sleepy Hollow by a mysterious Headless Horseman. Today was the first time I actually sat and watched the film.

In 1799, New York City police constable Ichabod Crane is dispatched to the upstate Dutch hamlet of Sleepy Hollow, which has been plagued by a series of brutal decapitations: a wealthy father and son, and a widow. Received by the insular town elders—wealthy businessman Baltus Van Tassel; town doctor Thomas Lancaster; the Reverend Steenwyck; notary James Hardenbrook; and magistrate Samuel Philipse—Ichabod learns that locals believe the killer is the undead apparition of a headless Hessian mercenary from the American Revolutionary War who rides a black steed in search of his missing head. Ichabod begins his investigation, skeptical of the paranormal story. Boarding at the home of Baltus Van Tassel and his second wife, Lady Van Tassel, he is taken with Baltus’ spiritual daughter, Katrina.

His investigations, although he himself is scared of the killer, will reveal that the “master” (the one who dug up the severed head of the horseman was Lady Van Tassel, from an impoverished family evicted years ago by Van Garrett when he favored Baltus and Katrina instead. She swore revenge against Van Garrett and all who had wronged her, pledging herself to Satan if he would raise the Horseman to avenge her, and also to claim the estate uncontested. Manipulating her way into the Van Tassel household, she used fear, blackmail, and lust to draw the other elders into her plot. She also killed her twin sister and her final victim is intended to be Katarina. After an escape that destroys the windmill and the subsequent chase to the Tree of the Dead, Ichabod throws the Horseman’s skull to him. Freed, and with his head restored, the Horseman spares Katrina and attacks Lady Van Tassel, giving her a bloody kiss and returning to Hell with her in tow, fulfilling the deal. His faith restored, Ichabod returns to New York with Katrina and Young Masbath, just in time for the new century.

This is a film that I always tried to watch back in the years that they showed it a lot on cable tv and when I used to watch cable tv and would also miss the beginning and hence stopped watching after a few minutes. Now I have finally see it in it’s entirety. It’s a good enough film with a good cast and cinematography is great. Nice score as well. I would give it a 7.5 outta 10!

Bird Box

Bird Box is a 2018 American post-apocalyptic horror thriller film, directed by Susanne Bier from a screenplay written by Eric Heisserer, and based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Josh Malerman. The film follows a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, as she tries to protect herself and two children from malevolent supernatural entities that make people who look at them go insane and commit suicide. Bird Box had its world premiere at the AFI Fest on November 12, 2018, and began a limited release on December 14, before streaming worldwide on Netflix on December 21, 2018.

What is this creature? What is the horror that plagues the world and makes people go insane and want to hurt & kill themselves? I have no idea. As unexplained mass suicides originating in Russia quickly spreading across Europe, it reaches the US as a pregnant Malorie is in the hospital for a quick check up with her sister Jessica. They leave hastily as a women, who is the first in the film to be infected (or the first one we see) starts banging her head forcefully against a glass wall. They leave in their car but Jessica is infected when she sees something and rams their car creating an accident. She then looks sad and walks into a speeding truck that kills her. Malorie is helped by a couple of people who bring her into a near house. A small group of survivors gather in this house as havoc descends all around them.

One of the survivors, Charlie who seems to have somewhat comprehensive knowledge of what could be happening, theorizes that an otherworldly entity has invaded Earth, taking the form of its victims’ worst fears and driving them insane before causing them to commit suicide. This is not proven but they board all the windows and settle in. Later, Greg, the home owner, volunteers to tie himself to a chair while monitoring the surveillance cameras to find the issue of the entity but kills himself by rocking his chair violently and slamming his head into a hearthstone after seeing it. The group takes in Olympia who was with another group and finds her way to them, blindfolded, by knocking on doors. She too is pregnant and expecting soon, and bondis with Malorie. most of the group go to a supermarket close by to restock. Malorie finds pet birds and decides to take them along with their supplies. The group attempts to help a coworker of Charlie who is locked outside the supermarket begging for help, and whom Charlie describes as “a little crazy.”

As they contemplate the risks of opening the door, the birds that Malorie was saving go into a hysterical fury. The group is attacked by the infected coworker, who was not killed by the entity but is instead used to infect others. Charlie sacrifices himself to save the others, who are able to make it back safely to the house. Two of the group, leave in the car without telling the others. Olympia lets in a stranger named Gary who says he was with another group but it turns out he is ary starts to take out various drawings of the entity and seems to undergo a trance, indicating that he could have already been partially overtaken by the entity when he arrived. He opens the garage door to kill Douglas. He peeks outside and is completely taken over; he then knocks out Tom and proceeds to remove all the coverings from all the windows. Despite Malorie’s warnings, Olympia fails to look away from the windows and jumps out of the window. Gary forces Cheryl to look, and Cheryl grabs a pair of scissors and stabs herself in the neck.

Douglas blindly attempts to kill Gary with a shotgun but fails, which results in Douglas’s death. While Malorie tries to protect the newborn babies (Malorie’s boy and Olympia’s girl), Tom recovers consciousness in time to overpower and kill Gary. Five years go on and Tom & Malorie are living together and raising the kids, who Malorie has named Boy & Girl. They receive a transmission from Rick, a survivor stating that they are well and safe at a community hidden in the forest. The four decide to go to the community, but are ambushed by a group of infected survivors along the way. Without hesitation, Tom runs out to distract the group while Malorie and the children attempt to make an escape. When the group notices Malorie and the children escaping, Tom decides to open his eyes and shoot them dead. He is overtaken by the entity, but with his will, he manages to shoot the last member of the group before shooting himself.

Malorie, the children, and their pet birds, which are contained in a box to protect against the entity, make their way blindfolded down the river on a boat. They fight off an infected survivor, and survive raging rapids. The boat flips but they find each other on land only to get separated when Malorie accidentally slides down a hill. The entity attempts to convince Boy and Girl to remove their blindfolds using Malorie’s voice. Malorie is able to tell them to fight the urge. Once they are all together again, they are chased by the entity, which was implied by the camera movement and wind. The three eventually reach the community, a former school for the blind. Malorie releases the pet birds from the box to the other birds up on the ceiling and finally gives the children names: Tom and Olympia.

Unconvincing horror and the menace kinda reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening. It isn’t boring though and some good acting by Bullock, Malkovich and co will let you stay focused. I give it a 7 outta 10!

Overlord (2018)

Overlord is a 2018 American war horror film directed by Julius Avery and written by Billy Ray and Mark L. Smith. It stars Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Mathilde Ollivier, John Magaro, Gianny Taufer, Pilou Asbæk, and Bokeem Woodbine. The film was produced by J. J. Abrams, through his Bad Robot Productions banner, and Lindsey Weber. The plot follows several American soldiers who are dropped behind enemy lines the day before D-Day and discover secret Nazi experiments.

The movie is set on the eve of D-Day as a a paratrooper squad is sent to destroy a German radio tower in an old church. Their plane is shot down and crashes, and most of the squad was killed either in the crash or by German soldiers. Five survivors remained: Corporal Ford and soldiers Boyce, Tibbet, Chase, and Dawson, who is killed by a landmine shortly after regrouping. The remaining four led by Ford run into a young French woman name Chloe who is scavenging the bags of the dead for some loot and she agrees to take them to her village upon knowing that they are American soldiers.

At her home we meet her 8 year old brother Paul and a sick aunt, who is heavily disfigured and secluded in her room. After Tibbet and Chase depart to check the scheduled rendezvous site, a Nazi patrol led by SS Hauptsturmführer Wafner visits Chloe. Wafner sends his men away and proceeds to blackmail Chloe for sex, threatening to send her brother to the church to be “fixed”. Boyce, being an idealistic new recruit, cannot ignore this and interrupts the Nazi officer. Ford is forced to follow suit and restrain Wafner. Attempting to look for Tibbet and Chase, Boyce witnesses the Nazis burning disfigured village residents. He is chased by a dog and is forced to hide in a truck carrying dead bodies inside the church. Sneaking out of the truck, Boyce discovers an underground base which houses not only a radio operating room, but also a laboratory where the German perform various experiments involving a mysterious serum. Boyce takes a syringe containing the serum and rescues Rosenfeld, another member of the paratrooper squad who was captured alive. They escape through the base’s sewers.

When the two reach Chloe’s house ibbet and Chase had already returned. Wafner refuses to explain what the serum does, even as Ford tortures him. As the squad prepares to assault the church, Wafner attempts to escape and fatally shoots Chase. Boyce instinctively injects the serum into Chase who wakes up from being dead only to freak out as he mutates and become very strong. A scuffle ensues ending with Boyce killing Chase. Wafner escapes with Paul as a hostage and alerts a patrol. A shootout erupts where the patrol is killed and half of Wafner’s face is shot off. Back at the lab, Wafner injects himself with multiple syringes which quickly stop the bleeding. Boyce then suggests that they get back to their mission to infiltrate and destroy the tower and the lab. Chloe takes off running to distract a part of the squad that Wafner was previously with to steal a BMW R75 and rig it with explosives. Rosenfeld and Tibbet launch a frontal assault when the bike is ridden in and exploded, distracting them from the actual main purpose of the attack.

Ford, Boyce, and Chloe enter the base using the route Boyce previously used to escape. Boyce and Ford plant the explosives while Chloe looks for Paul. Chloe nearly escapes an encounter with a test subject, sending Paul outside the church and killing the subject with a flamethrower. She then leaves and rejoins Tibbet and Rosenfeld are caught up in a fight, where Tibbet is shot in the shoulder. Chloe arrives just in the nick of time to apply first aid to his wound. Wafner, now possessing superhuman strength and resilience, overpowers Ford and begins torturing him, using the same tactics Ford used. He reveals the serum was made by using the villagers’ bodies to distill an ancient tar from under the village. The aim was to create undying soldiers to serve the Reich. As Boyce distracts Wafner, the injured Ford injects himself with a syringe. He holds off Wafner long enough for Boyce to set off an oxygen tank, which momentarily stuns him.

Ford orders Boyce to leave him behind and detonate the explosives, believing neither side should possess the serum.Boyce complies and narrowly escapes as the church and radio tower collapse behind him, just as the D-Day invasion concludes in a victory for the Allies. In his report, Boyce credits Ford for the decision to plant the bombs inside the church. The commanding officer questions Boyce on talk about an underground lab in the church, Boyce denies everything, remembering Fords remark that no side should have it. The commanding officer seemingly accepts this story and informs the soldiers that they will be reassigned to Charlie Company as the war continues.

I have high praise for the visuals in the opening scene and some of the action scene. It isn’t very original but entertaining enough to keep me interested during the afternoon. I give it a solid 7 outta 10!

Supernatural To End After 15 Seasons

The CW has canceled Supernatural. It is truly the end of an era. But fans of the series will get one more season before saying goodbye to the boys forever. After fifteen years on the air, Supernatural will end on The CW after Season 15, which series star Jensen Ackles promises “will be the big, grand finale of an institution” in a farewell video. Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and Misha Collins came together to announce the news in an emotional video on social media today. “We just told the crew that though we’re very, very excited about moving into our 15th season, it will be our last,” says Ackles. “We wanted you to hear from us.”

Supernatural is currently in the midst of its fourteenth season, which saw the milestone 300th episode and the long-awaited return of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Winchester patriarch, John Winchester. Season 14 will wrap up on April 25, and Season 15 will follow with 20 new final episodes. It’s honestly kind of shocking that The CW finally pulled the plug on the long-running series. CW President Mark Pedowitz has always said that Ackles and Padalecki would be the ones to decide when they were done with the show, though when we caught up with the cast for their 300th episode celebration in November, Ackles had a very quick answer when he was asked how he envisioned the show ending: “I don’t!”

Fourteen seasons in, Supernatural continues to be a potent ratings performer, ranking as the CW second most watched and highest rated among adults 18-49 series in Live+Same Day only behind The Flash.