The Nun

The Nun is a 2018 American gothic supernatural horror film directed by Corin Hardy and written by Gary Dauberman, from a story by Dauberman and James Wan. A spin-off of 2016’s The Conjuring 2, and the fifth installment in The Conjuring Universe, the film stars Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, and Jonas Bloquet. The plot follows a Roman Catholic priest and a nun in her novitiate as they uncover an unholy secret in 1952 Romania.

As the movie starts we see two nuns go into the tunnels of Saint Cartha’s monastery to retrieve an ancient Christian relic and enter through a door that reads “god ends here” (Really? He is that weak that he has to end at a door after which demons reside?) and are attacked by an unseen force, which later  takes the form of a demonic looking nun. The younger nun runs to her room and hangs herself. Her body is discovered by Frenchie, a villager who transports supplies to the nuns. On hearing the news the Vatican, summons Father Burke to Rome, where they ask him to travel with Sister Irene, a nun in her novitiate, to Romania in order to investigate the situation.

The pair travel to Romania and seek out Frenchie, who is in fact a French-Canadian named Maurice, and who leads them to the abbey. There they find a key on her and then enter the abbey where they see the veiled abbess (or mother superior) who informs them that the nuns observe a period of silence during the night and offers them lodging at the attached convent if they wish to return the next day. On his way home Frenchie is attacked by a demon but he manages to escape. Irene reveals that as a girl, she had visions particularly of a nun, causing the Church to take an interest in her. Burke is rescued by Irene after being buried alive in the graveyard by the demonic entity.

The nest day as it is cloistered, only Irene can enter the abbey and she talks to some of the nuns, who are taking turns praying. to keep the entity at bay. Sister Oana reveals the abbey’s history: it was built as a castle by a duke who was obsessed with the occult. The duke summoned the demonic entity through a rift in the catacombs but was killed by Christian knights, who sealed the rift with an artifact containing the blood of Jesus Christ. The bombings during the Second World War caused the rift to reopen, unleashing the entity. Burke identifies the entity as Valak and discovers the Abbess has been dead all along. Frenchie meanwhile heads to the abbey Irene is attacked by Valak and joins the nuns in desperate prayer to fend off the demon.

When the group reunites, Irene discovers that none of the nuns she had seen and talked to were real and she had been praying alone, later realizing that Victoria had been the last nun in the abbey and had sacrificed herself to stop Valak from possessing her body and unleashing evil. The trio retrieves the vial with the key Victoria had. Irene then informs Burke that God has called her to make her solemn vows as a nun and asks Burke to elevate her to the status of a professed nun, which he does in the abbey’s chapel. Irene is lured into a pentagram and possessed by Valak. Frenchie smears some of the blood of Christ on her face, casting out the demon. Burke is wounded by Daniel’s ghost as Valak starts to drown Irene in a flooded chamber. Irene expels the blood of Christ in the demon’s face, banishing it as the blood of Christ seals the rift.

After Frenchie resuscitates Irene, he reveals his real name is Maurice. Unbeknownst to the others, Maurice has been possessed by Valak, as evidenced by an inverted cross on his neck. As the movie ends we see a scene from 20 years later, ata university seminar, Carolyn Perron watches as Ed and Lorraine Warren present footage of their attempt to exorcise a possessed Maurice. In the footage, Maurice grabs Lorraine, giving her visions of Ed dying, which initiate the Warrens’ investigation of the Perron household haunting, as well as their encounter with Valak itself.

Slightly boring though the movie picks up pace towards the latter half, and reliant too much on jump scares, I was let down by this film. It lacks any real charm and sense of foreboding that I was hoping it would have as Valak is a real treat to watch. 6.5 outta 10!

The First Purge

The First Purge is a 2018 American action horror film directed by Gerard McMurray and starring Y’lan Noel, Lex Scott Davis, Joivan Wade, Mugga, Luna Lauren Velez, Kristen Solis, and Marisa Tomei. The fourth installment in the Purge franchise, the film is a prequel depicting the origins of the first annual “Purge”, a 12-hour span once a year in which all crime in America is legal. Written and produced by James DeMonaco, it marks the first film of the series not to be directed by him.

This movie offers nothing new to the now 4 movie franchise. It shows us that after a period of turmoil, violence and poverty mixed with lack of opportunities has led to a 3rd party named the New Founding Fathers of America, who have grown into power and form the new government. NFFA members Arlo Sabian and Dr. May Updale announce an experiment to take place on Staten Island where for 12 hours, citizens will be allowed to purge and release their inhibitions in any way they choose. The NFFA offers residents of the Island $5000 to stay in their homes during the experiment and a compensation for those participating as well. They also outfit the participants with tracking devices and contact lenses with cameras in them so that they can monitor all activity.

The movie focuses on anti-Purge activist Nya and her younger brother Isaiah, who is working for drug lord and Nya’s ex, Dmitri. There’s also Nya’s friends Dolores, Luisa, and Selina, Dmitri’s gang and Skeletor, a crazy drug addict who just wants to kill people and use the Purge as his outlet. Other than Skeletor, most purgers on the Island want to loot and steal from stores and otherwise have parties. So the NFFA sends a mercenary team in masks and outfits on to kill a bunch of people. At the NFFA headquarters, Updale starts becoming suspicious due to the Purge’s sudden change in the crimes committed, as well as the presence of masked participants.  Sabian explains that he sent the mercenaries to make the experiment look successful, and eventually to help “balance” the rich and the poor.

Updale protests this tampering of the experiment and informs Sabian her realization that NFFA only wants to eradicate the poor because they don’t want to take care of them. With Sabian’s corruption revealed, he has Updale taken away and killed, before erasing all footage of the event. Dmitri ends up becoming a mix off Die Hard era Bruce Willis and any Arnie shootout movie to kill a bunch of the mercenaries and save Nya, Isaiah and their friends who had escaped to their apartment. He is hailed a hero at the end of the 12 hour cycle and another of those stupid rap songs starts to play.

Not really sure why this prequel was needed. It’s a mix of rap music, lots of struting and posing, Black American culture and the “hood” and people dying. Skeletor was an overacting nightmare. 6 outta 10!

Village of the Damned

From 1995 we have Village of the Damned is a 1995 American science fiction-horror film directed by John Carpenter and a remake of the 1960 film of the same name which in turn is based on the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham. The 1995 remake is set in Northern California, whereas the book and original film were both set in the United Kingdom. The 1995 film was marketed with the tagline, “Beware the Children”, and stars the late Christopher Reeve (in his last film role before being paralyzed), Kirstie Alley, Linda Kozlowski, Michael Pare, Mark Hamill, and Meredith Salenger.

In the quaint coastal town of Midwich in California’s Marin County, we see a sort of fog or mist pass through during the early morning hours and everyone including humans, animals and birds fall unconscious the same morning at 10 am. The military comes in and when their men cross the town border they fall unconscious too. 6 hours later everyone wakes up at the same time and find a couple of people died in accidents. Later they discover that 6 women, of different ages, are now pregnant including one woman who hasn’t had sex in months and a virgin teenager. None of the women seek abortions, and later all the babies are born simultaneously on one night – five boys and five girls, though one female is stillborn.

The children are all healthy and sound, but have pale skin, unusually soft, flat-sided platinum blonde hair; fierce intellect, and cobalt eyes. However, they do not appear to possess a conscience or personalities. The children display eerie psychic abilities that can result in violent and deadly consequences whenever they experience pain or provocation. Except for David, the others pair off as they know they are supposed to mate later in life. David is smaller, and is unlike the rest of the children in that he has a capacity for human emotion, and compassion. He and his mother Jill McGowan (the local school teacher) share a brief conversation about this, displaying empathy and remorse. The children’s leader is Mara, the daughter of a local physician, Dr. Alan Chaffee.

Even as a baby, Mara exhibited vengeful tendencies with regard to the use of her abilities, using her mind to force her mother to boil her arm in hot soup and commit suicide by jumping off the cliff. The children, who are by now known to have a hive mind, eventually move to the local barn as their classroom and for survival. The town folk learn that there are other colonies of blackout children in foreign countries, but due to their inhuman nature they were quickly eliminated, in some cases at the cost of destroying the entire town. Government scientist, Dr. Susan Verner, is forced to show the children the preserved stillborn baby she secretly kept to study, and the preserved corpse is seen to be undeniably alien. The children collectively force her to fatally stab herself.

An angry mob gathers to kill the children, but the leader is forced to set herself on fire and burns to death, and later the state police are mentally controlled into shooting each other in a chaotic gun battle. Using a method that Susan taught him, Alan hides his thought from the children by envisioning a sturdy brick wall and then plans to detonate a suitcase filled with explosives. The children begin to suspect that Alan is hiding something, and they slowly “destroy” the wall. Finally, Jill shows up, but the children stop her and attempt to use mind control. David, tired of this, rushes to her defense and knocks Mara over. The children turn on David, but Jill rushes him from the building. As soon as the children discover that Alan is hiding his knowledge of the bomb, it detonates in an enormous explosion, killing Alan and the alien children.

Jill and David, however, are safe in a car fleeing the site; she says that they will both move to a place where nobody knows them. David looks off into the distance as they drive away. I wish they could have made a sequel to this. I like the cast and the acting. It’s a good enough film for a late afternoon spin. 7.5 outta 10!

Phantasm

Phantasm is a 1979 American horror film directed, written, photographed, and edited by Don Coscarelli. The first film in the Phantasm franchise, it introduces the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm), a supernatural and malevolent undertaker who turns the dead of earth into dwarf zombies to be sent to his planet and used as slaves. He is opposed by a young boy, Mike (Michael Baldwin), who tries to convince his older brother Jody (Bill Thornbury) and family friend Reggie (Reggie Bannister) of the threat.

Phantasm was a locally financed independent film; the cast and crew were mostly amateurs and aspiring professionals. And it shows; in some places the acting is down right terrible and artificial but most of it is from cast members who are there in just one scene and have only a line or two of dialogue. What I was surprise by was the quality of the transfer to bluray; this does not look like a movie released in 1979 but more like a few years later. If only the acting and the storyline as well as the direction was as good.

There are way too many scenes that are like too sudden and at times seem ridiculous. The way that Mike keeps following his brother Jody on foot, the sudden change of scenery, the overall ridiculousness of the reasonings and decision making makes no sense. Anyways, the Tall Man turns out to be an alien who is getting people killed – by morphing into a chick and banging guys and then stabbing them right after orgasm – abducting the corpses, then somehow shrinking them to dwarfs, reanimating them and making them work for him on his planet. In the end I don’t know if these events actually happened or did Mikey dream it all? His brother is dead in a car accident and Reggie is taking care of him.

But Reggie was shown to be killed in the events earlier or the dream. What was going on? In the end the Tall Man appears in Mike’s bedroom and abducts him through the mirror. To…I suppose his home planet. How? I dunno! It’s all so strange. I don’t get why this film has so much praise piled on it going by reviews. I give it a ….6.5 outta 10! I am not sure about checking the remaining 4 films in the franchise now.

Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk is a 2015 American western horror film directed, written and co-scored by S. Craig Zahler in his directorial debut, and stars Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins, Lili Simmons, Evan Jonigkeit, David Arquette and Sid Haig. Produced by Jack Heller and Dallas Sonnier, the film had its world premiere at the Fantastic Fest on September 25, 2015 and was given a limited release on October 23, 2015, by RLJ Entertainment.

I dunno if I would actually label this movie as horror. It’s restricted to us a couple of scenes of tension or horrific acts. Set in the 1890s two robbers Purvis and Buddy, are making a living robbing and killing travelers. Spooked by the sound of approaching horses, they hide in the hills and encounter a Native American burial site. Buddy is killed by an arrow, and Purvis escapes. He hides his stuff in the next town and goes to the bar. His appearance arouses the suspicions of the backup deputy sherrif Chicory, who alerts the town’s sheriff Franklin Hunt and the two approach Purvis and ask him about the things he hid.  Sheriff Hunt shoots Purvis in the leg when he tries to escape. Hunt sends John Brooder, a local educated man and known womanizer who witnesses the shooting, to fetch the town’s doctor.

Town foreman Arthur O’Dwyer is resting his broken leg at home with his wife, nurse Samantha who is called to help Purvis as the doctor is passed out drunk. She stays back as Purvis has a bad fever. At night an unseen person or persons kills a stable boy and steals horses. They also abduct Samantha, deputy Nick and Purvis offscreen. Hunt thinks they could have been natives and calls a local resident who is a native. He informs them that the murder of the stable boy and the abduction seems to be the work of a troglodyte clan. He tells Hunt of the clan’s dwelling place, “Valley of the Starving Men”, and warns him that they are a group of cannibalistic savages. Hunt goes after them with Chicory and Brooder, who volunteers, and Arthur who despite his injury won’t stay behind.

On their way to the valley, two strangers stumble across their camp. Fearing they are scouts for a raid, Brooder kills them and they set up a cold camp elsewhere to avoid being attacked. During the night, a group of raiders ambushes them, injure Brooder’s horse and steal the rest. After a day of walking, a fight breaks out between Brooder and Arthur, exacerbating Arthur’s broken leg. Chicory sets his leg and leaves him behind to recover, while he, Hunt, and Brooder move on. At the valley arrows are shot at the three men and Brooder is injured badly but they kill two attackers. Brooder makes them leave and takes out 3 more before being killed himself. The attackers capture Hunt and Chicory and imprison them in their cave. The men find Samantha, and an injured Nick, imprisoned in a nearby cage.

They inform Hunt that the tribesmen have already killed and eaten Purvis. They witness Nick removed from his cell, stripped, brutally scalped, and bisected alive, then consumed in a truly brutal scene. Samantha estimates the number of hostile cannibals to be around twelve (reduced to nine earlier by Hunt’s posse). Hunt uses some opium tincture in a flask and lure the troglodytes to drink it.  only one drinks a fatal dose, and only one becomes unconscious. Meanwhile, Arthur wakes up, follows the men’s trail and discovers the valley. He kills two tribesmen and notices an object embedded in their windpipes. After cutting one out, he realizes it is like a whistle. He blows on it, luring another tribesman close, then kills him.

The leader, with wild boar tusks, gets angry and with another of his men pull Hunt outta his cell and cut him in the abdomen. He then takes Hunt’s rifle and shoots him in the arm and abdomen. Arthur arrives and kills one of the tribesmen, while Hunt kills the leader with one of the tribe’s bone tomahawks. Arthur frees Samantha and Chicory, while a mortally wounded Hunt stays behind with his rifle. He prepares to kill the surviving cannibals when they return, to prevent them from terrorizing Bright Hope. As the three leave the cave, they see two pregnant females, who are blinded and have all their limbs amputated. After a bit they hear three gun shots and they smile knowing that Hunt has killed the remaining 3 and they make their way home.

It was quite a bit dull and dragging. I feel that the movie should have been shorter as there were long periods of little activity and just walking or talking. The movie lacks in excitement or even intrigue. When the team get captured though things begin to pick up. 6 outta 10!

Child’s Play 2

Child’s Play 2 is a 1990 American slasher film and the sequel to Child’s Play, written by Don Mancini and directed by John Lafia, one of the co-writers in the first film. It is the second film in the Child’s Play franchise and set two years after the first film; the plot follows Charles Lee Ray (better known as Chucky) continuing his pursuit for Andy Barclay, who was placed in foster care, and transferring his soul into him after being resurrected. The film stars Alex Vincent, who returns as Andy Barclay; Gerrit Graham and Jenny Agutter as Andy’s foster parents; Christine Elise as Kyle; and Brad Dourif as the voice of Chucky.

The sequel is set 2 years later, the toy company PlayPals determine that there is nothing wrong with the dolls and start production again. Somehow the Chucky doll, is refitted and brought to the factory. One of the men working on Chucky is killed by electrocution. As a result, the CEO of the company, Mr. Sullivan (Peter Haskell), orders his assistant Mattson (Greg Germann) to cover the accident and get rid of Chucky. With Andy’s mother in a mental institute, the boy us now in foster care and is sent to live with  Phil (Gerrit Graham) and Joanne Simpson (Jenny Agutter). In his new home, Andy meets his new foster sister Kyle (Christine Elise).

The electrocution resurrects Chucky and he finds out Andy’s foster home address and kills Mattson in his car. At the house, Chucky finds “Tommy” a Good Guy doll in the Simpson’s house, that had scared Andy, and activates him by accident. He destroys it using a destroys him with Joanne’s ornament. Chucky then buries the doll in the garden and takes his place as “Tommy”. Phil punishes Andy and Kyle, believing one of them broke the ornament. After Andy spends the rest of the day with Kyle, he is attacked by Chucky, who ties him up and gags him with socks in order to possess him, but the ritual is stopped by Kyle. After Andy claimed Chucky tied him up, Phil throws Chucky in the basement. Chucky, left alone, comes back to life and discovers a major nosebleed of his, meaning he’s going human again. Therefore, he realizes that if he doesn’t get in Andy’s body in time, he will remain as a doll.

Chucky follows Andy to school and gets him in trouble there and even kills his teacher. Phil is thinking of sending Andy back to the foster center. Later that night, Andy tries to kill Chucky with an electric knife in the basement, but Chucky attacks him. Phil goes to investigate the commotion but Chucky trips and neck-snaps him, killing him. Joanne, convinced that Andy murdered Phil, sends him back to the foster center. Kyle discovers the buried doll in the garden and realizes Andy was telling the truth all along and rushes in to warn Joanne only to find her dead. Chucky burst from the blankets of the bed behind her and attacks Kyle. Kyle is then forced by Chucky to drive him to the center to find Andy. There, during a false fire alarm, Chucky kills Grace and orders Andy to take him to the PlayPals “Good Guys” factory for the transfer.

At the factory Chucks tries to complete the ritual but it is too late and he seems to be stuck in the dolls body. Kyle arrives and together with Andy they evade Chucky and then pours molten plastic all over him. Andy then saves Kyle by pulling her off of a conveyor belt, and shows her Chucky’s melted body. Kyle thinks that the doll is dead, but Chucky jolts up and struggles with her, until she shoves a helium tube in his mouth, resulting in his head exploding. After Kyle and Andy escape the factory, Kyle tells them they’re going home. Andy asks where that is, to which Kyle says she doesn’t know.

A good sequel to the first movie and one I remember watching all those years ago. It’s a solid cast as well. I give it a 7 outta 10!

Child’s Play

Child’s Play is a 1988 American slasher film directed and co-written by Tom Holland, and produced by David Kirschner from a story by Don Mancini. It is the first film in the Child’s Play series and the first installment to feature the character Chucky. It stars Catherine Hicks, Dinah Manoff, Chris Sarandon, Alex Vincent, and Brad Dourif.

This is a classic horror franchise and film which I watched at the age of 14 I guess, which was in 1990. I remember a cousin of mine telling me about it and I’ve watched it twice and today was my first view of the movie since those early 90s. I also remember renting the 2nd & 3rd films in the franchise and I have also seen Bride Of Chucky on cable a many years ago.

Charles “Chucky” Lee Ray is a criminal & serial killer who is shot by homicide detective Mike Norris on his way to a getaway car. His accomplice, Eddie, panics and leaves him behind. Charles is shot in the leg and tries to hide in a toy store nearby but Norris follows him and fatally shoots him from afar.  Realizing that he is soon going to die, he transfers his soul into a “Good Guys” doll via a Haitian Vodou spell. A bolt of lightning causes the shop to explode. Mike survives the explosion and enters the shop, only to find Charles’ dead body and all the “Good Guys” dolls on the floor. With the store destroyed and a crime scene, the doll ends up being taken by a hobo who sells it a day later for a smaller rate to widow Karen Barclay, who’s son is turning 6 that day.

Later that evening, Karen’s friend Maggie Peterson babysits Andy and is annoyed when Andy disobeys her saying that Chucky wants to watch the news. After putting Andy to bed, Maggie is hit in the face with a hammer and falls out the window to her death. The police search the apartment. Detective Norris deems Andy a suspect, much to the annoyance of Karen, who orders Mike and the police to leave once they complete their investigation. The next day Chucky gets Andy to skip school and head to Eddie’s lair. While Any is urinating Chucky sneaks into Eddie’s lair, turning off a stove’s pilot light but turning up the gas. As Eddie shoots the stove, the house blows up, killing him. Andy, once again a suspect, is placed in a psychiatric hospital. That night, Karen discovers that Chucky’s batteries were never inserted, and that Andy was telling the truth about Chucky functioning on his own power. While she is inspecting the doll, Chucky comes to life, bites her arm, and escapes.

She finds Norris and shows him the bite wound that Chucky made. He does not believe her and leaves. Chucky tries to strangle Mike from the backseat using a cord but Mike burns Chucky with a cigarette lighter. After that, Chucky attempts to stab Mike. Mike shoots him and Chucky retreats. After that, Mike finally agrees to help Karen. Chucky tortures John, the voodoo practitioner who taught him the spell him, and he says that the longer he stays in the doll, the more human he will become that he has to transfer his soul to the first person who he revealed his true identity to which is Andy. Before bleeding out and dying, John tells Norris that although Chucky is a doll, his heart is fully human and vulnerable to fatal injury.

Chucky attacks Andy at his home but Karen and Norris arrive and stops Chucky from completing the ritual to transfer his soul to Andy. Chucky slashes Norris Mike, then goes after Karen and Andy. Soon, the pair trap Chucky in the fireplace and burn him alive. Karen and Andy leave the room to help Mike, but a heavily burned Chucky follows them and attempts to kill them, since burning him alive didn’t work. Chucky is again thought to be killed when Karen shoots off his head, arm, and leg. Mike’s partner Jack Santos arrives at the apartment, and disbelieves the trio’s story just before Chucky’s body then bursts through a ventilation duct and tries to strangle Jack. During the struggle, Karen tells Mike to aim and shoot at Chucky’s heart (as John told them to do) which Mike does finally killing him.

While Mike, Jack and Karen go to the hospital, Karen turns off the bedroom’s lights and Andy looks back at Chucky’s burned remains before closing the door. This itself in an indication to the audience that the producers wanted to make sequels from the beginning – Andy’s look indicates that he knows that this is not the end. They did a great job finding the right innocent kid for the role. Brad Dourif, who had 3 appearances in Star Trek Voyager as a psychotic Betazoid,  is an apt choice for the mainly voice role as Chucky and he and Catherine Hicks (from Star Trek IV : The Voyage Home) are the Star Trek connection to this role. 7.5 outta 10!

The Masked Killer Returns

I maybe a fairly recent fan of the Halloween movie franchise – I watched the Rob Zombie versions first back in 2012 and the original series of movies in 2013 – and I may have only watched all the movies twice in my life, but I have my strong opinions about this franchise. I respect all the movies even though I have my hatred of some of them (I’m looking at the pile of cow dung that was Halloween : Resurrection) I still have strong feelings about the upcoming movie Halloween (2018 ) ignoring all the sequels of the original 1978 movie.

It’s 40 years after the original and we are to only consider the events of the 1978 original and ignore everything else. And it’s supposed to be the final ever Halloween movie as declared by the franchise’s creator, John Carpenter. In this film, where Laurie Strode comes face-to-face with Michael Myers for one final confrontation. With Jamie Lee Curtis back on board (and Carpenter serving as an executive producer and the film’s composer), one can’t feel but excited but I still feel that they are pissing on the sequels which made the franchise have such a strong and large fan following.

Anyways, I will be waiting for the film and if it comes in theatres here, I will buy a ticket and watch Mickey and Laurie face off for the final time.

The Strangers

The Strangers is a 2008 American slasher film written and directed by Bryan Bertino. Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) are expecting a relaxing weekend at a family vacation home, but their stay turns out to be anything but peaceful as three masked torturers leave Kristen and James struggling for survival. Writer-director Bertino was inspired by real-life events: the Manson family Tate murders, a multiple homicide; the Keddie Cabin Murders, that occurred in California in 1981; and a series of break-ins that occurred in his own neighborhood as a child. Made on a budget of $9 million, the film was shot on location in rural South Carolina in the fall of 2006.

This is the kind of movie that makes me ask the question; why do Americans build or buy houses that are either in the woods or in a secluded place? Nothing good comes out of it people! This is a home invasion film that happens to a couple, James and Kristen, who have come to James’s secluded family summer home after attending a friend’s wedding. They are both sad and irritable as James had planned a romantic night for them and proposed to Kristen but she apparently said no and they are breaking up. A strange girl knocks at their door at 4 am asking for Tamara and she leaves when they say she has the wrong house.

James goes to buy cigarettes and Kristen hears banging on the door that scares her. She knows someone is in the house when her charges goes missing and a smoke detector is removed and is startled by a man in a mask outside the window as well as the Dollface, the girl from earlier, trying to get in. She slams the door shut and calls James. James comes home and is spooked by Dollface and he and Kristen try to leave in his car but the strangers smash their truck into their car. Back inside the house, Kristen and James find a shotgun and wait for the intruders in a bedroom. Their friend Mike comes over as James had called him to come pick him up and James mistakes him for an intruder and shoots him dead by accident.

While trying to get outside and find help both of them are caught and attacked and they wake up to find themselves tied to chairs. Kristen asks, “Why are you doing this?”, Dollface replies, “Because you were home.” The strangers then unmask themselves to the couple offscreen, and take turns stabbing the couple before leaving the home. Two boys distributing religious pamphlets find the door open and Kristen, who isn’t dead, screams for help as the movie ends.

Disturbing for sure, scary in a non-supernatural way this film set over a night is effective in parts. I give it a 7 outta 10 for the scares.

Hostel

Hostel is a 2005 American horror film written and directed by Eli Roth. It stars Jay Hernandez and was produced by Mike Fleiss, Eli Roth, and Chris Briggs; Boaz Yakin, Scott Spiegel, and Quentin Tarantino are executive producers. It is the first installment of the Hostel trilogy, followed by Hostel: Part II (2007) and Hostel: Part III (2011). The film tells the story of two college students traveling across Europe, who find themselves preyed upon by a mysterious group that tortures and kills kidnapped back-packers.

Two American graduate students, Josh & Paxton, on holiday are backpacking across Europe along with their Icelandic friend Oli. They have a grand time in Amsterdam, acting like total douches and having sex with prostitutes in the read light district. One night, they meet Alexie, who tells them about  a hostel in Slovakia filled with beautiful women, who are willing to sleep with any foreigners. The three friends travel to Slovakia on a train and have a strange encounter with a middle-aged Dutch business man who places his hand on Josh’s knee.

Brushing that encounter off, the three men are joined by two beautiful women, Natalya and Svetlana, at their hostel who invite them to the spa, and later to the disco. Paxton and Josh have sex with Natalya and Svetlana, while Óli leaves with the desk girl, Vala. When they wake up Oli is missing and Kana, a Japanese girl, shows them a pic of him with her friend, saying that he has left with her. At a party that night both Josh & Paxton are given tranquilizers in their drinks and Josh is tied up in an old factory and tortured by the Dutch businessman who cuts his ankles, makes him crawl and then kills him. Paxton wakes up in a store room having fallen unconscious there and tries to find Josh. Svetlana takes him to the factory where he sees Josh’s mutilated body and the Dutch businessman and freaks out.

He is caught by thugs and tied up. A German man severs two of Paxton’s fingers and the American pleads for his life in German. His hand gets free in a tussle and when the German rushes at him, he trips on some blood and cuts his own leg. Paxton takes a gun and shoots the German dead and hides among some hen takes the elevator to the top floor and enters the dressing room, where he changes into business clothes, and finds a business card for the Elite Hunting club, an organization where rich people pay to kill tourists. He also meets an American client, who mistakes him for another customer, and picks up his gun. Paxton then helps Kana, who is being tortured by the American client, kills him and helps her to escape.

In a stolen car they leave the compound pursued by guards. While driving, Paxton sees Natalya, Svetlana, and Alexei, and runs them over, killing them. Paxton and Kana make it to the train station, but after seeing a reflection of her disfigured face, Kana leaps in front of an oncoming train and kills herself. This creates a distraction, allowing Paxton to board another train unnoticed. He then hears the Dutch businessman who is there with his daughter and at a toilet stall, Paxton abducts the young girl and takes her away with him in another train while the Dutch businessman searches frantically for her.

While the first part of this film is downright silly, American frat boys yelling and being obnoxious, drinking and being stupid about sex, the torture part is chilling. 6 outta 10!

The Amityville Horror (2005)

This review was written in 2006 on another blog that I had before this one. I’ve just made a few tweeks.

This is a movie based on the 1977 book which was ostensibly inspired by a real life mass murder in Long Island, New York. A movie was made in 1979, which is still one of my family’s favourite horror movies, although I can’t remember seeing it. And I didn’t know much about the story either, so that left me as a newbie to the movie. It stars Ryan Reynolds as George Lutz and Melissa George as Kathy Lutz. The couple, along with their three children, move into what they believe will be their dream home; unaware that it previously belonged to the DeFeo family, and that Ronald DeFeo, Jr. had murdered his parents and siblings with a rifle the year before. DeFeo had claimed it was the “voices” that caused him to do it. It doesn’t take long for the Lutz family to start hearing ghostly voices, and witnessing apparitions, including the ghost of Jodie DeFeo, who appears to little Chelsea as a friend.

George is the most affected, and he eventually becomes a danger to those around him. In the true story (at least, some believe it to be true) that inspired “The Amityville Horror,” George Lutz woke up demonized every night at 3:15 a.m., the exact time a boy living in his house a year earlier killed his family The local priest is called in to bless the house, and he fails, warning Kathy to leave the house before it’s too late.

There are some creepy moments in the film, which disappointing because it ends so quickly and without proper closure as such. There were so many angles that the movie makers could have tried, in order to really make this an excellent movie. I read that this version is more true to the book by Jay Anson and not the original movie of 1979. Hence people who saw & liked the first movie may have reservations after seeing the 2005 version. The kids in the movie do a terrific job, Melissa George plays a convincing young mother torn between protecting & raising her three kids and the love she has for her new husband.

But the top marks for the movie should go to Ryan Reynolds, who plays a good disturbed character. Reynolds is know more for his goofy characters and his funny roles like “Michael Bergin” in the sitcom series Two Guys & A Girl and as “Van Wilder” in National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (and yeah Deadpool). A guy who normally makes us laugh and wince to hilarious & disgusting antics like farting & stuff, stuns in a total makeover role for him.

I give this film a 7 outta 10!

A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place is a 2018 American science fiction horror film directed by John Krasinski, who stars with Emily Blunt, his real-life wife. The film is produced by Michael Bay’s company, Platinum Dunes,  Principal photography took place later in the year in upstate New York. In A Quiet Place, a family must live life in silence while hiding from extraterrestrial creatures that hunt by sound.

So that’s the premise of this film, which starts on day 89 of the attack. We don’t get to see how the alien creatures landed or we sent to earth and how the destruction started and wiped out almost everyone on earth, including most of the animal life. But there is this one family – dad Lee, mom Evelyn, older deaf & mute daughter Regan, sons Marcus & youngest Beau. They are scavenging supplies in a store and head on their way. Beau plays with a toy spacecraft which he finds in the store and he turns it on – a few seconds later he is killed by one of the creatures before Lee can get to him.

First of all, in this kinda situation why would you have your family walk single file, with the dad carrying the older son, mom just behind him, then the oldest kid and the small kid walking way at the back of the line? That is just asking for him to do something silly (like little kids would do) and get himself kid! It’s bad parenting! Over a year later they live in a farm in the countryside and Evelyn is pregnant and is due. Lee takes Marcus fishing with him and tells him, they can talk next to the waterfall and sound of falling water as the aliens won’t hear them talking softly as the louder noise will distract them. Ofcourse this is also the time when Evelyn has to go into labour and walking down the steps she steps on a sharp nail and drops a lantern.

This alerts a creature nearby & Evelyn hides but flips a switch that changes the exterior house lights to red as a danger signal to the others, and struggles to remain silent during her contractions. Marcus & Lee runs into an old man, who screams after his wife’s body is found and is killed by a creature. A chase happens in the end where a creature is tracking Evelyn, while another hunts Regan. Lee comes to the house, leaving Marcus with some fireworks, which he fires to distract the creatures. Regan and Marcus are chased to a grain silo where the creature attacks them Regan’s cochlear implant reacts to the proximity of the creature by emitting a piercingly loud high-frequency sound that drives it away. The children escape from the silo and reunite with Lee.

Lee sacrifices himself to save his kids and escape to meet mom and the new baby. When the creature returns to invade the basement, Regan, who realizes that the sound made by the implant distresses the creature, switches the device back on and places it on a nearby microphone, magnifying the feedback. Painfully disoriented, the creature exposes the flesh beneath its armored head, which Evelyn shoots, killing it. The family views a CCTV monitor, showing two creatures attracted by the noise of the shotgun blast approaching the house. With their newly acquired knowledge of the creatures’ weakness, the members of the family arm themselves and prepare to fight back.

While the storyline is unique, using silence and sign language to great effect, less backstory leaves me a bit baffled as to how come almost everyone else is dead and no other signs of civilization seemed to have survived. Where did the alien creatures come from, how did they get here, who sent them and set them loose on our planet? The horror is genuinely fresh and the kids do a great job. 7.5 outta 10!

Deliver Us from Evil

Deliver Us from Evil is a 2014 American supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The film is officially based on a 2001 non-fiction book entitled Beware the Night by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool, and its marketing campaign highlighted that it was “inspired by actual accounts”. The film stars Eric Bana, Édgar Ramírez, Sean Harris, Olivia Munn, and Joel McHale in the main roles and was released on July 2, 2014.

Three marines find an underground cavern and when they explore it it goes all dark and they start to scream. Three years later, Bronx detectives Ralph Sarchie and his partner Butler are called to investigate a domestic abuse situation. When they get there the man Jimmy, one of the Marines, tries to say things are cool but when the cops see the wife with bruises and a blackeye, he bolts and escapes. Sarchie catches up to Jimmy and makes the arrest; although, not without suffering a sizable wound to his forearm that will require stitches. The officers notice that Jimmy’s fingernails are cracked and bleeding, and they assume that he is mentally ill or high on drugs.

At the Bronx a woman throws her baby into a moat and the cops investigate finding her in a feral state rapidly recites the lyrics to “Break On Through (To the Other Side)”. Sarchie notices a painter inside the lion enclosure. He enters the pen to interrogate the mysterious man, but he is attacked by the lions and barely escapes. The deranged woman is taken to the precinct where a Jesuit priest, Mendoza, who comes on her family’s request and he asks a bunch of questions to the cops. At another domestic disturbance at a house where light bulbs instantly burn out and candles will not remain lit, cops find the body of one of the painters who were working on the basement, David Griggs. Sarchie & Butler find a picture of Griggs with Jane Crenna and the child that she threw at the zoo at the desceased’s apartment. In another picture, Griggs is pictured in his Marine uniform with Jimmy Tratner and a third Marine, Santino. They realize Santino must have been the painter at the zoo.

Mendoza believes that Jane is possessed by demons, and he explains that there is secondary evil created by humans and primary evil which comes from demons. Sarchie is skeptical, but when he reviews the surveillance footage with Butler, he hears strange noises and sees things that Butler does not. Sarchie returns to Jimmy Tratner’s house and finds a wall that was being painted in Jimmy’s home office. He scrapes away the paint to find a pictograph of an owl. At Sarchie’s home, his daughter lies in bed as a stuffed owl stares ominously at her from a shelf in her bedroom. She is awakened by strange noises and frightened. Sarchie has scraped finds a bizarre mix of Latin and ancient pictographs and some hard drives with footage from Tratner’s deployments and watches the full footage from the palm grove in Diyala.

In the cave, the soldiers found a carving of the same message that is on the wall in Tratner’s home as well as the basement and the zoo wall. With Mendoza, he visits Jane Crenna in the mental hospital and shows her the message from the cave. She savagely bites Sarchie’s already wounded forearm.Mendoza decodes the message as a kind of bridge between Christian and pagan theology which would theoretically allow demons a door to the human world. He explains that certain people are more susceptible to such messages than others. Mendoza goes with Sarchie and Butler to an apartment building where they are attacked by Santino and Jimmy Tratner. Tratner is subdued by Mendoza’s cross. Santino overwhelms and eventually kills Butler.

At Sarchie’s home, his daughter is once again awoken during the night. Her stuffed owl rolls off the shelf and advances towards her bed. As she runs screaming from the room, she sees Santino in the hallway. Sarchie arrives home to find Santino in his living room. Santino warns that he has abducted Sarchie’s wife and daughter. Santino is brought to the precinct where Mendoza and Sarchie perform an exorcism on him. Sarchie’s wife and daughter are located in an Alphonsus Painting van at a storage facility. The film ends with the baptism of the Sarchies’ second child.

While it started out and had some promise, the movie turns out to be another one of these stupid Christian theology and mythological nonsense which is propaganda by 2001 non-fiction book entitled Beware the Night by Ralph Sarchie and Lisa Collier Cool. Disappointed. 6.5 outta 10!

The Crucifixion

The Crucifixion is a 2017 American horror film directed by Xavier Gens, written by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes and starring Sophie Cookson, Brittany Ashworth and Corneliu Ulici. It is based on the Tanacu exorcism that took place in Vaslui County, Romania, in 2005.

It’s another skeptic turned believer in Christian mumbo jumbo in the end kinda horror movie. In Bucharest, 2004 Father Dumitru and several nuns perform a violent exorcism on Sister Adelina Marinescu, who is believed to be possessed by the demon Agares. Dumitru and four nuns are arrested for murder when the three-day ordeal culminates in the death of Adelina. New York journalist Nicole Rawlins convinces her editor to let her investigate the case. He cautions Nicole to not allow her personal views on faith or the death of her mother to affect her objectivity.

She meets the priest and interviews him as well as one of the nuns, Vaduva who was best friends with Adelina and  local priest Father Anton who helps her with her investigations. Anton directs Nicole to speak directly to Bishop Gornick at St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Bishop Gornick tells Nicole that Adelina was mentally ill, not possessed, then goes on to infer that Father Dumitru was a rogue priest who overzealously performed an inordinate amount of exorcisms. She then has a strange encounter with mute gypsy boy Tavian Amanar outside. Anton theorizes that the demon allowed Adelina to die because it no longer needed her and could transfer its evil into someone else for another possession.

Nicole starts getting spooky visions of beings and gets scared when she finds dead insects from nowhere in her wine. Anton theorizes that the demon allowed Adelina to die because it no longer needed her and could transfer its evil into someone else for another possession. She even gets dreams of having sex with Anton. Another visit with Vaduva reveals that Adelina fell in love with a man who led her away from the church, but the relationship ended unexpectedly. Adelina’s plea for God’s forgiveness seemingly invited The Devil instead. Vaduva describes what Adelina’s exorcism was like. Nicole interviews Dr. Funar, who diagnosed Adelina as a schizophrenic. Dr. Funar recalls a demonic vision Adelina had during her diagnosis.

Nicole ends up getting possessed by the demon Angares and starts violently levitating. Anton performs an exorcism, pleading for Nicole to renew her faith. Nicole has a vision of her mother as the demon is ultimately expelled from her body. Nicole returns to New York. Father Dumitru and the nuns serve seven years in prison for Sister Adelina’s murder.

Hardly effective or compelling, despite a few scares but the movie failed to entertain me or scare me. I might still be compelled to watch horror movies with demon possessions but fewer and fewer are actually good. 6 outta 10!

The Cured

The Cured is a 2017 horror drama film written and directed by David Freyne. It stars Ellen Page, Sam Keeley, Paula Malcomson and Tom Vaughan-Lawlor. Set in Ireland it shows the aftermath of a plague caused by a virus that leaves the infected in a zombie like stage, making them aggressive and cannibalistic.  The Maze Virus, had swept through Europe until a cure was found and 75% of the infected were able to be treated and they can become normal humans again. However, they remember what they did during their time as a zombie and it affects them even after they are cured. The remaining 25% of the infected stay in the same stage and are resistant to the cure.

5 years after the outbreak Senan, who is cured is sent out into the regular world and his widowed sister-in-law Abbie agrees to take him. She also has her young son Cillian who though initially does not take to Senan, later bonds with him while playing games. Senan doesn’t tell Abbie that her husband, his brother, was killed by him just after he got infected. Also released the same day as Senan is Connor, who was a promising politician, a friend of Senan who was the one who infected him. Connor is rejected by his father as he had killed his own mother while in the zombie stage.

Senan takes a job at the hospital where the Resistant are housed, and observes that the Resistant show no interest in attacking the Cured. This is a source of political tension in the community, as the never-infected suspect aloud that the Cured would love to see another outbreak of the Maze Virus, as they would be largely immune to its effects. Senan reluctantly joins Conor’s group of Cured people as they are shunned by society and are subjected to hatred. When a mission goes wrong and a military man is killed Sergeant Cantor, who is their rehabilitation officer, suspects Conor and Senan and he informs Abbie about them. Conor tells Abbie that he infected Senan and the later killed his brother,

Confronting Senan who admits this, Abbie throws him out.  It is announced in various news broadcasts that the government is planning to euthanize the 25% (5000 patients) who are Resistant, despite the assertions of a prominent virologist that a better vaccine for the Resistant is nearly developed. Senan assists Cantor in a sting operation to arrest Conor after he confesses aloud to the arson; however, Conor violently murders Cantor and flees after showing a rare emotional outburst, blaming Senan for betraying him. Conor and the Cured Alliance set in motion a drastic plan to free the Resistant from their cellblock and the infected start attacking the people in the streets and their homes.

Senan finds Abbie, who is frantically trying to retrieve Cillian from his school. Senan rescues Cillian but is confronted by Conor, who beats him savagely. A soldier shoots Conor but he escapes and his fate is unknown. Senan, Abbie and Cillian return to their apartment, but Cillian is bit by an infected and begins showing immediate signs of infection. Senan, knowing he is immune, takes Cillian, and tells Abbie he will keep him safe until another vaccine is available. Some semblance of order returns an unspecified time later as Abbie watches the news waiting for some news of her son.

Dull, boring and leaves you not rooting for anything or anyone in particular. I wanted to watch the movie for seeing Ellen Page. It’s an unmemorable film in a field of zombie flicks, numerous of which are vastly superior. 6 outta 10!

The Skeleton Key

The Skeleton Key is a 2005 American supernatural horror film directed by Iain Softley, written by Ehren Kruger and starring Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard and Joy Bryant. The film centers on a young hospice nurse who acquires a job at a Terrebonne Parish plantation home, and becomes entangled in a supernatural mystery involving the house, its former inhabitants and the hoodoo rituals and spells that took place there. It was released in the United States on August 12, 2005. This movie was a recommendation from a website that highlighted underrated horror flicks throughout the ages.

Caroline, a hospice worker, takes a job as the caretaker of an isolated plantation house in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. The elderly lady of the house, Violet Devereaux, needs help looking after her husband Benjamin, who was mostly paralyzed by an apparent stroke. At the insistence of the family’s estate lawyer, Luke Marshall, Caroline accepts the position. Things are not as it seems, though. She learns that the original owners lynched their hoodoo practising servants, Papa Justify & Mam Celine, when they were found in the attic including the owners kids in a ritual. The kids who lived there till they were old supposedly sold the house to Ben & Violent in 1962.

Using a skeleton key that Violet gave her, Caroline explorers the attic in between taking care of Ben, who even crawls out of the window and falls onto the ground. Caroline finds help me scrawled onto his sheet which then goes missing. Caroline borrows a phonograph record called the “Conjure of Sacrifice” from the attic, which is a recording of Papa Justify reciting a Hoodoo ritual. Caroline surmises that Ben’s stroke was induced by Hoodoo, but believes that his paralytic state is a nocebo effect induced by his own belief, rather than something supernatural. Taking advice from her friend Jill, Caroline accesses a hidden Hoodoo shop in a nearby laundromat, where a Hoodoo woman gives her tools and instructions to cure Ben. After conducting the ritual, Ben regains some ability to speak and move, and he begs Caroline to get him away from Violet.

Caroline tells Luke about her suspicions towards Violet, but he remains skeptical. A blind proprietor at a gas station tells them about the Conjure of Sacrifice, which she learns is a Hoodoo spell wherein the caster steals the remaining years of life from the victim. Increasingly convinced of Hoodoo’s authenticity, Caroline fears that Violet will soon cast the spell on Ben. Caroline discovers that Violet is unable to pass a line of brick dust laid across one of the house’s doorways, confirming her suspicions. She drugs Violet and tries to drive off with Ben but the gates are chained and locked. Hiding Ben, Caroline goes to meet Luke but finds out too late that he is Violet’s accomplice and he brings her to the house.

Caroline flees to the attic (pushing Violet down the stairs and breaking her legs in the process), calls 9-1-1 and Jill for help, and casts what she believes is a protective spell. Violet, having caught up with her, reveals she actually trapped herself inside a protective circle. Violet pushes a full-length mirror at Caroline, which reflects one of the original owner’s children, then Violet, and lastly Cecile. A recording of the Conjure of Sacrifice plays, and the two switch bodies. Violet (revealed to be Mama Cecile, who had been occupying Violet’s body through the Conjure) wakes up in Caroline’s body, and force-feeds Caroline (now in Violet’s body) a potion that induces a stroke-like paralytic state.

Luke (revealed to be Papa Justify) arrives upstairs, and it is revealed that Mama Cecile and Papa Justify have been conducting the Conjure of Sacrifice on new people since their supposed lynching. At the end of the movie Papa Justify and Mama Cecile in Luke’s & Caroline’s body remain in the house as an ambulance takes away the paralyzed dying bodies of Violet and Ben.

Good film, though it drags a bit and I am fascinated by the plot and the hoodoo practice. A bit more excitement would have made the film better. 7.5 outta 10!