Category Archives: horror

The Dead Don’t Die – Jim Jarmusch (2019)

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Jarmusch goes takes a stab at the zombie genre. This being a Jarmusch you will not be surprised when I say that the film is slow, minimalist and that Sqürl is in the soundtrack.

Jarmusch came up with an original reason for zombiefication, but for the largest part, this is a predictable zombie film. He has some amusing parts for famous actors/people, such as Bill Murray, Iggy Pop, Tom Waits and Tilda Swinton.

Like I said, no surprises, but an amusing film with cold humour. Towards the end Jarmusch starts to weave in morality which is quite overdone.

American Horror Story Roanoke (series) – Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy (season 6 2016/7)

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Reading back my reviews of previous seasons I see that I am seldom overly enthousiastic about “American Horror Story”, yet my memories usually seem more positive.

My first thought about “Roanoke” is that it is the least interesting season so far. Looking back I remember the first season as alright, of the third, fourth and fifth I have good memories.

In “Roanoke” the series live up most to the term “horror” in the title. The series sets off as a bit of a “Blair Witch” type horror with pressing atmosphere and the suggestion that what happens is real. The story is told in interviews and images and the result is pretty much horror. Then the creators start to use different styles of horror going from found footage, jumpscare to torture and a bit of zombie-like horror. Way too horror for my liking. Only here and there the black humor of the previous series found its way into the story.

And then we get a variation to the story and another one and another one until it all becomes pretty dreary.

The story is simple. A mixed couple flees the city and buy a massive house in the middle of nowhere. Of course there are (un)dead people who do not want them there. In the variations the creators show how (social) media exploits such events which is one of the few positive points about “Roanoke”.

As I said before, the different seasons have nothing incommon with the rest except for the actors. If your preference does not lay in typical horror, I would advice to skip season 6.

In-Lyu-Myeol-Mang-Bo-Go-Seo – Pil-Sung Yim (2012)

IMDb.com

“Doomsday Book” are three short films put after the other. It opens with a film which shows the massive meat consumption and the production thereof. The proces leads to a zombie apocalypse.

The second part is more interesting. A Buddhist monastery has a robot for administration, but the robot starts to reach enlightenment. This leads to philosophical questions about mankind and the nature of enlightenment.

In the last part a girl orders a billiards ball, but she uses the wrong webshop, ordering a meteorite that will destroy life on earth.

There are no masterpieces here, but he middle part has an interesting approach to artificial intelligence. The films have some strange humor too.

Get Out – Jordan Peele (2017)

I guess I have missed why this film is so well-received. It is a very predictable thriller with horror elements. I guess it is because it points towards contemporary (latent) racism.

The white Rose brings her black boyfriend Chris for a weekend with her parents. Soon there proves to be a big family party in the same weekend. It is immediately clear that something is wrong in the family and the film takes no unexpected turns. Perhaps that is even a good thing now every film puts in as many plot changes as possible.

Besides a few descent scenes, the atmosphere is not too good. “Get Out” remains a less than average horror thriller.

Crimson Peak – Guillermo del Toro (2015)

This is not Del Toro’s best. In fact, it is not a very good film in general. Del Toro made a way too Hollywood Victorian ghost house horror film with a very unsurprising story and yawn inspiring special effects.

The American Edith falls in love with the English Thomas who takes her to his gigantic mansion where he lives with his sister. Edith already saw ghosts and of course Thomas’ house is haunted, so Edith tries to get away.

It is not that the film is extremely boring or badly made, but it is but a Hollywood horror production with a very thin Del Toro varnish in fantasy atmosphere.

28 Days Later… – Danny Boyle (2002)

Boy, this film is bad… Just another zombie film with an attempt at an intelligent script.

Jim wakes up in an empty city of London. On wandering around he first encounters a few zombies, then a couple of “uninfected”. The group leaves the city to find a safe place and a series of predictable events occur. Nowhere the film reaches any level and I really wonder where the IMDb rating comes from.

Nope, do not watch this Boyle film.

Pandorum – Christian Alvard (2009)

Here we have a well-written scifi horror.

Bower wakes up in what appears to be an abandoned space ship. He is not alone for long, because Payton falls out of his pod soon too. Bower sets out to explore the ship and soon finds out that he is not alone. Not only members of other crews wander around the ship, also some sort of zombies.

That does not really sound like a swell story, right? Well, the reason they are where they are and why the creatures on the ship are there as as well, makes a fair story. Also the film has a nice, tense atmosphere and the story unfolds slowly. It is too bad that the end does not exactly have the level of the rest of the film, but overall “Pandorum” is a fairly good film.

American Horror Story Hotel (series) – Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy (season 5 2015/6)

As the title suggests, season 5 plays in a hotel. This hotel is inhabited by living people, undead people and (inspite of the previous point) dead people. The undead people feed on the guests, allowing the creators to make bloody scenes with a lot of black humor. As we are used to, there are a lot of familiar actors, most of them in very different roles from previous seasons. There is a “countess” that looks like a perfect part for Jessica Lange, but this season is the first one in which Lange is not featured. I have no idea how that came to be, but the role is played by the lauded Lady Gaga. Gaga is indeed perfect for the part and she plays it exquisitely, but I wonder why she got a grammy for her part and other actors did not.

In any case, “the countess” rules a hotel omnipresent but from the background. She is a weird (looking) creature, but a very sexy one, exactly Lady Gaga. Two people man the front desc. An elderly lady and a drag queen. A policeman trying to find the “Ten Commandments Killer” finds his way to the hotel to no longer leave. “Hotel” is mostly a soap with drama and character development, but there is (of course) quite a bit of horror, also of the annoying ‘look what extreme ways of killing we can come up with’ kind.

Overall “Hotel” is a very descent series. The end is unexpectedly tame which actually adds to the previous.

Silent Hill * Christophe Gans (2006)

Hm, “Silent Hill” makes me ‘limping on two thoughts’. On one hand it is too much of a Hollywood horror, on the other there are elements to it that are interesting. Worked out better, “Silent Hill” could have been a lot better.

In a weak start, Rose chases after her sleepwalking daughter Sharon who sometimes mentions “Silent Hill” in her nightmares. Rose finds out that Silent Hill is a town and decides to take her daughter there in the hope that visiting the village will take away the nightmares.

“Silent Hill” proves to be a ghost-town where some disaster happened. The gloomy scenes of darkness entering the village are well done. The darkness is a bit corny, but there are some good scenes. Too bad that both the main character (Rose) and the actress playing that part (Radha Mitchell) are pretty annoying and the story has some very unlikely elements in which Rose seems to keep forgetting what she encountered earlier.

Better about the film is that it does not explain much and that the story does not ‘add up’ leaving it open to the speculations of the viewers. I do not know if the audience of a typical Hollywood horror is up for that though.

Concluding I must say that “Silent Hill” has some descent scenes and good elements, but the weak points overshadow the film.

American Horror Story Freak Show (series) * Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy (season 4 2015)

The fourth season of “American Horror Story” is of the same level as the first. Nice, but not really more than that. After the great season 2 and the good season 3, follows another ‘alright’ season. And there appear to be 9 seasons planned! I wonder if the makers keep going up and down. That would make quite an ordeal deciding if I want to see them all.

As the title suggests we follow a “freak show”, a circus of people with physical deformities. The story is mostly a drama (soap) with people making friends and arguing. Shorter and longer extra stories bring horror elements. It is indeed fun to see actors from other seasons in wholly different, or rather very comparative roles.
The main character is again played by Jessica Lange and her part is not unlike the previous series. Other actors have larger or smaller parts, but most actors return to “Freak Show” at some point. There are a few big parts played by actors that do not seem to return to the series though.

Perhaps, should you not have seen the series, it could be an idea to not just watch them in chronological order. The stories of each season has nothing to do with the other, so you could also just pick the good seasons. Not that the first and fourth season are bad or boring, but they are nothing compared the second. Season 4 does have great opening titles though.