Category Archives: horror

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.

We Are What We Are * Jim Mickle (2013)

So is this the remake of “Somos Le Que Hay” (2010)? The Spanish film has been on my wish-list for quite a while and I did not want to watch the remake, but perhaps I put the remake on my wish-list afterall because I cannot seem to find a way to see the original.

Both films have a ‘below 6’ on IMDb.com and I must say, for this remake this is very just. It starts as a descent, nicely built-up thriller with an unfolding story. Then the number of ‘yeah right moments’ increase and the film works towards a preposterously awful end. I guess this end is supposed to be shocking or surprising, but it is so corny that neither works.

In short the story. We follow a family that is much on its own. When the mother dies, the eldest daughter is supposed to take over certain responsibilities. The viewer gets a peek into the family’s dark secret.

With a better written ending this could have been a descent film, but now it is not.

American Horror Story Coven * Brad Falchuk & Ryan Murphy (season 3 2013)

The second season of “American Horror Story” was great, so I was curious what the third season would be like. The story this time is about a home for young witches. Jessica Lange has a part comparable to the previous season. Fitting with the ‘concept’ of the series, there are other actors from previous seasons that return, such as Evan Peters, Sarah Poulson and Frances Conroy.

Cordelia Foxx runs a school for young witches because she fears that witches will die out on current times so she wants to bring them together and train them. Her school is not big, just a few young ladies. Cordelia’s mother (Fiona, played by Lange) is “the supreme” and pretty much a despot. The whole series circle around “the next supreme”. Who will it be?
Then there are a few story lines. There is a competitive group of witches, a voodoo-group around Marie Laveau.
Laveau took revenge on Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a brutal Renaissance landlady whose character brings the topic of racism violently into the story. LaLaurie makes a wonderfully weird element to the story that allowed the creators of the series some grim humor.
The series contain brilliant and weird episodes not unlike “Asylum”, but also teeny-witchy epioses. Especially the final episode is awful.

Overall I think that this third season is fairly good, but it has too many weak episodes to be as good as season 2. It is weirder than season 1, but that season is more ‘consistent in level’. Season 3 has more highs and lows and the highs make this season more ‘watch-worthy’ than the opening season in my opinion.

The Theatre Bizarre * various directors (2011)

An odd cover and Udo Kier on the box made me decide to take this film home. Not a too good choice though….

“The Theatre Bizarre” is six films by six different directors, plus a “framing segment” knitting the other parts together. This “framing fragment” (by Jeremy Kasten) contains Udo Kier working in a theatre and announcing the different parts which are the other films. “The Theatre Bizarre” watches like a compilation of filmmakers with no wealth of experience and with tiny budgets. The acting in most segments is unconvincing and the results of most parts are the well-known gruely horror that you can see on smaller film festivals.

We have a part in which a man cannot accept his girlfriend leaving (“I Love You” by Buddy Giovinazzo) so he cuts her up. A similar story in which a guy is addicted to candy (“Sweets” by David Gregory). “The Mother Of Toads” (Richard Stanley) is a more typical horror in which a young man runs into a black magic woman. Tom Savini’s “Wet Dreams” tells the story of a man having disturbings dreams that may not be dreams. The best short of this compilation is “Vision Stains” by Karim Hussain which is about a mother and her daughter who witness a motorcycle accident, which makes the daughter think about death.

Like I said, most of the films somehow turn into a bloody mess which does not really ‘work’ any more since decades of splatter horror.