It's the middle of the final month of 2017, and this month's Cutting Room is here to dive into all the horror flicks we checked out during the start of the food-coma-laden holiday season. CR is a monthly post where we all do short, single-person reviews for movies we’ve watched on our own.
We have a long list of films to review, and while the movies you see here haven’t come up quite yet, they may receive the full review treatment in the future. Let us know if you have some thoughts on any of these movies, and check out past posts in the "More Horror" section!
6 Cut Cords
This was a movie I watched more because I felt like I should than because I legitimately wanted to see it. That’s probably the wrong mindset to enter the movie-watching experience with, but it’s where I was. I’d heard good things and my interest was piqued juuust enough. Ultimately, I think this is a relatively charming film that is carried as far as Alice Lowe can possibly take it, but I just found it somewhat forgettable. There is some good dark comedy at play here which ramps up the charm factor, but nothing else really grabbed me enough to make it one that I’d recommend.
Gerald’s Game (2017)
6.5 Feelings of “You Can Totally Get Out of This Situation, Fuck.”
I’m just going to start by saying I had a very base-level understanding of what Gerald’s Game is as a story, and therefore had no idea how this would possibly translate to film. It seemed bananas to even try. I can’t comment on how faithful it was to King’s original story, but I thought this was a well-made and extremely tense film. I had an extremely difficult time getting over the premise of being stuck to bedposts as being a legit enough problem to cause all this hardship, but hey, they’re “reinforced” okay? I still feel like a squat, with good form, out from the backboard would have done the trick, but I digress. With my disbelief suspended, I really enjoyed the rest of the movie and OH MY GOD THAT SCENE...
The Ruins (2008)
4 Makeshift Stretchers
I watched this because I lost a bet. When that happens, you go into the film expecting some hot trash, but Jack queued me off that this might not be of the same shitty ilk that some of our other gambling fodder represents. After seeing the film, I can say with confidence that this is not a good movie and that I would not recommend it, but I also see what he means. I found myself enjoying the movie more than I expected. I think the main problem is that it’s too good for me to sit here and pan it, but too poor for me to really point to anything noteworthy it does that I enjoyed. I guess the concept is relatively cool. Mayan temple horror isn’t a saturated space.
Super Dark Times (2017)
8 Milk Cartons
This is the year for horror flicks to sprinkle in a robust amount of Stand by Me, isn’t it? I’m not even mad, look at that fucking score up there. Look at it. This is a beautifully shot and really well acted movie that hit me right in the feels. There are a couple annoyances, but it turns in one of the best “teenagers having teenage issues” plots I’ve seen in some time. The most noteworthy aspect of the film was the restraint it shows in delivering its horror elements. That’s not to say it shies away from anything, because it most certainly doesn’t, but it burns with a slow and steady hopeless dread that really stuck with me after the credits rolled. Oh, and it was made for a flabbergasting $20k. What. The. Fuck? I don’t even understand how they got their cameras for that amount. Bravo.
The Girl With All the Gifts (2017)
7 Spore Pods
This is a great story that I feel like I’ve seen about a billion times in just ever-so-slightly different ways. It’s a zombie flick. The interesting element is the main character, Melanie, is a child who seems that she may have been born with a symbiotic relationship to the zombifying fungus that has ravaged the population. This makes for some interesting interhuman questions that need to be answered, and I think it does a pretty good job of striking all the right chords for a zombie flick. I just have a hard time caring. This is a lot like the video game The Last of Us in a lot of ways, and a lot of the movie even looks like it, which is to say there is an astonishing amount of cgi here. Several sequences of the film might as well be video game cutscenes. And I know they didn’t have much option here. It’s not like they could get the scope they wanted in any other way, but I don’t think the cg carried it enough when it was leaned on.
Dark Signal (2016)
5 Tire Irons
I ended up getting from this movie something substantially different than what I expected from the trailer. This movie has its moments, but it also has its long stretches of poorly paced filler material. It also has one of the most baffling endings you’re going to get from this genre. You’ll get some pretty solid jumpscares, but you’ll also get Joanna Ignaczewska turning in one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen in a non-B-Movie. It does deserve credit for turning a tire iron into a lighting prop. Honestly, it’s not that bad... it’s just unremarkable, and that makes it optimal background-Netflix fodder.
Slasher Season 2 (2017)
5.5 Puffy Coats
We took the dive on Slasher season 1 after binge watching Scream: The TV Series and desperately needing to inject more made-for-tv-but-not-shitty slasher into our lives. Where Scream was brutal but also mostly lighthearted, Slasher was just brutal. Season 2 follows the same tack, continuing to set marginally likeable characters on a collision course with a slasher villain with a penchant for elaborate and tortuous murderings. Season 1 held itself together pretty well, and was only difficult to watch when it became uncomfortably brutal. Season 2 has its moments, but it also seems to start coming apart at the seams. They have a recurring actor between the two seasons who plays completely different characters. On top of that they play the strange card of introducing new characters 75% of the way through the season. Still worth a watch if you like your horror serialized and hour-long.
3 Bow Ties
This movie was likely written by people who barely squeaked by high school english class. At one point they describe the evil entity by finishing a sentence with “much like a ghost, demon, or poltergeist” as though we were struggling with the concept. This is the least subtle movie ever, and has a vendetta against mellenials and technology that is never well explained. It seemingly is trying to capitalize on some deep-seated hatred of people who use their phones, but I’m honestly unaware of this societal rage if it exists. There is nothing of substance here. It’s one long jumpscare interspersed with one long exposition. “Awww shit, it's my firmware.”
The Mummy (2017)
3 Pools of Mercury
Its a shame this movie was so bad that it caused them to cancel the dark universe plans, because I was really excited for that. That being said, if they were going to turn those films into an Avengers knockoff, which is what The Mummy seems to imply, then we're all better off. I'll just be over here, quietly mourning the Creature from the Black Lagoon remake that never was. Why the fuck would you start a franchise with The Mummy? Everyone knows mummies are the least scary and most overdone creature from the Dark Universe.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
6.5 Fish Hooks
Johnny Galecki is a slimy looking dude. I’m just going to get that one out of the way off the top. The clumsily named I Know What You Did Last Summer is the perennial second place candidate for best 90s slasher. No, it’s not as well executed, well timed, or well acted as Scream, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t revisit it. Where scream has a much goofier tone to it, IKWYDLS (see, clumsy) plays like a grimier slasher that is of the 90s, but not reliant upon the 90s. That made sense in my head. Whatever, it’s still pretty good. If you have a slasher itch, and you haven’t revisited this one in a while, then give it a go.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)
5.5 Fishy Trivia Questions
Jack Black is in this movie, and unlike Johnny Galecki he is not a slimy looking dude. He is a stoned-out-of-his-gourd pool boy who, in retrospect, has absolutely no reason to be in this movie. Taking place a year or so after the first movie, and now following college students instead of highschool students, this sequel goes tropical. Why? I would assume it’s because space wouldn’t have been believable and giving the gang a pet monkey requires too much animal insurance. It’s a doofy gimmick that brings very little to this formulaic re-hash. If you liked the first movie, this is basically just the same movie again with a different backdrop. If you didn’t like the first movie, then unfortunately we can’t be friends.
Jack was really high on this movie during our 2016 Holiday Omnibus. I had high hopes going in to watch it, and honestly I was a bit let down. I can’t get too far into the plot of this movie without getting into spoiler territory, but I will say I would have discovered what was up within a day of moving into this house in which these folks are bound. The optimists will say the characters are interesting and atypical. The pessimists will say the characters are schizophrenic and illogical. There is some charm to this movie (particularly if you are a fan of New Zealand), but I think I may have been immune to it.
This movie is intentional B-movie fare. It looks like a cheaply made Nickelodeon tv show, and sounds like a poorly dubbed Japanese movie. The film completely and utterly lacks connective tissue, and basically only exists as railroad between poorly shot snowman kills. It does, however, have a great science montage to kick things off so there’s at least one reason to watch. In another weird development, the movie is seemingly sponsored heavily by Asahi as there are multiple breaks to directly highlight the product. Honestly, with as low budget as this thing is, it may have been entirely paid for by Asahi. It’s baffling. If you are even remotely interested in watching this dump of a movie, it is free on youtube.