Cutting Room
February 2017

It's the middle of the month, and the second Cutting Room of 2017 is here! 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 up above!


JACK'S SECTION

The Interior (2015)
6 Meals of Dry Mountainhouse

Jake recommended this movie for me, and I can definitely see why. He and I are big fans of the “people getting fucked with in the woods” style of horror movies, and this fits squarely into that camp (see what I did there?). This movie was pretty odd, and the few incredibly great scenes were a lot better than the stuff that connects them, but damn there is one scene in here which I will never forget.

The Mind’s Eye (2015)
4 Throbbing Neck Veins

This movie had a lot going for it, and most of that was in the effects department. The effects look really fucking good, especially for what a small movie this was. Beyond that though, I wasn’t in love with this one. The concept was pretty good, but it wasn’t particularly well executed upon. I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did, but I’m not unhappy that I watched it. It’s unfortunate that a lot of the climactic scenes came down to two people staring at each other and screaming, Dragonball Z style.

Ratter (2015)
7 Murdered Cats

This one came off of a heavy recommend from Mark, and I’m quite pleased that it did. Despite being really fucking hard to get my hands on (DVD only and not prime-elligible? Come on!), this is overall just a really quality film. It’s just good a well made movie and downright creepy. So many of the scenes in this thing skeeved me out hard, but in a “the situation is genuinely creepy way,” rather than a “someone shoved something in their eye” way upon which many lazier movies rely. Watch this movie. Do it.

The Squad (2011)
5 Hastily Built Walls

Jake tossed this movie my way because it reminded him of Black Mountain Side, which I fucking love. This one was good, but not great. It’s hard to describe why, because I loved a lot of the stuff it was doing. I guess it just felt splintered. I wanted them to go one level deep on all the stuff it touched. Either way, still worth a watch.


JAKE'S SECTION

Ratter (2015)
7 Wiis

This was Mark’s recommendation for me based on his viewings from 2016. He said something about it being because I live alone on the east coast, but mostly just because he wanted to sing its praises from the rooftops. To validate his existence, I can confirm that I liked Ratter. It strikes an interesting balance because its conceit seems far fetched while the really crazy thing is that it’s not. It has no trouble with its reason for filming because it doesn’t need one (similar to Unfriended in that it’s peeking into someone’s life through technology rather than being found footage, per se). The movie’s main strength comes from the feeling that you are spying on someone’s personal affairs. That doesn’t feel good, kids. It feels grimy. Add to it that you are helplessly watching someone who is seriously fucked up do it, and you get a really creepy end-product. This movie will make you seriously consider owning a vast quantity of guns. Might I recommend a sawed-off? You’ll find the spread is a great stalker deterrent, despite being awful for your apartment decorum.

The Monster (2016)
6.5 Lighters

Do you like horror movies that are metaphors? Well you’re in luck because this fucker beats you over the head with a sock full of lead for 90 minutes about just how metaphorical it is. That being said, it’s still a good movie. It’s extremely well acted, well shot, and well done on the eponymous monster front. I had some pretty big issues with some fringe character believability that hampered my immersion a lot, but I’d still give it a recommend. The main word of caution is that on the drama-horror continuum, this is firmly on the drama side. There just so happens to be a gigantic hellbeast running around in the shadows of said drama. It’s similar to Dark Was the Night in that way, only much more polished.

Housebound (2014)
5.5 Meatloafs

Jack backhandedly recommended this movie to me, most likely because it’s a Kiwi flick and I lived in New Zealand for a time and am known to like shit coming out of there. I will say, this was definitely in line with a lot of other horror movies one might think of from New Zealand in terms of silliness. Where it wasn’t able to keep up in my mind was in its relatively tame approach due to the ‘old dark house’ format, and with its pure whimsy. Films like Braindead and, more recently, Deathgasm succeed because of their hilarity mixed with absurd gratuity. Splatstick works because of the juxtaposition. I’m not sure if I just wasn’t in the right state of mind for this one, but I just left it feeling like I wanted more from the experience.

The Mist (2007)
5.5 Sacks of Dog Food

I watched The Mist because it feels like everyone else has seen it. That's pretty rare for me in the grand scheme of horror things. I watched it because of that and because it is free to stream for Amazon Prime members. What did I think of it? I thought it was ok. I thought the cg creatures looked like a steaming pile of mid-ought fecal matter, though. The story is pretty good, being undeniably one of King’s most Lovecraftian, and it has a ballsy ending. However, being so Lovecraftian, did we really need to go into such detail on the creatures in the first place?

Beyond the Gates (2016)
7 Keys

This is a movie about some brothers who are tasked to clean out their father’s old video rental store after it's been fully raped by the ever-increasing digitization of entertainment media. In the process they find an old VHS board game, play the fucker, and horror/hilarity ensue. If that premise sounds good, then do yourself a favor and just go watch it because its execution is exactly what it should be given the subject matter. Also, Barbara Crampton is in it. Sold yet?

Grave Encounters (2011)
6 Night Vision Cameras

Mark has talked about this one on several occasions, and seems to hold it in high regard even given his wildly concerning bias towards found footage flicks. I thought this movie did several things well. It plays with some pretty interesting and creepy concepts and the atmosphere mostly benefits. Some of the effects are showing a bit of wear, and it's too damn long for me to wholeheartedly recommend, but hey, you could do a hell of a lot worse.


MARK'S SECTION

Flight 7500 (2014)
4.5 Tray Tables

It’s hard for me to separate out how scary this movie is from how scared I am of its content regardless of how hard it tries. To put it another way, I don’t think I am any more scared of flying now after having seen this, but watching it still made me uncomfortable because I very much dislike airplanes. This movie suffered from an incredibly long release process that was plagued by bankruptcy and other world events causing delays. Overall, aside from my own psychological connections with the basic premise this one just felt a bit stale.

They’re Watching (2016)
6.5 Donias, whatever the fuck that is

I watched this because Jack told me to. That’s basically how I live my life, and frankly it’s miraculous that I’m still alive. They’re Watching is a found footage movie where we follow a  House Hunters International film crew as they re-visit one of their old clients to film the “where are they now” segment of the show after the house has been all niceified. What they run into is a very severe case of culture shock and backwoods townsfolk who don’t take kindly to strangers. This movie makes some very drastic choices that could very easily either completely endear you to it, or utterly chase you off. Although it ended up being a bit jarring, I have to give credit where it’s due. It’s a unique concept that is well executed and makes bold choices. Give it a shot. Unless you are from Moldova… then don’t. Moldovans are not well represented here.

You Are Not Alone (2016)
5.5 Worst Hangovers Ever

This one was a Jake recommend. I can see why he thought I would enjoy it. It’s is an extremely novel and interesting concept that I want to see more of. What I don’t want is these writers to be behind it. That isn’t to say that the dialogue was particularly bad, on the contrary I found most characters to be largely believable as they went about their daily business. What I am trying to say, though, is that when shit does inevitably hit the fan the believable characters turn into a bunch of flailing nincompoops. Every single decision the main character makes is almost taken as a challenge in a one-lady-game of idiot H-O-R-S-E. The concept is great, and the atmosphere is very good for the most part. I just couldn’t really get into the movie because of the immersion breaking behavior of the main character. Still a decent watch though if for no other reason than the interesting perspective.

The Borderlands aka The Final Prayer (2013)
7.5 Antacid Tablets

When Jake reviewed this thing back in September he said the main thing he knocked it for was that they didn’t provide a reason for filming. I did not have that qualm whatsoever. Not only because the movie provides pretty ample reasoning for filming, but also because that sorta misunderstands the immersion breaking aspect of bad found footage films. It’s not about why their filming, it’s about why they’re putting so much effort into it. If you have a camera strapped to your head, you would arguably have to expound more effort to stop filming. In any case, I found this movie incredibly entertaining. The ending will undoubtedly split people, but hey at least it makes a choice. A bold choice.

The Rezort (2015)
3 Zombie Somethings

I literally completely forgot that I watched this whole movie. I forgot the whole goddamn movie. Yes, I admit I watched it on a Friday night after partaking in the consumption of alcoholic beverages, but that’s pretty much par for the course and I usually remember the movies I watch. Does that mean that this zombie massacre meets jurassic park style “free on netflix and we got nothing else to do” movie is bland? Probably. I would be able to weigh in on that more if I remembered a single goddamn thing about this movie. I feel like there were annoying video gaming South Africans at one point? I’m fucking nailing this journalism thing.

Morgan (2016)
4 Gray Hoodies

This is a star studded movie. It is also not a horror movie. It really has more in common with Jason Statham movies than anything else, which actually makes the casting decisions pretty cool when you think about it. All together this movie was fairly entertaining, beautifully shot, and well acted, but the script and general concept really hold the thing back. It’s a promising start for Luke Scott. Unfortunately for him, it’s also largely forgettable.

The Interior (2015)
6.5 Stolen Bottles of Wine

I feel like this movie was pitched as “three or four very specific scary scenes that needed a movie to be built around them.” It’s honestly really strange. The first half of the movie is a weird relationship drama that sets up the main guy wanting to leave society. Once he gets to the woods the horror part kicks in. The thing is this movie is less than 80 minutes long, and it doesn’t even get spooky until a half hour in. Granted once shit starts to happen it does ramp up pretty quickly to some of the more unique and interesting scares you’ll see, but you’re basically getting 10 minutes of good scary movie with 70 minutes of “other.” This is now the third time that this movie has been brought up on Cutting Room so if you feel like getting a second opinion check out Jake and Jack had to say about the thing.

Dream House (2011)
5.5 Snow Footprints

This one popped up on Netflix with what appeared to be a pretty creepy thumbnail and synopsis. Turns out, that’s a bit misleading. Realistically, this is much more a psychological thriller than a true horror movie. The plot of the movie revolves around a man (Daniel Craig) and his family being stalked by a psychopathic serial killer recently released from the neighborhood insane asylum. See? Sounds like horror, doesn’t it? Anyway, if you’re in the mood for a mystery movie more than a usual hack-and-slash horror then I think I’d give this a recommend. It’s a decent story, and Daniel Craig’s performance is very solid.