February 2018 is here and we've made it through the most Hallmarkiest of the calendar's holidays. As professional, responsible citizens of the horror community, we can assure you that we all forced at least one horror movie upon our significant others this month and we sincerely hope you did as well. People might say love makes one's heart race, but popping on a horror flick is typically an easier way to achieve similar results.
CR is our monthly post where we do short, single-person reviews for movies we've watched on our own. If you hear us shout something out on the podcast, you can swing by here to read our more succinct thoughts on the matter. Let us know if you have some thoughts on any of these movies, and check out past posts in the "More Horror" section.
Mr. Jones (2013)
Well, this was a weird thing to look at. It’s honestly a noteworthy film just for how much of a batshit fever dream it is. This is a found footage movie following a couple who is trying to save their relationship by going into the woods on a sabbatical while filming a documentary about it. While they are out there they run into a famous but reclusive artist, and things pretty much devolve from there into some seriously bananas nonsense. I’d also like to point out that after seeing this, one of the only novel parts of the recent Blair Witch film no longer seems so original. Good work, BW... And actually kind of good work Mr. Jones. If you were more sensical, you’d have a higher score, but you know what they say about art...
The Monster Project (2017)
3.5 Vials of Blood
I watched this as a sort of follow-up to viewing The Dark Tapes last month. No idea why. Both seemed of similar quality, I suppose. I was actually a little more excited for this movie than The Dark Tapes because there were some promising looking monster effects in the trailer. Unfortunately, that’s about all it had going for it as a whole. Where this really suffered was in its pacing. It was overlong, had too many sections of slowness, and even some of its jumpscare-focused action sequences could have been tightened up. Add to it some questionable performances (some were redeemable, but barely), and I’ll give the trophy in this inadvertent game to The dark Tapes by a wide margin.
3 Rolls of Red Tape
When I lost a bet and Mark picked "Pulse", I stupidly assumed he meant the 2001 Japanese version(aka "Kairo") that I have heard great things about but have never seen. Of course not. Of course, he meant this pile of poorly written, poorly acted refuse. Not having seen the original, I can't quite get into the same level of rage as the people who were pissed off at a shitty remake, but after having seen this, I can only assume all the mouth-frothing is legit. There are a couple interesting scenes but the bulk of the effects are showing their age, and the screenplay is an absolute disaster.
Happy Death Day (2017)
6 Absolutely Ridiculous School Mascots
Honestly, one of the most interesting things about this movie is that one of the previews before it was for a movie with essentially the same plot as this one. Seriously, look up Before I Fall. It’s not horror and it looks terrible, but it does have basically the same plot as this. Are we approaching some type of groundhog day singularity? At what point do we get nested groundhogging leading to an infinite loop of repetition? Jesus, we’re gonna turn into fucking Hypercube if we don’t put a stop to this. Anyway, this movie is as fun as it promised to be in the previews. Although ultimately the outcome was the one I guessed at the onset, that doesn’t mean the ride wasn’t enjoyable. The biggest issue? They didn’t use 50 Cent. That song that featured HEAVILY in the trailer? Yeah, it’s not in there at all. Also, their school mascot is a baby. They're the Bayfield Babies. Just…. Just no.
Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh (1995)
2.5 Hand Mirrors
I slept through most of this movie, so I watched it again the next day and then almost fell asleep again. This movie unacceptably boring. Honestly, it’s terrible. It doesn’t need to be. I don’t think I understand this franchise… Like, why does the Candyman mostly haunt black people? Why does he torture folks in the hood, when it’s the plantation owners that fucked him over? Here’s the way this movie should play out: somebody should find candyman and ask him, “Hey dawg, you killing of jerks who continue to profit from slavery?” “Yeah.” “Cool, carry on. I have literally no problem with that. Make sure to make it as gory and bee-filled as possible.” SEE HOW MUCH BETTER THAT WOULD BE?
6.5 Poorly Executed Schemes
This laugh-a-minute joycoaster will have you tickled pink. As with all Saw movies there are immense plotholes, dubious technology, and traps that are easily worked around with very little thought. Why not tie your chains in a knot? Why not grab onto the chain with your hands instead opting to hang from it by your neck? The ME in this movie claims to be able to tell how much ATP is left is muscles by looking at them with his naked eye. Why do people always yank on the fucking tape recorders? I could go on. But then, you aren't watching any Saw movies for their realistic characters and situations. You're watching them because they're suspenseful gory cringefests. You're watching them because traps are neat and so is justice. You're also probably watching it because that creepy tricycle riding doll is awesome, and you frequently facetiously ask your friends if they “would like to play a game.” If you can get yourself past the maddeningly stupid science experiments (and even worse psychology experiments), then this movie actually does deliver a pretty effective ride.
Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954)
6 Spear Guns
One of my new year's horror resolutions (horresolutions?) was to watch more movies not of the current decade and cross off a few blindspots from my list in the process. Watching Creature from the Black Lagoon was near the top of my list. Turns out, this is one of the better-aged films of the classic era. The cinematography is so good it is still pretty impressive even by today’s standards. Honestly, the only issue is that some of the narrative assumptions have shifted pretty dramatically since the 1950’s. Then? Fuck nature! Animals are here to feed us or help us farm! We should kill all of god's creatures to study them and then eat them! Now? Save nature! That thing isn’t evil, it’s trying to help them somehow! That disconnect coupled with the slightly dated 1950s pacing makes the story a little hard to get into. On the whole though, if you’re looking for a slightly older dive into horror this one still stands up.
The Snowman (2017)
4 It Doesn’t Have to be a Snowmans
Ambiguously Nordic and everyone speaks English. JK Simmonds plays a prominent perverted Oslovian captain of industry. I love JK, but let’s not all act like that was a great casting fit.
It’s mostly horror-ish with a few scenes that might tip the scales toward scary. If they made a short film featuring just the Snowman Killer it could potentially be an incredibly good slasher. Instead, they filled out the film with weird commentary on Norwegian economics, some alcoholism based family drama, and an admittedly serviceable whodunnit backdrop.