Here we are. 2018. Who honestly would've thought we would've made it all the way through the year without either dying in hellfire or becoming so utterly disillusioned that we just kinda started to fade out of existence. We count our current level of survival as a massive success and have decided to celebrate by spending our nights watching horror movies for your entertainment.
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.
I watched this movie because it was recommended on one of the episodes of Shudder’s awesome new series, The Core, and I was not disappointed. Coherence feels a lot like a feature length Twilight Zone episode in a lot of ways. It’s slow, plodding, and builds an unease and tension throughout that sticks with you long after the credits roll. This is a movie about what it means to be who you are, regardless of the imperfections that brings. It’ll hit you right in your head, and in your mind, and in your brain, too.
The Dark Tapes (2017)
6.5 Tapes Lacking Brightness
My expectations for this were low. Very low. It generate some buzz when it was released, but I wasn’t buying it. Mark gave it a watch back in July of 2017 because I made him do it as part of a bet he lost. That’s how shitty I thought this looked. Unsurprisingly, he gave it an ok review. I then promptly forgot it existed until I saw it creep into my Amazon Prime recommendations. With almost no logical explanation, I fired it up and… I might have liked this more than Mark. Part of my enjoyment is surely due to my extremely low expectations, but I think there were actually some well executed and creepy things happening here. Yeah, the low budget showed its ugly chompers at many points, but this movie has a ton of heart. It’s not going to be for the casual viewer, but horror fans will probably find enough to appreciate here.
They Came Back (2004)
5 Secret Meetings
This is a French movie, so I’m already not sure why I watched it. Maybe I was in the right mood after recently seeing (and loving) Raw. This is not as good. In fact, it’s not really even a horror movie. It passed the test in that I saw it on Shudder, but this is a movie that takes the zombie concept and goes to the absolute extreme of what one should be willing to allow. It’s not much of a spoiler, so I’ll elaborate a bit. The zombies in this film are different in that they are still mostly human. All of a sudden, a bunch of dead people just show up. They seem to be in good health aside from exhibiting some mental cloudiness (yes, that’s a medical term). The movie is basically about the attempted integration of all these returned people. It still has the core of any zombie feature in that it’s primarily about the interpersonal relationships, but what makes this interesting is that these relationships span outside of those dealing with the zombies and into the relationships directly between people and the zombies. It’s unique and interesting, but it was long, slow, and had almost no burn. And the resolution was terrible. Zero payoff.
The Battery (2012)
This is one of the lowest budget movies I think I’ve seen. Jeremy Gardner (Spring, The Mind’s Eye, Psychopaths) wrote, directed, produced, and acted in this zombie flick that had way more heart than dollars. Based on some cursory research, I’m of the understanding that he made this thing for $6,000, which he got by asking 10 friends for $600 a peice. I enjoyed this more than my rating would entail, but I’m giving it the score above based on some very significant shortcomings from both an acting (not from Gardner, he’s great) and an effects standpoint. This is a movie that would never be made by any studio. It oozes indie. Some of the direction is ballsy and it works, while a few elements are baffling. I’d recommend this to the hardcore genre fan who thinks they’ve seen it all in the zombie subgenre because I guarantee you, you have not.
Amityville: The Awakening (2017)
4 Life Support Beds
This movie is exactly the movie you are expecting it to be. Just good enough to not get shit-canned after years of financial tumult by the production company. Just bad enough that no one cared that it was delayed for nearly 4 years. It’s your classic American generic haunted house movie, except that it’s not even remotely classic.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)
3.5 Classist Martial Artists
Too much smooching, that’s what I say. Why ruin a perfectly good zombie movie by placing it against some old english melodrama? Fans of Jane Austen won’t like this movie. Fans of zombie movies won’t like it either. So even if it were a good movie I’m not sure what audience would enjoy this. Is this a good movie? Well, at one point a zombie gets its arm cut off by a sword and you hear the sound of a gunshot. I’ll leave it at that.
Creep 2 (2017)
6 Green Smoothies
This is a very solid follow-on to the original Creep. If you are unfamiliar, Creep follows the murderous hijinks of the titular creep, played by Mark Duplass. The movie is more weird humorous character study than outright horror, but it still certainly has its moments (granted, most of those moments are just Mr. Duplass jumping out from behind a corner and yelling). Creep 2 is a little bit more off the wall than its predecessor, but still manages to deliver the same approximate feelings. Also, it has more than a sufficient amount of wang. If you wind up enjoying Creep 2 more than Creep, it’s possibly due to you liking wang.
Goodnight Mommy (2014)
4 Tiki Masks
I did not care much for this movie. It’s shot well. The sound design is solid and the score is simplistic and powerful. Hell, it even has solid performances from its twin ten year old leads (or at least I think it does… it’s always hard to tell in foreign movies). Ultimately though, I’m just not one to enjoy this type of movie, or more particularly the type of movie this becomes about half way through. Outside of that little bit of info I really only have one other comment: what the hell is the deal with the weird out of focus paintings throughout that house? That is bad art. Literally nobody wants that.
Bad Taste (1987)
2 Bowls of Chum
How the fuck did Peter Jackson end up directing Lord of the Rings? He made this, and that means he should be disqualified from all future film endeavors. Okay, it’s not that bad, but it also has virtually no redeeming qualities. The audio track is hard to hear. The acting is bad. The effects are goofy (but lovable). The plot is nonsense. You’re watching this movie because of how “B” it is, and for virtually no other reason. That being said, in the category of “30 year old B-movie” this one is probably near the top of the pile.
Behind the Mask: the Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006)
9 Tell All Documentaries
This the best. I feel like this movie was tailor made explicitly to suit my tastes so take the high rating with a small amount of salt. BTMTROLV follows a film crew as they document the preparations for a masked psycho killers inaugural slasher spree. It’s about 2 parts comedy to every part horror, but both aspects of the film feel organic and original. If you like found footage slashers with a dash of horror this movie is for you. The only barrier to entry is that there is a bit of suspension of disbelief around the premise, but honestly if you like the Freddy, Jason, and Michael slashers of the world then you probably don’t have an issue with that to begin with.
Another Evil (2017)
4.5 Priest-Cursed Boxes
This was my top 1 from HRR back in May of 2017. I was hoping really this was gonna be funny-weird Mark Proksch not just weird Mark Proksch. Unfortunately, this movie really doesn’t have the humor chops that it should have. I wanted Nate from the Office or K-Strass the YoYo guy, but instead I got all of the same awkward with virtually none of the humor. There are points here where I really felt like they just had a big blank spot in the script and let Proksch go nuts with a monologue, but the supporting cast and crew aren’t quite capable of capitalizing on it or directing it somewhere noteworthy. That being said, this isn’t A-Z Comedy, so I feel as though I should mention that there is also a haunted house story happening in the background. It’s decent but nothing to write home about. There’s a house, it’s haunted, that’s about all there is to it. Check this out on Shudder if you have access, but I wouldn’t go far out of your way to track this one down.