It's the middle of the month, and you know what that means! It's time for the Cutting Room! CR is a monthly post where we all do short, single-person reviews for movies we’ve watched on our own over the last month because why would we include each other?
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 disagree about any of these movies, and check out past Cutting Rooms in the "More Horror" section up above!
The Presence (2014)
0 Night Vision Cameras
. . . Is what they should have rented for this thing. In that they shouldn’t have shot it at all. “Hey, you remember everything that was fun about Paranormal Activity? Why don’t we remove all of those parts, but keep in all of the super-tedious night vision and nothing-happening? Won’t that be a great movie?” - No one ever. This thing is a 2014 German movie available on Netflix and there is staggeringly little information available about it online. This movie is genuinely terrible. It doesn’t even have a trailer, so we just linked to the damn Netflix page.
The Conjuring 2 (2016)
8 Terrifying Nun-Demons
Now we’re talking! This was a movie! You’re getting exactly what you expect out of The Conjuring 2: a well-written and awesomely-shot horror movie. Throw in James Wan’s unique directorial eye and Patrick Wilson’s and Vera Farmiga’s unstoppable collective chemistry and charm, and you’ve got a hell of a movie. Seriously. The Conjuring 2 isn’t doing anything new or pushing boundaries, and it doesn’t need to. It’s just a really good horror movie that you’ll enjoy watching.
The Invitation (2016)
9 Red Lanterns
There is something to be said about the type of horror The Invitation brings to the table. Its starting point is one of the most tangible and horrifying things any of us will ever encounter; tragic loss. Because of this, there is a level of empathy built into the movie as it progresses. You can identify with the main character and everything he must be going through, even if you have not been in a similar situation. As things heated up however, every twist and turn made for a more fist-clenching, teeth-grinding affair. For the vast majority of its runtime, you have no idea what to believe or who to trust. The paranoia and dread is palpable, and it builds to excruciating levels. The Invitation is a frontrunner in my movie of the year considerations. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
The VVitch (2016)
6.5 Dead Corn Stalks
The VVitch is an interesting beast. It was released earlier in the year with much hype, and was pretty immediately met with as many complaints. I’m not sure if the viewing public was oblivious as to what they were about to see, or what… Look, it’s set in 1630, so there are a few really important things for it to have down. Old English? Nailed it. Hyper-religion? You betcha. And perhaps less obviously but just as important; isolation. Very few people were living in North America in the mid 1600’s. The wilderness was wild and terrifying. I thought this movie did an insanely good job of painting that picture and building dread associated with the unknown just beyond the treeline of the family’s isolated homestead. The sound was incredible as well. The problem I had with The Witch is that despite all of this, it still didn’t seem to grab me as much as I would have liked. I would recommend this movie. I can’t give it a glowing review simply because it didn’t stick with me. But it’s also not as bad as the reaction it received on release.
You Are Not Alone (2016)
7.5 Heelys Demo Tapes
In honor of our nation’s birthday, I got exorbitantly intoxicated and shot things into the sky. Then I followed that up by watching the newly released, 4th of July set, You Are Not Alone. This is essentially a home invasion flick in the first-person. You are a girl who is home on holiday and basically, you have a shit evening. At first, I found the point-of-view format a little difficult to get into and slightly disorienting. As I adjusted to it however, I did a complete 180 and began to really like the way it was handled. The movie benefits on multiple levels from being in the first-person. It doesn’t have to establish a reason for filming like found footage flicks, it doesn’t have to explain cuts because the filmmaker is still in control of the narrative, and it allows for a score to be used. And holy hell. In tandem, this all worked to impressive effect. As things get going (and the buildup was a bit slow and drawn out), it becomes very tense and VERY frightening. This one stuck with me for a bit, and not many movies manage to do that these days. In honor of the 4th, You Are Not Alone shows the importance of our 2nd Amendment right to pack some fuckin’ heat.
9 Venus Women’s Razors
Holy fucking shit. Out of the goddamned blue this one. In short, Ratter is a found footage style flick about cyber stalking. I don’t want to give too much away beyond that. Living alone in a city? Feel like obsessively putting tape over every camera lens in your house? Have a daughter that’s away at school and feel like not ever being okay with that again? Well then this is right up your alley. Seriously though, I highly recommend this one. Also, pretty great soundtrack.
The Boy (2016)
6 Rocks in Your Pocket
I guess this is the month of pleasantly surprising horror movies. The Boy was by no means a phenomenal thrillhouse of a horror movie, but it was surprisingly competent. A phrase I frequently apply to my own professional life. Fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead will like to see Lauren Cohen’s familiar face, and to her credit she does a great job in a movie where she is the only person on screen for many scenes. Children are scary. Isolation is scary. Boom. There you have it. In fairness I think I just like that the marketing was fairly conscious of what people were expecting, and played to that angle while the movie went in a relatively different direction. You’re probably not going to be altogether surprised by everything that happens in this one, and you probably won’t be all that scared either, but I’d still recommend a watch.